ROME — The mayor of the southern Italian town of San Severo has signed an agreement with local Bishop Giovanni Checchinato granting every Catholic parish the power to register migrants living under their roof.
The scheme was orchestrated by Vatican Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, acting on behalf of Pope Francis, who reportedly told the cardinal “he cares about that deal dearly.” Krajewski said that the pope had intervened to persuade Mayor Francesco Miglio to establish this provision.
“What we achieved today is a milestone for migrants and refugees,” said Krajewski, who is the Papal Almoner, responsible for the pope’s charitable works.
San Severo is located in the region of Puglia and lies on the outskirts of the regional capital of Foggia, where there are thousands of migrants and refugees seeking permission to remain in Europe.
“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 told Crux, a U.S.-based online Catholic news outlet.
“We restored the human dignity of those people. This is what they were refused,” the cardinal said.
“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.”
Immigration into Italy has experienced a resurgence under the nation’s new leftist government, which has opened its ports, reversing efforts by former interior minister Matteo Salvini to curb illegal immigration.
Under Salvini’s leadership, migrant sea deaths in the Mediterranean drastically declined as fewer prospective migrants attempted the perilous journey.
Mr. Salvini has slammed the unelected reigning coalition government for reigniting the nation’s migrant crisis by reopening borders to migrants and foreign NGOs.
In a tweet, the leader of the Lega party recently noted the “2,498 arrivals in September compared with 947 in the same month a year ago,” while observing that in mid-October “landings have already exceeded 700, compared with the 1,007 for the entire October 2018.”
The spike in new migrant arrivals has also produced a significant uptick in migrant deaths, Mr. Salvini has observed, a phenomenon the pro-immigration forces supposedly detest.
Mr. Salvini blamed the leftist government’s new open-ports policy for the 13 who died off the coast of Lampedusa earlier this month.
“These deaths are the results of do-gooders, of ‘there is room for everyone,’ of open ports, of renewed enthusiasm for the smugglers,” Salvini said.
During his tenure in government, Salvini was quite literally demonized by the Catholic establishment in Italy, who called him everything from the Antichrist to Satan for his resistance to open borders.