Francis, addressing faithful in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, noted that the migrants, rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, have been waiting for days for permission for a safe port to let them disembark. The crowd applauded his words.
As policy, Italy’s populist government has refused to let private aid vessels disembark migrants, rescued from human traffickers’ unseaworthy boats, in Italian ports.
Malta is also refusing to let the boats dock or the migrants disembark, but has allowed the two boats to enter its waters for fresh supplies. Thirty-two of the migrants were rescued on Dec. 22; the others, days later.
WATCH: Boat docks after 14 days stranded at sea with 32 migrants
Francis said he was directing a “fervent appeal” to the leaders to “show concrete solidarity toward these persons.”