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20180517T1000 0097 CNS POPE DIPLOMATS INDIFFERENCE 800Pope Francis greets new ambassadors to the Holy See during an audience in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican May 17. Welcoming new ambassadors from seven countries, the pope said that migration "has an intrinsically ethical dimension." (CNS photo/Vatican Media) VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Diplomats have a duty to uphold human rights for all people, especially those fleeing their countries due to war, poverty and environmental challenges, Pope Francis told new ambassadors to the Vatican.

The issue of migration "has an intrinsically ethical dimension that transcends national borders and narrow conceptions of security and self-interest," the pope said May 17.

"None of us can ignore our moral responsibility to challenge the 'globalization of indifference' that all too often looks the other way in the face of tragic situations of injustice calling for an immediate humanitarian response," he said.

The pope's comments came in a speech welcoming new ambassadors to the Vatican from Tanzania, Lesotho, Pakistan, Mongolia, Denmark, Ethiopia and Finland.

Speaking to the group of diplomats, the pope said the work of international diplomacy "is grounded in the shared conviction" of the unity and dignity of all men and women.

The United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he said, is a call for solidarity with "those suffering the scourge of poverty, disease and oppression."

"Among the most pressing of the humanitarian issues facing the international community at present is the need to welcome, protect, promote and integrate all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands," the pope said.

While acknowledging the "complexity and delicacy of the political and social issues involved," Pope Francis called on the international community work toward crafting decisions and policies "marked above all by compassion foresight and courage."

"For her part, the church, convinced of our responsibility for one another, promotes every effort to cooperate, without violence and without deceit, in building up the world in a spirit of genuine brotherhood and peace," the pope said.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.