The head of Migrant Ministry of the Bishops’ Conference of Guatemala, Bishop Rodolfo Bobadilla Mata, said this week that immigration should not be viewed as a problem but as “a great resource” for humanity. He also emphasized that the Church, which has no borders, should welcome immigrants, who are forced to leave their places of origin in search of a better future.
In a pastoral letter marking National Immigrant Day in Guatemala, the bishop wrote, “The Church, as Mother, should see herself as a Church without borders, a family Church, attentive to the growing phenomenon of human mobility in its different aspects.”
He said the occasion was an opportunity “to reflect on the drama that immigrant persons experience,” especially families that are separated because of forced migration.
The Church, both in their places of origin and in their places of destiny, should minister to these persons, “sharing with them the riches of their faith and of their religious traditions.”
Bishop Bobadilla also said the Church should prophetically denounce the mistreatment immigrants frequently endure and should exhort governments to “implement an immigration policy that takes into account the rights of persons who are migrating,” such as family reunification, instead of raids and massive deportations, “like the ones carried out unilaterally by the United States and other countries in the region.”
Bishop Bobadilla called for greater solidarity and encouraged Guatemalans to be “bridges of hope in a globalized world in which social injustice and violations of the human rights of our immigrant brothers and sisters are more common every day.”