Pope Francis says situation at US-Mexico border a ‘serious problem’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has called the migration crisis between Mexico and the United States a “serious problem” and praised a US bishop working along the border during an interview with Telemundo journalist Julio Vaqueiro.

In the interview, which aired May 25, the pope was shown photos of a baby wrapped in a blanket and placed in a suitcase to be taken across the Rio Grande to the United States.

“It’s a serious problem there,” the pope replied. “Across (the border) there is a great man, Bishop Seitz” from El Paso, Texas.

“This bishop feels (the problem),” Pope Francis said. “The migrant problem is serious, it’s serious there and it’s serious here,” he said of Europe, particularly “along the Libyan coast.”

Speaking from his own experience as a child of immigrants, and now as an immigrant to Rome, the pope said anyone who leaves their homeland “misses the air of their birthplace.”

“The mate you make yourself in a thermos is not the same as the mate your mother or aunt makes for you,” he said, referring to the popular caffeinated herbal drink. Argentina.

Vaqueiro asked Pope Francis about his May 13 meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The pope said Zelenskyy asked for his help with the return of Ukrainian children who had been taken to Russia and told the pope “not to dream too much about mediations”.

Since the outbreak of the war, the Vatican has avoided open condemnation of the Russian government and has offered itself as a mediator for peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.

“Really, the Ukraine bloc is very strong, it’s all of Europe, the United States, so it has a lot of strength,” Pope Francis said of why Vatican mediation didn’t seem feasible immediately. “But what really pained (Zelenskyy) and what he asked for collaboration on was trying to bring the children back to Ukraine.”

According to a Ukrainian government website, more than 19,000 Ukrainian children have been forcibly deported to Russia or Russian-controlled territories. The United Nations Human Rights Office has declared the illegal transfer of children to its territory by Russia a war crime.

In response to a question about abortion, Pope Francis said that a fetus is a “living being, I don’t say a person, but a living being.”

“Is it licit to eliminate a living being to solve a problem? He asked. “Is it legal to hire a contract killer to solve a problem?

On abuse, the pope said priestly celibacy “has nothing to do” with clergy sexual abuse of minors because, he said, abuse occurs at high rates within families and schools by married people as well.

Vaqueiro, who earlier in the evening served as master of ceremonies during Pope Francis’ meeting with members of Scholas Occurentes, a Vatican-linked educational initiative, asked the pope what remained to be done to achieve the reforms discussed by the cardinals in mind. until the conclave that elected him pope just over 10 years ago.

“Everything,” said Pope Francis. “It’s curious, as we do things, we realize how much remains to be done; it is something insatiable.

Read more Immigration and migration

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