Jesuit father Michael Czerny, undersecretary of the Migrants and Refu­gees section of the office for Integral Human Development, said that politicians, business leaders, civil society and faith communities must step up efforts to combat the alarming increase in human trafficking. He was taking part in a meeting in Vienna of the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.

In his statement, he stressed that: “Irregular migration is not freely chosen, but rather forced on people because legal and secure channels are simply not available”.

The migration process, he said,  begins with “high hopes and expectations for greater security and better opportunities”. Since safe and affordable routes are generally unavailable, he said, many migrants employ smugglers, but end up with an irregular or undocumented status that leaves them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Cardinal lobbied for Pope Francis

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who died last week, held a reception in Rome just before the 2013 conclave to encourage cardinals from the British Commonwealth nations to support the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. This story will be published in a forthcoming book, The Keys and the Kingdom. Britain and the Papacy from John Paul II to Francis, by Catherine Pepinster, former editor of the Catholic weekly The Tablet.

Murphy-O’Connor could not vote in the papal election because he was over the age after which cardinals could not vote for a new pope.  But, according to the book by Pepinster, the cardinal joined in pre-conclave talks and organised a reception at the British embassy to discuss his enthusiasm for the Argentine cardinal. He deliberately left off the invitation list two powerful but conservative clerics – Cardinal Marc Ouellet from Canada, who had been a frontrunner, and Cardinal George Pell from Australia.

Bishop criticises the media

In his latest book Non-violence: Styles of a New Politics for Peace, Bishop Mario Toso writes: “Mass communication has become the arbiter of people’s social status, and has modified the family structure, reducing the traditional role of authority. It can manipulate and indoctrinate the public, even in occult fashion, thereby compromising one’s freedom of judgment and autonomy to make decisions.”

Media outlets, Toso says, are violent in direct proportion to the extent to which they practise “poor communication”, and the lone alternative is a “great cultural, social, technological and industrial project, supported by adequate legislation”.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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