In a statement released last week, the leaders of the Jesuits in Europe express their deep concern for the refugees who have flooded into Europe this year and lay out new policies for addressing the situation.
The suffering the refugees have endured brings sadness, and the deaths of hundreds who have drowned in the Mediterranean or suffocated in trucks are shocking. Nations like Lebanon and Turkey have taken refugees in, as have many countries in Europe. But caring for these large numbers has created new demands on the host countries and challenges to existing structures.
The European Jesuit leaders articulate three areas of concern that need to be addressed. The current system of border controls does not work, they note, and urge that it be replaced. Europe needs a unified approach for asylum procedures and conditions of reception of refugees, not leaving this up to each individual country. And politicians who exploit this situation for electoral gain by stirring up fear must stop doing so, instead showing courage and finding new polities.
These Jesuit leaders acknowledge that the Jesuit Refugee Service has done much great work and gives witness that solutions can be found. Now more than ever, they say, such testimony is needed. They also pledge to work for new ways to let Jesuit ministries continue their contribution to finding solutions to these great problems.