Returning to Lesbos, the Greek island that has become a symbol of Europe's refugee crisis, Pope Francis on Dec. 5 chided world leaders for their "cynical disregard" of the plight of migrants.
The pope's visit was brief and his message direct: Indifference kills.
"Stop ignoring reality, stop constantly shifting responsibility, stop passing off the issue of migration to others, as if it mattered to no one and was only a pointless burden to be shouldered by somebody else," Francis pleaded during his return visit.
As he spoke against a backdrop of refugee shelters along the shores of the Aegean Sea, Francis cited the global vaccination campaign and the fight against climate change, saying that while these efforts are at times stalled, he believes forward progress is being made.
"All this seems to be terribly absent when it comes to migration," he said. "Yet human lives, real people, are at stake!"
NCR Vatican correspondent Christopher White is traveling with the pope. Read his full report from Lesbos here.
- Daniel Ejuba, a refugee from Cameroon, may have
been the only person from northern Nicosia who was excited for Pope
Francis' visit to Cyprus. Most of its non-practicing Muslim-majority residents were blissfully unaware (or, apathetic and amused) that Francis was in town.
- Celebrating Mass Sunday in Athen’s Megaron concert hall,
Pope Francis said God the Almighty almost always chooses the least
mighty people and the most desolate places to reveal the power of his
- Catch up with all of NCR's coverage of Francis' trip to Cyprus and Greece here.
NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters dives into the Hope Border Institute's new report on the root causes of immigration that shines a light on the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. "What led you to leave your home?" was the question posed to 51 migrants in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and the answers provide the basis of the report.
The study found that Central Americans tend to migrate for a variety of reasons such as poverty, gang violence or domestic violence. Among the Mexicans they surveyed, violence and threats were the primary reason given for choosing to leave their homes, especially the forced conscription of young men into gangs run by drug cartels. The most shocking data point, says Winters, was that nearly 70% of the interviewees were extorted or threatened by a criminal organization or gang at some point in their life.
"We in the U.S. are right to worry about the health of our democracy but perhaps helping these failing states to our south would be one way to recognize anew the preciousness of living under the rule of law," Winters writes. "Our police and legal systems have their problems, to be sure, but we are not a failed state."
In Malawi, dependence on firewood and charcoal as sources of income and for energy needs has led people in the world's fifth poorest country to chop down vast portions of the forest. To reduce deforestation, Carmelite Missionary Sisters are teaching women skills that will not further damage the forests. Read more at Global Sisters Report.
Rebecca Bratten Weiss interviews several Catholic parents who are concerned about the safety of their children at Catholic parishes and schools across the nation with lax COVID-19 protocols.
ICYMI: The Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem has posted a memo on the patriarchate website that appears to overturn a 45-year-old agreement with Western Christian churches to unify the celebration of Christian holidays.