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Sunday, July 7, 2013
Having a Heart for Refugees
"Did we actually vote for someone who really believes in what he preaches?" some within the Curia are now whispering. Once again, according to the Spiegel Online, Francis has taken them fully by surprise. In an almost demonstrative manner, he has been excluding the Vatican apparatus in every way he can. Most recently, this happened with the trip the pope announced he would take on Monday to the island of Lampedusa (photo map) in southern Italy. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, first learned of the planned trip through a papal press release. And instead of the kind of months of advance-team work used by heads of the Catholic Church for trips in the past, Francis has dispensed with that. Instead, the eccentric Argentinian pope ordered his staff to prepare a plane so that he could fly there in the morning and be back by midday.
Thousands of refugees fleeing Tunisia and Libya revolutions arrive at Lampedusa each year in desperation after making the journey across the Mediterranean from North Africa in small, dangerous boats. Francis wants to pray together with them and also throw a wreath into the sea to commemorate those who have lost their lives trying to make it to Europe. The pope has announced that he doesn't want to meet with the mayor or other authorities. Not completely responsive to the refugees - the poor and their plight, he also requested local church officials to stay away._______________