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+++ Aquarius ship: Card. Cañizares (Valencia), “the Pope is moved by our generosity and hospitality” +++

“The Pope asked me to tell you that he is moved by our behaviour, and congratulates the Diocese of Valencia for the promptness and generosity with which it responded, and our witness of charity in welcoming these poor people”. Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, Archbishop of Valencia, who was received yesterday in a private audience at the Vatican, said this in a message sent today to his Diocese, concerning the reception of the migrants aboard the Aquarius ship, and two other Italian military ships, who are expected to arrive in Valencia on Sunday. “We are following with true and keen interest, astonishment, compassion and even shame”, Cardinal Cañizares wrote in the message, just received by SIR news agency, “in these long days filled with anguish, the fate of 629 people crossing the Mediterranean, a sea that is becoming an unmarked grave, insatiable, hungry for lives, a sea that has claimed many victims of injustice, selfish power, barbaric cruelty, of the repugnant and devious interests of the mafias and the indifference of nations, that do not listen, as they should, to the poorest countries from which these victims come”. The events surrounding the Aquarius, he said, “overwhelmed our consciences and got us back on our feet to take care of those who knock on the doors of our hearts and the collective conscience of peoples and nations. It is an appeal to people of good will, especially to our humanitarian and Christian conscience”. The cardinal recalled that, upon their arrival at the port of Valencia, the refugees will be welcomed and relocated to different regions of Spain. “From the very beginning, the Diocese has been ready” to “receive, help, support and care for those who are arriving”, he recalled, and is ready “to accommodate, protect, promote and integrate migrants and refugees”, as Pope Francis teaches. “We have made it clear before our authorities – at the autonomous community, local and national levels – and before the public”, he said. “We will do everything within our means: without calculation”. The Diocesan Delegation for Migrations, the diocesan Caritas, the Catholic University with “doctors, nurses, teachers, linguists”, religious Orders and Congregations, the seminar, parishes, families, priests, lay people, volunteers, associations – he ended – “they have all offered their help and are willing to work together to give a Christian response of love, charity and justice to this emergency situation”.

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