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After Hundreds of Rapes, Pope Francis Says Europe Has ‘Moral Responsibility’ to Refugees

After Hundreds of Rapes, Pope Francis Says Europe Has ‘Moral Responsibility’ to Refugees

By Nicole Winfield for Time

Pope Francis insisted Monday that Europe has the means to welcome refugees without compromising its security or culture, saying the continent bears the “moral responsibility” to care for others who have fled their homes to seek a better life.

In a speech to the Holy See’s diplomatic corps, Francis lamented the distinction made between refugees fleeing conflict and persecution and migrants escaping poverty, saying both deserve international protection.

Human history has been marked by great waves of migration, he told the ambassadors from the 180 nations that have diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Humanity today must not let security fears replace the principles of respecting the dignity of others, he said.

“Europe has the means to defend the centrality of the human person and to find the right balance between its twofold moral responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens and to ensure assistance and acceptance to migrants,” Francis said.

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