Vatican City, Dec 5, 2019 / 05:00 am
Pope Francis decried the mistreatment of migrants and said that he is shocked by anti-immigration narratives within Europe during a conversation with Jesuits in Thailand published Thursday.
“I must admit that I am shocked by some of the narratives I hear in Europe about borders. Populism is gaining strength,” Pope Francis said in Thailand according to the Jesuit-run journal La Civilita Cattolica transcript published online Dec. 5.
“The Mediterranean has been turned into a cemetery. The notorious cruelty of some detention centers in Libya touches my heart … In other parts there are walls that even separate children from parents,” the pope is reported to have said in a meeting on Nov. 22.
The pope said that migration issues are compounded by a “defensive mindset” that creates a state of fear and makes people believe that “you can only defend yourself by strengthening borders.”
As a result, refugees are treated as “waste material” rather than human beings, he said.
“The phenomenon of refugees has always existed, but today it is better known because of social differences, hunger, political tensions and especially war. For these reasons, migratory movements are intensifying. What is the answer the world gives? The policy of waste. Refugees are waste material,” Pope Francis said.
Francis said that “Herod comes to mind” when he thinks of immigrant children separated from their parents. “Yet for drugs, there’s no wall to keep them out,” he added.
“The Christian tradition has a rich evangelical experience in dealing with the problem of refugees. We also remember the importance of welcoming the foreigner as the Old Testament teaches us,” Pope Francis said.