Pope warns politicians not to exploit 'fear of the other' after meeting with migrants in Greece

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  • Pope Francis
    Pope Francis
    Religious leader
Pope Francis says mass in Athens
Pope Francis says mass in Athens YANNIS KOLESIDIS/POOL/AFP

Pope Francis met with several dozen migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos on Sunday. He warned politicians against "instilling fear of the other" and using migrants for "political propaganda," BBC reports.

"History teaches us that narrow self-interest and nationalism lead to disastrous consequences," the pope said.

After the visit to Lesbos, the pontiff said Mass Sunday afternoon in an Athens concert hall. Speaking in Italian, Pope Francis pointed out that John the Baptist preached his message in the desert, not in the halls of power. He urged his listeners to become "interiorly poor" rather than prideful and encouraged them with a reminder that "then as now, God turns his gaze to wherever sadness and loneliness abound."

A Greek Orthodox priest heckled Francis during his Saturday visit to Athens, shouting "Pope, you are a heretic!" before being led away by police. The elderly priest fell to the ground as police grabbed him, but seemed uninjured. Francis "appeared not to notice," according to The Associated Press. Interactions between the pope and other Greek Orthodox clergy have been far more amiable.

Pope Francis is expected to return to the Vatican on Monday.

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