Address Of His Holiness Pope Francis To Participants In The First General Assembly Of “Talitha Kum” The International Network Of Consecrated Life Against Human TraffickingOctober 21, 2019
I am very pleased to receive you today on the occasion of your first General Assembly. I thank Sister Kafka and Sister Bottani for their introduction. Talitha Kum was born in 2001 from a missionary intuition of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG). It flourishes today as a worldwide network that coordinates the efforts of Institutes of Consecrated Life against human trafficking. In just ten years it has come to coordinate 52 religious networks in more than 90 countries on all continents. The statistics of your service speak for themselves: 2000 workers, more than 15,000 victims of trafficking assisted and more than 200,000 people reached with prevention and awareness-raising activities.
I congratulate you on the important work you are doing amid very complex and tragic situations. Your work brings together the missions of different institutions and demands cooperation between them. You have chosen to be on the front line. Therefore the numerous Congregations that have worked and continue to work as the “avant-garde” of the Church’s missionary activity against the scourge of human trafficking deserve gratitude (see Address to Participants in the International Conference on Human Trafficking, 11 April 2019). This is also a model of how to work together. It is an example for the whole Church, and also for us: men, priests, bishops … You are giving a great example – keep at it!
In this, your first assembly, your main objective is to evaluate progress made and to identify missionary priorities for the next five years. In the various working sessions, you have chosen to discuss two main issues related to the phenomenon of trafficking. On the one hand, the great differences that still mark the condition of women in the world, which stem mainly from socio-cultural factors. On the other, the limits of the neoliberal development model, which risks undermining the state with its individualistic vision. These undoubtedly complex and urgent challenges require adequate and effective answers. I know that in your assembly you have committed yourself to identifying solutions and highlighting the resources necessary to carry them out. I appreciate this work of pastoral planning with a view to providing more competent and fruitful assistance to the local Churches.
While important, these are not the only challenges that face. The Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development recently published “Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking”, a document that sets forth the complexity of today’s challenges and offers clear pointers for all pastoral workers committed to working in this area.
I renew my encouragement to all the women’s Institutes of Consecrated Life that have organized and supported the commitment of their sisters in the fight against trafficking and in helping victims. While I invite you to continue this commitment, I also appeal to other Religious Congregations, both female and male, to join this missionary work, devoting personal service and resources so that they can reach remote corners of the earth. I also hope that foundations and benefactors will multiply and ensure generous and disinterested support for your activities. With regard to this invitation, I realize the problems that many Congregations have; indeed some, both female and male, may tell you: “We have so many problems to solve internally, we cannot…”. Tell them that the Pope said that “internal” problems are resolved by going out on the road, so that fresh air can enter.
To read the full statement from Pope Francis on Liberia EditricVaticana: Click HereTags: Pope Francis, Talitha Kum