Pope laments thousands lost at sea off Italian island

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During his half-day visit to the island the Pope laid a wreath in the sea to remember the tens of thousands of migrants who have lost their lives whilst crossing the Mediterranean.

Pope Francis said that today the world is no longer attentive such to tragedies: “Perhaps we think ‘poor guy’, and we continue on our way, it’s none of our business; and we feel fine with this.”  He also lamented the fact there are “people for whom the poverty of others is a source of income”.  Pope Francis noted that “we have fallen into a globalisation of indifference. We are accustomed to the suffering of others, it doesn’t concern us, it’s none of our business.”

This indifference he said also extended to those behind the scenes “who anonymously make socio-economic decisions that open the way to tragedies”. 

Since the early 2000s, the island has become a primary European entry point for migrants, mainly from Africa and following the Arab Spring, the number of immigrants far surpassed the number of Islanders, by the end of August, 48,000 had arrived.

Martin Foley, National Director of the Apostleship of the Sea, said: “Unfortunately, the ‘globalisation of indifference’ that Pope Francis highlighted is something our port chaplains continue to encounter. The not insignificant number of cases of abandonment, stowaways, non-payment of wages and other abuses show that indifference and the exploitation of others as a source of income are still present in the maritime world.”

The Apostleship of the Sea is gearing up for its annual Sea Sunday appeal on Sunday 14th July when it encourages churches across the UK to support seafarers and the work of the Apostleship of the Sea.