In the light of the deaths of 800 people who were on a boat carrying migrants hoping to reach the shores of Europe that sank off the coast of Libya this weekend, Pope Francis has spoken out. He made a heartfelt appeal to international leaders to react quickly to ensure that such tragedies are not repeated.
Pope Francis appealed for international intervention in order to end the migrant crisis that has been propelled into the news by the events in the last week. He said the latest people to die "are men and women like us, our brothers seeking a better life". These words reflect the Catholic Social Teaching that, over the past 75 years, has inspired Progressio to work with people in poverty and those suffering marginalisation.
Speaking after a boat carrying migrants capsized off the Libyan coast on Saturday night, leaving 800 dead, the Pope said: "I make a heartfelt appeal for the international community to act decisively and promptly so as to avert similar tragedies being repeated.
"A big boat laden with migrants overturned last night," the Argentine pope said, "and it is feared there are hundreds of victims. They are men women like us, our brothers who are seeking a better life. They were searching for happiness. I invite you to pray in silence first and then all together for these brothers and sisters."
The Pontiff made the comments in his weekly Angelus address to a crowd of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square.
European heads of governments, including the Prime Minister, will meet on Thursday 23 April to discuss on exactly what should be done to prevent similar disasters.
Progressio welcomes Pope Francis’ comments. They recognise that we must stand alongside those who died as a result of the incident and also encourage us and our leaders to think about what we can do to stand alongside people all people who are seeking a better life.