United World Project


Intercultural migration

18 December 2013   |   , ,


In this Document, integration is not presented as an assimilation that leads migrants to suppress or to forget their own cultural identity. Rather, contact with others leads to discovering their “secret”, to being open to them in order to welcome their valid aspects and thus contribute to knowing each one better. This 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. In this process 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.

I will not deal with the various aspects of integration. All I desire on this occasion is to go deeper with you into some implications of its intercultural dimension.

2. No one is unaware of the identity conflict that often comes about in the meeting of persons of different cultures. Positive elements do exist in this. 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.

In our society, characterized by the global phenomenon of migration, individuals must seek the proper balance between respect for their own identity and recognition of that of others. Indeed, it is necessary to recognize the legitimate plurality of cultures present in a country, in harmony with the preservation of law and order, on which depend social peace and the freedom of citizens. (…)

3. Thus the need arose for a dialogue between people of different cultures in a context of pluralism that goes beyond mere tolerance and reaches sympathy. A simple juxtaposition of groups of migrants and locals tends to encourage a reciprocal closure between cultures, or the establishment, among them, of relations that are merely superficial or tolerant. We should encourage instead a mutual fecundation of cultures. This implies reciprocal knowledge and openness between cultures, in a context of true understanding and benevolence. (…)

4. The image from the Prophet Isaiah, to which I have several times referred at the meetings with the youth of the whole world (cf. Is 21:11-12), could also be used here to invite all believers to be “morning watchmen”. As such, Christians must above all listen to the cry for help that comes from a multitude of migrants and refugees, but they must then foster, with active commitment, prospects of hope that will herald the dawn of a more open and supportive society. It is up to them in the first place to make out God’s presence in history, even when everything still seems to be enveloped in darkness.»

Source: www.vatican.va