The Pope Is Asking All Of Europe's Parishes To Take In Migrant Families
Pope Francis asked Europe's Catholic communities to provide shelter to migrant families as thousands of refugees flood the continent.
According to Huffington Post, the progressive Argentinian issued the call on Sunday in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.
I appeal to the parishes, the religious communities, the monasteries and sanctuaries of all Europe to... take in one family of refugees.
A parish typically refers to a Christian congregation with its own priest or pastor.
Italy contains over 25,000 such communities while Germany is home to over 12,000.
Should the request of Francis, the grandson of Italian emigrants, be answered, shelter would be given to tens of thousands of refugees.
Germany and Austria recently received thousands of migrants who were detained in Hungary for several days during a record-breaking influx largely impacted by the Syrian civil war.
The crowd applauded Francis, but at least two countries already expressed disdain toward sheltering migrants of religions other than Christianity, The Washington Post reports.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban reportedly stated,
...those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture.
Slovakia's interior ministry appeared to share this opinion. Ivan Netik, an interior ministry spokesman, said to the BBC last month,
We could take 800 Muslims but we don't have any mosques in Slovakia, so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?
But, Francis recalled the teachings of Christ to counter such views on Sunday. He said,
…the Gospel calls, asking of us to be close to the smallest and forsaken. To give them a concrete hope. And not just to tell them: 'Have courage, be patient!'
Vatican City's two parishes will each take in one migrant family.
Francis reportedly played a significant role in launching an Italian initiative to rescue migrants trapped at sea.
Germany has been the most welcoming European nation to migrants with 17,000 coming in over the weekend as Hungary moved to close its borders.
By the end of the year, Berlin expects to receive over 800,000 migrants.