ROME — The Vatican newspaper has slammed the U.S. for its southern border fence with a frontpage article decrying “that inhuman wire.”
The L’Osservatore Romano piece is accompanied by a large photo of a young woman and a child attempting to crawl through the midst of razor wire, presumably in an effort to enter the United States illegally.
“The suffering of the migrants who try to get through the barriers placed between Mexico and the United States,” reads the caption.
The Vatican, which has encouraged international migration and urged governments to welcome immigrants, has been a vocal critic of the border wall.
In his Message for the 2021 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis said we are “called to work together so that there will be no more walls that separate us, no longer others, but only a single ‘we,’ encompassing all of humanity.”
We must “make every effort to break down the walls that separate us and, in acknowledging our profound interconnection, build bridges that foster a culture of encounter,” the pope said.
Pope Francis has repeatedly railed against the building of walls. In his 2020 encyclical letter titled Fratelli Tutti (Brothers All), the pontiff referred to walls a striking 14 times, insisting that the Church wants “to build bridges, to break down walls, to sow seeds of reconciliation.”
Building walls reveals a deep-seated fear of others and of the unknown, the pope wrote, and a desire for security in one’s own little world.
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“There is a kind of ‘local’ narcissism unrelated to a healthy love of one’s own people and culture,” Francis said. “It is born of a certain insecurity and fear of the other that leads to rejection and the desire to erect walls for self-defense.”
“Today too, outside the ancient town walls lies the abyss, the territory of the unknown, the wilderness,” he stated. “Whatever comes from there cannot be trusted, for it is unknown, unfamiliar, not part of the village. It is the territory of the ‘barbarian,’ from whom we must defend ourselves at all costs.”
The massive, 40-foot-high walls surrounding Vatican City State were built by an earlier pope, Leo IV, after Islamic Saracen troops sacked Old St. Peter’s Basilica in 846 AD.
The original wall encompassed the entire Vatican hill, surrounding what came to be known as the Leonine City, but was later reduced to circumscribe the 110-acre Vatican City that exists today.
In Tuesday’s article, the Vatican paper says that the woman in the photo is one of the lucky ones, since she is alive rather than dead.
She is “one of many who each day try to cross Eagle Pass, leading from Mexico into Texas,” where just in this past July four people drowned, the paper declares.
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L’Osservatore Romano takes special issue with “Republican Governor Greg Abbott” for continuing to erect barriers along the border “without federal permission.”
Currently, the United States welcomes far more legal immigrants each year than any other nation in the world, with an annual average approaching a million people.
Illegal immigration in the U.S. poses a serious problem both for members of the host country and the immigrants themselves, who have no legal protections and easily fall prey to people smugglers and gangs who exploit their situation.