Portuguese bishops meet with Pope to discuss Church response to refugee crisis

Portuguese bishops are meeting with Pope Francis in Rome today and are thought to be ready to pledge “total support” to his call over the weekend that every parish, sanctuary, monastery and religious community in Europe open its doors to at least one family of fleeing migrants.

In practical terms, this means Portugal could be set to receive at least 15000 refugees in the relative short-term, writes Correio da Manhã this morning.

A source for the Portuguese Episcopal Conference in Rome as part of the periodic ‘Ad Limina’ visits told the paper: “Almost all the bishops have said they want to contribute to the national effort to take in these people. Complying with the Pope’s appeal is just another link to the feeling of solidarity among our faithful”.

Discussing logistics is expected to take some days, as “in all dioceses there are parishes and even religious communities that do not have the physical conditions to take in any family”, CM explains, but in others “bishops affirm they could take in various”.

In other words, the “general guidelines proposed will certainly be achieved”.

CM adds that Portugal’s 20 dioceses have a total of 4418 parishes along with more than 200 religious sanctuaries.

Pope Francis made his appeal on Sunday, revealing that two of the Vatican’s parishes are this week taking in refugee families from Syria.

“May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe host a family, starting from my diocese in Rome”, he said, at the end of his Angelus prayers.

The Pope’s appeal came as international papers were reporting that response from Austria and Germany is now at a “tipping point”, with both countries saying that they cannot keep up with the migrant flow for much longer.

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