Last Thursday, the statement, entitled “Migrants, from fear to welcome” notes that we are becoming accustomed to images of an ongoing tragedy in which so many die or witness death during their journeys of hope.
Become accustomed to tragedy:
“The barred eyes and the vitreous gaze of those who see themselves grabbed, in extremis, from the abyss that has swallowed up other human lives, the bishops say, are only the last image of a tragedy to which we must not become accustomed to.”
“We feel responsible for this army of poor people, victims of war and hunger, of deserts and torture” they say.
As Pastors of the Church, they continue, we do not pretend to offer cheap solutions. With regard to what is happening, however, we do not intend to look the other way or to make contemptuous words and aggressive attitudes our own. We cannot allow anxiety and fear to influence our choices, determine our responses, foster a climate of mistrust and contempt, anger and rejection”.
It is the tormented history of men, women and children, a history that cries out against the closing of borders and the erection of walls, and that demands we dare, the bishops say, offer solidarity, justice and peace.
The new Italian government’s anti-immigration stance has seen a number of rescue vessels carrying migrants adrift for days in the Mediterranean after being denied entry to Italy, purportedly to discourage traffickers.