'Change of pace' on migrants Renzi tells Merkel

Pope asks all parishes, communities, to host refugees

(ANSA) - Rome,September 7 - Premier Matteo Renzi told German Chancellor Angela Merkel Monday there is a "change of pace" in some European countries on migrants as the Vicar of Rome said an appeal by Pope Francis to Italians would encourage Christians in the Eternal City to be generous to refugees.
    Renzi in a telephone conversation with Merkel voiced appreciation for Germany's new stance on migrants, saying "there is a significant change of direction and pace" in some European countries on the issue.
    The conversation took place as El Pais newspaper disclosed the European Commission plans to assign some 60% of 120,000 refugees waiting in Italy, Greece and Hungary to Germany (which will receive 31,433 refugees), France (24,031) and Spain (14,931). In fourth place in the classification, Poland will receive 9.287 refugees or 7-7% of the total, Holland 7,214, Romania 4,646, Belgium 4564, Austria 3,640 and Portugal 3074, El Pais said.
    The EU plan overrides the Visegrad Group of eastern european countries who have opposed obligatory quotas, with the exception of Poland which softened its position.
    Nevertheless Brussels reduced the number of refugees earmarked for the Czech Republic (2978) and Slovakia (1,502) while Hungary was waived the obligation of playing host to refugees.
    Meanwhile the Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, said Monday that an appeal Sunday by the pope "our bishop ...
    encourages the Christian community to persevere in following with generosity the path of welcome and hospitality." The cardinal recalled "the consolidated commitment by the diocese of Rome over the years thanks to the daily work by the diocesan (Catholic charity) Caritas and the generous collaboration of parishes and religious communities".
    Vallini said he recently convened the Episcopal Council and suggested ways that parish and religious communities can involve themselves in helping refugees urgently.
    "It is not possible to remain indifferent," said the cardinal, and "our conscience as Christians is appealed to directly".
    The first Caritas centre for welcoming migrants in Rome dates to 1981 when it was set up in the via Francis Sunday called on Catholics of Europe to pitch in to help in the current immigrant crisis overwhelming the continent, by asking parishes and shrines to each host at least one family.
    "May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every shrine in Europe host a family," the pope said in St. Peter's Square following his traditional Angelus prayers.
    The pope said the action "will start with my Roman diocese" and announced that the two Vatican parishes will each host a family of refugees.