Ciudad Juarez (Mexico): Pope Francis has decried the "human tragedy" of what he described as "forced migration" worldwide during a huge mass at Mexico's border with the United States.
Francis made a point of holding the service in Ciudad Juarez, which lies across from El Paso, Texas, to pray for migrants who risk their lives crossing the border between the two nations.
While he bemoaned the fate of Central Americans and Mexicans who flee poverty and crime-infested regions to seek a better life in the United States, he also talked about a global tragedy on Tuesday.
"We cannot deny the humanitarian crisis which in recent years has meant the migration of thousands of people, whether by train or highway or on foot, crossing hundreds of kilometres through mountains, deserts and inhospitable zones," Francis said.
"The human tragedy that is forced migration is a global phenomenon today."
He did not mention other parts of the world by name but Europe is facing its gravest migration challenge since World War II, with many asylum-seekers fleeing war in Syria and drowning in the Mediterranean.
Migrants, he said, are "excluded as a result of poverty and violence, drug trafficking and criminal organisations."
"Injustice is radicalised in the young; they are cannon fodder, persecuted and threatened when they try to flee the spiral of violence and the hell of drugs. Then there are the many women unjustly robbed of their lives," he said.
"No more death. No more exploitation. There is still time to change, there is still a way out and a chance, time to implore the mercy of God."
The pontiff then asked for a moment of silence.
Published Date: Feb 18, 2016 08:08 AM | Updated Date: Feb 18, 2016 08:08 AM