Malta is a key location as concerns the issue of migration, Pope Francis said Wednesday during his general audience in speaking about his trip to the island this week. He then called for the world to become more "fraternal, more liveable" in order to save itself from a "shipwreck that threatens all of us".
"Malta is a key place regarding the phenomenon of migration," Pope Francis said during his general audience on Wednesday (April 6) in speaking about his trip to the island on the weekend, April 2-3.
The pope had visited the Catholic-run John XXII migrant center in Malta where he heard testimonies from young men who arrived on Malta's shores and embraced them. His audience included around a dozen undocumented Africans living at the center.
"In the John XXIII welcome center, I met numerous migrants who landed on the island after terrible journeys. We must never tire of listening to their testimonies because only this way can we emerge from a distorted vision that is often circulated in the mass media, and the faces, the stories, the wounds, the dreams and the hopes of these migrants can emerge," the pope said Wednesday.
Reception 'must be organized but migrants are wealth'
He urged for migration not to be reduced to a crisis, and for migrants not to be seen as numbers, but as persons.
"Certainly, welcoming them must be organized ... and supervised; and first, long before, it must be planned together, at an international level," he said.
"The phenomenon of migration cannot be reduced to a crisis; it is a sign of our times. It should be read and interpreted as such. It can become a sign of conflict, or rather a sign of peace. It depends on how we take it; it depends on us," he added.
"Every migrant is unique," Pope Francis stressed. "He or she is not a number but a person. Each is unique just like each one of us. Every migrant is a person with dignity, with roots, with a culture. Each of them is the bearer of a wealth infinitely greater than the problems they bring. And let us not forget that Europe was made of migrations."
World 'must save itself from a shipwreck threatening us all'
Pope Francis also described Malta as "a laboratory for peace" that can realize its mission "if it draws the sap of fraternity, compassion and solidarity from its roots."
"I chose these very words -- with unusual kindness -- as the motto of my Journey because they indicate the path to follow, not only to face the phenomenon of migrants, but more generally, so that the world might become more fraternal, more livable, and might be saved from a 'shipwreck' that menaces all of us. For we are all -- as we have learned -- in the same boat, all of us. Viewed from that horizon, Malta is a key place," he said.