Greece (HRNW): Pope Francis implored Europe on Saturday to respond to the migrant crisis on its shores “in a way that is worthy of our common humanity,” during an emotional and provocative trip to Greece.He paid a visit to the Greek island of Lesbos, alongside the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians and the head of the Church of Greece.
Francis thanked Greece for its welcome and highlighted the plight of refugees as the European Union implements a controversial plan to deport them back to Turkey.
The Pope walked toward a line of refugees at the Moria detention centre. Some chanted “Freedom! Freedom!” as the pontiff passed by with the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians and the head of the Church of Greece.
Francis bent down as one young girl knelt at his feet sobbing uncontrollably. A woman told the Pope that her husband was in Germany, but that she was stuck with her two sons in Lesbos.
In his remarks to the asylum-seekers, Francis said they should know that they are not alone and shouldn’t lose hope. He said he wanted to visit them to hear their stories and to bring the world’s attention to their plight.
‘Like the Good Samaritan, come to your aid’
“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,” he said. “May all our brothers and sisters on this continent, like the Good Samaritan, come to your aid in the spirit of fraternity, solidarity and respect for human dignity that has distinguished its long history.”
Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and the archbishop of Athens, Ieronymos II, then signed a joint declaration calling on the international community to make the protection of human lives a priority and to extend temporary asylum to those in need.