International news agencies have related a shocking, heartbreaking occurrence: Two young Christian Syrian refugees in Lesbos, Greece, the brother and sister Roula and Malek Abo, were originally on the list of the 12 refugees who Francis would have taken to Rome — in a gesture devoid of any intention for publicity of course (!) — but they were abruptly taken off the list, and instead, Muslims were put in their place. In fact, the twelve refugees that boarded the plane with Francis were all followers of Mohammed.
The community of Sant’Egidio, in charge of organizing the trip for those who would benefit from the Bishop of Rome’s hospitality, had, of course, planned to benefit Christian refugees, brethren in the faith. Roula and Malek were chosen.
But the light of hope was soon extinguished. The spokesman for Sant’Egidio, Massimiliano Signifredi, referred to the incident as “regrettable”. “Our staff went to Lesbos and spoke with the people who were selected. But everything was decided by the Vatican.”
“The question why the Pope took only Muslims is difficult to understand and he was suffering, I think, because he wanted to do something also for Christians as the chief of the Church. But he couldn’t because there is this international agreement [with the EU].” (CathNews, April 27, 2016)
In fact, the reason given for the exclusion of the Christians was that they did not have their documentation in order… An absurd excuse, in view of the fact that we are dealing with refugees in a setting where numberless immigrants have entered without any sort of monitoring. And also …we are speaking of a Head of State.
How can we accept this partiality toward anti-Christians, put into practice by the Bishop of Rome himself?
How can we possibly comprehend that due to a mere problem with documents — or to fidelity to the letter of a treatise between the EU and Turkey — these children of God, our brothers and sisters, are rejected while the children of another “father” are welcomed with so much solicitude?
This misfortune speaks for itself, seeming to elucidate Francis’ sentiments and convictions. We could almost say that he wants to erase the seal of Christianity from Europe with this indiscriminate welcoming of questionable weeds mixed with wheat. And, what appears even more cruel, is the attempt made to demystify the increasingly dubious figure of a father among the sheep of his flock, which hopes to benefit from his mercy, in the midst of suffering.
Eight months ago, from the window of the Apostolic Palace, Francis had supplicated in vain: “I make an appeal to parishes, religious communities, monasteries and shrines throughout Europe, that they express the Gospel in a concrete way and host a refugee family” (Angelus, September 6, 2015)
It’s obvious to all that his proposal was not obeyed.
In face of his failure, he now forces the issue and goes off to hand-pick 12 Muslims, mercilessly taking a Christian family off the list.
Francis’ self-proclaimed “kindness therapy” is clearly oriented to privilege unbelievers, while a “throwaway culture” is put into practice by its own inventor and denouncer, against the very ones who share our faith.
The door of mercy has been brutishly slammed shut for this refugee Christian brother and sister. After all, aiding Muslims is more ecumenical. It’s more politically correct. Welcoming Christians doesn’t give publicity.
Before long, we are going to hear more about “the smell of the sheep” … Sincerely, faced with this absurdity, we don’t understand why the earth doesn’t quake, or how the sun continues shining…