Francis: 'Refugees, elderly outcasts of society'

Pope Francis today turned his attention to the dramatic predicament of migrants and refugees who not always find a welcome, but often become victims of human trafficking and slave labor, Vatican radio reported.

Speaking to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, Francis said that on this first Sunday after Christmas, the liturgy invites us to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family.

He said that the Gospel narrates the Holy Family’s painful exile as it searched for refuge in Egypt and said that Joseph, Mary and Jesus lived the dramatic condition of refugees, “marked by fear, uncertainty and difficulties”.

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Unfortunately today – Francis said – millions of families face this same sad reality.

So – Francis said – as we fix our gaze on the Holy Family of Nazareth in that time when it was forced into exile, “let us think of the drama of those migrants and refugees who are victims of rejection and exploitation, who are victims of human trafficking and slave labor”.

Francis went on to say: “let us also think of those other exiles – I would call them ‘the hidden exiles’ who may be marginalized within their own families – the elderly for example who sometimes are treated like burdens”.


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