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Pope Francis Slams ‘Alarmist Propaganda’ Towards Migrants In Europe Categorical Instances

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MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Pope Francis challenged French President Emmanuel Macron and different European leaders to open their ports to folks fleeing hardship and poverty, insisting Saturday that the continent isn’t going through a migration “emergency” however reasonably a long-term actuality that governments should take care of humanely.

For a second straight day within the French port metropolis of Marseille, Francis took goal at European international locations which have used “alarmist propaganda” to justify closing their doorways to migrants, and tried to disgrace them into responding with charity as a substitute. He known as for migrants to have authorized pathways to citizenship, and for the Mediterranean Sea that so many cross to succeed in Europe to be a beacon of hope, not a graveyard of desperation.

The Mediterranean, Francis advised Macron and a gathering of regional bishops, “cries out for justice, with its shores that on the one hand exude affluence, consumerism and waste, whereas on the opposite there’s poverty and instability.”

Pope Francis is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron as arrives on the ultimate session of the “Rencontres Mediterraneennes” assembly on the Palais du Pharo, in Marseille, France, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023.

AP Picture/Alessandra Tarantino

The pope’s go to to town in southern France, which drew an estimated 150,000 well-wishers Saturday, comes as Italy’s far right-led authorities has reacted to a brand new wave of arriving migrants by threatening to arrange a naval blockade of Tunisia and to step up repatriations. The French authorities, for its half, has beefed up patrols on its southern border to cease migrants in Italy from crossing over.

After the bishops’ assembly ended, Macron and Francis held a personal, half-hour assembly. They spoke about migration points and a collection of different matters, the French presidency mentioned, including that each leaders share a “joint will” to carry human options to the scenario.

France is a “host nation” to migrants — particularly to asylum seekers — and is supporting European solidarity insurance policies, together with via financing and preventing human trafficking, the French presidency mentioned. The Vatican supplied no readout of the assembly.

Macron’s centrist authorities has taken a tougher line on migration and safety points after coming below criticism from French conservatives and the far proper. With elections for the European Union’s parliament set for subsequent yr, Macron is pushing for the EU to strengthen its exterior borders and to be extra environment friendly in deporting people who’re denied entry.

Macron greeted Francis on a wind-swept promenade overlooking Marseille’s outdated port, and helped him stroll into the Palais du Pharo for the Mediterranean bishops assembly. Along with his spouse by his facet, the French chief listened as a younger Italian volunteer working in Greece and the bishop of Tirana, Albania, who fled to Italy throughout Albania’s communist rule, spoke of the welcomes they acquired in overseas international locations.

“Might we let ourselves be moved by the tales of so a lot of our unlucky brothers and sisters who’ve the precise each to to migrate and to not to migrate, and never turn out to be closed in indifference,” Francis mentioned. “Within the face of the horrible scourge of the exploitation of human beings, the answer is to not reject however to make sure, based on the chances of every, an ample variety of authorized and common entrances.”

Francis’ two-day journey was scheduled months in the past, however it’s happening as mass migration to Europe is as soon as once more making headlines. Practically 7,000 migrants who boarded smugglers boats in Tunisia got here ashore on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa inside a day final week, briefly outnumbering the resident inhabitants.

However, Francis mentioned speak of a migration “emergency” solely fuels “alarmist propaganda” and stokes peoples’ fears.

“Those that threat their lives at sea don’t invade, they search for welcome, for all times” he mentioned. “As for the emergency, the phenomenon of migration isn’t a lot a short-term urgency, at all times good for fueling alarmist propaganda, however a actuality of our instances.”

Along with Macron, the pope’s viewers on Saturday included European Fee Vice President Margarítis Schinás, European Central Financial institution President Christine Lagarde and French Inside Minister Gérald Darmanin, who has mentioned France wouldn’t soak up new migrants from Lampedusa.

The French president and first woman Brigitte Macron later attended Francis’ ultimate Mass on the Marseille Velodrome that drew an estimated 50,000 folks and featured an enormous banner of the pope hoisted up within the stands. The Vatican, citing native organizers, mentioned 100,000 extra lined Marseilles’ central Avenue du Prado to cheer as his popemobile handed by.

Historical past’s first Latin American pope has made the plight of migrants a precedence of his 10-year preach. For his first journey as pope, he traveled to Lampedusa to honor migrants who had drowned whereas making an attempt to cross the ocean.

Within the years since, he has celebrated Mass on the U.S.-Mexico border, met with Myanmar’s Rohingya refugees and, in a visual show of his dedication, introduced dwelling 12 Syrian Muslims on his airplane after visiting a refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece.

Migrants and their advocates dwelling in Marseille, which has an extended custom of multicultural hospitality, mentioned Francis’ name for charity and paths to citizenship gave them hope that a minimum of somebody in Europe was sympathetic to their plight.

“It’s a very lovely alternative for us,” mentioned Francky Domingo, who’s a part of a Marseille-based affiliation representing migrants searching for official identification paperwork. “We actually need the pope to be our spokesperson to the politicians as a result of the European coverage on migration could be very, very repressive for us migrants.”

Francois Thomas, head of the maritime rescue group SOS Mediterranee, mentioned he hoped Francis’ phrases can be heard in European capitals.

“You don’t depart folks to drown within the Mediterranean. It isn’t potential,” Thomas mentioned at Marseilles’ memorial to migrants misplaced at sea.

In his remarks, Francis additionally repeated his opposition to euthanasia, which he has lengthy decried as a symptom of a “throwaway tradition” which treats the aged and infirm as dispensable. Itemizing euthanasia as a “social evil,” he criticized supporters of assisted suicide as offering “false pretenses of a supposedly dignified and ‘candy’ demise that’s extra ‘salty’ than the waters of the ocean.”

The problem is present in France, the place Macron is anticipated within the coming weeks to unveil a invoice that may legalize end-of-life choices in France. French media reported that he delayed the presentation of the measure till after the pope’s go to to maintain the delicate subject from interfering.

No particulars of the federal government’s proposal have been launched, however a number of choices are into account, together with legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia for grownup sufferers with incurable circumstances below strict circumstances that assure their free and knowledgeable consent.

The French presidency mentioned Francis and Macron mentioned the difficulty throughout their bilateral assembly however didn’t enter into the main points.

Related Press faith protection receives help via the AP’s collaboration with The Dialog US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely chargeable for this content material.

Comply with AP’s protection of worldwide migration at

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