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Pope says respect cultural difference, but don't forget universal values

Pope John Paul II has said Christians must help migrants integrate into society while at the same time "firmly maintaining the heritage of universal and inalienable values".

"Integration," said the Pope, "is a lengthy process that aims to shape societies and cultures, making them more and more a reflection of the multi-faceted gifts of God to human beings."

The Holy Father's comments were contained in his message for the 91st World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2005, which was made public yesterday.

"In this process," he explained, "the migrant is intent on taking the necessary steps towards social inclusion, such as learning the national language and complying with the laws and requirements at work, so as to avoid the occurrence of exasperated differentiation."

"By introducing themselves into a new environment, immigrants often become more aware of who they are, especially when they miss the persons and values that are important to them," he said.

The Pope insisted that "in our society, characterised by the global phenomenon of migration, individuals must seek the proper balance between respect for their own identity and recognition of that of others."

Respecting cultural differences must be balanced by protection of universal values, says Pope (Catholic News Agency 9/12/04)

Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
Australian Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office

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May Our Lady obtain peace and salvation for all (Vatican Information Service 8/12/04)
Holy Father pays traditional visit to Piazza di Spagna (Vatican Information Service 8/12/04)
Papal Solidarity Offered for Iraqi Catholics After New Attacks (Zenit 8/12/04)
Pope Entrusts to Mary Respect for Human Life (Zenit 8/12/04)
Pope's Homily at Mass on Solemnity of Immaculate Conception (Zenit 8/12/04)
Papal Meditation on Blessed Virgin Mary (Zenit 8/12/04)

10 Dec 2004