Pope Francis: the fate of migrants is “the sign of a culture of indifference”

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The plight of migrants and asylum seekers “is a sign of the culture of indifference,” Pope Francis said in a television interview Sunday evening.

Appearing on Fabio Fazio’s Che Tempo Che Fa program on Italian public television, Pope Francis spoke at length on migration, saying that “at the moment it’s a matter of categorization, and unfortunately war is first and people come second”.

Citing as an example the eight-year conflict in Yemen in which more than 377,000 people died, the Supreme Pontiff said: “How long have we been talking about children in Yemen? However, no solution was found. »

He said that while conflict reigns supreme, “the children, the migrants, the poor, the hungry don’t matter, or at least they don’t come first, because there are people who love these people, who try to help them, but in the universal imagination, what matters is the war, the sale of weapons. Just think that with a year without making weapons, you could nurture and educate the whole world, for free. But this is ignored.

In his hour-long interview, Pope Francis recalled the plight of many unnamed migrant children, saying they are constantly ignored.

Med is the largest cemetery in Europe – Pope Francis

“We see how the economies are mobilizing and what is most important today, the war: ideological war, war of powers, commercial war and so many armament factories.”

War, the pope said, “is the opposite of creation,” adding that even the Bible shows that soon after God created man, wars broke out between brothers and civilizations.

“There is this ‘anti-sense’ of creation; this is why war is always destruction. For example, working the land, caring for children, raising a family, making society grow: that’s building. To make war is to destroy. It’s a destruction mechanic.

When asked what he meant when he said ‘pushing out the poor is pushing back peace’, Pope Francis said the treatment of migrants was ‘criminal’.

The pope, who has often called the Mediterranean Sea a cemetery, denounced the “concentration camps” in Libya, lamenting “how much those who want to flee suffer at the hands of traffickers”.

There are films that show this, he said, many of which can be found in the migrants and refugees section of the Dicastery for Human Development.

“Stop this sinking of civilisation” – Pope Francis during a visit to a migrant camp

“They suffer and then they risk crossing the Mediterranean. Then, sometimes, they are rejected by someone who, out of a sense of local responsibility, says “No, they can’t come here”; there are these boats that turn in circles in search of a port, which must return [to where they came from] or they die at sea. This is what is happening today,” the Pope repeated.

As he has done on other occasions, he repeated the principle that “each country should determine the number of migrants it can accept”. This, the pope said, “is a domestic political issue that needs to be examined thoroughly,” with different countries coming up with different figures.

“And the others?” He asked? “There is the European Union, we have to agree, to achieve a balance, together.”

Instead, Pope Francis added, only “injustice” seems to emerge as “they come to Spain and Italy, the two closest countries, and they are not received elsewhere.”

Pope Francis repeated four key words that he never ceased to underline: “The migrant must always be welcomed, accompanied, promoted and integrated. Welcomed because there are difficulties, so [there is a need of] accompany them, promote them and integrate them into society.

Above all, he insisted, they must be integrated into the host countries to avoid ghettoization and extremism born of ideologies.

Citing Europe’s demographic needs, Pope Francis said the EU must look at migration “intelligently” and come up with a “continental policy” because “the fact that the Mediterranean is a graveyard should make us think. It’s pure realism. »

Speaking from his residence at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis answered questions on a wide variety of other topics: the care of creation, the relationship between parents and children, evil and suffering, prayer , the future of the Church and the need for friends.

He also asserted that forgiveness is “a human right,” adding that “the ability to be forgiven is a human right. We all have the right to be forgiven if we ask for forgiveness.


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