The detention centers where Europe-bound refugees are held are like Nazi concentration camps, Pope Francis says.
“Refugee camps are concentration camps because they are so overcrowded,” the pontiff said on Saturday.
He spoke during a special religious service on Tiber Island in central Rome, commemorating modern-day Christian martyrs.
In an off-the-cuff addition to his homily, Francis recalled meeting a man and his three children during a visit last year to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.
The man told the Pope that he was a Muslim whose Christian wife was slain before his eyes by “terrorists” after she refused to throw off her crucifix.
Francis did not mention the nationality of the man, and added: “I don’t know if [he] was able to leave that concentration camp.”
The Pope led the service in St Bartholomew Basilica wearing a crimson stole that once belonged to Ragheed Aziz Ganni, a Chaldean priest killed in Mosul, Iraq, in 2007.
Francis called martyrs “the living blood of the Church.”
Before his homily, friends and relatives of slain Christians — including the sister of Father Jacques Hamel, an 86-year-old priest killed in France last year in an Islamist attack — spoke before a packed congregation.
The service was held in the run up to Francis’ April 28-29 visit to Egypt, a country where Christians are under threat. Earlier this month, at least 45 people were killed following an attack on two Coptic Churches claimed by the Islamic State terror militia.
This article was originally published in news.com.au