ATHENS, Greece (RNS) Greece has won high praise for its hospitality toward migrants who have passed through on their way to other parts of Europe. But some are putting down roots in what is one of the most homogeneous Christian nations in the world, where national identity has long been intricately linked to religion.
Arms have opened wide in some places, but indifference, bureaucracy, fear and xenophobia have reared their heads elsewhere, particularly after the attack by Islamic militants who killed 130 people in Paris last month.
(RNS) For $20,000 you can take your family on a luxurious Mediterranean cruise. Or you can pay a smuggler to take your family on overcrowded life raft or rubber fishing dinghy, and pray they make it to the European coast without drowning.
Groups pushing for this include the Church World Service, representing 37 Christian denominations, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and the Jewish refugee assistance agency HIAS.
The first trip he made after his election in 2013 was to the Italian island of Lampedusa, between Sicily and Tunisia, where many migrants arrive by boat. Vatican City will take two families, he said Sunday.