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Pope calls for 'dignified existence' for immigrants

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday called for "a dignified existence" for migrants around the globe in his traditional weekly prayers as the Roman Catholic Church marks the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

"May they feel welcome and be assisted so they and their families can have a dignified existence," the pope told a crowd in St Peter's Square.

He said Catholics should be "close to those who suffer and do not have a voice to be heard".

Benedict defined migrants as "carriers of faith and hope in the world."

The Catholic Church is a strong advocate for the rights of migrants and refugees.

Cardinal Antonio Mario Veglio, head of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, earlier condemned the "desperate" situation of Syrian refugees.

In his interview with the Vatican's official daily on Saturday he also called on the media not to criminalise migrants and foment fear about them.

 

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