Pope Francis waves from the balcony of St Peter’s basilica during the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” Christmas message to the city and the world, on December 25, 2015 at St Peter’s square in Vatican. (AFP photo)
Pope Francis has called for a “dignified future” for refugees arriving in Europe, saying those fleeing war and poverty should be integrated in the societies which receive them.
In his Christmas message, Pope on Friday praised those individuals and states helping refugees, saying, “May God repay” them all.
The comments came as Europe is experiencing its worst refugee crisis in decades with more than a million arriving in the continent this year and a record more expected for 2016.
Pope also called for “encouragement… to all those fleeing extreme poverty or war, travelling all too often in inhumane conditions and not infrequently at the risk of their lives,” urging refugees to “be integrated in the societies which receive them.”
Most of the refugees hitting the European shores in 2015 have been escaping war in Syria, where the Takfiri terrorist group Daesh has been wreaking havoc over the past four years. Many blame the Western governments for the refugee crisis, saying the foreign support for the militancy in Syria has forced an increasing number of people to leave their homes in search of a better life in Europe.
Refugees walk at the Grande Synthe camp near Dunkerque in northern France on December 23, 2015. (AFP photo)
The exodus has also been fueled by the militancy in Libya, where rival groups vie for power a few years after dictator Muammar Ghaddafi was toppled and later killed.
In his message, Pope also prayed for an end to the sufferings of the Syrian people, expressing hope that a recent United Nations resolution would succeed in halting as quickly as possible the clashes the Arab country and remedy “the extremely grave humanitarian situation” there.
Pope said the situation in Libya also necessitates a similar agreement to be reached so as “to overcome the grave divisions and violence afflicting the country.”