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A top African cardinal of the Catholic Church branded mass migration a “new form of slavery” and said those who seek to use the Bible to promote migration are pushing a “false" interpretation of the scriptures.
“It is a false exegesis to use the Word of God to promote migration. God never wanted these rifts,” Cardinal Robert Sarah said in a new interview with French publication Valeurs Actuelles.
Sarah, who serves as the head of the Vatican's liturgy office, is often named in traditionalist circles as their hope to one day succeed Pope Francis. He's frequently made waves with his more conservative stances on liturgical practices, Islam, migration and other issues.
Those positions were on full display in the French article, in which Sarah, from Guinea, blasted priests and bishops who “say fuzzy things, vague, imprecise, to escape criticism, and they marry the stupid evolution of the world.” On Europe, Sarah said that the Church should not cooperate with the increasing acceptance by politicians of mass migration into the traditionally Christian continent.
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“All migrants who arrive in Europe are penniless, without work, without dignity...This is what the Church wants?” he asked. “The Church can not cooperate with this new form of slavery that has become 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.”
Sarah added: “My country is predominantly Muslim. I think I know what reality I'm talking about."
Sarah’s comments are in stark contrast to those from Pope Francis on the subject. Francis has repeatedly stressed the value of migration and has encouraged European countries, in particular, to open their border to flows of migrants coming from the third world.
Last week, he spoke in Morocco, the main destination for sub-Saharan African migrants seeking to reach Europe via Spain, and frequently mentioned migration.
"The issue of migration will never be resolved by raising barriers, fomenting fear of others or denying assistance to those who legitimately aspire to a better life for themselves and their families," Francis said.
He also praised Morocco’s efforts to allow religious coexistence and to promote moderate forms of Islam.
But Sarah is much more skeptical of whether the Church should be open to immigration. He cited the example of Poland, a Catholic country that has strict immigration policies, and said he had urged it not to sacrifice its Polish and Catholic identities “on the altar of a technocratic and stateless Europe.”
“She is free to tell Europe that everyone was created by God to be placed in a specific place, with its culture, traditions, and history,” he told the paper. “This current desire to globalize the world by suppressing nations, specificities, is pure madness.”
In the interview, he urged Europe to avoid embracing materialism and forgetting its Christian heritage, warning that it could lead to the extinction of Europe itself.
“If Europe disappears, and with it the invaluable values of the old continent, Islam will invade the world," Sarah said. "And we will totally change culture, anthropology, and moral vision."