Pope says welcoming refugees helps keeps us safe from terrorism

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Pope Francis talks during the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli - RTX2OG7L

Pope Francis talks during the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter’s square at the Vatican on Sept. 7, 2016. Photo by Remo Casilli/Reuters

VATICAN CITY — 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.”

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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.

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