(ANSA) - Rome, September 10 - Pope Francis on Tuesday
proposed turning defunct convents into refugee centers.
"What good are closed convents to the Church? They should
serve the flesh of Christ and refugees are the flesh of Christ,"
he said at the Astalli Jesuit refugee center in downtown Rome.
"Empty convents don't help the Church by being turned into
hotels to make money".
The visit marks his second to a center for asylum seekers
after a much-acclaimed July trip - his first outside Rome as
pope - to Lampedusa, the first point of arrival in Europe for
many desperately fleeing their home countries.
Entering through the cafeteria of the center in Rome, the
pope met with several refugees, most of whom were from Africa,
among the tens of thousands who pass through the center
"Thank you for defending your dignity, but also our human
dignity," he said in a 20-minute speech that addressed tensions
often felt between native Italian Catholics and refugees of
diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.
"Many of you are Muslims or come from other religions. You
come from various countries. We mustn't be afraid of
differences. Fraternity helps us discover they are treasures, a
gift to all. Let us live in fraternity".