Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich has denounced the political inaction on the Mediterranean refugee crisis that he said is due to “fear of right-wing parties”.

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“I find it outrageous that we’re letting people drown in the Mediterranean; that our hearts have become so hard; that politics no longer dares to act for fear of right-wing parties”, Hollerich, the President of COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, told RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg December 20.

That political blackmail is unacceptable, added the cardinal, who is also the Archbishop of Luxembourg.

Hollerich called on the EU to give refugees crossing the Mediterranean an opportunity, but also to create a “Marshall Plan” for Africa to reduce demand for human movement, and trafficking, to Europe.

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The cardinal also referred on the radio to the climate change crisis, which he deplored is a threat to humanity and, as such, requires a radical reorientation in policy and a challenging change in personal behaviour.

Not that Hollerich seemed to mind that need for personal conversion, however, saying that “the youth are worth me changing my habits”, and insisting that if he could do that at his age (61), then others can do it too.

The cardinal celebrated the fact that young people are taking responsibility for the climate crisis and demonstrating in such numbers at global warming demonstrations.

It is important to defend the environment, Hollerich insisted, above all “because the first to suffer from climate change are the poorest people from the poorest countries”.

Why it matters

One other point the cardinal referred to in his latest interview was the horrible and lasting effects on victims of clerical sex abuse, which he admitted shakes him greatly.

“That children and adolescents are turned into objects and their lives are ruined is something that really appalls me”, Hollerich denounced.

On the other hand, the cardinal welcomed Pope Francis’ lifting December 17 of the pontifical secret on ecclesiastical clergy sex abuse investigations.

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