(Brussels) October 22, 2015 – Hospitality and generosity should be at the center of our response to the increased arrivals of refugees in Europe, say a group of leading European Jesuits in a statement released this week. The statement acknowledges work done over past decades with refugee and migrant communities by Jesuits and those working with them and calls for renewed energy and vision in building active solidarity and hospitality with forced migrants.
The leading Jesuits begin by saying that they are deeply saddened by the suffering people have endured in trying to reach safety in Europe this year and shocked by deaths in the Mediterranean and on land.
The statement calls for concrete action in three areas with the following words:
1. Our current system of border controls is not working. These controls need to be replaced by safe and legal ways to seek protection in Europe. These include humanitarian visas, resettlement procedures and family reunification.
2. We need more European solidarity. Asylum procedures and reception conditions should not be left to individual countries which are at the front line as is largely the current situation. A more effective and more just European asylum system is needed. Hospitality and good policies for integration are vital.
3. We are shocked that some politicians are using the situation to exploit the current situation for electoral gain, stoking up fears rather than taking courageous leadership and devising new policies.
Finally, the Provincials and regional superiors of the Society of Jesus in Europe state that they will continue to discern how they can work in their provinces and regions to better address this current challenge.
The statement was signed by the general assembly of the Council of European Provincials in Rome, Italy, 19 October 2015.
Jesuit Refugee Service in Europe