Pope Rips Europe Over Migrants

Francis cites lessons from 2 new saints
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 9, 2022 10:10 AM CDT
Pope Calls Out Europe's 'Scandalous' Treatment of Migrants
Pope Francis, background center, celebrates a mass for the canonization of two new saints, Giovanni Battista Scalabrini and Artemide Zatti, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis on Sunday denounced Europe's indifference toward migrants risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea as he elevated to sainthood an Italian bishop and Italian-born missionary whose work and life paths illustrated the difficulties faced by 19th century Italian emigrants. Francis departed from prepared remarks to slam Europe's treatment of migrants as "disgusting, sinful, and criminal," the AP reports. He noted that people from outside the continent are often left to die during perilous sea crossings or pushed back to Libya, where they wind up in camps he referred to as "lager," the German word referring to Nazi concentration camps. He also recalled the plight of Ukrainians fleeing war, which he said "causes us great suffering."

"The exclusion of migrants is scandalous," Francis said, generating applause from the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the canonizations of Don Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, an Italian bishop who founded an order to help Italian emigrants in 1887, and Artedime Zatti, an Italian who emigrated in 1897 to Argentina and dedicated his life as a lay worker there to helping the sick. "Indeed, the situation of migrants is criminal. They are left to die in front of us, making the Mediterranean the largest cemetery in the world. The situation of migrants is disgusting, sinful, criminal. Not to open the doors to those who are in need. No, we exclude them, we send them away to lager, where they are exploited and sold as slaves."

The two new saints, the pope said, "remind us of the importance or walking together." Francis said Scalabrani showed "great vision," by looking forward "to a world and a Church without barriers, where no one was a foreigner." And he called Zatti "a living example of gratitude" who devoted his life to serving others after being cured of tuberculosis. Scalabrini founded the Missionaries of Saint Charles Borromeo, known as the Scalabrian Fathers, and the Missionary Sisters of Saint Charles Borromeo Scalabrians, to minister to Italians who left their homeland due to what he wrote were the combined effects of an agricultural crisis, social change, a poorly managed economy, exorbitant taxation, and "the natural desire to improve one's condition."

(More Pope Francis stories.)

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