Pope Francis asks priests 'be merciful' to sailors, fishermen
VATICAN CITY, Holy See – Pope Francis called Thursday, June 27, for priests in seaports to go easy on sailors' confessions after long periods at sea or in distant ports.
"The life of a sailor or fisherman is characterized by isolation and distance," the Pope told a delegation of priests from the Stella Maris network which operates in 300 ports around the world.
Sailors are often exploited, sometimes abandoned by shipowners "in distant ports" and live under the threat of storms or even pirate attacks, the Pope said.
Port priests should show "compassion and discretion" so that seafaerers can open up but also to help fight the social injustices they often suffer, the Pope said.
Concerning "moral problems" that sailors might experience during or after long periods at sea, the Pope told priests: "Be merciful, be merciful." – Rappler.com