In the wake of a tragedy that saw 27 migrants drown while attempting the perilous journey across the English Channel, a prominent Catholic cardinal is urging European leaders to help Africa develop, not only to stop the endless torrent of illegal migrants but to also prevent Europe’s “self-destruction.”
While speaking with French media last week, Cardinal Robert Sarah reacted to a heartbreaking incident, discussed the macro-environmental factors driving the global migration crisis, and proposed ways to potentially remedy the situation, Le Figaro reports.
“My reaction is a revolt. There is a triple betrayal. We are taking away young people from Africa, intelligence, living forces, who are torn from their country,” Cardinal Sarah said during an interview with France’s Europe 1.
Cardinal Sarah, himself originally from the West African state of Guinea, continued saying: “Then these young people are presented with Europe as Eldorado, we tell them that they will have everything when this is not true.”
“And finally, we do not react against the smugglers who take advantage of their naivety and make them succumb in the open sea. We should fight against this evil at its roots and present Europe as it is, with its difficulties, too,” he said.
The cardinal, who is well-known as a conservative force within the Catholic Church, also stressed the importance of facilitating the development of Africa’s economic infrastructure, which in turn will make the prospect of risking life and limb to reach a far-off continent less attractive.
“The important thing is to help Africa to develop locally, and to ensure that these young people find work and stay at home,” Sarah continued.
Cardinal Sarah also emphasized the importance of maintaining one’s cultural identity, roots, and tradition. Europe must come to realize “that it’s necessary to … evolve with intelligence while keeping its roots, and while keeping its tradition,” he said, adding: “My idea is that everyone keeps their roots, their cultural and historical richness, and to communicate it to their children. That’s what we’ve all received.”
Finally, near the end of the interview, Cardinal Sarah warned that policies promoting mass migration have placed Europe on a path toward “self-destruction.”
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.