Francis today received the participants at the Conference, promoted in the Vatican, the so-called "Santa Marta Group" against trafficking in human beings. The group is led by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and Bernard Hogan-Howe, head of London's Metropolitan Police.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "We need a concerted, active and constant effort ", to eliminate the causes of trafficking of human beings, "to meet, assist and accompany people who fall into the snares of trafficking said the Pope this morning speaking to participants in the Conference, promoted in the Vatican, of the so-called "Santa Marta Group" against trafficking in human beings.
The group, led by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and president of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, and by Bernard Hogan-Howe, head of London's Metropolitan Police, is an alliance of police leaders and bishops around the world working together with civil society to eradicate the trafficking of human beings and guarantee pastoral care to victims. It seeks to further develop prevention and reintegration strategies. The Santa Marta Group owes its name to the residence of Pope Francis, where it met for the first time in April 2014.
The Group, today said Francis, "is making an important contribution to tackling the social evil of trafficking in persons, linked to new forms of slavery, whose victims are men and women, often minors, exploited, taking advantage of their poverty and marginalization. As I wrote a year ago on the occasion of your meeting at the Escorial, what is needed is a concerted, effective and consistent effort to eliminate the causes of this complex phenomenon, to meet, assist and accompany people who fall into the snares of trafficking. The number of these victims - international organizations tell us - is growing, unfortunately, every year. They are the most vulnerable, who are robbed of dignity, physical and mental integrity, even their lives. "
"Dear friends, I thank you and encourage you to continue in this commitment. The Lord will reward what is done to these children in today's society. He said: 'I was hungry ... I was thirsty ...' and you helped me; today he could also say: 'I was abused, exploited, enslaved ...' and you helped me. I continue to accompany you with my closeness and my prayer."
"Experience shows that such modern forms of slavery are far more widespread than previously imagined, even – to our scandal and shame –within the most prosperous of our societies," he told the "Santa Marta Group".
The Holy Spirit is "a gift, the great gift of Jesus,” who does not lead us astray. “It is precisely within our hearts that we carry the Holy Spirit. The Church calls the Spirit ‘the sweet guest of the heart’: He is there. But He cannot enter a closed heart. ‘Ah, but where can one buy the keys to open the heart?’ No! That too is a gift.”
To know how much God loves us, we only have to contemplate the Crucifix: a tortured man, a God," emptied of divinity"," dirtied" by sin. But a God whose self-abasement forever destroys the real name of evil, that which Revelation calls "the ancient serpent".
"God is always faithful, for He cannot repudiate Himself" while the people did not give ear to His word. The Lord "tells us: 'Return to me with all your heart, for I am compassionate and merciful'. But when a person’s heart is hard they do not understand. The mercy of God can only be understood if we are able to open our heart, and let it in".
"It would do us good to make a bit 'of time - today, tomorrow – and read the Beatitudes, read Matthew 25, and be careful about what happens in our heart: if there is something of disdain and ask the Lord for the grace to understand that the only way of salvation is the 'folly of the Cross', that is, the annihilation of the Son of God”.