Rorate Caeli

Socci: "Populism of Pope on immigration is in contrast with traditional wisdom of the Catholic Church."

[Note: this article does not deal with war refugees, but with those most affecting Italy at the moment, economic migrants.]

The devastating populism of Pope Bergoglio on immigration is in contrast with the wisdom of the Catholic Church

Antonio Socci
August 30, 2015

The Catholic Church and the “Bergoglio Party” are at odds also on the immigration question. Bergoglio states that there are masses of people, who, because of hunger, have the absolute and unmitigated right to emigrate to our Countries.

However, if the current flow of migrants were really caused by hunger the drama of [lack of] food should be dealt with there [in their own countries] not by forcing the hungry to uproot their lives and find themselves in the hands of the merchants of death.

The Church has always taught differently from Bergoglio on this issue. John Paul II for example, said that: “the primary right of man is [to be able ] to live in his own country: a right, however, becomes effective only if the factors that spur immigration are constantly monitored”.

And Benedict XVI repeated: “In the current socio-political context… the right not to immigrate must be affirmed even before the right to immigrate, that is to say - to be in the condition to remain in one’s own country”.

Likewise, the African Church, in line with the perennial Magisterium until Wojtyla and Ratzinger, speaks even now of the duty not to immigrate.


A few days ago, the African Bishops launched an appeal to the youth of their countries: “Do not let yourselves be deceived by the illusion of leaving your Countries in search of non-existent employment in Europe and America”.

These are the clear words used by Bishop Nicolas Djomo, President of the Episcopal Conference of the Congo, in his inauguration speech at the Pan-African meeting for Catholics.

Mons. Djomo opened the forum by inviting young Africans “to be wary of the deceptions of the new forms that lead to the destruction of the culture of life and moral, spiritual values”, since the cultural and spiritual identity of a people is a treasure and only nihilistic globalism can think that men and peoples are commodities that can be uprooted and transplanted wherever.

Then Djomo exhorted the young Africans not to look for illusory short-cuts to prosperity by fleeing their own country:

“Use your talents and other resources at your disposition to renew and transform our continent and for the promotion of justice, peace and lasting reconcilement in Africa. You are the treasure of Africa. The Church is counting on you, your continent needs you”.

This is what is always missing in Bergoglio’s interventions. He has never said that immigration is an economic and spiritual impoverishment for African societies. Neither has he exhorted African youth not to immigrate and engage in the development of their own Countries. On the contrary.

He describes Europe as a Land of Plenty to the Third World, an opulent and satiated Wonderland, where there is prosperity for everyone. On the other hand, we apparently are the selfish ones, so he accuses us of denying prosperity to millions of hungry Africans who want to come here (we are even apparently guilty of their shipwreck at sea - whereas the truth is, we have always saved them).

The historical trip Pope Bergoglio made to Lampedusa in October of 2013, launched this disastrous message, which in fact, sounded like an order to pull down the frontiers in Italy and Europe (but not in the Vatican) and an implicit invitation for thousands of Africans to leave their countries.

This is [nothing but] a touch of the ‘immigrationist’ ideology of the left which has dominated the West till now. There are those who think that it is precisely this false humanitarianism, typical of the European Union (which then abandoned Italy) that has attracted this mass of immigrants over these past two years (often sailing from a country like Libya in chaos, produced by the disgraceful Euro-American war).

In fact, the mafia and terrorists have become rich merchants in human flesh - so many poor creatures killed by these murderers or at sea. Ultimately European societies risk being destabilized.


The wisdom of the African bishops is in contrast to the colossal ideological error of abstract humanitarianism

Their reasons are confirmed by a scholar of African studies, Anna Bono, who recently explained that those immigrating are not the hungry, but the educated young:

“The motivation is not generally the danger of a life-threat nor extreme poverty. The immigrants from Africa, furthermore, were not dying of hunger, were not living under bomb-attacks nor under the terrorism of a cruel regime. Actually few obtain the status of refugee”. Among them there are “a definite prevalence of young, educated males from urban centers where they would have been able to continue living, like their peers who have stayed at home”. These are immigrating under the illusory dream of an easy to achieve European prosperity. And for this they pay “sums of money much greater than those necessary to cover the same distances by bus or by commercial air, and which would be sufficient in their own country to initiate or improve artisan crafts, agricultural or commercial businesses”.

In this way not only are they ruining themselves economically, not only are they impoverishing their own countries of economic and human resources, not only are they putting themselves at risk of undergoing violence and death, but they are making the criminal networks rich.

Besides the illusion of a Land of Plenty, what moves these young Africans is the insecurity of the future in African society which until recently – in the tribal culture – “ was based on a community-minded project” which guaranteed a certain solidarity among the generations. Whereas today, being poorly modernized, it abandons the young to themselves.

This is why the African Church is on the move to create new bonds of solidarity which help the development and “the young are the most important part of the African population upon which the Church counts in a fundamental way for evangelization and the promotion of peace, justice, reconcilement and the development of our continent”.


Let’s take the Catechism of the Catholic Church launched by John Paul II and Ratzinger implementing the Council.

With the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it was properly said: “the Church defends the right of man to immigrate and yet does not encourage the exercise, recognizing that ‘migration has a very high cost and those who have to foot the bill are always the migrants’ ”. (Magister).

Benedict XVI in Latin America and Central America saw “the grave problem of the separation of families” due to immigration and defined this phenomenon “truly dangerous for the social, moral and human fabric of these Countries”.

Hence he said: “The fundamental solution would be that there be no more need to emigrate, wherefore there is sufficient employment in the Country, a sufficient social fabric, so that no-one would have the need to emigrate anymore. So, we must all work towards this end, for a social development that permits the citizens proposals of work and a future in their country of origin”.

For that matter, the Catechism itself says the more prosperous nations “are obliged to welcome the foreigner”, but only, “to the extent that they are able”.

Further, "Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens” (2241)

The words of the Catechism don’t bring to mind Bergolio’s at all, but Cardinal Biffi’s great speech at the Migrants Foundation in 2000, when he indicated the colossal problem of integration represented by Islamic immigration And when he explained that – apart from the principle of hospitality – “you cannot assume – if you want to be truly “secular” – that a nation does not have the right to manage and regulate the flow of people that want to come in at any cost. Even less can you assume that the state has the duty to open its frontiers indiscriminately”.

[Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana]