Pope tells Europe to tear down fences, welcome migrants

Vatican City, May 6 (IANS/AKI) Pope Francis on Friday said he longed for a Europe that does not criminalise migrants, urging its leaders to “tear down walls” and build a fairer and more inclusive society.

“I dream of a Europe where being a migrant is not a crime but a summons to greater commitment on behalf of the dignity of every human being,” Francis told a Vatican audience including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“A Europe that cares for children, that offers fraternal help to the poor and those newcomers seeking acceptance because they have lost everything and need shelter.”

The powerful speech praised the EU founding fathers who had “dared to change radically the models” that had led to World War II and praised their pursuit of integration in its aftermath.

“Today more than ever, their vision inspires us to build bridges and tear down walls,” Francis said in an apparent reference to moves by Austria and other countries to re-establish border fences in response to the continent’s biggest refugee crisis since 1945.

He also criticised the EU’s position on the economy and on youth employment, saying the bloc needs to “create dignified and well-paying jobs, especially for our young people”.

His hard-hitting message included a call for a total revamp of economic policies, and the creation of “new, more inclusive and equitable economic models”.

The 79-year-old pontiff was speaking at a ceremony to present him with the EU’s Charlemagne Prize for his contribution to European unification.

The heads of the EU’s main institutions, the Council, the Commission, the Parliament and its central bank attended the prize-giving ceremony.


  1. ‘Tear down fences ‘ says the guy who lives in a city surrounded by a tall wall. Then again, hypocrisy is nothing new to some of these groups. One rule for us and another rule for others!!

  2. Perhaps Pope Francis is not aware that his predecessor Pope Leo 1V built the wall (fence) in 846 to protect St. Peter’s church.

    Here is an article from Catholic Answers website titled “Endless Jihad” and for the ease of reference I have cut and pasted below just one paragraph from the article, if you wish to read the whole article, then click on the link http://www.catholic.com/documents/endless-jihad-the-truth-about-islam-and-violence

    “They captured Sicily and invaded the Italian mainland. “Naples, Genoa, Ravenna, Ostia, and even Rome itself were all for a time pillaged or occupied by the Saracens. Human beings became a cheap and abundant commodity. In Rome, in 846 . . . the Muslims even looted the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul, and the pope had to buy off the invaders with the promised tribute of 25,000 silver coins a year. Pope Leo IV then ordered the construction of the Leonine Wall around the city to protect St. Peter’s from further assault.”

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