Catholic leaders urge Greeks to learn lessons from wildfires

People gather in Athens to remember the victims of the wildfires (CNS/Alexandros Beltes, EPA)

Catholic leaders in Greece have urged their country to learn lessons from the worst wildfires in a century, which left at least 91 people dead and more than 500 injured. Source: The Tablet.

“Help and support have come from all over Greece and Europe in wake of this tragedy, and I think we’ll recover,” said Archbishop Nikolaos Printezis of Naxos, general secretary of the Greek bishops’ conference.

“But there are still many dangers, and we need real steps to prevent such disasters from recurring. Our government, churches and people at large must learn the lessons,” he told CNS on Friday. Rescue crews continued searching burned-out rubble on the outskirts of Athens for missing people, after multiple fires, fanned by high winds, destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.

The archbishop said the crisis had occurred when hopes were rising of improved conditions, following a June deal to end a $365 billion international bailout stemming from Greece’s eight-year economic crisis.

“Several Catholic families have also lost homes and possessions, and our dioceses have all held requiem Masses for the victims,” Archbishop Printezis said.

“These are still harsh times for Greece, and it’s essential all sides collaborate and work together for the whole country, rather than just criticising and opposing the authorities,” he added.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras blamed arsonists for the late July wildfires, which observers said were worsened by unauthorised property developments as well as inadequate safety regulations and poor handling by police and local officials.

Caritas Greece said it had organised collections at Archdiocese of Athens parishes, noting in a statement that many survivors needed “psycho-social support,” as well as food and shelter.


Greek Catholic leaders urge country to learn lessons from wildfires (The Tablet

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