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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Full Translation: Pope’s In-Flight Press Conference on Return From Sweden (Pope Francis, 11/2/16)

[Regarding migrants and refugees]

....First of all, as an Argentine and as a South American, I thank Sweden very much for this hospitality, because so many Argentines, Chileans, Uruguayans in the time of military dictatorships were received in Sweden. Sweden has a long tradition of hospitality. And not just of reception but of integration, finding houses, schools, jobs immediately … so that they are integrated in a people. I was told the statistics – perhaps I am mistaken, I'm not sure – but what I remember – I could be mistaken – how many inhabitants does Sweden have? Nine million? I was told that, of these nine million, 850,000 were "new Swedes," that is, migrants or refugees and their children. This is the first thing. Second: one must distinguish between a migrant and a refugee, no? The migrant must be treated with certain rules because migration is a right but a very regulated right. Instead, to be a refugee is to come from a situation of war, of anguish, of hunger, from a terrible situation, and the status of refugee is in need of more care, of more work. In this also, Sweden has always given an example in settling them, in having them learn the language, the culture and also integrating them in the culture. We should not be scared about the aspect of integration of cultures, because Europe was formed by a continuous integration of cultures, of so many cultures … I believe that – I don't say this in an offensive way, no, no, but as a curiosity – the fact that today in Iceland, an Icelander, with today's Icelandic language can practically read his Classics of a thousand years ago without difficulty, means that it is a country with little immigration, few "waves" as Europe had. Europe was formed with migrations …

Then, what do I think of countries that close their borders: I believe that in theory one cannot close one's heart to a refugee, but the prudence of those who govern is also necessary: they must be very open to receive them, but also calculate how they can settle them, because a refugee must not only be received, but he must be integrated. And if a country has a capacity for twenty, lets say it this way, to integrate, it must do so up to this <number> — one more is one too much. But one must always have an open heart: it's not human to close the doors; it's not human to close one's heart, and in the long run one pays for this. Here, one pays politically; as one can also pay politically for imprudence in calculations, in receiving more than can be integrated. Because, what is the danger when a refugee or a migrant – and this is true for both – is not integrated, is not integrated? I permit myself the word, perhaps it's a neologism, he is ghettoized, that is, he enters a ghetto. And a culture that does not develop in relation with another culture – this is dangerous. I believe the worst adviser of countries that tend to close their borders is fear, and the best adviser is prudence.

I spoke with a functionary of the Swedish government these days, and he told me about some difficulties at this moment – this applies to your last question — some difficulties because so many are coming that there is no time to settle them, to find schools, houses, work, to learn the language. Prudence must make this calculation. But Sweden … I don't think that if Sweden decreases its capacity for hospitality that it does so out of egoism or because it's lost that capacity; if there is something of the sort it is because of the last thing I mentioned: today many look to Sweden because they know its hospitality, but there is not the time necessary to settle them all. I don't know if I've answered <your question>. Thank you....

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