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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis in Mass for migrants: We cannot imagine the hell they are living

The pope took a short break from his vacation to celebrate Mass commemorating the seventh anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa, in southern Italy.

Thousands of migrants go there each year to escape violence, war and trafficking.

Pope Francis thus spoke out again against the "culture of indifference."

I remember that day seven years ago, in the south of Europe, on that island. Some (migrants) told me their stories, how much they had suffered to get there.

The pope sadly recalled that a refugee told him about his journey, but his translator gave a abridged version of the tragedy.

This is happening today with Libya: they give us an "abridged" version. Yes, war is bad, we know that, but we cannot imagine the hell that exists there, in those detention camps. These people came with only one hope, of crossing the sea.

In his homily, before a small group of employees of the Vatican's Migrants and Refugees Section, the pope said the encounter with others is also an encounter with Jesus.

If we still have any doubts, this is his clear word, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you did to one of these younger brothers of mine, you did to me.' 'How much did you do - for good or for bad? This warning is very relevant today.

He invited faithful to read carefully that sentence and make an examination of conscience, keeping in mind the drama experienced by millions of migrants who escape violence throughout the world.

Daniel Diaz Vizzi

Translation: Melissa Butz