I like to describe Pope Francis as my kind of Pope. The Catholic Church is blessed with worthy men who have become popes. Each of the last four popes has brought a different attribute to his papacy. Some have been theologians and professors and used their intellectual powers to expand or explain church teachings and beliefs. Some were apostles (a vigorous and pioneering advocate or supporter of a particular policy, idea, or cause); some were evangelists (a person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, especially by public preaching). All were Christ’s disciples.
But Pope Francis is the only servant among them: he carries his own bags; he moved to less majestic aboard in the Vatican, he visits with Christians and Muslims, the rich and the poor; he knows of the suffering of the poor, the widowed and the powerless. He speaks the truth to the powerful.
Yesterday, the pope asserted that “Wall Builders Will Become Prisoners Of Their Own Barriers.” (https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/04/01/pope-francis-wall-builders-will-become-prisoners-of-their-own-barriers/23703752/)
The pope was talking directly to Mr. Trump, the president of the United States of America and also to the other Western Leaders who are advocating for walls around their nations. The walls are needed to prevent people fleeing from bad governments and oppressions in their countries. Or people fleeing from poverty and are seeking better lives for themselves and families. He thinks that different solutions can be found for the problems of immigration than building walls.
I second Pope Francis’ proposition.
We must try to find the reason that motivates a person to uproot his spouse and children and take only what he can carry, and trek thousands of miles in order to get to another place where he has no friends, relatives or jobs awaiting him. Why?
Most reasonable people will agree to at least two things:
• The condition must be dire
• The immigrant has self confidence that he could succeed somewhere else.
1. The condition must be dire. If one looks at the dire conditions in the countries where immigrants/refugees are fleeing from, a reasonable person will find the finger prints of US and Western Countries. People are fleeing from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries; from Venezuela and other South American countries and from Africa. Is there any person who does not see wars, poverty and bad governments in these places? Is there any person who does not see the footprints and hands of USA, Israel, and other Western nations in these lands? And their roles in mess that these countries are in? Walls will not stop the determined from entering the countries they are attempting to get into, just as deep oceans and rickety boats did not stop any from entering what we today call the United States of America in the 1600’s. We either give them what they want in their countries of origin or they will keep on coming.
2. The Immigrants Have Self Confidence. This country, (USA) was built by immigrants. Those qualities: ambition, determination, hard work, perseverance, did not die with the pilgrims. They are still alive in the nature of those willing to leave a comfort zone to explore an unfamiliar territories. They are the people who should be welcome in any society, including these United States and France, Germany, Britain, et al.
What the apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ, Pope Francis, is pleading with World Leaders is to open their hearts and minds and lands to the weak and suffering; to welcome the destitute and the hungry with open hearts. He is preaching that the Lord will so multiply the fish and the bread that thousands will be fed and a lots left over. He is also advocating that the leaders help rebuild the destitute countries with the money they are seeking for building walls that exclude.
Is anybody listening?
***Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba wrote from Boston, Massachusetts.