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Pope again prays for shipwreck victims off Italy’s south coast

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Alessandro SERRANO / AFP

Au moins 59 migrants sont morts dans le naufrage de leur embarcation près des côtes italiennes, dimanche 26 février.

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 03/05/23

"May the voyages of hope never again turn into voyages of death," Pope prays, saying that human traffickers must be stopped.

For the second Sunday, Pope Francis has prayed for the victims of a migrant boat that crashed off the coast of southern Italy last week.

At least 70 people died when the flimsy boat broke apart on a shoal off the coast of the southern town of Cutro, in Italy’s Calabria region.

Among the dead were a handful of children, including twin toddlers and a few-month-old baby.

Pope Francis mentioned the tragedy just hours after it happened, when he led the midday Angelus on February 26. Today, he prayed again:

I express my sorrow for the tragedy that occurred in the waters of Cutro, near Crotone. I pray for the many victims of the shipwreck, for their families and for those who survived. I express my appreciation and gratitude to the local people and institutions for their solidarity and welcome to these brothers and sisters of ours, and I renew my appeal to all that such tragedies not be repeated.

Europe’s largest cemetery

The boat had set out from Turkey a few days before the wreck, with around 170 passengers aboard. The dangerous routes across the Mediterranean Sea have claimed the lives of over 20,000 migrants since 2014, leading Pope Francis to refer to the Mediterranean as Europe’s largest cemetery.

He made an emotional appeal for these deaths to stop:

Let the human traffickers be stopped, let them not continue to dispose of the lives of so many innocent people! May the voyages of hope never again turn into voyages of death! May the clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea never again be bloodied by such dramatic incidents! May the Lord give us the strength to understand and to mourn.

Tags:
ImmigrationItalyPope FrancisTurkey
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