Seitz: Jesus urges us to ‘respond with love,’ says ‘motivational blows’ to drive strangers.

(OSV News) – As the Catholic Church in the US commemorates National Migration Week Sept. 18-24, Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, head of the US Bishops’ Committee on Migration, expressed the need to “issue the powers that encourage people to move.”

Although they are used interchangeably, the terms “migrant” and “refugee” are defined under international law, including refugees who are protected due to emergency situations – such as war or torture – inability to return to country of origin. In contrast, “migrant” or “forced migration” does not have a common definition at the international level, according to the United Nations, although migrants are protected as persons under the law human rights.

In his speech prepared for the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees held on September 24, Pope Francis reflected that “the decision to migrate is always, but often, even in our day, it is not.

“Conflicts, natural disasters, or the inability to live a dignified and prosperous life in the homeland, force millions of people to leave,” the pope said. “Immigrants flee because of poverty, fear and indifference. Eliminating these causes and thus ending migration is required for mutual cooperation on the part of all, according to the rights of each.

Those findings were issued by Bishop Seitz in a Sept. 15 statement. released by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops ahead of National Migration Week.

“Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we are compelled to respond with compassion to those who must risk their lives to seek refuge,” said Bishop Seitz. He added that “the effort to drive migration – although generally considered good – we also need to address the motivational forces that lead people to migrate.”

“For millennia, people have been forced to leave their home countries, seeking safety and security, for reasons beyond their control,” said Bishop Seitz. “Pope Francis reminds us that the Holy Scriptures show that the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt was not the result of a free decision, nor are many of the movements that mark the history of the people Israel.”

Bishop Seitz said, “It is only by working together to satisfy these forces (others) and to create the conditions required for human development that people can achieve true to the right to live in their country of origin.

“May God, through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, support us in these quests and protect those whose lives depend on their success,” said Bishop Seitz.

In their 2000 pastoral document “Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity,” the U.S. bishops outlined the Catholic community’s teaching on immigration, balancing the needs of immigrants and the concerns of nations to which they have migrated.

The three reasons for that teaching are the first, that people have the right to move to protect their lives and the lives of their families; Second, the country has the right to regulate its borders and control immigration; and thirdly, the country must manage its borders with justice and compassion.

The bishops of the United States and Mexico issued a joint pastoral letter in 2003, “No Strangers: Together on the Journey of Hope,” stating, “All people have the right to receive in their own countries’ economic, political, and social opportunities. Live in dignity and achieve a full life by using their God-given gifts. In this context, the act of giving A fair wage and a living wage is a human right.

The bishops also stated in the letter that “migrants have the right to claim asylum status without being detained and to have their claims properly considered by the competent authority.”
– – –
Gina Christian is a national reporter for OSV News. Follow her on X (formerly Twitter) at @GinaJesseReina.

The post Seitz: Jesus urges us to ‘respond with love,’ addressed to the ‘coercive forces’ that lead the immigrants appeared first on OSV News.