Pope Francis: 'Doors Must Be Opened' to Migrants, 'Not Closed'
Head of Catholic Church says it's 'Christian duty' to open up borders to mass migration
Pope Francis has said that "doors must be opened" to migrants, insisting that it's "Christian duty" for countries to open up their borders for mass immigration.
The pope made the comments during an interview the Italian daily, La Stampa, that was published Friday.
Francis fielded a number of questions regarding immigration, reiterating his belief that Christians should support open borders.
“Criteria should be followed,” the pope says, explaining that the first is "to receive" migrants, which he says "is also a Christian, evangelical duty."
"Doors must be opened, not closed,” Pope Francis concluded.
The pope's comments appear to come in response to the Italian government's crackdown on the flood of migrants making the deadly journey across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to Italy.
Italy's populist leader Matteo Salvini has recently introduced tough new laws to prevent migrant ships from docking in Italian ports.
Speaking in defense of the move, Salvini declared that "Italy will not be Europe's refugee camp" after other EU countries refused to accept the ships of migrants.
“Second: to accompany,” the pontiff continued as he listed his criteria.
“Third: to promote. Fourth, to integrate.
"At the same time, governments must think and act prudently, which is a virtue of governments.
"Those in charge are called to think about how many migrants they can take in.”
According to Breitbart, when the pope was asked what should be done in the case that the number of migrants exceeds a country’s ability to take them in, he urged dialogue and “creativity.”
“The situation can be resolved through dialogue with other countries. Some States need people, for example, for agriculture.
"I have seen that recently in the face of an emergency something like this has happened: this gives me hope.”
Along with this, the pope suggested that “creativity” is also needed here.
“For example, I am told that in a European country there are semi-empty towns due to the demographic decline,” he said.
"Some migrant communities could be moved there, which among other things might also revive the economy of the area."
Above all, Francis said, “Never neglect the most important right of all: the right to life.
"Immigrants come here above all to escape from war or hunger, from the Middle East and Africa.”
“Hunger mainly affects Africa,” he said.
“The African continent is the victim of a cruel curse: in the collective imagination, it seems that this continent should be exploited.
"Instead, part of the solution is to invest there to help solve their problems and thus stop the migration flows.”
In recent months, several African prelates have spoken out against mass migration from Africa into Europe, going so far as to ask European to stop encouraging this sort of migration.
Cardinal Francis Arinze, for instance, once considered a top candidate for the papacy, has urged Europeans to cease encouraging Africans to migrate to Europe, insisting that people are better off in their home countries.
In an interview with the Catholic Herald in July, the 86-year-old cardinal said that when countries lose their young people to migration, they lose the people who can best build their nation’s future.
“So the countries in Europe and America can sometimes help best, not by encouraging the young people to come to Europe as if they looked on Europe as heaven – a place where money grows on trees – but to help the countries from which they come,” he said.
In May of this year, another Nigerian prelate, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the archbishop of Abuja, said that mass migration out of his country is a sure sign that political leadership has failed.
“Authorities should make Nigeria home. Same should be applicable to other African countries,” he said, while decrying the conditions in which many Nigerian immigrants live.
Germany's interior minister has told Italian leader #MatteoSalvini to open Italy's borders to ships carrying #migrants from Africa that the country is refusing entry to.— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) August 5, 2019
READ MORE: https://t.co/Sag2OV4bG2#OpenBorders
Having visited Italy and seen the number of Nigerian prostitutes on the streets as a result of mass migration, the cardinal said he was ashamed.
“To tell you bluntly I’m ashamed, I’m ashamed,” he told the BBC.
“I’m moving through the streets of Rome, Milan, Naples and I see my daughters on the street on sale.”
“I’m ashamed and I stop and even greet some of them — you can’t even engage them in conversation because they were brought out of the village illiterates. All they learn and all they know on the streets of Italy is what they need for this business — I’m ashamed.”
#Vatican #CardinalRobertSarah has warned that he believed the West "will disappear" because of mass migration, saying that Western countries are being "invaded" by migrants.— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) April 20, 2019
READ MORE: https://t.co/Czu59a09Nc#immigration
Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, the head of the Vatican’s liturgical department, also said in April that the Church should not be encouraging migration.
It is wrong to “use the word of God to promote migration,” he said, because using the Bible to encourage migration is a “false interpretation.”
It is better “to help people flourish in their culture than to encourage them to come to Europe,” he said.
Cardinal Sarah denounced the Church’s push for migration into Europe in powerful language, insisting that most immigrants wind up in Europe “without work or dignity” and assume the condition of slaves.
“Is that what the Church wants?” he asked, adding that the Church should not support “this new form of slavery that is mass migration.”
Several days later, the cardinal went still further, saying that a Church of migration and ecology is “of interest to no one” and that it risks becoming just another NGO if it focuses on these “horizontal” issues rather than preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.