Pope: Mediterranean is a grave for human dignity

2023-09-22 19:09:16

Francis at the interreligious commemoration for drowned people in the French metropolis of Marseille: No longer watching human trafficking, torture, shipwrecks and the “fanaticism of indifference” – Pope also sharply criticizes measures against civilian sea rescuers

Marseille (KAP) Pope Francis has used powerful words to condemn the deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean. “We are at a crossroads of civilization,” the Pope said on Friday evening during his visit to the French port city of Marseille. On the one hand there is the path of brotherhood; on the other, an “indifference that stains the Mediterranean with blood.”

“Let us not get used to seeing shipwrecks as headlines and deaths at sea as mere numbers,” the pope warned. The Mediterranean has become a huge cemetery where many people are deprived of the right to a grave. “Only human dignity is buried here,” said Francis. The migrants are fleeing conflict, poverty and environmental disasters. In the waves of the Mediterranean, their search for a better future is finally rejected.

The church leader called for action. Human trafficking, torture, shipwrecks and a “fanaticism of indifference” should no longer be seen, the Pope said, demanding: “People who are in danger of drowning if they are abandoned on the waves must be saved. This is a duty of the people Humanity, a duty of civilization!”

In sharp words, Francis also condemned the hampering of civilian rescue operations in the Mediterranean. “Many of you go into the sea to rescue, to rescue migrants,” the pope said. The sea rescuers are often prevented, even under the pretext that something is wrong with the boat, said Francis. These are “gestures of hate.”

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The Pope made the remarks as part of a commemoration for those who drowned in the Mediterranean, which was also attended by representatives of other religions and Christian churches. Hospitality is a root of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, said Francis. Believers must therefore set an example for each other.

The religious leaders gathered at a memorial stele near the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica in Marseille. The monument depicts a cross, an anchor and a heart; the symbols stand for faith, hope and charity.

(Kathpress main topic with all reports on the Pope’s trip to Marseille can be found at www.kathpress.at/Papst-in-Marseille)

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