During his weekly Angelus prayer, the 86-year-old pontiff expressed his prayers for the 41 individuals reported missing after a boat that departed from the port of Sfax in Tunisia capsized on Wednesday. The Supreme Pontiff, with a sense of sorrow and shame, acknowledged the UN figures revealing that over 2,000 migrants have tragically lost their lives in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year. In front of a congregation gathered in Saint Peter’s Square, the Argentine Pope referred to this as an “open wound in our humanity.”
He extended his support to politicians and diplomats who are striving to heal this wound through solidarity and brotherhood. He also acknowledged the dedicated efforts of those working tirelessly to prevent shipwrecks and rescue migrants at sea. Pope Francis, known for his consistent appeals for better treatment of those seeking refuge for a brighter future, emphasized that indifference to the tragedies faced by those crossing the sea is unacceptable.
A United Nations spokesperson revealed that “at least 2,060” migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year, with over 1,800 of these fatalities occurring in the central Mediterranean—a figure more than double that of the previous year. Recounting recent incidents, one of the latest shipwrecks off the Tunisian coast resulted in the tragic deaths of two individuals, including an infant.
In light of these ongoing crises, officials reported the passing of 11 migrants in a shipwreck near Sfax on Monday, with many more still unaccounted for. Additionally, following two separate shipwrecks near the Italian island of Lampedusa, at least 30 immigrants were reported missing on Sunday. As Pope Francis addresses these tragedies, his words serve as a call for unity, compassion, and collective action in the face of the human suffering and loss unfolding in the Mediterranean waters.