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Poverty in Europe: Fr. Soddu (Caritas), “There is no silver bullet, commitment is of the essence”

(From Athens) – In a Europe where the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer, a Europe unable to find answers to the increasing numbers of migrants, what perspectives can the Church suggest? These topics were addressed today in Athens at the round table of the International Seminar “Greece, European paradox, between crisis and refugees” (7-9 July), co-organized by Caritas Italy, Missio and FOCSIV, supporters of the campaign of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) entitled “The right to remain in one’s homeland”, and by supporters of the campaign “One human family, food for all: it is our duty”. “Pope Francis reminds us of the need of a revolution to promote the social inclusion of the poor”, said Caritas Italy Director Fr. Francesco Soddu. “There is no silver bullet, commitment is of the essence. Our role is mainly pedagogical; it is not our mission to act as the doctors of society, but to give voice to those who have none. In other words, instead of placing too much emphasis on aid, we should try to overcome the impasse, as all countries are now stuck in their own ideas and selfishness. We should reach out to the peripheries, stop the building of walls”. FOCSIV President Gianfranco Cattai called on the implementation of the proposals contained in the report entitled “Greece, European paradox, between crisis and refugees”, which was presented this morning. He then made some remarks about the latest communication from the European Commission on the “Migration Compact”: “There is a positive aspect about the aid given to Africa – he said -, but Europe should realize that €1.8 billion invested in 20 countries over 5 years is just crumbs: it equals the amount of money spent in Italy for the reception of 140,000 migrants”. Mr Cattai also urged the EU to “review the deal with Turkey, because the consequences for Greece will be even more disastrous”. Missio Foundation Director Fr. Michele Autuoro cited the words of Pope Francis, encouraging everyone to counter the globalisation of indifference with a “globalisation of communion and cooperation between Churches, with a perspective of mutual exchange and enrichment”, as it is happening in these days between the ecclesial realities of Italy and Greece which, for the first time, are taking part in a joint event. Over 150 people attended the seminar.

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