Life as an immigrant is difficult. Leaving one's home brings hardships. Coming from a country with a low wage scale, and living in one with a high wage scale needs preparation-- they are often looked down upon and feel ostracized, and the disadvantages and hardships are not just a few. Two articles in the Peace Weekly addresses the situation of migrants in Asia. One article treats the FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences) recent conference in Thailand on the issues.
In Korea as in other countries the Church does work pastorally with the immigrants. In Korea they are now addressed as guest workers which is an
attempt to be more welcoming. One article says that it reflects on the
citizens when our attitudes and behavior are not considerate of their difficulties.
John Paul II in his apostolic exhortation Ecclesia In Asia says: "At
the present time Asia is experiencing an unprecedented flow of
refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants and overseas workers. In the
countries to which they come, these people often find themselves
friendless, culturally estranged, linguistically disadvantaged and
economically vulnerable. They need support and care in order preserve
their human dignity and their cultural and religious heritage." This was
written 16 years ago and in Korea the situation has got worse.
Korea with the large number of migrants, we also have the need for
helping them to integrate. This is a concern for both the Korean Church
is the need for the pastoral care of the immigrants. In Japan we have
many Filipino women who have come to Japan to work in the country areas
and most of them would be Catholic, which is a concern because of the
small number of Catholics in Japan. One Japanese bishops considers them a
gift to the Japanese Church.
Secondly there is a need to protect the dignity of the migrants. The treatment
of illegal immigrants is a problem. Trafficking is fought against but
the efforts are few, illegal immigrants are the victims of trafficking,
men are used as slaves on vessels at sea, women are sold into
prostitution, and children become the victims in pedophilia, and there
are those from whom bodily organs are extracted.
one can remain indifferent to the suffering of the countless children
in Asia who fall victim to intolerable exploitation and violence,not
just as the result of the evil perpetrated by individuals but often as a
direct consequence of corrupt social structures. The synod fathers
identified child labor, pedophilia and the drug culture as the social
evils which affect children most directly, and they saw clearly that
these ills are compounded by others like poverty and ill conceived
programs of national development. The Church must do all she can do
overcome such evils, to act on behalf of those most exploited, and to
seek to guide the little ones to the love of Jesus" (Pope John Paul II).
article on the FACB ends with the need for prayer and to get involved
in the problems the continent faces. The Church needs to hear the cry of
those who are suffering in Asia.