His Eminence Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, Under-Secretary, Migrants & Refugees Section, Vatican Dicastery for Human Development, has recently delivered the Fr Lydio F Tomasi CS Annual Lecture on International Migration.
The lecture, Mobility and Lockdown: Challenges to the Human was delivered at the 2020 Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference.
“When I finally began to think about this address, the raging pandemic and human mobility were shedding puzzling and troubling light on each other. That’s why the title is a paradox: ‘Mobility and Lockdown,’ not ‘versus.’ In this globally paradoxical situation, the Holy Father warns ‘Don’t try to go back’ but points out important ways of going forward. What he proposes is clearly Christian, definitely tough, and essential for getting on with our research, work and ministry on behalf of vulnerable people on the move.
“Think about how lockdown changes ‘us and them.’ Prior to the pandemic, we would hear the word lock in association with persons and groups who were not really like us. They, not we, need to be locked up or locked away. The them could be fellow-citizens who are locked away in remote camps during wartime because we decide it’s safer to mistrust all of them due to their ethnic background. The them could be the individuals whom we lock up in prison for all sorts of good and bad reasons. But now lockdown is imposed on everybody. Why? Because with the hazard of disease spreading uncontrollably, everybody has to have their movements severely restricted. And that’s not just for the benefit of some; it’s for the common good. Suddenly we discover that there’s just one category, everyone belongs to ‘we’ and ‘us,’ and the difficult restrictions are for everyone’s good, the common good. Isn’t this like the discovery that climate is a worldwide phenomenon that affects everyone, as Pope Francis said five years ago, and all of us must care for our common home?
“‘The pandemic has put us all in crisis,’ Pope Francis keeps stressing. ‘But let us remember that after a crisis a person is not the same. We come out of it better, or we come out of it worse. This is our option.” We need a vaccine, but we also need antibodies of solidarity.
To continue reading the lecture, click here.
With thanks to the Centre for Migration Studies.