Pope Francis traveled to the Italian island of Lampedusa, the "port of Europe" for undocumented immigrants seeking a better future on the continent, to weep for those who have lost their lives on their desperate journeys and he denounced the "globalization of indifference" in the face of such tragedies.
Francis, on his first trip as pontiff, tossed a floral wreath into the sea to pay tribute to the thousands of people who have died while immigrating and met with many immigrants housed on Lampedusa, which lies 113 kilometers (70 miles) off the African coast.
The pope denounced "the cruelty that there is in the world, in ourselves and in those who anonymously make socio-economic decisions that open the way to tragedies such as these" as well as the traffickers who take advantage of the immigrants' poverty.
The deaths a week ago of seven North Africans as they were trying to get to the Italian coast by climbing into the baskets of a Tunisian fishing boat, baskets that were cut loose by the ship's crew, have "stuck like a thorn in my heart," Francis said Monday before 10,000 people attending the Mass he presided over in Lampedusa.
"Who is responsible for the blood of these brothers. Nobody. We all answer: It wasn't me, I have nothing to do with it, it must be others, but not me. Today nobody feels responsible, we have lost the sense of brotherly responsibility, we have fallen into hypocritical behavior," the pope said.
"Let us ask the Lord to give us the grace to cry for our indifference, for the cruelty that there is in the world," said the pontiff, going on to ask forgiveness for "all those who with their decisions on the world level have created situations that lead to these tragedies." EFE