Pope Francis visited Lesbos, the site of a mass-migrant arrival on a cold winter night in 2015, on Friday. The area has become the tragic breeding ground for desperate refugees fleeing war and persecution, many of whom are languishing in squalid camps. The pontiff called the situation “our tragic shipwreck of civilization,” as a new Guardian report put it.
“On Lesbos, I want to put in words and have in my heart the cry of those many sisters and brothers who came seeking a better life, fleeing the war and suffering that we continue to see before our eyes today,” he said, speaking in front of the port. “Peace, you are my family, I want to live with you and comfort you, not leave you to suffer alone in this world, which has thrown up so many desiccated idols.” He also appeared to decry European leaders for the way they have been treating the refugees, as well as for threatening to shutter the lone remaining camp for refugees in the Greek island.
“Peace to the refugees, peace in Europe, peace in the heart of men and women everywhere: now, too, to your families whose fears now are lacking the simple comfort of a presence, and the respect that they should receive,” he said. “As often as in the past, Europe finds itself going through the crisis of the lonely and marginalized, without seeing the living reality of others, who find themselves perhaps in this region, for the first time, at the center of international attention.”
As he has with other recent high-profile visits, including that to Chile, the pope’s visit was mainly focused on celebrating what he termed “the human spirit,” and praised the Good Samaritan who rescued refugees, calling them “a great symbol of humanity.”
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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