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Pope Francis: Don't sell weapons and turn away refugees fleeing wars

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By Daniel Bellamy  with Reuters
Pope Francis: Don't sell weapons and turn away refugees fleeing wars
Copyright  REUTERS/Vincenzo Pinto/Pool

In a speech to mark World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis has criticised countries that sell weapons but refuse to accept refugees fleeing conflicts where those arms are being used.

The 82-year-old has made immigration a key part oc his teaching and he has often clashed criticised U.S. President Donald Trump and populist politicians in Europe.

Francis has also criticised the arms trade and his sermon for 40,000 people in St. Peter's Square on Sunday linked the issues.

"Wars only affect some regions of the world, yet weapons of war are produced and sold in other regions which are then unwilling to take in the refugees generated by these conflicts," Francis said.

The Mass was attended by many immigrants and groups helping them. It was also celebrated with a mix of African, Spanish and Portuguese music as well as traditional Church music.

Francis said the world is becoming increasingly "elitist and cruel towards the excluded", adding that it is the duty of Christians to look after all those left behind in a "throwaway culture" taking root in society.

"This means being a neighbour to all those who are mistreated and abandoned on the streets of our world, soothing their wounds and bringing them to the nearest shelter, where their needs can be met," he said.

People could not remain indifferent to "the bleak isolation, contempt and discrimination experienced by those who do not belong to 'our' group", the pope said.

Francis then inaugurated a large statue in St. Peter's Square, showing dozens of migrants and refugees from different faiths and different periods of history.

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