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Pope Francis

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Vatican

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Cardinal Veglio on refugees: Europe has behaved like Pontius Pilate

2016-04-28


So far, more than 1200 people have drowned trying to reach the Mediterranean coast this year. Some remain huddled on the border between Greece and Macedonia, or in Lesbos, places like Moria, where Pope Francis recently visited. From there, the Pope brought back 12 Syrian refugees who will have a second chance in Europe.

CARD. ANTONIO MARIA VEGLIÒ
President, Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People
"It's easy to say things but something concrete needs to be done. The Pope is not satisfied with good words, he says it very often: There has to be concrete things done. It is a small gesture but it is like a drop in the ocean.”

Of the 160,000 refugees who have been promised to be hosted by Europe, less than 100 have been relocated at this time.

Furthermore, the agreement with Turkey and the  Balkan border closures have worsened the situation for those who have lost everything to  war, violence and persecution. Cardinal Veglio sincerely regrets this pact between Brussels and Ankara.

CARD. ANTONIO MARIA VEGLIÒ
President, Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People
"This word comes off as a little strong but yes, the attitude of Europe is a bit 'Pilate-like.' But unfortunately, that's the way it is. It is also because of these walls and defenses that have been implemented. Where are the values that Europe has always defended...on which Europe has been born? We are a little lost, however it is undeniable that Pope Francis' trips have stirred many. The Pope went there to say: 'they are grave problems, seek how to solve them.' He does not say, "intend to solve them' or 'we intend to solve them.'”

The Syrian citizens who have not returned to Turkey have been deported to their countries of origin. The Syrians will receive temporary protection although it is probable that they will return to a country where their death surely awaits them.

CARD. ANTONIO MARIA VEGLIÒ
President, Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People
"Sending a Senegalese or an Italian back to his country ... is acceptable. But to send a Syrian back to his country now. From where he has escaped, would he not have had his reasons for escaping? I do not know that this is the most humane and  Christian way of behaving.”

Caritas has expressed its rejection of this agreement and has described it as "unacceptable," like many other organizations, including the UN. Cardinal Veglio recalls Europe as a continent full of integration of various people, and says that the best way to go about the immigration problem is to help its countries of origin.


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