Mercy Mondays

Cold Indifference

By William Becerra | Monday, February 08, 2016

We cannot ignore immigrants in the year of Mercy.

Cold indifference to migrants, the poor, the hungry and the persecuted “must be overcome through the warmth of mercy, which can transform people into artisans of peace,” Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis frequently speaks on the reality of migrants and refugees in the world.  In his message for the world day of migrants and refugees this year the Holy Father writes: “Indifference and silence lead to complicity whenever we stand by as people are dying of suffocation, starvation, violence, and shipwreck." In his pastoral style of seeing reality, Pope Francis reminds us that the suffering of others is our suffering, and that as Catholics we cannot ignore these situations.

We cannot ignore the fact that more than 11 million people live with the permanent fear of separation from their families due to the lack of documentation, or the despair of having to wait for more than 10 years for a member of the family to obtain legal status.  

We cannot ignore all the families who have lost a parent, and are now incomplete.

We cannot ignore the hundreds of children who have reached the border fleeing violence from Central America and are treated as detainees at the mercy of a system that does not work efficiently.

We cannot ignore the more than 4 million refugees who have fled Syria and neighboring regions since 2010. Many thousands have died in the process, while many others struggle with the daily ritual of trying to survive—victims of tyranny in their countries and the tyranny of those who do not want to receive them.

How can we avoid ignoring these realities? In his book The Name of God Is Mercy, Pope Francis leaves no doubts: “The message of Jesus is mercy. . .it is the Lord’s strongest message.” The year of mercy could be the beginning of a transformational approach to all of the things we ignore, or maybe do not even consider to be a part of our Christian life.

I invite you to visit some of the links that I have added to this short blog and invite others in your communities to talk about the reality of immigration as a Christian challenge. Visit www.catholicsandimmigrants.org to learn more

Mercy Challenge

Talk with your friends about immigration and check out these documentaries organized by @SojoImmigration. Then, engage your community.

William Becerra is Education Coordinator for the Office for Immigrant Affairs & Immigration Education.