Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the VI anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa on July 8, a small Italian island 90 miles off the coast of Tunisia.
Pontifex called for an end to the rhetoric which views migrants as ‘other,’ saying they are human beings and among those Christ has commanded his disciples to love and assist.
“They are persons; these are not mere social or migrant issues!” Pope continued “This is not just about migrants,’ in the twofold sense that migrants are first of all human persons, and that they are the symbol of all those rejected by today’s globalized society.”
“These least ones are abandoned and cheated into dying in the desert; these least ones are tortured, abused and violated in detention camps; these least ones face the waves of an unforgiving sea; these least ones are left in reception camps too long for them to be called temporary,” Pope stated.
“In the spirit of the Beatitudes we are called to comfort them in their affliction and offer them mercy,” he urged, “to sate their hunger and thirst for justice; to let them experience God’s caring fatherliness; to show them the way to the Kingdom of Heaven.”
At present the numbers of Christians in Africa are at rise, by 2025, one-sixth – 230 million of the world’s Catholics are expected to be Africans. Half of the African population lives in poverty without access to basic human needs, such as nutrition, clean water, shelter and more.
While Africa is globally the poorest continent, it is also home to the highest birth rate: by 2050, a quarter of the world will be African, with the continent’s population likely to rise from 1.2-billion today to 2.5-billion in 2050.