Vatican City (dpa) – An unfair global economic order which puts money
before human beings is at the root of the migration crises in Europe
and elsewhere, Pope Francis said in an interview published Monday.
“These poor people are fleeing war, hunger, but that is the tip of
the iceberg. Because underneath that is the cause; and the cause is a
bad and unjust socio-economic system,” he told Radio Renascenca,
according to an English translation by the Portuguese broadcaster.
“That is the dominant economic system nowadays, it has removed the
person from the centre, placing the god money in its place, the idol
of fashion,” Francis insisted. “I know about migration,” he said,
recalling that his Italian parents moved to Argentina in the 1920s.
“I want to speak about this without pointing my finger at anyone in
particular,” the pope said. “When there is an empty space, people try
to fill it. If a country has no children, immigrants come in and take
At the same time, Francis said he understood the difficulty of
opening up Europe’s doors at a time of high unemployment and rising
threats from radical Islamic groups in North Africa and the Middle
“The truth is that just 400 kilometres from Sicily there is an
incredibly cruel terrorist group. So there is a danger of
infiltration, this is true,” the pontiff said, in an apparent
reference to the Islamic State in Libya.
Francis said more efforts were needed to bring peace and prosperity
to countries people are fleeing from, and mentioned the plight of the
Rohingya Muslim minority in western Myanmar. Many of them have died
at sea while trying to reach Malaysia or Indonesia.
The pope was also asked about his September 6 appeal for each
European Catholic parish to take in a migrant family, which came with
the announcement that two of them would be hosted by the couple of
parishes within the Vatican City State.
“When I say that a parish should welcome a family, I don’t mean that
they should go and live in the priest’s house, in the rectory, but
that each parish community should see if there is a place, a corner
in the school which can be turned into a small apartment [for them],”
Separately, the Vatican called a meeting on the crises in Syria and
Iraq with Middle Eastern bishops and more than 30 Catholic charities
operating in the area. It said more than 12 million Syrians and more
than 8 million Iraqis are in need of aid.