Pope calls on Europeans to take in refugees

Pope Francis calls on European community to take in refugee families, as thousands of people enter in Germany, Austria

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Pope Francis delivers his blessing during the Angelus noon prayer at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

Pope Francis called on Catholic parishes, convents, monasteries and sanctuaries to shelter refugee families announcing that the Vatican will also shelter two families in the coming days, during his Angelus blessings in Rome on Sunday.

He said "faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of asylum-seekers fleeing death [as] victims of war and hunger who are hoping to start a new life, the gospel calls on us and asks us to be the neighbour of the smallest and the most abandoned, to give them concrete hope."

"The closed couple, the closed family, the closed group, the closed parish, the closed country, that comes from us, it has nothing to do with God," he added.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Sept 3, said that they do not want a large number of Muslim refugees in their country, claiming that the refugees threaten Christian roots in Europe.

Finnish PM gives his home up to shelter refugees 

In the meantime, the Prime Minister of Finland Juha Sipila pledged that he will give up his house in Kempele, used seldom by his family, to accommodate refugees, speaking to the country’s national broadcaster YLE on Sunday.

“We should all take a look in the mirror and ask how we can help,” he said.

More than 8,000 refugees have arrived in Germany so far and welcomed by the local residents.

Many of them were transferred to refugee centres to receive humanitarian assistance and to be registered, however, thousands more are expected to arrive in the country during the day.

German Interior Ministry spokesman Harald Heymans said on Sunday that Germany’s decision to open its doors to refugees is an exceptional case for humanitarian reasons.

Australia to accept more Syrian Refugees

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott also stated that his country will increase the refugee intake from Syria and Iraq as part of its existing humanitarian programme, adding that he sent Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to Geneva to talk with the UNHCR commissioner on what Australia can do, to tackle the current refugee crisis, during a press conference in Canberra.

The Australian government came under pressure after several cabinet members and two Liberal Premiers called for a boost in Australia’s refugee intake on Saturday.

Abbott said “we are disposed to take more people from that troubled region [Middle East] under our refugee and humanitarian programme and we are open to provide more financial assistance to the UNHCR in the weeks and months ahead,” but he signals that the government is planning to increase the intake from Syria and Iraq as a share of its existing humanitarian programme , rather than taking more people in addition to its current substantial commitment.

"No, we are proposing to take more people from this region as part of our very substantial commitment," he said.

"I'm not going to put a number on it now."

Abbott said that their focus would be on families, women and children especially persecuted minorities, who have sought refuge in camps neighbouring Syria and Iraq, without giving any specific numbers.

In the last financial year, Australia accepted almost 4,500 people coming from eastern Syria and northern Iraq as part of its plan to increase the overall refugee intake to 18,750 by 2018.



TRTWorld and agencies