CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 14 September 2019

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Those who build walls will become prisoners pope says

PAPAL FLIGHT (CNS): During the inflight news conference following the conclusion of his visit to Morocco on March 31, Pope Francis responded to questions about interreligious dialogue, religious freedom and migration.
 
He remarked that his February trip to the United Arab Emirates and his trip to Morocco were opportunities to demonstrate the Catholic Church’s commitment to interreligious dialogue. 
 
Asked what had been accomplished, the pope said, “Now there are blossoms, the fruit will come later. But the flowers are promising. We mustn’t give up.”
 
He noted that every religion, Catholics included, had members who are intransigent and against dialogue, people who “live on bitter memories of past struggles and seek war” more than peace.
 
Pope Francis observed that there are still Catholics who strongly oppose the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on religious freedom and its insistence that even non-Christians have a right to follow their consciences.
 
The pope pointed out that in many so-called Christian countries, medical personnel do not have a legal right to conscientiously object to euthanasia.
 
“Removing freedom of conscience is the first step to losing the freedom of religion,” he said.
 
Asked about the wire fence, topped with razor wire, separating Morocco from two Spanish enclaves and about the wall Donald Trump, the president of the United States, is wants to build along the country’s border with Mexico, Pope Francis said, “Those who build walls will end up being prisoners in the walls they’ve built.” 
 
The pope recounted that a Spanish reporter recently brought him a piece of razor wire. He said, “When he left I cried. It just never entered my mind” that someone would design a fence that would tear the flesh of someone who tried to climb over it.
 
“This is not the way to resolve the serious problem of migration,” the pope said. “I understand a government with this problem is holding a hot potato, but it must resolve it humanely…I saw that razor wire and I couldn’t believe it.”
 
Addressing strict anti-immigrant policies, Pope Francis warned, “fear is the beginning of dictatorship,” pointing to the “promises and fear” that led to Adolf Hitler’s election. 
“Let’s learn from history,” he admonished.

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