Pope: Welcoming migrants is best insurance against terrorist acts

Opening the door to migrants is the best way to prevent "hateful acts of terrorism," Pope Francis said Saturday, reiterating his concern for the millions of people who are fleeing from poverty and conflict.

The pontiff's remarks, delivered during a meeting with a Jesuit group, came as Europe is struggling with the biggest influx of refugees since World War II, and controversy rages in Germany about Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door migration policy.

"I encourage you to welcome refugees into your homes and communities, so that their first experience of Europe is not the traumatic experience of sleeping cold on the streets, but one of warm human welcome," Francis said.

"Remember that authentic hospitality is a profound gospel value that nurtures love and is our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism," he added, recalling the global scale of the refugee crisis.

"Tragically, more than 65 million persons are forcibly displaced around the globe. This unprecedented number is beyond all imagination. The displaced population of today's world is now larger than the entire population of Italy," the pope noted.

Francis, the son of Italian expats to Argentina, is a vocal champion of migrants and other destitute people. Earlier this year, he visited a refugee camp in Greece and returned to the Vatican with 12 Syrians, who were offered shelter by a Catholic association in Rome.

Last update: Sat, 17/09/2016 - 13:42

More from World

Trudeau faces ethics probe over vacation on Aga Khan's private island

Canada's ethics watchdog is investigating whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated his own conflict of...

King's son visits Trump after his sharp words with civil rights icon

President-elect Donald Trump met Monday with the son of slain civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King to...

Eight Egyptian police killed in attack on desert checkpoint

Eight Egyptian policemen were killed and three others wounded in an attack by gunmen Monday on a checkpoint in the...

Last man on the moon, US astronaut Gene Cernan, dies

The US astronaut Gene Cernan, the last astronaut to leave footprints on the moon, has died at the age of 82, the US...

Plague kills at least 27 in Madagascar

At least 27 people in southern Madagascar have died from the plague, health authorities on the island said Monday....