In the midst of Italy’s economic crisis, fingers are being pointed and the issue of immigration has begun to surface. When Italy’s poor become under more and more economic strain, it has become easy to blame non-Italian immigrants who have come from much lower economic status.
Italy has become the #1 European destination for migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East. With stories of economic prosperity from years past reaching these other parts of the world, the flood of foreigners continue—with many risking a boat voyage across the sea.
This past weekend, tempers flared in Rome as a known “building housing around 50 migrants was pelted with stones, flares and other missiles for three consecutive nights. Windows were smashed, rubbish bins set ablaze and there were pitched battles with riot police that became sufficiently serious for the city authorities to order the removal of teenagers from the centre.”
This quote from an Italian via Yahoo! News portrays the general consensus of most Italians:
“Yes I’m racist if saying Italians should come first makes me that. I know they are fleeing from war but is it up to us to look after them? There are too many of them.”
And now the Pope has entered the fray, asking “the Christian community” to get involved and establish a “safe, peaceful and inclusive co-existence.”
Seeing this immigrant dilemma play-out in Italy and reading the news of the United States’ immigration struggles, I am dumbfounded by the Christian’s lack of response. We are our brother’s keeper. We have been charged to care for the broken, beaten and less fortunate. While governments fail and the unbelieving world cares only for their own care, the Church is charged with a higher calling of responsibility.
Are we answering that call?