Pope Francis urged a policy of open borders and open arms to immigrants in his speech to Congress Thursday, telling lawmakers not to worry about the numbers of refugees seeking refuge on foreign shores.
Apparently, the pope forgot about the fortress he lives in, with an impenetrable wall guarded by a regiment of highly trained, armed Swiss guards. Access to the sacred spaces within the Vatican walls is strictly limited. No teeming here of immigrants — for them, the inn will be full. Only the invited allowed.
But the gateway to America must be open, the pope declared to Congress, beseeching the United States not to wall itself off from waves of immigrants and asylum seekers.
“On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities,” Francis said. “Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers.”
Francis has pronounced on immigration policy to Europe’s Catholics as well, urging in a Sept. 6th speech that “every parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary” take in one refugee family.
This recommendation comes as Europe is dealing with its largest wave of refugees since the 1990’s, during the Balkan wars.
The pope said the Vatican itself is extending help to two families, with plans to have them taken in by Vatican parishes.