Pope Francis, After Lesbos Visit, Takes Refugees to Rome
‘We Hope the World Will Heed These Scenes of Tragic Need’April 20th, 2016
Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church made the groundbreaking move on Saturday during his humanitarian trip to Lesbos to meet the thousands of refugees that arrived there by crossing the sea in an effort to reach Europe. Many were war refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The pontiff wanted to highlight the human crisis that inflicts our continent.
Addressing refugees, he said: “I am here to tell you, you are not alone the Greek people have generously responded to your needs despite their own difficulties. Yes, so much more needs to be done but let us thank God that in our suffering he never leaves us alone. “We hope that the world will heed these scenes of tragic and indeed desperate need, and respond in a way worthy of our common humanity.” When Pope Francis joins Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, on Lesbos on Saturday, they visit an island that has the refugee experience in its blood.
Fueling belief that the Catholic Church is at odds with the EU’s stance on the crisis, Pope Francis took 12 refugees back to the Vatican. An official confirmed all those taken from the camp were Syrian Muslims, six of them minors who arrived Lesbos before the deportation deal came into effect. A spokesman for the Holy See said: “The pope has desired to make a gesture of welcome regarding refugees, accompanying on his plane to Rome three families of refugees from Syria, 12 people in all, including six children. “Two families come from Damascus, and one from Deir Azzor (in the area occupied by Isis). Their homes had been bombed. The Vatican will take responsibility for bringing in and maintaining the three families. The initial hospitality will be taken care of by the Community of Sant’Egidio.”