"There is so much sorrow when thinking about them," says Pope in leading moment of silence
Noting that he’d met with associations who help migrants, and migrants themselves, Pope Francis on November 28 spoke of the plight of these peoples after leading the midday Angelus.
The Pope said that his heart is with them. Indeed the situation of migrants is a theme that he has turned to many times in his pontificate.
The Holy Father noted the recent news of tragedies befalling migrants.
But how very many migrants are exposed, even during these days, to great dangers, and how many lose their lives at our borders! I feel sorrow hearing the news about the situation in which so many of them find themselves.
I think of those who died crossing the English Channel, those on the borders of Belarus, many of whom are children, and those who drown in the Mediterranean. There is so much sorrow when thinking about them.
Of those who are repatriated to North Africa, they are captured by traffickers who turn them into slaves: they sell the women and torture the men… I think of those who, also this week, have tried to cross the Mediterranean seeking a better land and find instead their grave there; and so many others.
I assure my prayers to the migrants who find themselves in these crisis situations. Know also that from my heart I am always close to you, in prayer and action.
I thank all the institutions both of the Catholic Church and elsewhere, especially the national Caritas agencies and all those who are committed to alleviating their suffering.
I renew my heartfelt appeal to those who can contribute to the resolution of these problems, especially civil and military authorities, so that understanding and dialogue may finally prevail over any kind of instrumentalization and guide the will and efforts towards solutions that respect the humanity of these people. Let us remember migrants, their suffering, and let us pray together in silence… (moment of silence).
Pope Francis referred to the audience he granted the day before to participants in the Giàvera Festival, an Italian association that promotes dialogue between peoples through art, debate, and testimonies during a festival in Veneto. More than 40 associations working with migrants participate in this event which is held during the month of July.
During this meeting, the Pontiff recognized that migration is a “very complex” problem: “Unfortunately, there are criminal groups who profit from it.”
He also denounced the exploitation of migrants in geopolitical conflicts. “They then cease to be people and become numbers,” he lamented.
“There is more than ever a need for places where the faces, stories, songs, prayers and art of migrants are put at the center,” Pope Francis told his guests. Asking that they not “hide or ignore the difficulties” linked to migration, he called for listening to migrants, those who are most able to bear witness to the issues.