Pope Francis: Solution to Migrant Crisis Is 'Openness' Not 'Secure Borders'
'A humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone'
Pope Francis complained that “little has changed with regard to the issue of migration” since last visiting the Greek island of Lesbos in 2016.
During his address at the Reception and Identification Centre on Lesbos, Francis noted that efforts seem "terribly absent when it comes to migration.”
Migration is “an issue for the whole world: a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone,” the pontiff stated, and “human lives, real people, are at stake!”
Francis concluded that the solution to the migration crisis is openness, not secure borders.
“It is distressing to hear of proposals that common funds be used to build walls and barbed wire as a solution,” the pontiff declared.
“We are in the age of walls and barbed wire.”
Problems “are not resolved and coexistence improved by building walls higher, but by joining forces to care for others according to the concrete possibilities of each and in respect for the law,” he stated.
The pope also critised nations refusing to open their doors to migrants, saying it reflects a lethal indifference.
“On this Sunday, I ask God to rouse us from our disregard for those who are suffering, to shake us from an individualism that excludes others, to awaken hearts that are deaf to the needs of our neighbors,” he said.
“I ask every man and woman, all of us, to overcome the paralysis of fear, the indifference that kills, the cynical disregard that nonchalantly condemns to death those on the fringes!” he added.
“Let us combat at its root the dominant mindset that revolves around ourselves, our self-interest, personal and national, and becomes the measure and criterion of everything.”
Francis also blamed “nationalism” for the ongoing sufferings of migrants.
“History teaches us that narrow self-interest and nationalism lead to disastrous consequences,” he said.
“It is an illusion to think it is enough to keep ourselves safe, to defend ourselves from those in greater need who knock at our door.”
“Let us stop ignoring reality, stop constantly shifting responsibility, stop passing off the issue of migration to others, as if it mattered to no one and was only a pointless burden to be shouldered by somebody else!”
In Europe, “there are those who persist in treating the problem as a matter that does not concern them. This is tragic,” he said.
“The Mediterranean, which for millennia has brought different peoples and distant lands together, is now becoming a grim cemetery without tombstones,” Francis stated.
“This great basin of water, the cradle of so many civilizations, now looks like a mirror of death.”
“Let us not let our sea (mare nostrum) be transformed into a desolate sea of death (mare mortuum),” he exclaimed.
“Let us not allow this place of encounter to become a theatre of conflict.”
“Let us not permit this ‘sea of memories’ to be transformed into a ‘sea of forgetfulness,’” he continued.
“Please, brothers and sisters, let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!”
During the Pope's visit to Greece, he was heckled by an elderly Greek Orthodox priest as he made his way to a meeting with the head of Greece's Orthodox Church.
The priest shouted at Francis as he arrived at the residence of Archbishop Ieronymos in the Greek capital of Athens.
“Pope, you are a heretic!” he shouted three times.