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It was a special day in Riace, a small village in Calabria, in southern Italy, as residents recently celebrated Saints Cosmas and Damian — doctors of the poor, patrons of Riace and of gypsies.
There was also a special guest joining the mayor to open the ceremony: 9-year-old Even, who had arrived from Ethiopia just three days before.
“Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian came from Syria. Today Syria is in many ways at the centre of the world’s problems; there’s an exodus that’s unprecedented in the history of mankind. Today, in Riace, we have a child as a symbol of hope, of a new life, to which all humans are entitled,” Domenico Lucano, Mayor of Riace, said during the celebrations.
Below is my presentation dated 12th November. I do not think that our position would have changed much in the last three months. The main difference between November and today is the recent announcement of the date for the Referendum on Membership of the European Community, which is filling and will probably continue to fill most of our newspapers and radio and television media for the next three months, almost certainly at the expense of coverage of the migrant and other world situations. Those of us who are internationally-minded almost despair of the insular views of our Press,
Slovenja is probably the most communist country of the EU. 70% of the economy is under government control
which is under the control of the former communist structures. There is a lot of corruption and the economy is inefficient Respect for the law is very relative, the opposition has been convicted of bribery.
In 2015 Germany hosted 1.1 million refugees. Many continue to arrive. Even without right to asylum they must leave their country. Refugees must be welcome, find a housing, and the integration process must start immediately. There are many volunteers who support governmental actions. There are different responses in population: support the action of Merkel, or oppose to it. There is a debate about the limits of integration.
3 years ago at the World Assembly of the Christian Life Communities in Lebanon there were discussions about the increasing global issue of refugee and migration crisis. At the time in Lebanon, there was approximately 25% of all the inhabitants - refugees, mainly from Syria. Father General Nicholas Adolfo SJ, which is both general of the Jesuit order and ecclesial assistant, has underlined the necessity for CLC to address the issues of migration and refugees in our ministry.
The issue of migrant divides Europe between welcoming countries and those who believe that this will create problems and then reduce the number of entries. The big problem comes from countries who wnat no migrant at all.
Migrant is a general term which includes asylum seekers, and those looking to improve their livelihood, especially from refugee camps.
There is no unanimity in Europe on how to deal with migrants, even the bishops are very cautious in their statements: they say that one must welcome because we are Christians, but they will not support such a policy for their country. COMECE had to remove two articles criticizing the policy of the Central European countries.
Migrants are not happy to stop here, they seek northern Europe. Few romanians oppose because it would change the composition of Europe. But we must also practice Christian hospitality, as said by the Pope. (But the country is predominantly Orthodox).
We have a long history with the Turkish, who have represented a threat to us, although there is now a well-integrated Turkish population, with a tradition of peaceful coexistence.
There was also an Arab migration in large cities, to study medicine for example. But this time the arrival is massive.
European Christians must have a hospitality speech, but we must also negotiate the situation in the Arab countries
Slovakia is mainly a transit country for migrants to go to Germany, Scandinavian countries... But people are between the need to help them and the fear for a risk islamisation of the country. Because of the coming elections, migrants become an electoral theme. As christians we must help people to see them as human beings, without forgetting that they have to comply with the national rules.