We are all responsible for our neighbour’s life, says the Pope

Refugees carrying the cross with the life jacket

“The problem, isn’t resolved by blocking the ships,” said Pope Francis, referring to migration and the question of refugees. We must help and save, because we are all responsible for our neighbour’s life, and the Lord will ask us to give an account of this on Judgment Day.”

At the end of Wednesday’s audiences, Pope Francis met with refugees that arrived recently from Lesbos, thanks to the humanitarian corridors, and he had a cross set up at the entrance of the Apostolic Palace from the Belvedere Palace, in memory of the migrants and refugees.

There were 33 refugees from different nations, among them: Afghanistan, Cameroon and Togo, from the Greek Island of Lesbos, which Pope Francis visited in April 2016. They arrived in Rome last December 4, at the express wish of the Pontiff and thanks to the Holy See and Sant’ Egidio Community. There were 14 minors and a dozen Christian faithful.

“We Are Responsible”

The Holy Father addressed a few words to them on their arrival, after caressing a baby girl who was sitting on the floor. The refugees stood as the Pope spoke to them in a warm and close atmosphere. “The problem isn’t resolved by blocking the ships,” he said. “We must help and save, because we are all responsible for our neighbor’s life, and the Lord will ask us to give an account of this on Judgment Day.”

“How can we fail to hear the desperate cry of so many brothers and sisters, who prefer to face a stormy sea than to die slowly in Libyan detention camps, places of torture and ignoble slavery?” asked the Pope, thanking the Lord “for all those that have decided not to remain indifferent and spend themselves to help the hapless.”

Crucified with a Life jacket

The Holy Father explained why he decided to show this life jacket in the Vatican, “crucified” on this cross” “To remind us that we must have our eyes open, have our heart open, to remind all of the imperative commitment to save all human life, a moral duty that unites believers and non-believers.

“In the Christian tradition, the cross is a symbol of suffering and sacrifice and, at the same time, of redemption and salvation. “So, he clarified, “this cross is transparent, as it represents a challenge to look at with more attention and to seek, always, the truth,” and he pointed out that it “is luminescent” because it is designed to “encourage our faith in the Resurrection, the triumph of Christ over death,” and the unknown emigrant ” who died with the hope of a new life, also shares this victory. “The meeting ended with the Pope’s invitation to all to pray looking at the cross and the life jacket. Then he greeted each one personally, exchanging a few words with them, and paying special attention to the children.