Shipwreck leaves more than 50 migrants dead in Italy: The Church expresses pain

steccato di cutro The beach at Steccato di Cutro in Calabria | Public Domain

Pope Francis and leaders of the Church in Italy expressed their pain and sent their prayers for the eternal rest of at least 59 migrants who died in a shipwreck this Sunday off the southern coast of Italy.

The boat that was transporting them crashed into the rocks a few meters from the coast of the village of Steccato di Cutro in Calabria. Italian authorities continue to search with boats for dozens still missing at sea.

According to some witnesses, the ship carried about 250 people on board. Some 80 migrants have been rescued so far.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed on Feb. 26 “her deep regret for the numerous human lives cut short by human traffickers.”

She described as “criminal” having left “a boat of just 20 meters in length with up to 200 people on board and with adverse weather forecasts.”

“It is inhumane to change the lives of men, women, and children for the price of the ‘ticket’ paid by them from the false perspective of a safe trip,” she said.

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, also spoke about the tragedy.

“The country feels profound sadness and acute pain for the umpteenth shipwreck that has occurred on our coasts. The victims belong to everyone and we feel them [as] ours,” he said in a statement.

He also assured that the Church in Italy has joined “the prayer of the Holy Father for each of them, for those who are still missing and for the survivors.”

“We entrust them to God with a thought for their families,” he added.

According to the cardinal, the tragedy reminds us that “the issue of migrants and refugees must be faced with responsibility and humanity.”

“The Mediterranean has become a large cemetery in 20 years. National and European options and policies are needed, with a new determination and with the awareness that not doing so allows similar situations to be repeated,” he said.

Finally, he stressed the need for “European and international awareness” that translates into a “structural, shared, and supportive response between institutions and countries.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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