Pope: boat people are brought to freedom

By Nick Schifrin

BBC News, Athens

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play. Pope Francis decried a “shipwreck of civilisation” as he arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos in a church whose main feature was a large wooden outhouse used by migrants. One of those inside this one-room structure was the Pope’s nuncio, the Vatican’s ambassador to Greece. I met him afterwards on the island’s westernmost hill. For much of his day-long visit, the Pope had taken a helicopter to Lesbos, and then a boat to the mainland. I asked him where he had first seen the shipwreck. He replied: “I was in the sky, I saw refugees on the sea shore, those people who are longing to belong, who have left their families, they are coming to freedom, they want to find themselves. “When I was coming here, I saw a shipwreck of civilisation, and humanity. How sad. That shipwreck of civilisation and humanity is our contemporary catastrophe.” I realised his point was that we had all, as humans, made a mistake. We are all trying to avoid any ugly consequences of our desires to dominate

Pope Francis

‘Stained glass ruined the last refugee camp’ Profile: Pope Francis

But the Pope also wanted to show that God – and the people of Greece – are there to help. “God here, God there, God in each person in every place,” he said. “We are all trying to avoid any ugly consequences of our desires to dominate.” Pope Francis believes there is a fundamental problem with our modern world: an overwhelming desire to dominate, coupled with a profound and deep-seated need to feel special. And in this way he believes that the pretence of a “world order” that controls everything to protect us from outside harm is a moral sin, as is the general failure to realise that the human urge for freedom goes beyond any national or individual boundaries. Pope Francis’s descriptions of history are arresting. “Everything destroys everything,” he said. “People here are calling for peace, and violence is saying war is good, peaceful countries are occupiers, that who lives by war is better.” Pope Francis said he saw in Greece the same strong tradition of hope that witnessed the conversion of the Macedonian people after his arrival in 1914. In a strange way, in confronting the alarming death and destruction of the 21st Century, Francis sees that history once again being rediscovered.

Bookmark with: Delicious




StumbleUpon What are these? E-mail this to a friend Printable version

Leave a Comment