Pope condemns those who fail to act in refugee crisis

Pope Francis during the Palm Sunday MassReuters

Pope Francis has condemned those who are refusing to take responsibility for tackling the refugee crisis.

The Pope, departing from the prepared text for his Palm Sunday Mass homily in St Peter's Square, Rome, blamed the poor response on indifference.

Pope Francis, preaching to many thousands of Christians in St Peter's Square at the Palm Sunday Mass, spoke of how Jesus had suffered after being abandoned to his fate by indifferent crowds in the days before the Crucifixion.

He then made it clear that he views the plight of refugees as comparable suffering.

"I am thinking of so many other people, so many marginalised people, so many asylum seekers, so many refugees. There are so many who don't want to take responsibility for their destiny."

More than 1.1 million migrants fled from war and upheavals into Europe last year. Some countries have responded by sealing borders, leaving thousands stranded in Greece. Macedonia has also deported at least 1,500 in trucks back to Greece. Under a new deal, any refugees who cross to Greece illegally will be shipped back to Turkey.

Pope Francis, leading the congregation in waving olive and palm branches, said it was Jesus alone who saves people from "the snares of sin, death, fear and sadness".

Pope Francis spoke about refugees in his homily at Palm Sunday mass at Saint Peter's Square, RomeReuters

He said Jesus "humbled himself" to the condition of a servant.  "The abyss of his humiliation, as Holy Week shows us, seems to be bottomless."

He was humilated by mockery, insults and spitting and suffered blows, scourging and a crown of thorns, the Pope said. "He also experiences shame and disgraceful condemnation by religious and political authorities."

The Pope continud: "Even as every form of justice is denied to him, Jesus also experiences in his own flesh indifference, since no one wishes to take responsibility for his fate."

Pope Francis waves to the crowds at the end of Palm Sunday massReuters

Later this week, on Maundy Thursday, the Pope will wash and kiss the feet of 12 people. He will preside at two services on Good Friday, including a candlelight procession around the Colosseum.