On the situation of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean, we in Europe “must be fiercely ashamed that we have not done anything to help”, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich has denounced.

Driving the news

In comments reported December 26 by RTL, Hollerich, the Archbishop of Luxembourg and the President of COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, denounced the situation in Lesbos, which the cardinal deplored has dramatically worsened since he personally visited the island in May at the request of Pope Francis.

“There are definitely children there that will vanish and be forced into child prostitution”, the cardinal alerted in a sermon in Luxembourg City Cathedral.

“There are children there who will be taught to steal. Others, who will be raped and assaulted.

“This is gruesome. This is not happening far from Luxembourg, in a place where we cannot help.

“This is happening in Greece – in Europe and in the European Union. We must be fiercely ashamed that we have not done anything to help”, Hollerich criticised.

Go deeper

The cardinal echoed in his homily Pope Francis’ condemnations in his Urbi et Orbi message Christmas Day of the “hostilities” that have “rent” Syria over the last decade, of the “crisis” in Lebanon, of the “social tensions” in Iraq, of the “grave humanitarian crisis” in Yemen, of the “social and political upheaval” in Latin America, and of the “continuing conflicts” in the Congo and in other places around the world.

But Hollerich cited in particular Francis’ special plea for those migrants “forced to emigrate in the hope of a secure life”.

“It is injustice that makes them cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries… injustice that forces them to endure unspeakable forms of abuse, enslavement of every kind and torture in inhumane detention camps… injustice that turns them away from places where they might have hope for a dignified life, but instead find themselves before walls of indifference”, the Pope decried.

Hollerich reiterated his plea, too, that governments address the tragedy of climate change, a key cause of mass migration due to its impact, first and foremost, on the less fortunate in third-world countries.

For the record

To conclude his homily, Hollerich insisted on the importance of hope over the Christmas period.

“We can live with hope, give our lives meaning”, the cardinal urged.

“This hope will allow us engage in helping others, to help other children and young people have happy lives on this world”.

Next on Novena:

Cardinal Hollerich denounces political inaction on Med refugee crisis due to “fear of right-wing parties”

Cardinal Marx: “What’s happening on Lesbos cannot be tolerated, especially at Christmas”

Pope urges solutions to world’s “dark economic, geopolitical and ecological conflicts”

Pope warns on migrant, human trafficking crises: “Our indifference is a sin!”