Pope Praises Town Officials for Helping Migrants Avoid Deportation
Pontiff thanks church for letting migrants register
Pope Francis thanked a town in southern Italy for allowing the Catholic Church to register migrants as 'parish residents' so they could obtain legal documents and avoid deportation.
The Pontiff expressed gratitude to the town officials after his Angelus message in Saint Peter’s Square:
“I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the municipality and the diocese of San Severo in Puglia for the signing of the memorandum of understanding that took place on Monday, 28 October.“
"Which will allow the day laborers of the so-called ‘Capinata Ghettos’ in Foggia, to obtain a residence in parishes and registration in the municipal registry.”
“The possibility of having identity and residency documents will give them new dignity and will allow them to escape a condition of irregularity and exploitation,” the pontiff added.
“Thank you so much to the city council and to all those who worked on this plan.”
The mayor of San Severo recently signed an agreement with local Bishop Giovanni Checchinato giving power to Catholic parishes to allowing migrants to use its street address as their residence to get obtain identity papers.
Vatican Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who acts on behalf of the Francis, orchestrated the scheme and reportedly told the cardinal, “he cares about that deal dearly.”
“What we achieved today is a milestone for migrants and refugees,” said Krajewsk.
San Severo is located in the region of Puglia, were thousands of migrants and refugees are currently seeking permission to remain in Europe.
A migrant grooming gang who repeatedly raped a 12-year-old girl in a park have been jailed for a total of 25 years— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) September 24, 2019
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“Technically the bishop, through the parish pastors, is giving them the address [necessary to register] —which is the street of Guardian Angel, that’s what we agreed on — and with that confirmation they go to the city hall, get the paperwork and are free to live a normal life,” the cardinal said.
“We restored the human dignity of those people. This is what they were refused,” the cardinal added.
“I told the mayor of the city; this is what the courage of the Gospel is about,” said Krajewski.
“We usually want to help the poor in the way we think is good for them. But they don’t need musical concerts. They need to take a shower. They need to have a bank account.”
Earlier this year, Francis issued thinly veiled assault on Italy’s interior minister and populist leader Matteo Salvini, likening him to the villainous Bible character Cain who murdered his brother Abel.
The Pontiff was addressing participants in a meeting of aid agencies to the Oriental Catholic Churches (ROACO) when he seemingly accused the populist minister of closing his ports migrants while keeping them open for arms dealers.
“We hear the plea of persons in flight, crowded on boats in search of hope, not knowing which ports will welcome them, in a Europe that does open its ports to ships that will load sophisticated and costly weapons capable of producing forms of destruction that do not spare even children,” the pope said.