Pope in USA: Calls Illegal Aliens ‘Pilgrims’… ‘Don’t be afraid’… ‘Perhaps You Will Be Challenged by Their Diversity’
Pope Francis urged Catholic bishops in the United States to open their doors to immigrants, asserting that “these people will enrich America and its Church.”
As a Latin American, the Pope apologized for “pleading my own case,” when speaking about the influx of Hispanic immigrants into the United States. He also thanked the bishops for the work they have done for immigrants in this country.
The Pope delivered a long address to the bishops gathered for a midday prayer service at Saint Matthew’s Cathedral in the nation’s capital on Wednesday. The address, delivered in Italian, was woven through with religious language, and encouraged the bishops, particularly in their spiritual mission.
“From the beginning,” Francis said, “you have learned their languages, promoted their cause, made their contributions your own, defended their rights, helped them to prosper, and kept alive the flame of their faith.”
“Perhaps you will be challenged by their diversity,” he said. “But know that they also possess resources meant to be shared. So do not be afraid to welcome them.”
The Pope also urged the bishops to offer immigrants “the warmth of the love of Christ.”