Continuing his rhetoric about the world’s obligation to protect the “other,” Pope Francis again called for more tolerance and inclusion during festivities that named 17 new cardinals in the Catholic Church. The Pope, a champion for refugees and other disadvantaged people, again struck the core Christian note of acceptance, saying: “We see how quickly those among us with the status of the stranger, an immigrant or a refugee become a threat, take on the status of an enemy. [They become an] enemy because they come from a distant country or have different customs.”
There is much to draw on in the Bible to back Pope Francis’ assertion — and his plea for acceptance. The stranger’s easy transition to enemy in the eyes of the fearful has a long, regrettable history. Two quotes below provide the basis from the Pope’s admonition.
Deuteronomy 10:18-19 – For the Lord your God loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Leviticus 19:33-34 – When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.