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With the United Kingdom criticised for opting out of a European Union plan to resettle thousands of migrants from Africa and the Middle East, what should be the Christian response to immigration and does Scripture offer any guidance?
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Pope Francis has asked an American televangelist for his blessing in a seven-minute, homemade video that was broadcast in January at a convention for Evangelical Charismatic ministers in Texas.
“I speak to you as a brother in a simple way … I ask you to bless me and I bless you – brother to brother,” the Pope said in the remarkable video, posted online on 21 February.
It was filmed on an iPhone by Tony Palmer, who was born in New Zealand but grew up in South Africa and is a bishop in the Communion of Episcopal Evangelical Churches.
“I have a nostalgia (yearning) that we can be united,” the Pope continued.
“Our sins have separated us … misunderstandings throughout history. Who’s to blame? We are all to blame; only the Lord is just.”
Palmer presented it on 21 January at a ministers’ conference hosted by Kenneth Copeland, a disciple of US prosperity gospel televangelist Oral Roberts. He told the gathering Francis was one of his “mentors” and “spiritual fathers” whom he had met several years ago in Buenos Aires while working as an ecumenical collaborator with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. He said he visited the Pope on 14 January at his Vatican residence and that it was Francis’ idea to make the video.
“I am here with my brother, my bishop brother, Tony Palmer. We’ve known each other for years,” the Pope said.
The delegates vigorously applauded at the end of the Pope’s video and Kenneth Copeland prayed in tongues and afterwards spoke to the crowd. He told the crowd: “Heaven is thrilled with this! When we went into the ministry 47 years ago this was impossible.”