In this July 8, 2013 file photo, Pope Francis speaks to migrants, some wearing white caps, during his visit to the island of Lampedusa, southern Italy. Pope Francis on Thursday, May 6, 2021 denounced “aggressive” nationalism that rejects migrants and demanded that Catholics follow the Gospel-mandated call for an inclusive, welcoming church that doesn’t distinguish between “natives and foreigners, residents and guests.” (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, pool)

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis on Thursday denounced “aggressive” nationalism that rejects migrants, and said Catholics should follow the Gospel-mandated call for an inclusive, welcoming church that doesn’t distinguish between “natives and foreigners, residents and guests.”

Francis made the appeal in his annual message for migrants and refugees. He said the current pandemic had shown how the concept of the human family had been “fragmented, wounded and disfigured,” with the poorest and most marginalized paying the highest price.

The universal “we," he said, “is crumbling and cracking due to myopic and aggressive forms of nationalism and radical individualism.”

Pope Francis said Catholics should follow the Gospel-mandated call for an inclusive, welcoming church that doesn’t distinguish between “natives and foreigners, residents and guests.”

He demanded that Catholics in particular actually act “catholic” in the universal sense, noting that migrants and refugees enrich the faith, the church and one another.

Francis has made outreach to migrants and refugees a priority of his papacy. His first trip as pope was to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, ground zero for Europe’s migrant crisis. He has visited refugee camps on his foreign visits and once brought a dozen Syrian refugees back home with him aboard the papal plane.

His appeals for governments to welcome migrants have often fallen on deaf ears in Europe and the U.S., particularly amid the growth of nationalist political movements.

“Ours must be a personal and collective commitment that cares for all our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer,” he said. “A commitment that makes no distinction between natives and foreigners, residents and guests, since it is a matter of a treasure we hold in common.”

More from America

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

The discovery that follows last month's report of 215 bodies found at another school.
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago speaks during a luncheon at St. Genevieve School in Chicago Jan. 30, 2020. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic)
As archbishop of Chicago since 2014, Cardinal Cupich has shown considerable organizational talent. The visits will reportedly begin next week.
Gerard O’ConnellJune 24, 2021
Bishop Bätzing said he “informed the pope in detail” about the status of the German church’s “Synodal Path” and “made it clear that the rumors that the church in Germany wants to go its own way are not true.”
Cardinal José Advíncula was installed as the new archbishop of Manila, the country's largest diocese, in a ceremony at the Philippine capital's historic cathedral June 24.