Differences coexist, complementing, enriching and reciprocally illuminating one another, even amid disagreements and reservations. To speak of a “culture of encounter” means that we, as a people, should be passionate about meeting others, seeking points of contact, building bridges, [and] planning a project that includes everyone (#216).For Pope Francis, the welcome that a society shows to migrants and refugees is a clear sign of enthusiasm for bridges, points of contact, and universally-inclusive projects, since it enriches the diversity and integral development of the country (cf. #40, 41).
For those who are Christians, our basic attitude cannot differ from that which St. Stephen recommended to his son, having learned it from Jesus, who identified himself with the stranger needing to be welcomed (cf. Matthew 25:35). When we think of Christ present in so many of our brothers and sisters who flee in desperation from conflicts, poverty, and climate change, we feel bound to confront the problem without excuses and delay. It needs to be confronted together, as a community, not least because, in the present situation, its effects will be felt, sooner or later, by all of us.In other words, if migrants want to come, we should welcome them. But if we’re unable to welcome them, then we’re to help build up the places where they live, so that they'll want to stay in their home countries. Either way, we are called to maintain an awareness of our mutual responsibility and mutual belonging, and to understand the reciprocal implications of our choices.