The pope spoke from the window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square one day after he gave a strong condemnation of euthanasia on his return flight from Marseille in southern France, saying there is such a thing as “bad compassion.”
Pope Francis greets the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square from the window of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace for his Angelus address on Sept. 24, 2023. Vatican Media
Pope Francis spent two days in the French city, where he spoke at a meeting of young people and bishops called Mediterranean Encounter with a message that the deepening migrant crisis unfolding in the Mediterranean is “a reality of our times” that calls for wisdom and a collaborative response from European nations.
“Dear brothers and sisters, today we celebrate World Migrant and Refugee Day, under the theme ‘free to choose whether to migrate or to stay,’ as a reminder that migrating should be a free choice and never the only one possible,” he said on Sunday.
Reflecting on his trip to France, Pope Francis said that the challenge of creating communities that can welcome and integrate migrants was “at the heart” of the Mediterranean Encounter event.
“It is necessary that every man and every woman be guaranteed the opportunity to live a dignified life, in the society in which they find themselves. Unfortunately, misery, wars, and climate crisis force so many people to flee,” he said.
“Therefore, we are all called to create communities ready and open to welcome, promote, accompany, and integrate those who knock on our doors.”
Pope Francis also offered thanks to the Italian bishops’ conference for its efforts to assist migrants in Italy.
Waves from the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square for the pope's Angelus address on Sept. 24, 2023. Vatican Media
In his Angelus message, Pope Francis reflected on Jesus’ parable in the Gospel of Matthew about a landowner who gives all of his laborers the full daily wage, even those who were employed late in the day and worked only one hour.