The Holy Father spoke to the bishops of Slovakia on Thursday,who are in Rome for their ad Limina visit at the Vatican. Speaking to them he said,that the Church is called to proclaim and bear witness to the welcome of the migrant “in a spirit of charity and respect for the human person,” while, at the same time, necessarily observing the law.
His word on receiving migrants comes as immigration to Slovakia is one of the lowest in the European Union. This is because the immigration policy of Slovakia is one of the strictest in Europe. The inundation of migrants has led to differing policies, and often a lack of welcome, in many European nations.
“Faced with the prospect of an ever-expanding multicultural environment, we must assume an attitude of mutual respect in favor of encounter,” Pope Francis said. “In our day, it’s even more necessary to illuminate the path of people with Christian principles, seizing the opportunity the current situation offers to develop a new evangelization, which, with a new language, makes it easier to understand Christ’s message,” he continued.
The Holy Father said that with globalization, “at times we perceive threats to less populous nations, but at the same time elements that can offer new opportunities. One opportunity, which has become a sign of the times, is the phenomenon of migration, which demands to be understood and confronted with sensitivity and a sense of justice.”
“It is desirable for the Slovak people to maintain their cultural identity and heritage of ethical and spiritual values, which is closely linked to the Catholic tradition,” Pope Francis said.
He said this was necessary for the country to contribute to a “sincere and fruitful dialogue” on the continent and in the world, including on such issues as the dignity of human life and the essential role of the family.
Pope Francis expressed his gratitude for the support bishops are giving families, “which faces many difficulties, and is subject to many dangers.” He encouraged the establishment of family ministries at the national and diocesan level, which helps even shattered families, especially where there are children.
Pope Francis said the Church’s efforts for families need to include “adequate accompaniment for all families, including those where members are not present, especially if there are children. As part of the pastoral care of the family, it is necessary to appreciate young people, the hope of the Church and society.”
“As part of the pastoral care of the family, it is necessary to appreciate young people, the hope of the Church and society,” said the Holy Father. “In them, there beats a strong desire to serve others and to work for solidarity, which requires the guidance and confidence of their pastors for it to become a living encounter with Christ, in a committed project to spread the Gospel.”
The Pope urged the Slovak bishops to provide continuing formation for their priests, as they are, “for the majority of the People of God … the principal channel through which the Gospel passes, and also offer the most immediate image through which the mystery of the Church is encountered.”
He said the Church, a “sign and tool of the unity of men with God and with each other, is called upon to be the house and school of communion, in which one learns to appreciate and welcome positive qualities in others.”
At the end of his address to the Catholics of Slovakia, The Holy Father conveyed warmly his affection to the Catholics , entrusting the Slovakia nation to our Lady of Sorrows, their patroness and invoking her maternal intercession for the peace and prosperity of the nation.