Pope hits out at 'global indifference' to migrants
POPE Francis has condemned what he called the "globalisation of indifference" towards the plight of refugees.
During a historic visit to the tiny island of Lampedusa, he prayed for the estimated 20,000 migrants and asylum seekers who have drowned trying to reach Italy in the last 20 years.
Francis (pictured), the son of Italian immigrants who moved to Argentina before World War II, led Mass in sight of a cluster of abandoned fishing boats, hauled ashore after they had been used by people traffickers to bring migrants from North Africa.
Tens of thousands of migrants, mostly from Africa, have reached Lampedusa in recent years in search of a better life in Europe.
The Pope yesterday remembered those who did not make it after drowning in the Mediterranean when their boats sank.
"We ask forgiveness for the indifference towards so many brothers and sisters," he said.
"The culture of well-being makes us think about ourselves, renders us insensitive to the cries of others," the pontiff said, urging "brotherly responsibility" towards refugees.
Just hours before the Pope's arrival, a boat reached the island carrying 166 migrants, many looking exhausted.
A few had to be helped on to stretchers while others were given water and food. (© Daily Telegraph, London)