During a visit to the French port of Marseille, Francis presided over a moment of silent prayer at a memorial dedicated to sailors and migrants who died at sea, surrounded by local clergy and representatives of refugee rescue organizations.
On the plane trip to Marseille, where he will stay this weekend, the Pope had already lamented the “cruelty and lack of humanity” with which Europe is treating the plight of migrants arriving on the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Today, Francis criticized the “fanaticism and indifference” with which migrants are treated and lamented the deaths of those seeking to escape poverty, conflict and misery.
“This beautiful sea has become a huge cemetery, where many brothers are deprived of their right to a grave,” said the head of the Catholic Church.
Francisco thanked rescue organizations for the effort they have made in trying to save migrant lives and criticized those who seek to avoid these missions, with arguments that he said were “gestures of hate, disguised as balancing acts.”
The Pope said it is a “duty of humanity” to help those crossing the sea to Europe and called for a new attitude towards this scourge.
“We cannot resign ourselves to seeing human beings treated as exchange commodities, imprisoned and tortured in an atrocious way”, said the Pope, adding that “when we reject them” they are tortured again, recalling in his message, although without naming them, the refugee camps in Libya.
“People who, when abandoned in the waves, are at risk of drowning, must be helped. It is a duty of humanity, it is a duty of civilization,” said Francis, after the Italian Government of Giorgia Meloni announced more restrictive measures in the reception of migrants.
In Marseille, Francis asked people not to get used to “considering shipwrecks as news and the dead as numbers”, saying that these victims “are names and surnames, they are faces and stories, they are shattered lives and shattered dreams”.
“I think of the countless brothers and sisters drowning in fear, along with the hopes they carried in their hearts. In the face of such a drama, words are no use. Actions are needed. But first humanity is needed: silence, tears, compassion and prayer” , added the Pope.
The Pope arrived in Marseille to participate in the third edition of the Mediterranean Meetings, an initiative in which 60 bishops and young people from various countries debate various topics related to the region.
Read Also: Pope Francis warns of the “cruelty” of the situation of migrants in Italy
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