(Source: CD/Vatican News)

Pope Francis has warned that “no one can remain indifferent” to migrant “tragedies” the day after a tragic fire in a refugee camp on Lesbos.

The need for a “more human and coordinated response” to migration

In an audience on Thursday, the pontiff greeted members of the European project “Snapshots from the Borders” and described their initiative as “a forward-thinking one”.

The Pope said that through their project, the members of “Snapshots from the Borders” are promoting a “deeper comprehension of migration”, allowing European societies to “give a more human and coordinated response to the challenges” of modern-day mass human displacement.

The project

Snapshots from the Borders is a project aimed at informing European citizens about the realities surrounding migration today.  By bringing voices and effective solutions from borders where hot-button issues regarding migration are a concrete reality, for the past three years the organisation has been raising awareness, sharing knowledge, encouraging participation and showing citizens that they have an important role to play. 

“The network of local authorities and civil society organisations which was born from this project aims to contribute positively to the development of migration policies that respond to this goal”, said the Pope. 

Realities today

Pope Francis went on to state that “the current migration scenario is complex and often has dramatic implications”.

The global interdependencies that determine migration flows should be studied and better understood, he said, adding that the many challenges affecting the world are challenges affecting everyone.

“No one can remain indifferent to the human tragedies that continue to occur in different regions of the world”, he said. 

“Unthinkable” to face migration by raising walls

Recalling his meeting with the Bishops of the Mediterranean in Bari last February, Pope Francis noted that many of those suffering in the Mediterranean are fleeing terror in search of a better life.

Often these people are rejected and become victims of indifference and “we never accept that those seeking hope by sea die without ever receiving help”, he said.

Though welcome and integration are not easy stages of the process “it is unthinkable to face it by raising walls”, said the Pope.

Faced with these challenges the need for “concrete solidarity and shared responsibility” become apparent, both at the national and the international level, said Francis, adding, “We must act together, not alone”. 


Pope Francis then expressed the importance of “changing how we see and narrate migration”. It is about putting people at the centre: their faces and their stories.

“This is why projects such as yours are so important”, said the Pope. Inspired by a culture of encounter you try to “propose new approaches” that make up the journey towards a “new humanity”, as a philosophy of life, spirituality and behaviour, he explained. 

Finally, Pope Francis noted that frontiers have always been considered “barriers of division”.

Instead, he said, “they can become ‘windows’, spaces of mutual knowledge, of mutual enrichment, of communion in diversity; places where models are lived to overcome the difficulties that new arrivals entail for local communities”.

More on Novena on the Church’s pleas for migrants:

Cardinals, archbishop: “Europe should be ashamed” after devastating fire in Greek island migrant camp

Secours Catholique denounces “appalling” living conditions of refugees in Calais

German abbess prosecuted for sheltering refugees says she would accept jail term with a “clear conscience”

Director of Jesuit Refugee Service Italy: migrants are “discarded” and “forgotten” because they are not consumers


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.