Refugee crisis and the Christian approach: a big and unique act of mercy
The challenges of the migration crisis and the consequent reception and integration needs are the focus of daily debates. We will live together with these challenges for a long time due to Italy's peculiar geographic position. Latest data (July 2016) report that in 2015 more than 130.192 migrants landed onto Italian shores. These figures are expected to increase and make the Christian approach to migration much stronger. As declare by Pope Francis during a pilgrimage of Catholics and Lutherans from Germany "the world expects mercy from all those who trust in Jesus Christ".
“You cannot be a Christian without living like a Christian”. With these direct words, Pope Francis started his speech during the pilgrimage of Catholics and Lutherans. Following the ongoing refugee crisis, today more than ever, the Christian approach must be shaped according to the Seven Works of Corporal and Spiritual Mercy, respectively: feed the hungry; shelter the homeless; clothe the naked; visit the sick and imprisoned; bury the dead; give alms to the poor; instruct the ignorant; counsel the doubtful; admonish sinners; bear patiently those who wrong us; forgive offenses; console the afflicted; pray for the living and the dead; care for our common home. The practice of the Seven Works of Corporal and Spiritual Mercy, especially if we are dealing with a stranger (a migrant), will make every single Christian a real Christian, thus escaping from hypocrisy, which is condemned by Our Lord, Jesus Christ. As recalled by the Bishop of Rome: “the sickness or, you can say the sin, that Jesus condemns most is hypocrisy. It’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and refuse reception and integration, chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help".
Talking about refugees, the Pope addressed special words to non-accompanied minors: "Minor migrants have a special place in my heart, in particular non-accompanied ones. They are unarmed, when for various reasons they are forced to live away from their homeland, without their families and beloved". Non-accompanied minors, whose number has skyrocketed from 2014, live and additional tragedy. Usually they used to live in a war scenario, maybe they lost their parents, they are alone. Once they land onto Italian shores, they face lowliness and exploitation (prostitution, pornography, minor works, drug trafficking, and other kind of criminality).
It is very clear that, nowadays, society need God's mercy and a vivid proof of God's teaching. We, the Christians, have to become the source of this mercy, practising reception, integration, solidarity and universal brotherhood.