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Wednesday, July 11, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUL 11, 2007 (VIS) - Made public yesterday afternoon was a speech delivered by Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, during the Global Forum on Migration and Development, held in Brussels, Belgium from July 9 to 11.

  Speaking English, the archbishop recalled how "migrants contribute to their host country's well-being, and also because of this their human dignity must be respected and their freedoms guaranteed: the right to a dignified life, to fair treatment at work, to have access to education, health and other social benefits, to grow in competence and develop humanly, to freely manifest their culture and practice their religion.

  "But rights and duties go together," he added. "Therefore, at the same time, migrants have the duty to respect the identity and the laws of the country of residence, strive for proper integration (not assimilation) into the host society and learn its language. They are to foster esteem and respect for their host country, even to the point of loving and defending it.

  "Unfortunately, among them there are immigrants in an irregular situation, who, however, independently of their legal status, have inalienable human dignity. Therefore their rights must be safeguarded and not ignored or violated. An irregular migration status, in fact, does not mean criminality. The solution is better international cooperation that discourages irregularity, with increased legal channels for migration."

  Archbishop Marchetto concluded his talk by renewing the call made by the Pope in his Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees for "governments who have not yet done so, to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and the Members of their Families."


VATICAN CITY, JUL 11, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Benedict XVI to bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, in which he authorizes the publication of the final document of the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM). On May 13, during the course of his apostolic trip to Brazil, the Pope inaugurated the conference at the Brazilian shrine of Aparecida.

  In his Letter, the Pope calls for the final document "to be a light and a stimulus for fruitful pastoral and evangelizing work in the years to come," observing that the text contains "many useful pastoral indications motivated with rich reflections in the light of the faith and of the current social situation.

  "Among them," the Pope adds, "I read with particular appreciation the exhortation for priority to be given, in pastoral programs, to the Eucharist and the sanctification of the Day of the Lord, as well as the expressed wish to strengthen the Christian formation of the faithful in general and of pastoral workers in particular. In this context I was happy to learn of the desire to create a 'Continental Mission,' which episcopal conferences and dioceses are all called to study and put into effect, channeling all their vital energies to this end."

  In a separate development, during the inaugural session of the 31st Ordinary CELAM Assembly, which began yesterday in Havana, Cuba, the new leaders of that institution for the next four-year period (2007-2011) were elected. The president is Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil, the first vice-president is Baltazar Porras Cardozo of Merida, Venezuela, and the second vice president is Bishop Andres Stanovnik O.F.M. Cap. of Reconquista, Argentina.
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