During his inflight press conference following his visit to Sweden, Pope Francis spoke on Tuesday about a range of topics including welcoming refugees, female priests, relations with the charismatic movements, his talks with Venezuela’s President, secularisation, his upcoming journeys abroad and human trafficking.
In his traditional press conference with journalists travelling with him on the plane back to Rome, Pope Francis was asked first what is his message to those European countries who fear the arrival of refugees and for Sweden, traditionally a country that has been more welcoming to refugees and migrants than many others, but which of late, has started to close its borders. Stressing that we cannot close our hearts to refugees, in his reply the Pope praised Sweden’s example of hospitality towards refugees. At the same time he said it was very important for any country accepting refugees or migrants to make sure that they also take steps to ensure they are properly integrated into their host nations, saying this is a process that takes time. He went on to warn that a country can pay a political price if they take in more refugees than they can integrate properly. In this context, he warned against the formation of ghettos for refugee or migrant communities, saying this was a “dangerous” development that should be avoided.
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