Pope Francis Condemns ‘Abuses and Violence’ Toward Migrants in Libya

TOPSHOT - Migrants rescued at sea wait to be transferred at the harbour of Algeciras on August 1, 2018. - Spain has overtaken Italy as the preferred destination for migrant arrivals in Europe this year as a crackdown by Libyan authorities has made it more difficult for them to reach …

ROME — Pope Francis denounced the “abuses and violence” afflicting African migrants in Libya in a Mass Wednesday commemorating his visit to Lampedusa at the outset of his pontificate.

The pope celebrated a special morning Mass in the chapel of his Saint Martha residence Wednesday to mark the seventh anniversary of his visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa on this date in 2013.

In his homily, the pope decried the sin of indifference toward the fate of others, especially migrants.

“The culture of comfort, which makes us think only of ourselves, makes us insensitive to the cries of other people, makes us live in soap bubbles which, however lovely, are insubstantial,” the pontiff said, citing his own homily from Lampedusa. “They offer a fleeting and empty illusion which results in indifference to others; indeed, it even leads to the globalization of indifference.”

“In this globalized world, we have fallen into globalized indifference,” Francis continued. “We have become used to the suffering of others: it doesn’t affect me; it doesn’t concern me; it’s none of my business!”

The pope went on to propose that Christians need a “personal encounter” with Jesus Christ, which can be attained by reaching out to those less fortunate.

“As we undertake to seek the face of the Lord, we may recognize Him in the face of the poor, the sick, the abandoned, and the foreigners whom God places on our way,” Francis said. “And this encounter becomes for us a time of grace and salvation, as it bestows on us the same mission entrusted to the Apostles.”

“The encounter with the other is also an encounter with Christ,” the pope continued, since “it is He who knocks on our door, hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned, seeking an encounter with us and requesting our assistance.”

Our response to others — including migrants — is our response to Jesus himself “for better or for worse!” Francis said.

“This warning is a burning issue today,” he said. “Let us use it as a fundamental element to examine our conscience on a daily basis.”

“I think of Libya, detention camps, the abuses and violence that migrants are victims of, journeys of hope, rescue operations, and push-backs,” he insisted.

The pope ended his homily by invoking the intercession of the Virgin Mary as “Comfort of Migrants,” a title Francis recently gave her.

May she “help us discover the face of Her Son in all our brothers and sisters who are forced to flee from their homeland because of the many injustices that still afflict our world today,” he concluded.


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