Ireland: Bishop Crean compares current refugee crisis with days of Great Famine 'coffin ships'


Bridget O'Donnell & children  Illustrated London News 1846

Bridget O'Donnell & children Illustrated London News 1846

With no end in sight to migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, Irish Bishop William Crean called for special prayers at a Mass in the Diocese of Cloyne, for all involved in the refugee crisis. He said the loss of such high numbers of innocent lives at sea resonated strongly with the Irish experience of the 'coffin ships' during the Great Famine.

Bishop Crean said: "Almost every day we see in the media heart-breaking images of refugees fleeing from hunger, from war, from other grave dangers, in search of security and a dignified life for them and their families in Europe. The loss of such high numbers of innocent lives at sea resonates strongly with the Irish experience of the 'coffin ships' during the time of the Great Famine.

I welcome the compassionate, humanitarian response of the Irish Naval Service, many of whom have family connections with our diocese. We have an obligation to safeguard the rights, the religion and the traditions of migrants fleeing persecution. Pope Francis, an outspoken advocate for greater European-wide participation in rescue efforts, reiterated in April his call for action during his July 2013 visit to the island of Lampedusa, and issued a "heartfelt appeal to the international community to react decisively and quickly to see to it that such tragedies are not repeated." What is required is a global solution to this global
crisis in order to tackle the root causes of forced migration.

Today I encourage parishes across the Diocese of Cloyne to pray for the thousands of refugees who are undertaking the perilous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea on boats that are barely fit for purpose, for those who have perished in attempting to reach European shores and for those who are coming to the aid the refugees. I pray that they may find welcome and respect, through the intercession of Mary, who herself knows the pain of being a refugee."

Source: Irish Catholic Media Office


Tags: Bishop William Crean, Cloye, coffin ships, Great Famine

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