News

Pope Francis Visits Lampedusa

08th July 2013

Pope Francis in the first visit of his papacy has spoken against a ‘globalization of indifference’ for those migrants who have perished whilst crossing from North Africa to the Italian Island of Lampedusa. During his half-day visit to the island the Pope laid a wreath in the sea to remember the tens of thousands of migrants who have lost their lives whilst crossing the Mediterranean.
          Pope Francis said that today the world is no longer attentive such to tragedies, ‘perhaps we think “poor guy,” and we continue on our way, it’s none of our business; and we feel fine with this.’  He also lamented the fact there are ‘people for whom the poverty of others is a source of income.’  Pope Francis noted that ‘we have fallen into a globalization of indifference. We are accustomed to the suffering of others, it doesn’t concern us, it’s none of our business.’ This indifference he said also extended to  those behind the scenes ‘who anonymously make socio-economic decisions that open the way to tragedies’.
          Since the early 2000s, the island has become a primary European entry point for migrants, mainly from Africa and following the Arab Spring, the number of immigrants far surpassed the number of Islanders, by the end of August, 48,000 had arrived. Martin Foley, National Director of AoS said ‘Unfortunately, the ‘globalisation of indifference’ that Pope Francis highlighted is something our port chaplains continue to encounter.  The not insignificant number of cases of abandonment, stowaways, non-payment of wages and other abuses show that indifference and the exploitation of others as a source of income are still present in the maritime world.’

We are now gearing up for our annual Sea Sunday appeal on Sunday 14th July, when we encourages churches across the country to support seafarers and the work of the Apostleship of the Sea. For more information about Sea Sunday and it's importance you can visit the Sea Sunday section of our website.


(Picture courtesy of The Associated Press)