• Sweden's news in English
 

Pope praises Sweden for 'open' refugee policy

The Local · 15 Feb 2014, 12:38

Published: 15 Feb 2014 12:38 GMT+01:00

The pontiff made the comments after meeting two Argentinian brothers who moved to Sweden in the 70s to flee their nation's military dictatorship. Carlos and Rodolfo Luna chatted for an hour with their compatriot at the Vatican, where the new Pope spoke warmly about their adopted country. 

“Sweden opens its borders, organizes language classes, gives economic assistance, and offers paths to join society,” Pope Francis said reports Vatican Radio.

He added that Sweden's policy on welcoming immigrants was at odds with other countries, who he claimed viewed them as a 'bad word.'

“We have so many refugees, but no one wants them. They are a ‘bad word.' Jesus was a refugee. He was not a tourist. It was not for work. He was fleeing death. A refugee," he said.

The current Pope, who succeeded Benedict XVI last March, was full of praise for Sweden who he said has "great saints" and said that it was "nice to find people with such a heart."

Speaking specifically about Sweden's immigration policy, he held the country up as an example for other nations to follow. Last September the Swedish government offered permanent residency to all Syrian refugees who had come to Sweden, in a move that was praised and criticized on both sides of the immigration debate.

"They do not have anyone in a concentration camp and other such terrifying places. That's an example we can present to the world. Because in reality it is the only country that is doing that, and is not filled with misery.

"It is not thereby suffering. This is the message Sweden presents. Open your heart to your brother, your sister, who has nowhere to live, to work, to sleep peacefully," he said.

Pope Francis hasn't ruled out visiting Sweden in future, which would be the first Papal visit in over two decades.

Story continues below…

"I have to do so many things. I do not know. If God will give me time, I will go," said the Pope.

The late John Paul II came to Sweden in 1989 during a 10-day trip to the Nordic countries, where he met King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, and visited a cathedral in Stockholm. 

The Local/pr

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Julian Assange
British press savages Assange and UN panel
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holding a U.N. report on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Photo: Katy Wrigglesworth/AP

British press savages Assange and UN panel
14 minutes ago

UK newspaper columnists on Saturday took aim at Julian Assange and the UN panel that found the anti-secrecy campaigner had been "arbitrarily detained".

Julian Assange
Assange: 'Today is a significant victory for us'
Julian Assange's press conference on Friday. Photo: Mattias Areskog/TT

Assange: 'Today is a significant victory for us'
18 hours ago

Will Julian Assange be able to walk free?

Julian Assange
Swedish rape activists slam UN on Assange
The board of Swedish women's refuge lobby Roks. (Zozan Inci front left). Photo: Roks

Swedish rape activists slam UN on Assange
18 hours ago

“The UN thinks that the justice of the women who have been assaulted and raped is less important than the right of a possible offender to walk freely in the streets.”

Ikea loses right to own trademark in Indonesia
What four yellow letters can Ikea put up at its store outside Jakarta. Photo: Flickr/BxHxTxCx

Ikea loses right to own trademark in Indonesia
19 hours ago

You thought that Ikea was a Swedish purveyor of flatpack furniture? Well not in Indonesia it isn't, at least not any more.

The Local List
Four fab facts about Sweden's 'Melodifestivalen' mania
Måns Zelmerlöw won Eurovision song contest 2015. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Four fab facts about Sweden's 'Melodifestivalen' mania
20 hours ago

Christmas, Midsummer and Lucia are all important holidays in Sweden. But there is one event that is bigger than them all.

The Local music
Ten fantastic Swedish songs for February
Maja Francis. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Ten fantastic Swedish songs for February
23 hours ago

February brings a haul of great new Swedish pop - let our music writer, Paul Connolly, take you through the very best.

Elderly Swedes arrested in Thailand for playing bridge
Stock picture of playing cards. Photo: Ingvar Karmhed/SCANPIX

Elderly Swedes arrested in Thailand for playing bridge
1 day ago

A game of bridge had an unexpected ending for 32 club members in Thailand, including three Swedes.

Swedish Volvo's offloads costs for big profit rise
A Volvo trucks plant in the US. Photo: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Swedish Volvo's offloads costs for big profit rise
1 day ago

Truck maker Volvo reported a big profit boost on Friday following a massive cost-cutting programme.

Swede finds 86-year-old condom at grandma's
The condoms were made out of silk. Photo: SVT

Swede finds 86-year-old condom at grandma's
1 day ago

Would you trust a silk condom?

Swedish church admits it ran 'racist' Sami schools
Stock picture of people wearing Sami clothes. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/SCANPIX

Swedish church admits it ran 'racist' Sami schools
1 day ago

'It was a form of school whose ideology was based on racist ideas of superior and inferior races,' said Archbishop Antje Jackelén.

Sponsored Article
How to set up shop in the 'Silicon Valley of Sweden'
International
Who exactly is Julian Assange?
Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
Travel
Stockholm's eight REAL no-go zones
Gallery
People-watching: February 3rd
Blog updates

4 February

City Runs (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Since moving to Stockholm I’ve been blessed to live next to the Djurgarden, and to be…" READ »

 

3 February

An amazing month for The Local as Europe thirsts for news (Globally Local) »

"Here at The Local, we shy away from blowing our own trumpet – but sometimes if…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Swiss hospitality: The ladder to your international career
National
'How confronting the man who robbed me gave me closure'
Sponsored Article
Ice magic at north Sweden island lodges
National
TIMELINE: All the twists and turns in the Julian Assange case
Analysis & Opinion
DEBATE: Why are Swedes so obsessed with Nordic skiing?
Culture
See which Swedish museums are now opening up for free
Sponsored Article
Just landed? Here's the secret to finding work in Stockholm
Gallery
Property of the week: Insjön, Nacka
Sponsored Article
Stockholm's secret ski resort: Kungsberget
National
VIDEO: Tensions caught on camera inside Swedish asylum home
Gallery
People-Watching: January 29th - 31st
Sponsored Article
Luleå: 8 winter must-dos in Sweden's far north
International
How will Sweden deport up to 80,000 failed asylum seekers?
Sport
When you gotta go... Swedish racing dog does poo and then takes gold
Sport
Guess who just got a HUGE pay rise?
Travel
WATCH: Five top tips for safe ice skating on Sweden's gorgeous lakes
Gallery
People-watching: January 27th
National
'Sweden could be at war within years'
Gallery
Property of the week: Öjersbo, Kungsbacka
International
Why is the Pope coming to Sweden?
Travel
Ten must-see Stockholm museums
National
He created Sweden's huge snow penis
Culture
The historic moment when Abba reunited on stage in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
OPINION: Why I can't embrace Sweden's obsession with hugging
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Mamma Mia The Party show opens in Stockholm
3,440
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se