Catholic Archbishop Says Europe Has ‘Inescapable Duty’ to Accept Migrants
Clergyman says countries have an ethical obligation to accept migrants
Archbishop Joan-Enric Vives of Urgell said that European nations have the “inescapable duty” to receive migrants and refugees into their country, according to a letter on Sunday.
The archbishop wrote:
“This summer we have followed with great concern the fate of several ships overloaded with people seeking refuge, whom they had picked up in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea — as required by sea treaties — and who sought refuge in neighboring European countries, in the Europe that claims to be the cradle of human rights."
Vives also took a veiled jab a former Italian minister, Matteo Salvini, who endeavored to crack down on mass-migration.
In August, Salvini blocked migrant ships from docking in Italy as his government cracked down on mass-migration into the country.
Salvini declared that ships would only be approved for docking if all of the occupants onboard have been relocated elsewhere in Europe first.
The archbishop said the lack of response to the migrant problem “constitutes a flagrant breach of international agreements and a very serious responsibility by omission, in the face of the deaths that may occur in the present and in the future."
But migrant sea deaths declined significantly during Mr. Salvini’s mandate, as fewer migrants attempted to make the dangerous voyage across the Strait of Sicily.
Moreover, human traffickers saw less incentive to take the risk of shuttling migrants to a nation that would not liley receive them.
The Archbishop added that “many associations and many European citizens wanted and want to welcome these refugees with open arms because they are people fleeing situations of injustice and looking for a better future,” adding that “we cannot close ourselves up in selfishness.”
“Vindicating the right of asylum, fostering reception and generating attitudes of solidarity toward refugees escaping violence is an unavoidable duty on the part of European countries,” the archbishop continued.
Because members of the European Union have “an ethical duty” to receive migrants, they must decide “effective and respectful responses to human rights in these situations,” he said.
Ironically, brother bishops in Africa, the source of most of Europe’s migrants, have begged Europeans to stop pushing mass migration.
Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze urged Europeans to stop encouraging Africans to migrate to Europe last year.
“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.
“It is best for a person to stay in that person’s own land – country, town, area – and work there,” he said.
In April, Vatican Cardinal Robert Sarah warned that he believed the West "will disappear" because of mass migration, saying that Western countries are being "invaded" by migrants.
In his new book, Evening Draws Near and the Day is Nearly Over, Sarah warns that “Islam will invade the world” and “completely change culture, anthropology, and moral vision.”
“Is that what the Church wants?” he asked rhetorically, adding that the Church should not support “this new form of slavery that is mass migration.”
“If the West continues in this fatal way, there is a great risk that, due to a lack of birth, it will disappear, invaded by foreigners, just as Rome has been invaded by barbarians,” said Sarah.
“My country is predominantly Muslim. I think I know what reality I’m talking about.”