RELIGION

Pope Francis' Palm Sunday Message: Don't Abandon Refugees

The pope went-off script during his Sunday morning homily at the Vatican.

Pope Francis went off-script from his prepared homily on Palm Sunday to decry the abandonment of refugees entering Europe. 

During the Sunday morning message at the Vatican, the pope compared indifference to migrants flooding into Europe from war-torn countries to the attitudes of political and religious authorities who ignored Jesus' sentence before he was crucified. 

"Even as every form of justice is denied to him, Jesus also experiences, in his own flesh, indifference," the pope said. "Since no one wishes to take responsibility for his fate, I am thinking of so many other people, so many marginalized people, so many asylum seekers, so many refugees."

"There are so many who don't want to take responsibility for their destiny." 

For many Christians, Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week and commemorates the joyful welcome of Jesus to Jerusalem before he was betrayed, crucified and resurrected, according to Christian belief.

Uplifting the poor and marginalized has been a central aspect of Francis' papacy. 

Last June, he reminded the world that Jesus was a refugee. In an address to members of Congress two months later, he urged compassion and responsiveness to the plight of both refugees and undocumented immigrants.

"We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome,” Francis told lawmakers in September. 

On Friday, leaders of the European Union brokered a controversial deal with Turkey aimed at curbing the influx of migrants into EU countries like Greece, Germany and Sweden. 

As of Sunday, migrants who reach the shores of EU countries from Turkey will be turned back to Turkey, according to the agreement. In exchange, Turkey will receive financial incentives and support for its bid for EU membership. 

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