Pope implores Catholic churches to host refugee families
11,000 migrants had crossed into Austria by midday Sunday, Interior Ministry says
Report: Germany’s kindness on Saturday should be seen as exception, German foreign minister says
“Every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe has to host a family, starting from my diocese of Rome,” Francis said at the end of his Angelus prayers in Rome on Sunday.
“The two parishes in the Vatican these days will welcome two families of refugees.”
German patience tried
Meanwhile, as more migrants poured into Hungary on Sunday, the will of the German government to relieve more pressure there — as it had done a day earlier — appeared to have its limits.
Germany’s acceptance of thousands of people who entered Hungary while fleeing entrenched bloody conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan should be seen as the exception and not the rule, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Saturday.
“The help in (Friday’s) emergency situation was tied to an urgent reminder not to make that the practice for the coming days,” he said at a meeting of Europe’s foreign ministers in Luxembourg, according to the website of the German newspaper Die Zeit.
But on Hungary’s border with Austria, a country most migrants have transited through to get to Germany, the stream of migrants continued unabated on Sunday.
By midday Sunday, Austria had let in 11,000 migrants since agreeing to allow them in a day before, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Alexander Marakovits. The border remains open to potential refugees and packed buses continue to arrive, he said.
The United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, estimates that 366,402 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe this year, with 2,800 dead or missing. Those who make the crossing face uncertain futures in European nations, which differ in their approach to asylum seekers.
Of the thousands arriving in Austria this weekend, only a dozen or so migrants have opted to apply for asylum there, the country’s Interior Ministry said. Most want to go on to Germany.
The country is attractive to refugees because of its robust economy, strong democracy and long history of taking in refugees. After World War II, in the face of the Cold War, Germany instituted liberal policies toward applicants for political asylum, making it a prime destination for people fleeing wars and other political strife.
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