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Tipsheet

Pope Francis: 'Building Walls Means Condemning Yourself to Death'

AP Photo/Andrew Medichin

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church met with a group of Jesuits from Mozambique, Portugal, and Zimbabwe in early September to discuss political and religious issues. The conversation occurred on September 5, but a transcript of the discussion was released on Thursday. During the talk, Pope Francis warned of xenophobia and populism.

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"Xenophobia and aporophobia today are part of a populist mentality that leaves no sovereignty to the people. Xenophobia destroys the unity of a people, even that of the people of God," the pope said.

"And the people are all of us: those who were born in the same country, no matter whether they have their roots in another place or are of different ethnic groups. Today we are tempted by a form of sterilized sociology, where you consider a country as if it were an operating theater, where everything is sterilized: my race, my family, my culture…as if there were the fear of dirtying it, staining it, infecting it," he continued. 

"There are those who want to stop this very important process of mingling cultures, which gives life to people. Mixing makes you grow, it gives you new life. It develops racial mixing, change and gives originality," The mixing of identities is what we have experienced, for example, in Latin America. There we have everything: Spanish and Indian, the missionary and the conqueror, the Spanish lineage, people’s mixed heritage." 

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"Building walls means condemning yourself to death," the pope declared. "We can’t live asphyxiated by a culture as clean and pure as an operating theater, aseptic and not microbial"

While Pope Francis did not directly mention President Donald Trump, he has in the past criticized Trump's desire for a wall along U.S. southern border as immoral. 

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