Two refugee families find shelter in Vatican as Pope Francis urged Catholic perishes all across Europe to house at least one refugee family as Europe continues to grapple with the worst refugee crisis since World War II.
According to media reports, Pope Francis confirmed that two refugee families have been housed in the Vatican itself, according to what was earlier pledged by the Vatican. He said this during an interview with Vatican journalist Aura Miguel, while his upcoming visits to Cuba and United Sates are being finalised.
While speaking about the two refugee families being housed at the Vatican, he said, “Yes, yes, yes, they are already there. And Cardinal Comastri did this, my Vicar General for the Vatican, with him the head of the Almonry, who is Bishop Konrad Krajewski, who works with the people, with the homeless. It’s he who made the showers under the colonnade, the barber’s service. It’s truly wonderful, that he brings people from the street to see the Museums and the Sistine Chapel. The families would stay in residence “until the Lord wants”.
Moreover, Pope Francis insisted upon Europe to receive more migrants saying, “When there is an empty space, people look to fill it. If a country doesn’t have children, migrants come to occupy that place. I think about the level of births in Italy, Portugal, and Spain. I think that it’s almost 0 per cent. So, if there are no children, there are empty spaces.
“I mean, this not wanting to have children which, in part – it’s my interpretation, I don’t know if it’s correct – is a little bit the culture of ‘wellbeing’, no? I heard it in my own family, from my Italian cousins, years ago: ‘No, children no. We prefer to travel on vacations or buy a villa, or this or that.’ And then, the elderly are left alone. I think that the great challenge of Europe is to return to being mother Europe.”
Previously, Pope Francis appealed to every parish in Europe, to welcome a refugee family. “A family gives more assurance of stability, a little to avoid infiltrations of another type,” he said.
“When I speak of a parish welcoming a family, I’m not saying they’re going to live at the rectory, at the parish residence, but that the parish community sees to it there is a place, a corner of a school to make a small apartment or, in the worst case, rent a modest apartment for the family, but that they have a roof, to be welcomed, and that they are integrated into the community. And there were many reactions. Many, many, right? There are convents that are almost empty.”