Pope urges respect for the life and dignity of migrants, refugees

With millions of people fleeing violence, persecution and poverty around the globe, individual nations must expand options that make it possible for migrants and refugees to cross their borders safely and legally, Pope Francis said.

“The principle of the centrality of the human person, firmly stated by my beloved predecessor, Benedict XVI, obliges us to always prioritize personal safety over national security,” Pope Francis wrote in his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2018.

The Vatican will mark the day Jan. 14, while in the United States, the bishops’ conference sets aside an entire week — Jan. 7-13 — as National Migration Week.

The pope’s message for the annual event was released Aug. 21, which is earlier than normal, to stimulate Catholic involvement in the U.N. process for developing and adopting a Global Compact for Migration and a Global Compact on Refugees.

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