The Comboni Missionaries have decades of experience aiding and supporting refugees from war-torn areas, no matter which faith they belong to. 2015 has seen a refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions in the Middle East, resulting in the mass movement of persecuted people from countries like Syria and Iraq towards the area of the European Union.
Hundreds of thousands of these forced migrants are desperate for a home and a better future for themselves and their families, away from war zones. But the EU has not been as welcoming towards these refugees as the Comboni Missionaries would like to see, prompting the question of whether the EU is a union on paper only.
Developments in the ongoing conflict, and natural factors beyond human control, are further precipitating suffering. The EU’s lack of strategy in tackling the crisis is being outpaced by the turn of the seasons: in the wintry weather of December, the real Christmas story will play out before our very eyes, and it is up to us how it will end. Countless men, women, and children of all ages yearn for a future in a land where they are guaranteed safety and access to the basic necessities of life – which we Europeans enjoy and take for granted. They will be more dependent than ever on our support and generosity this festive season.
Forced migration movements like the present one have not been seen in Europe since the Second World War; and the crisis continues to deepen. The Comboni Missionaries believe that only a systematic and active co-operation between EU member states and international organisations is capable of regulating and managing the movement of people effectively. No single European country can face the momentous task of welcoming all refugees alone. It is for this reason that EU Bishops have strongly advocated the great need for a concerted, unified political response, which receives proportionate support from all EU member states.
Christian leaders across the European continent are pleading for a humane treatment of all migrants. Hospitality is a cardinal virtue of Christianity. As a result, churches at all levels are asked to practise hospitality towards those in tremendous need and help to make them an integral part of European society.
By Father John Clark