(Vatican Radio) Aid agencies have been reacting to Pope Francis’s message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees which was released on Monday.
The message entitled , “welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees” calls for a shared response to the challenges of contemporary migration and urges political leaders and civil society to join with the Church in protecting the most vulnerable.
One of the aid agencies who has welcomed the message is the UK based Catholic aid agency CAFOD who described the Pope’s call as, “throwing down gauntlet” to politicians to do more for the protection of refugees and migrants.
Graham Gordon, is Head of Policy at CAFOD. He spoke to Lydia O’Kane about the message, saying the Holy Father is making clear that all countries must step up to the plate and pull their weight.
“It’s interesting because it’s quite a political message with a clear call to governments to step up their political will to deal with the issue of migration that we face now”, said Mr Gordon.
Asked about some of the highlights of the message, he noted that, “very clearly there’s a strong sense of protecting and again protecting the most vulnerable people who are on the move. We see many examples of children; up to half of the people who are migrating or who are refugees in some contexts are children who are under 18… they are the people who often need the most protection.”
The CAFOD Policy Chief also points out that, “he (the Pope) calls it a global issue that needs a global response and again he’s saying we can’t just leave it to governments, but he’s also saying on the other side, we can’t just leave it to the Church and civil society groups, actually we need to work in partnership again to tackle this issue.”