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Junno Esteves
Catholic News Service
December 11, 2018 // Vatican

U.N. migration pact seeks to promote dialogue, Vatican official says

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Junno Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A Vatican official said an intergovernmental pact can help countries address the current migration crisis through dialogue and concrete solutions rather than confrontation and fear.

Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugee Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said the Catholic Church is doing all that it can to help welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants in countries where the U.N. Global Compact on Migration is formally adopted.

“The compact has a new style, a new spirit based on what we have brought,” Father Czerny told journalists Nov. 28. “It is our desire to promote dialogue and not confrontation and isolation; to promote a culture of encounter and not let fear decide. This is the problem. If fear is in charge, that is a problem.”

Father Czerny was among several experts who spoke about the global compact, which will be formally adopted at an international conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, Dec. 10-11.

Also present were Anne T. Gallagher, president of the International Catholic Migration Commission, and Stephane Jaquemet, policy director for the commission.

The Vatican contributed to the negotiations leading to the agreement and prepared a 20-point action plan that included concrete proposals to help governments improve the situation of migrants and refugees.

The eight-page plan contains proposals “grounded on the church’s best practices responding to the needs of migrants and refugees at the grassroots level” and provides “practical considerations which Catholic and other advocates can use, add to and develop in their dialogue with governments toward the global compact.”

Through the pastoral action plan, Father Czerny said, the Church shared “the fruit of what we live, of what we do, of what we want and what we dream.”

“This is already a step that isn’t left within the confines of the church, but we wanted to bring this treasure and this hope within the process of consultation and negotiation,” he said.

Father Czerny said the Vatican was pleased to see that the compact not only “reflects on important points in our document, but also the approach, the style and methodology” based on the Church’s principles and values.

“If you want this value, here are things that work,” he said. “If you want to achieve this goal, here are ways which find that will actually get you to the goal.”

The compact’s multilateral approach, he added, is an example that countries working together to achieve a common goal “is an indispensable key to solve the problems in the world.”

“We are happy for this success in a fragmented world,” Father Czerny said.  

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