A Spanish-Moroccan cardinal has blasted Europe for holding to a “nearsighted, selfish, individualistic and unfair” migration policy.

– Working to change Europe’s (and the Church’s) “supremacist mentality”

Salesian cardinal Cristóbal López is one of the sixty bishops and patriarchs from around the Mediterranean gathered in Bari from today until Sunday to discuss the challenges facing the region at the invitation of the Italian Bishops.

Before he left for Bari from his see in Rabat, López told Madrid archdiocesan publication Alfa y Omega that his priority at the Bari ‘synod’ would be to remind his brother bishops that the “economic and social inequalities around the shores of the Mediterranean are but a concrete case of the inequalities that plague the whole world, [and] the cause and origin of the phenomenon of migration, as we are living it”.

The cardinal archbishop of Rabat also declared to Alfa y Omega that he would work in Bari to change “the supremacist mentality of a good part of European societies in relation to African societies: the latter are undervalued, if not neglected or ignored”.

That “supremacist mentality” of Europe over Africa is also the responsibility of the Church, added López, who insisted on the need to change an idea of an imperalist ‘evangelisation’ “still present in too many Christians, which does not favor the culture of dialogue and the encounter between people of diverses cultures and different religions”.

Sometimes, in the Church, “there is a mentality that does not see in the world a Common Home and in humanity a family of brothers and sisters, without distinction”, López denounced.

– Europe, key part of the “economy that kills”

For all these reasons, López told Alfa y Omega that he would insist in Bari on “Europe’s responsibility in the socio-economic problems caused by forced migration in inhuman and fatal conditions”.

That’s a responsibility the cardinal sees as “very great”, he added.

“Europe is part of the small club whose members determine this economic system that, in the words of the Pope, ‘kills’. International trade and economic laws in general are deeply unfair, and Europe contributes to that”, López decried.

And that’s not even to mention Europe’s long “history of exploitation and abuse in relation to the African continent and the world in general”, the cardinal continued.

“Europe, if it really has a Christian essence, must convert to fraternity and justice”, López urged.

– “The phenomenon of migration needs its own synod”

The answer to all these problems, according to López, “cannot be other than the return to the Gospel, the personal conversion of each Christian and also the institutional conversion of the Church”.

That “conversion”, the cardinal explained, he finds “magnificently” set out in the papal documents Evangelii gaudium and Laudato si’, but also in the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb in Abu Dhabi in February 2019.

“We must reread these documents and redouble our efforts to incarnate them and put them into practice”, López insisted.

In the meantime, the cardinal added, the work is so great the Bari ‘synod’ can only make a start on it.

“I think Bari will be more about sensibilisation rather than working out exactly what to do”, López admitted.

“I believe that the phenomenon of migration is so widespread that it deserves a synod that, among other things, might help Europe to discover how other countries suffer from this phenomenon and to what extent European policies regarding migration are myopic (if not blind), selfish, individualistic and unfair”, the cardinal explained.

Novena’s coverage of the Bari Mediterranean ‘synod’:

Vatican, Italian cardinals look forward to Bari ‘synod’ as start of “great Mediterranean spring”

Catholic Archbishop of Athens: “Greece is determined to break the shackles of the economic and financial crisis”

Vicar apostolic in Turkey: “The Mediterranean has forgotten its vocation to hospitality”

Athens Catholic archbishop accuses EU of “great inconsistency” on migrants

Spanish-African bishops insist: “No Christian should have a negative attitude towards immigrants”

Italian bishop: Bari ‘Mediterranean Synod’ to transform “sea of death” into “welcoming haven”

Spanish-Moroccan cardinal calls for Synod on migration: “The Mediterranean cannot continue to be a frontier of death”

Sarajevo cardinal: “There is still no peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina”


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.