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Church leaders calls for unity to address migrant crises

Resource sharing could help solve problem, papal envoy tells eucharistic congress in Philippines

Mark Saludes, Cebu City

Mark Saludes, Cebu City

Updated: January 29, 2016 10:29 AM GMT
Church leaders calls for unity to address migrant crises

Nigerian Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja greets street children at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu on Jan. 29. (Photo by Mark Saludes)

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon has called for a resource sharing system to address migration crises that have hit many parts of the world, including Asia, in recent years.

Cardinal Bo, who is Pope Francis' personal envoy to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress being held in Cebu this week, said the "biggest problem of the world is the issue of migrants."

"We must sincerely confess that we are just beginning to try to organize ourselves to respond to the issue," the prelate said when asked about what the church is doing about the problem.

Churches and governments "should have a system where resources are shared," said the cardinal from Myanmar where the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority are being persecuted, forcing them to try and flee to other parts of Southeast Asia.

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu said the church has already made an "impassioned appeal" to people and governments to review laws concerning migration and refugees.

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"We should look at this complex issue from the perspective of one brotherhood of humanity," said Archbishop Palma, president of this year's eucharistic congress.

"Religion, governments, and communities" can find a middle ground "if only the world will open its eyes that we are just one big family and live in the context of one humanity," he said.

Nigerian Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja said "material poverty" has been the cause of migration that brings "misery and inhuman standards of living."

He said that while some migrants are forced to move due to conflict, there are voluntary migrations due to poverty.

Cardinal Onaiyekan blamed "human failures, like bad distribution of the earth’s goods because of injustice and greed."

"Much is being said today about social justice, but unfortunately the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow," he said, adding that the misery of the poor has become "more acute and unbearable."

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