Pope Francis in Lampedusa, throwing a flower wreath in the sea in remembrance of migrants who died. Credit: ANSA
Pope Francis in Lampedusa, throwing a flower wreath in the sea in remembrance of migrants who died. Credit: ANSA

Pope Francis said solidarity is the only answer to the migrant crisis, speaking to refugees and migrant rescue volunteers. He called on migrants to respect the laws and the cultures of the countries that receive them.

Pope Francis once again called for not turning away from migrants and for saving lives at sea without asking too many questions, because "God needs our hands". He called for avoiding becoming complicit in silence and to help those who flee their countries of origin. 

On July 7, he celebrated a mass in which refugees, volunteers, and members of the Italian Coast Guard took part. 

Solidarity, not walls 

"God promises relief and liberation to all the world's oppressed, but he needs us to make his promise effective. He needs our eyes to see the brothers' and sisters' needs. He needs our hands to rescue. He needs our voice to denounce the injustices committed in silence, sometimes with the complicity of many," Pope Francis said. He therefore refused closures and walls. 

"In the face of today's migratory challenges, the only sensible response is that of solidarity and mercy," he said. He said the issue needs "a response that doesn't make too many calculations, but calls for an equal division of responsibilities, an honest and sincere evaluation of the alternatives and cautious management". 

"Just politics is that which puts itself in the service of the people, of all the people involved; that provides solutions that ensure safety, respect for rights and dignity for all; that knows how to look after its own country well while taking into account other countries, in a world that is increasingly interconnected," he said. 

Pope thanks rescuers in Spanish 

Pope Francis chose to speak in Spanish to thank those providing rescue services in the Mediterranean Sea, who save "the life of the poor man beaten by bandits, without asking him who he is, where he's from, why he's travelling or if he has identification; those who simply decide to take him in and save his life". Pope Francis said to those who have been rescued, "I want to repeat my solidarity and encouragement, because I know well the tragedies from which you are fleeing. I ask you to continue to be witnesses to hope in a world that is increasingly worried about its present, with very little vision for the future, and reluctance to share," he said. 

He asked the migrants, however, to have "respect for the culture and the laws of the country that welcomes you". He said, in conclusion, that that is the basis for building integration.

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