The Pope is today spending two hours on the Greek Island of Lesbos to meet a camp full of economic migrants, that is to say folks from a range of countries, but mostly Syria, who fled the safety of Turkey to pitch up in Europe. Now they are set to be sent back to Turkey in a sordid deal involving a 6 billion euro bribe and are protesting. I am not sure what the Pope hopes to achieve but I have bad news for his holiness: miracles don't happen.
It is pretty horrid seeing the folks in the camps handed papers telling them when they will be forced onto buses and boats and sent off to Turkey. It is all too reminiscent of the mass deportations of the Jews by the Nazis. It is unpleasant to watch. And that it is all part of a trade which will see other migrants sent from Turkey to go to a Europe where most people are less than welcoming. The same people - European taxpayers - are also having to pony up 6 billion Euro bribe to Turkey's fascist President Erdogan to get this whole distasteful matter underway.
But what is the alternative which the Pope wants? Is he really saying that folks who leave a safe haven to illegally enter Europe in the hope of a better life should get residency merely because they managed to cross the water? If so the Pope offers an open invitation to tens of millions of folks from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Europe could not handle that.
Moreover most of the migrants are young men who can afford to pay smugglers and to travel. They are middle class. They are the sort of folks who need to stay in bongo bongo land if countries in Africa and elsewhere are ever to develop economically and free hundreds of millions, folks who cannot afford smuggling fees, from poverty.
The pope might get a kick out of visiting the lesbians and economic migrants but he offers no realistic alternative plan and only false hope. There is no miracle solution to this mess.