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Death of migrants is a 'disgrace,' Pope says, renewing plea for action

October 03, 2013

Horrified by the news that over 100 immigrants died when their ship caught fire in the Mediterranean Sea off the island of Lampedusa, Pope Francis said that the repeated tragedies involving immigrants are a “disgrace” that must be stopped.

Rescue workers saved at least 150 people who had leapt from the burning ship, but a roughly equal number were confirmed dead and about 200 people were missing after the accident. The ship had been full of migrants from Africa, mostly from Eritrea and Somalia, seeking to reach Europe. The Pope, who was addressing a conference on October 3 as news of the latest accident reached Rome, asked the participants to join him in a prayer for the victims and their relatives.

The Pope—who had visited Lampedusa to dramatize the plight of refugees who risk their lives on the seas—renewed his appeal in his brief statement on October 3. “Let us join our forces together so that similar tragedies are not repeated,” he said. “Only through the concerted collaboration of everyone can we help to prevent them.”


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  • Posted by: jeanneg117438 - Oct. 04, 2013 12:31 PM ET USA

    It is hard to reconcile the Pope's repeated statements about immigration and his remarks that the Church has been emphasizing morality too much.