Cardinal Tagle: We need to create a global vision of migration

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, speaks at a briefing to discuss the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 23. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 

News reports point to a world that is fracturing due to fear, prejudice and hate. We seem to forget the Golden Rule that is at the root of many of our religions and cultures: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

When we see refugees fleeing wars or migrants arriving in our countries looking for a better life, a raw human instinct pushes us to close our doors in their faces, to close our eyes and close our hearts.


But if we look away or give in to fear and hate, we lose our perspective and the core of what it is to be human. More than anything at this point in our common history, we need a perspective that provides a global vision and a united and compassionate response to the challenges of our time.

When we see refugees fleeing wars or migrants arriving in our countries looking for a better life, a raw human instinct pushes us to close our doors in their faces.

On Dec. 10 and 11, governments from around the world are expected to discuss and adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, under the auspices of the United Nations. The compact is important because it is the first global framework that provides orientation to states on how to govern migration and how to respond to migrants.

The global compact on migration shows the desire of governments to work together on one of the most urgent issues of our time. The compact will help governments fine-tune migration policy together with other stakeholders, such as civil society organizations and the private sector, to benefit sending and receiving countries. Although not legally binding, it offers a 360-degree orientation for governments, addressing issues such as the drivers of migration, climate change and the integration of migrants. Adherence to the compact is beneficial for migrants, as it gives visibility to a phenomenon that is often dealt with only as an emergency. It is beneficial for countries as it helps them develop a long-term vision and a united response to a challenge that needs a global response.

To the governments who have withdrawn support from the compact on migration, I appeal that they reconsider their decision. In an interconnected world, global issues such as climate change, poverty and the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities call on us to work together. They will not go away if we ignore them or put up walls. When governments look beyond their immediate needs and electoral demands, they begin to protect and promote the common good, which is at the heart of any flourishing society.

In an interconnected world, migration and other global issues call on us to work together. They will not go away if we ignore them or put up walls.

Our world has been marked and shaped by migration from the earliest times in history, and it will not suddenly stop or disappear now. It requires deep thought, planning and cooperation for the long-term benefits of migration to emerge. But if the right policies are in place, many migrants bring a much-needed boost to the workforce or key skills both for countries of origin (for example, through remittances and diaspora groups who invest in them) and countries of destination.

Contemporary migrants often take the same journeys of uncertainty and hope that our own grandparents took so our parents and our generation could have a better life. A collective amnesia makes us forget where our own families originally came from or how we ended up living where we are now. Can any of us really say we are natives of the country we live in? My own maternal grandfather was a child migrant from China who was sent to the Philippines by his impoverished mother.

The Golden Rule is a powerful reminder to look beyond ourselves and see that our lives, our countries and our histories are deeply intertwined. Organizing at a global level is difficult and takes courage. Now is a good time to act together. Our faith teaches us that no person or country is exempt from the collective responsibility to care for our common world and its people. If we do not act now, then when?

I hope the words of Pope Francis will echo through the corridors of governments when deciding on this vital Global Compact: “Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”

The adoption and implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will be an important step for governments to fight the rising tide of stigma around migration and to ensure that human dignity and rights are upheld. In a world struggling to embrace its globalized identity, the global compact will be a sign of cooperation and unity that will offer far-reaching hope for our common future.

J Cosgrove
5 days 7 hours ago

What is needed is a global understanding of what leads to prosperity. 250 years ago 95% of the world was poor. As poverty is slowly disappearing from the world, people naturally want it sooner. Unfortunately prosperity must be inculcated locally and what is needed upsets most local cultures so they oppose it. Especially Catholic cultures.

Monica Storozuk
4 days 16 hours ago

J. Cosgrove. It is not so simple. Not all migration is caused by a lack of prosperity. Oppression and war are major factors as well (Syria). In a perfect world, families and individuals would not need to flee their homes. But we must respond to the realities and the suffering of people in need. this does not rule out efforts to change the root causes of migration (economic, political and religious oppression, climate change). You do not explicitly say so, but do you suggest we refuse assistance to migrants and refugees until a perfect world has been achieved? I agree with Cardinal Tagle. Let us be guided by the Golden Rule whatever our analysis of the root causes of global migration.

J Cosgrove
4 days 14 hours ago

There are about 6 billion people that would want to come to English North America or Western Europe. How does one choose who can come? Few of this 6 billion want western culture. They want more stuff. But it was a small part of western culture that led to the more stuff. There seems to be no interest by the Catholic Church in this part of western culture. So what to do?

Monica Storozuk
4 days 12 hours ago

First comment is that poor countries host millions of refugees - many more than do wealthy countries. Take Jordan and Bangladesh for example. You are casting all refugees and migrants as motivated solely by economic gain. This is not factual. The sentence "They want more stuff" suggests that you do not have personal experience with refugees.

J Cosgrove
4 days 10 hours ago

I asked “what to do?” I have not seen anyone proposing more migration provide an answer including the good cardinal who is mainly talking about “stuff.” The issue is that only a small part of the planet is producing enough stuff and the culture that led to this ability must be accepted by the rest of the world that has problems. The cardinal seems not interested in the only solution which will take many years. The Catholic Church has opposed for almost 2000 years the culture that provided prosperity. So have other religions.

Monica Storozuk
4 days 9 hours ago

Hi J. You ask: what to do? I think we should deal humanely and expeditiously with those claiming asylum and allow many to enter the US. We should fast-track remedies in the countries of origin to make life more bearable for asylum-seekers. Can I clarify: are you in favour of building a wall?

J Cosgrove
3 days 15 hours ago

Can I clarify: are you in favour of building a wall?

The wall is part of US law. I have no problem with it given the attempts to enter the country illegally. It was no problem with the Democrats when they passed it. Those who would claim asylum are probably in the 3-4 billion range or higher. Obviously not practical. So why favor those who do so disingenuously. All the people in Tijuana could petition Mexico for asylum but they don't. They want free stuff. If the US laws were such that no one who was here illegally got any welfare, they would disappear quickly. About 60% of all immigrants are receiving some sort of welfare in the US.

J Cosgrove
3 days 15 hours ago

I wrote a paper in graduate school that described how individuals are strongly affected by unpleasant situations when exposed to these situations with vivid stimuli/emotional arguments. So when one discovers people in distress they push for a quick solution even though there are exponentially more than this number that are not seen but consequently ignored. (Notice all the emotional arguments the Jesuits and the press use as opposed to reason. Often there is a photo of a mother and children though not in this article.) However, the people in Tijuana we see in the press are a very small tip of the iceberg. And the people who realize that the rest of the iceberg is there and will not be helped by the quick solution are demonized.

Monica Storozuk
2 days 8 hours ago

Thanks for replying. You mention that 60% of all immigrants are getting some sort of welfare in the US. I think it's important to also say that this stat includes non-cash benefits such as school lunch programs and Medicaid to American-born children. When food assistance and Medicaid are removed from the stat, then 16% of immigrant families receive cash benefits vs 13% of native-born households. Also 6.1% of native households receive public or subsidized housing vs 5.8% of immigrant households (Politifacts).

J Cosgrove
1 day 13 hours ago

For those interested in immigrant use of welfare, see Here is a chart that sums up immigrant usage of welfare.

Whether it is cash or other forms of subsidy, they cost money.

James Haraldson
5 days 6 hours ago

If you were not so mindlessly active in trying to adapt Catholicism to the idolatry of global tyranny, there would be no need for migration in the first place and idiots in the hierarchy of the Church can realize they should start doing something useful with their lives.

Jim MacGregor
4 days 11 hours ago

RE: "global vision of migration"
I saw it and shuddered.

John Walton
4 days 3 hours ago

Seems like the migrants are attracted to countries with a Protestant tradition and ethic.

J Cosgrove
4 days 2 hours ago

Prosperity came to a few Protestant countries but not all mainly because what caused religious liberty also encouraged individual freedom. Many Protestant countries were just as intransigent as Catholic countries in restricting liberty and remained poor for a longer period. Eventually even the Catholic European countries became more free but not their colonies. If only the Church had listened to Jesus about staying out of politics. They were addicted to power as much as the rulers they supported,

Steve Magnotta
3 days 13 hours ago

Amen, Cardinal Tagle. Spot on.

Dr.Cajetan Coelho
2 days 12 hours ago

Creating a vision is a process. And a process takes time.


The latest from america

How can we spare the time to let others know of our care and concern?
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 11, 2018
The paralytic’s friends might have told him in dismay, “Let’s come back another day when it is less of a hassle.” But that is not what they said.
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 10, 2018
There is scarcely a parent alive who has not at some point uttered the words, “You’re not wearing that, are you?”
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 09, 2018
The three questions God asks Adam and Eve lay bare the threefold nature of their wrongdoing.
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 08, 2018