The Pope in a meeting with migrants in Cyprus: “hatred is a poison from which it is difficult to detoxify”
Correspondent in the Vatican
In an emotional meeting with immigrants, who make up a fifth of the population of Cyprus, Pope Francis stated this Friday that «God dreams a humanity without walls of separation, freed from enmity; no strangers, but only fellow citizens.
The last public meeting of the Pope in his two days of stay in Cyprus has been carried out by young immigrants, from various ethnic groups and continents, who recounted their stories, sufferings and dreams of a life in peace.
Responding to Rozh’s narration, forced to flee Iraq “To escape violence, bombs and hunger” Already traveling on foot, in trucks or in precarious boats, the Holy Father has commented that “we are all on a long road, made up of ups and downs.”
On that path of life, according to Francisco, «We should not be scared by the differences between us, but rather, our closures and our prejudices, which prevent us from really meeting and walking together ».
Following the words of Maccolins, a young man from Cameroon who had presented himself as “someone wounded by hatred”, the Pope has recognized that “hatred has also contaminated our relations between Christians.”
And this, according to the Pope, “leaves a mark, a deep mark that lasts a long time. It is a poison that is difficult to detoxify. It is a distorted mentality that, instead of making us recognize ourselves as brothers, leads us to see ourselves as adversaries, as rivals.
Very moved, Francis thanked all the people who help in the reception of refugees and immigrants in Cyprus, such as the director of National Caritas, who had commented that the island “Receives more asylum requests per capita than any other country in the European Union.”
In a painful comment, apart from the written text, Francis pointed out to immigrants and refugees that “you are here, but many others have perished along the way. Many in the great cemetery of the Mediterranean. And we get used to and numb to the news: ‘an old barge has sunk, so many have died’… ».
He has also referred with pain to the refugees forcibly returned to a country – it is Libya – “where women are sold and men are interned in torture camps” to force their relatives to pay a ransom.
On several occasions he has mentioned the barbed wires “like the one we see here next to” the Church of the Holy Cross, erected to prevent the passage of refugees who sometimes simply try to save their lives. Because “They get on a barge at night”, insecure and sometimes deadly.
Commenting on the words of Mariamie, a Congolese who confessed “full of dreams”, the Pope added that “God dreams of a world of peace, in which his children live as brothers and sisters.”
In the end, he shook hands with hundreds of participants, many of whom were crying with emotion. Francisco is the first important person who treats them with respect.
The Holy Father will spend his second night in the Apostolic Nunciature of Cyprus, whose courtyard is also divided by the “green line” that separates the Republic of Cyprus from the territory occupied by Turkey.
On Saturday he will fly to Athens, where He will address a speech to the authorities and the diplomatic corps in the presidential palace. Francis will dedicate the afternoon to a meeting with Archbishop Jerónimo II, head of the Orthodox Church of Greece, and a meeting with catechists, seminarians, religious and priests in the Catholic Cathedral of San Dionisio.
On Sunday he will fly to the island of Lesbos to meet, for the second time after the 2016 trip, with refugees from the Middle East in a reception camp.