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Pope demands Europe accept and assist migrants in speech to European Parliament

  • Pope Francis smiles at the European Parliament, Tuesday Nov. 25, 2014 in Strasbourg, eastern France. Pope Francis demanded that Europe craft a unified and fair immigration policy, saying the thousands of refugees coming ashore need acceptance and assistance, not self-interested policies that risk lives and fuel social conflict. (AP Photo/Patrick Hertzog, Pool)

    Pope Francis smiles at the European Parliament, Tuesday Nov. 25, 2014 in Strasbourg, eastern France. Pope Francis demanded that Europe craft a unified and fair immigration policy, saying the thousands of refugees coming ashore need acceptance and assistance, not self-interested policies that risk lives and fuel social conflict. (AP Photo/Patrick Hertzog, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis waves as he arrives with Secretary General Thorbjoern Jagland, right, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. (AP P hoto/Yves Herman, Pool)

    Pope Francis waves as he arrives with Secretary General Thorbjoern Jagland, right, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. (AP P hoto/Yves Herman, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo provided by Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis, center, is flanked by President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, second from right, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. Pope Francis has demanded Europe craft a unified and fair immigration policy, saying the thousands of refugees coming ashore need acceptance and assistance, not self-interested policies that risk lives and fuel social conflict. Francis made the comments Tuesday to the European Parliament during a brief visit meant to highlight his vision for Europe a quarter-century after St. John Paul II travelled to Strasbourg to address a continent still divided by the Iron Curtain. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

    In this photo provided by Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis, center, is flanked by President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, second from right, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. Pope Francis has demanded Europe craft a unified and fair immigration policy, saying the thousands of refugees coming ashore need acceptance and assistance, not self-interested policies that risk lives and fuel social conflict. Francis made the comments Tuesday to the European Parliament during a brief visit meant to highlight his vision for Europe a quarter-century after St. John Paul II travelled to Strasbourg to address a continent still divided by the Iron Curtain. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis has demanded that Europe craft a unified and fair immigration policy, saying that thousands of refugees coming ashore need acceptance and assistance, not self-interested policies that risk lives and fuel social conflict.

Francis made the comments Tuesday to the European Parliament during a brief visit meant to highlight his vision for Europe a quarter-century after St. John Paul II travelled to Strasbourg to address a continent still divided by the Iron Curtain.

Francis said he wanted to bring a message of hope to Europeans distrustful of their institutions, burdened by economic crisis and spiritually adrift in a culture that no longer values human dignity.

He called for legislators to promote policies that create jobs and accept immigrants, saying "We cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a vast cemetery!"