The Church is responsible for encouraging civil leaders to respond to migration on the basis of Catholic social teaching, the Pope told the International Catholic Migration Commission Thursday.

“Together we must encourage countries to coordinate more suitable and effective responses to the challenges posed by issues of migration; and we can do this on the basis of the essential principles of the Church’s social teaching,” Pope Francis said March 8 in the Vatican's Clementine Hall to the members of the comission's plenary council.

“I ask the Holy Spirit to continue to enlighten all of you, as you carry out your vital mission of showing forth God’s merciful love to our migrant brothers and sisters.”

He commented that “your commitment has deepened in response to the inhumane living conditions experienced by millions of our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters in various parts of the world. Just as he did at the time of Israel’s enslavement in Egypt, so too the Lord hears their cry and sees their sufferings.”

The commission was founded in 1951, and the Pope said its works “represent exemplary instances of the four verbs — welcome, defend, promote and integrate — by which I wished to characterize the Church’s pastoral response in the face of migration.”

Francis also said he hopes the commission “will continue to inspire local Churches to do all they can for persons forced to leave their home countries and who, all too often, become victims of dishonesty, violence and abuse of every sort.”

He referred again to Moses' commission from the Lord to free the Hebrews from Egypt, and said that “In order to set free those who today are oppressed, rejected and enslaved, it is essential to promote open and sincere dialogue with government leaders, a dialogue that takes into account people’s actual experiences, sufferings and aspirations, in order to remind everyone once more of his or her responsibilities.”

The Pope commended the compacts on refugees and migrants being drafted at the United Nations as “a privileged forum for implementing such dialogue.”

“We must … commit ourselves to ensuring that, as a sign of shared global responsibility, concrete engagement follows from the words already codified in the aforementioned two agreements,” Pope Francis stated.