Shipwreck at Lampedusa
Pope Francis made some remarks on October 4 about the shipwreck of refugees off Lampedusa that had occurred the previous day. Le Figaro has a summary:
During his visit to Assisi where he met handicapped children and adults, Pope Francis affirmed that "today is a day for tears", on the day decreed as a day of mourning in Italy following the tragedy at Lampedusa. Very moved, he denounced "the indifference towards those who flee slavery and hunger to find freedom, and who find death, as they did yesterday at Lampedusa."
More than one hundred persons died and about two hundred were missing after the shipwreck.
He stresses that we must not be indifferent, and implies we should take these people in. He does not take into consideration what is at stake for Europe.
Another reaction to the terrible but predictable tragedy comes from Cécile Montmirail, writing at Bernard Antony's blog, a traditionalist Catholic website:
The latest catastrophe on the island of Lampedusa was not due to some irresponsible conduct on the part of Europe as sixty-eight self-described humanitarian associations proclaim, at the head of which is France Terre d'Asile. With respect to its director Pierre Henry, Europe had nothing to do with the thousands of people braving death every day to get to our shores.
Note: France Terre d'Asile, a refugee service and an agency of the EU, was founded in 1971.
If Tunisians, Syrians, Libyans, Sudanese, leave their countries en masse, it is because Islamic groups are spreading terror there and disrupting the economies.
If Europe is responsible for anything it is for having encouraged the Arab revolutions that are having such disastrous consequences for the populations. But it has not been responsible for the future of these populations since the end of colonization. Since the end of colonization, each population has been responsible for its own future.
Europe therefore must take care of its own future and in particular of those Europeans who are the poorest and most vulnerable, and whose numbers do not cease to grow because the migrants arriving en masse, even poorer than they, take their place, and this is an injustice.
True, we cannot be insensitive to the misfortunes of those populations whose misery has cast them onto the seas, where they often face certain death or atrocious torture, especially the women.
But the fight against one injustice cannot be waged by creating another injustice. To create a humanitarian corridor bringing in all the African, Asian, Arab migrants who dream of coming to Europe would mean the end of Europe which is already very sick. It is not an acceptable solution. It is a solution that, under the appearance of generosity, is intrinsically bad because it is founded on a false diagnosis.
As for Pope Francis, he is generating much debate and much concern. I cannot comment on this topic, but Laura Wood writing at The Thinking Housewife has two substantial articles here and here. There are other articles about the Pope, if you browse through her site.
French readers can turn to an article from Yves Daoudal and the dozens of comments from his readers.
I think we have a Pope who is in tune with the times, and who wants to be in tune with the times. Unfortunately the times call for a higher level of perception of the crude realities the Western world and the Church are facing. He does not seem willing or able to rise above the easy rhetoric of humility and compassion for the suffering. Of course, we must have compassion for the suffering, but as the article by Cécile Montmirail pointed out, it is Europe itself that is suffering and greatly in need of a strong voice. The question some Catholics are asking is whether or not he is a legitimate Pope. But the same question is being asked with respect to the French president. As the West adopts, through force or consent, degraded values, then the leaders are going to espouse and promote these degraded values. Are these leaders legitimate? Yes and no. Yes, if you consider the degradation to be a permanent shift away from tradition. No, if you consider tradition to be the necessary foundation for a future that unfolds along lines of excellence.
Top, some of those rescued. Below, a torchlight procession in Lampedusa.