Communicating migration – Pope Francis’ strategy of reframing refugee issues

One of the most frequent topics in Pope Francis’ public interventions, either orally or in writing, regards refugees and migrants. His teachings speak about a humble Church on a mission to assist the poor and those on the peripheries, and refugees and migrants occupy the center: they are the core and trademark of Francis’ pontificate. This reality, however, is not a mere coincidence neither is it caused by improvisation. Since his trip to Lampedusa in 2013—the first of his pontificate—Francis has shown he has a strategy for the refugee and migrant issue. He is consistent and has a well-prepared message. He wants the Catholic Church to be a key player in the international arena, through the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development (created by Pope Francis himself) to raise awareness of this issue and to persuade countries, supranational institutions, and public opinion in general, to contribute to finding and providing solutions. This article aims to describe the communication strategy of Pope Francis on migrants and refugees; to show how his efforts are reframing this issue; and, finally, to illustrate with examples how those working closely with the Pope are implementing it.

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