Pope: welcoming refugees helps keeps us safe from terrorism

Francis Saturday spoke to alumni of Jesuit schools in Europe

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 file photo, Pope Francis leaves after an audience with families in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. The Vatican is taking the unusual step of conducting a worldwide survey on how parishes deal with sensitive issues such as birth control, divorce and gay marriage, seeking input ahead of a major meeting on the family that Pope Francis plans next year. The survey reflects the pope's pledges to move away from what he called a "Vatican-centric" approach toward one where local church leaders are more involved in decision-making. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 file photo, Pope Francis leaves after an audience with families in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. The Vatican is taking the unusual step of conducting a worldwide survey on how parishes deal with sensitive issues such as birth control, divorce and gay marriage, seeking input ahead of a major meeting on the family that Pope Francis plans next year. The survey reflects the pope's pledges to move away from what he called a "Vatican-centric" approach toward one where local church leaders are more involved in decision-making. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has encouraged Europeans to welcome refugees, calling authentic hospitality “our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism.”

Francis Saturday spoke to alumni of Jesuit schools in Europe who were in Rome for a conference on refugees.

The pope said: “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 welcome.”

Telling his audience that more than 65 million persons are forcibly displaced around the world, he advised going “beyond mere statistics.”

He said each refugee “has a name, a face and a story, as well as an inalienable right to live in peace and to aspire to a better future” for their children.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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