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Pope Decries Fomenting Fear of Migrants for Political Gain

Pope Francis meets members of the joint commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, at the Vatican, Nov. 24, 2017.

Pope Francis is decrying those whipping up fear of migrants for political gain, and is urging people to view global migration as a peace-building opportunity and not as a threat.

The message was issued Friday by the Vatican, in preparation for the Catholic church's annual World Peace Day, which it marks on Jan. 1.

Without citing any nation, Francis said many countries have seen "the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals" of migrants.

He added that those who "for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia."

Anti-migrant politics have been gaining influence in many places in Europe, including in the Vatican's backyard in Italy.