In his acceptance speech for the prestigious International Charlemagne Award, Pope Francis decried Europe’s trend toward nationalism and tighter borders, repeating his mantra that humanity must “build bridges and tear down walls.”
Drawing rhetorical inspiration from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I have a Dream” speech, the Pope laid out his own dream for Europe on Friday, a Europe where the category of “illegal migrant” does not exist, and where all newcomers will receive “fraternal help.”
“I dream of a Europe where being a migrant is not a crime but a summons to greater commitment on behalf of the dignity of every human being,” he said.
In the face of Europe’s renewed border controls and the erection of fences as a way of dealing with its migrant crisis, Francis said that Europe’s founding fathers were “heralds of peace and prophets of the future” and that their vision of Europe should inspire us “to build bridges and tear down walls.”