Pope urges Italians to welcome immigrants fleeing from conflicts
Published 09/05/2011 | 05:00
DURING his two-day visit to northern Italy, Pope Benedict XVI urged Italians yesterday to welcome immigrants.
Italy has been struggling to cope with thousands of illegal migrants that have reached its shores in recent months, often in rickety boats, as they flee unrest spreading through northern Africa.
Yesterday, about 400 were rescued when their boat crashed against rocks at the port of Lampedusa, Italy's closest port.
The Pope's message, related during his homily to more than 300,000 worshippers in Venice, was especially pointed as the visit takes place in the region of Veneto, one of the strongholds of the anti-immigration Northern League.