Today during the Angelus Pope Francis called on every Catholic parish, religious community and monastery in Europe to support a refugee family. "Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing death on account of war and hunger, and who are traveling toward a hope for life, the Gospel calls us to be 'neighbors' to the smallest and abandoned, (and) to give them a concrete hope," he said. It's not enough to call for patience; hope "is combative, with the tenacity of those who go toward a safe destination."
[For a full report, check out the Catholic News Service story.]
Obviously, the crisis in Europe is acute. But all around the world refugees from Syria and elsewhere are struggling to find safety. In recent years Australia has had tens of thousands trying to reach its shores from camps in Indonesia. It's just a year ago that the United States had thousands of children being sent by their parents from Latin America to try and save them from local cartels and other threats.
Rather than simply watch with concern as things unfold abroad, why don't we take on the pope's challenge ourselves? Every U.S. Catholic parish, community and school could support a refugee. Maybe even some Catholic families would be willing to open their doors.
In so many places, refugees find themselves confronted with fear and callousness. (Australia took the extraordinary step of declaring its entire continent -—a land mass almost as big as the United States—off limits to anyone who arrives by boat, no matter the legitimacy of their claim to refugee status.) More than in most countries the church in the United States has the means and the will to help. So let's put those resources to work.