RAKOVSKI, Bulgaria (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Monday the plight of suffering immigrants and refugees was “the cross of humanity,” taking up their case for the second consecutive day during a visit to Bulgaria that has put him at odds with the government.
Bulgaria’s center-right coalition government, which includes three nationalist anti-migrants parties, wants the European Union to close its external borders to migrants and set up refugee centers outside the bloc.
Fence - Border - Turkey - Controls - Border
It has built a fence along its border with Turkey and stepped up controls on its border with Greece to help block any repeat of the massive migrant influx that gripped Europe in 2015 and stoked support for far-right anti-immigrant parties.
Francis began his second day in Bulgaria with a visit to a refugee center in Sofia, where he met with about 50 people and their children who are helped by a Catholic charity.
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“Today, the world of migrants and refugees is a bit like a cross, the cross of humanity, a cross that many people suffer,” he told them in improvised remarks after hearing some of their stories and listening to children singing.
The center, housed in a former school building, helps migrants mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Organizer - Refugee - Center - Pope - People
An organizer at the refugee center told the pope that people of all faiths, including many Muslims, had volunteered to help the migrants, in...
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