The Pope will visit to the Presidential Palace in Panama to meet with local authorities and members of the diplomatic corps, in addition to Bishops of Central America.
Pope Francis, who is embarking on a visit to Central America, declared that the fear of migration is “making us crazy.” The pontiff made the remark to reporters who asked the Pope about U.S. President Donald Trump’s push for a border wall to keep out migrants from the region.
Pope Francis has since arrived in Panama to kick off the trip for World Youth Day which runs from January 23-27 in the region. A 150,000-strong crowd of pilgrims is expected to participate in the activities of the church-related event which is held every three years and aims to celebrate the next generation of Catholics.
The head of the Catholic church was received by the Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and First Lady Lorena Castill while a group of people waved the country’s flag and chanted slogans, including “This is the youth of the pope!”
The Pope’s Thursday itinerary begins with a courtesy visit to the Presidential Palace in Panama to meet with local authorities and members of the diplomatic corps, in addition to Bishops of Central America.
Panama’s Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa said the Pope’s message is likely to echo the sentiments of Central American youth, “young people who often fall into the hands of drug traffickers and so many other realities that our young people face,” clergyman explained about migration attempts in the region.
Pope Francis has previously called for the building of “bridges, not walls,” also stating that anyone who desires to build a wall to keep out migrants is “not Christian.”
The Trump Administration and U.S. Democrats are currently engaged in a standoff, for almost a month, over funding for a Mexican border wall.
Pope Francis has several trips planned for 2019, including a visit to Japan in November. The pontiff also has scheduled trips for United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Bulgaria and Macedonia, and possibly Madagascar and Iraq.