Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea follows the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas as he contradicts Pope Francis’ support of optional integration for migrants.
“Share the Journey,” a two-year initiative launched by Pope Francis and Caritas Internationalis (CI), a Catholic relief organization, was created to aid refugee families and spread Catholic teachings after the refugee crisis began to worsen. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, president of CI, admonished governments to “keep your doors open.”
Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, disagrees with Tagle and Pope Francis, who has on multiple occasions called for countries, including the U.S., to unlock their borders for migrants.
Sarah was speaking at the Europa Christi conference in Poland on Sunday when he said countries reserve the right to distinguish legitimate refugees from economic migrants who have no intention of assimilating into a country’s culture.
“The right of a nation to distinguish a refugee from an economic immigrant who does not identify with the culture of the country in which he wants to live cannot be undermined,” Sarah said according to GOSC.
Sarah named Poland as a country which should be able to make that distinction and reject immigration policies “some people want to impose.”
The Cardinal acknowledged that although migrants should be respected as human beings, the factors of religion, culture, and national safety complicates the issue beyond acknowledging humanity.
Sarah spoke out against world leaders that are attempting to undermine the rights of countries that wish to deny migrants that wish to erode national identity, pose a threat to the country or hold religious beliefs that contradict a nation’s culture.
“The ideology of liberal individualism promotes a mixing that is designed to erode the natural borders of homelands and cultures, and leads to a post-national and one-dimensional world where the only things that matter are consumption and production,” he said.
He also spoke out against what he claimed to be a secularizing effort in Europe by “liberal individualism.”
According to Sarah, Europe has forsaken its Christian heritage, creating “a state of quiet apostasy.”
“Europe has since then been in an ongoing crisis caused by, among others, atheistic ideologies, and is now plunging into nihilism,” he said.
The Cardinal’s words echo those of Saint Thomas Aquinas who also believed not all immigrants were equal and that every nation holds the right to reject anyone it deems harmful or hostile.
“Man’s relations with foreigners are twofold: peaceful, and hostile: and in directing both kinds of relation the Law contained suitable precepts,” Saint Thomas wrote in the Summa Theologica.
Saint Thomas also notes that migrants who wish to become citizens in a nation must first desire to integrate fully into the culture and life of the country. He also argued that citizenship should not be considered immediately as integration takes time, quoting Aristotle as saying the process was deemed to take two or three generations.
“The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst, many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people,” Saint Thomas wrote, noting that the Jewish people treated nations differently depending on their ability to integrate.
Saint Thomas could be referring to Leviticus 19:34 which describes “nekhar,” the Hebrew word for foreigners whose allegiance remained with their country of origin. These migrants would be denied the benefits of citizenship in Israel due to their lack of a desire to integrate.
By publicly revealing his views on immigration, seemingly in agreement with Saint Thomas, Sarah has once again contradicted Pope Francis but stood by the rights of citizens. The Pope has publically corrected Sarah twice for his resistance to Francis’ vision of a decentralized church.
Featured Image Via Flickr/Lawrence OP