The Globalization of Indifference (Update)

This morning Pope Francis visited the tiny island of Lampedusa, off the coast of Sicily. As I reported in a previous post, the island is closer to Tunisia than to Sicily. It is therefore the destination of many from North Africa, seeking a better life for themselves and their children.Tragically, a number have perished making the voyage.

Francis chose the island for his first journey outside Rome, going to the margins where the most needy are to be found.

Here is a report from Vatican News:

The Holy Father wore violet vestments during the Mass, calling it a “liturgy of repentance.”

“God asks each one of us: Where is the blood of your brother that cries out to me?,” Pope Francis said during his homily, quoting from the Genesis story of Cain and Abel. “Today no one in the world feels responsible for this; we have lost the sense of fraternal responsibility.”

“The culture of well-being, that makes us think of ourselves, that makes us insensitive to the cries of others, that makes us live in soap bubbles, that are beautiful but are nothing, are illusions of futility, of the transient, that brings indifference to others, that brings even the globalization of indifference,” he continued. “In this world of globalization we have fallen into a globalization of indifference. We are accustomed to the suffering of others, it doesn’t concern us, it’s none of our business.”

The voyage has created tremendous attention in the Italian Press. It will be interesting to see whether it receives much notice here.

Update:

Andrea Tornielli, one of the most knowledgable Vatican commentators his written:

But the Pope’s visit to Lampedusa on this hot summer day is emblematic for other reasons as well. The Pope has shown that he can travel around Italy without all the usual pomp and ceremony of a papal visit, without queues of politicians and institutional representatives in tow and without being surrounded by bishops and cardinals. He can go and private visit – or at least as private as a papal visit can be – doing away with anything superfluous, getting around in an off-road car and using a wooden crozier and chalice made using the wood from the boats that came to the island carrying groups of immigrants in desperate search of a better life. The Pope’s visit to Lampedusa, the gateway to Europe could be a possible model for the future, the promise of a pontificate of change, which is evident even in its early days.

The rest is here.

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.

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