VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI, insisting immigration should be viewed as a resource and not just a problem, on Sunday urged immigrants to respect the social values of their new countries and said laws are needed to protect their dignity.
"Let us recognize in particular the difficulties of migrant families as they are: the discomfort, the humiliation," the pontiff said, addressing pilgrims and tourists from many nations in St. Peter's Square.
Without naming any country or nationality, he lamented the "painful" conditions refugees, exiles, the homeless and the persecuted often endure.
"It is thus important to protect migrants and their families through the help of legislative" assistance, services and counseling centers, Benedict said.
"I hope that soon there will be a balanced management of migratory flows and of human mobility in general, so benefits can reach the entire human family, beginning with concrete measures which favor legal emigration and the reuniting of families," the pontiff added.
"Only respect for human dignity for all migrants, on one hand, and the recognition by the migrants themselves of the values of the societies which host them, will make possible the proper integration of families in the social, economic and political systems" where they are now living, Benedict said.
"The reality of migration shouldn't ever be seen only as a problem but also and above all as a great resource on the path of humanity," Benedict said.
Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, head of the Vatican's office on migrants, said the pope was particularly concerned about the families of refugees.
"There is a tendency today to protect order and well-being from the threat that many see in the continuous arrival of foreigners, a mix of migrants and refugees," Marchetto said in an interview on Vatican Radio.
The prelate lamented the lack of adequate funding for humanitarian assistance for refugees, "especially for women and children" leaving them easy prey for abuse.