Providing care and showing compassion for society’s most vulnerable members is not an option. It’s an obligation. So says Pope Francis and the Federal Court of Canada.
The Pope and the court came to that same, obvious conclusion in separate recent pronouncements on refugees. Harsh, judgmental attitudes have no place in a just world, agreed the pontiff and the judge in statements that will be applauded by charitable people everywhere.
Speaking on the anniversary of his visit last year to the Italian island of Lampedusa, where he mourned the deaths of thousands of people drowned at sea while fleeing to a better life, Pope Francis urged society to safeguard and protect the dignity of displaced people by “taking them by the hand, without making calculations, without fear, with tenderness and understanding.” He called the world to be “more courageous and generous in coming to the aid of refugees.”
In Ottawa, Justice Anne Mactavish was more blunt in ruling that Canada’s health-care policy for refugee claimants constitutes “cruel and unusual treatment” and is therefore unconstitutional. “I have found as a fact that lives are being put at risk,” she said. The judge gave the government four months to reverse direction…