Address to the Ninth Bishop Joe Grech Memorial Colloquium – Part 1: Introduction

9 September 2019
Fr Fabio Baggio, under-secretary of the Migrant and Refugee Section of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development and Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long at the Ninth Bishop Joe Grech Memorial Colloquium on Ethics and Migration. Image: Mark Bowling/The Catholic Leader.


Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Bishop of Parramatta

Address at the Ninth Bishop Joe Grech Memorial Colloquium on Ethics and Migration

“Nurturing a Culture of Encounter and Hospitality”

Brisbane, 5 August 2019




I am grateful to Fr Fabio Baggio for his intervention, which gives us an insight into the work of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in the care for and the advocacy of migrants and refugees around the world.

The creation of this Dicastery and its active role in the public sphere give us an indication of the outward direction of Pope Francis’ pontificate. In fact, he said that he wanted this particular section to express the Church’s concern for migrants, displaced people, refugees and victims of human trafficking.

With the long awaited reform through the new constitution of the Roman Curia Praedicate Evangelium (Preach the Gospel) the Church’s missionary mandate as opposed to its internal law and discipline takes precedence. The sharing of the Good News and the care of the needy and the vulnerable are again at the heart of the Church. Amen to that!

Pope Francis has been quite provocative in his many statements. Let me give you a sample: “Priests can turn out to be little monsters”; “There is no such thing as a Catholic God”; “Who am I to judge”; “Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered by the courtiers”; “Those who build walls will end up being prisoners of the walls they build.”

This last statement was made in relation to the policy of President Trump who wants to literally wall off the United States from the Global South. There has been a war of words between those who support and those who oppose Pope Francis for this statement, which I will not get into. It is more important for us to understand his vision of a world built on communion, solidarity and shared humanity as opposed to fear, suspicion and hatred.

Part 2 will be published tomorrow.


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