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Pope Francis Decries ‘Discriminatory and Xenophobic’ Reactions to Mass Migration

Pope Francis denounced “negative reactions” to the phenomenon of mass migration Saturday, suggesting that more formation of conscience is needed to combat an anti-immigration mentality.

It is important, the Pope told members of the International Federation of Catholic Universities, “to reflect on the negative reactions, which are at times discriminatory and xenophobic, that the welcome of migrants is provoking in countries of ancient Christian tradition, in order to propose programs of conscience formation.”

The Pope met with the group following the conclusion of a 4-day international conference titled “Refugees and Migrants in a Globalized World: Responsibility and Responses from Universities,” which was held at the Jesuit-run Gregorian University in Rome.

One of the conference participants, Monica Attias, who works with the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Rome-based Catholic organization active in caring for immigrants and refugees, said that current European narrative on the migrant crisis, namely “that immigrants and refugees are destabilizing the countries” is all wrong.

“Public opinion neglects that the presence of migrants is a positive influence on the nation,” she said.

More than 2 million immigrants have steady jobs in Italy, a nation with double-digit unemployment, and migrants make up some 10 percent of the overall workforce…

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