Speech of Daniele Garrone, President of the Federation of Evangelical Churches
Your Holiness, dear brother in Christ, dear friends,
our Scripture says: "Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15).
Today the dominant tone, in seeing so many of you here, is joy and gratitude. We know what you have suffered and what you have had to leave behind to get here, and we hope and wish that you will find a protected, indeed a blessed, life here.
There is another reason for joy and gratitude: if anything we have done to bring you here, we have done it as Christians of different denominations. It is the ecumenical dimension of the Humanitarian Corridors, which we, as churches of the Federation, always rediscover: we are all reached by the same Word of God, which gives us hope and calls us to the service of our neighbour, with a common vocation, which today I would like to express in the words of the prophet Micah: "You have been told, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you. Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God. "(Micah 6:8)
Today's joy and gratitude, however, do not silence the second part of the invitation: 'weep with those who weep'. We all have in our hearts the latest tragic shipwreck of those who have no other option but a risky, in some ways insane, sea crossing. Those of us who are in Lampedusa, in our observatory on migration, to welcome those who have made it, bear witness to what dramatic stories each person bears within himself/herself and often on his/her body. Sharing the cry must move 'to do right': the Humanitarian Corridors are a way to try to respond to this call.
It is not just naive charitable outbursts of pious or virtuous souls moved by unrealistic emotionalism. We think it is one of the reasonable responses, which States too should adopt, to a problem that also questions the quality of those constitutional democracies based on the protection of human rights to which our continent has arrived having behind it tragedies quite similar to those that today force men and women to flee, who leave because they have no other prospect but to succumb: Europe too has been bloodied by wars, even 'religious' wars, by intolerance and dictatorships, Europe too has had millions upon millions of migrants in search of a better future. If we looked at our past, even the recent past, perhaps it would become clear to us what another word from the Bible says: 'you well know what it feels to be an alien' (Exodus 23:9).
We rejoice with you today; still, we continue to do our part for those who are still grieving.