by Liam Deacon
05 March 2016
Pope Francis has described the
European migration crisis as an
He said that "Europe weakens" by
"forgetting its own history", but, because of its low birth rate and
colonial history, the mass migration could be beneficial.
"Today we can talk about an Arab
invasion", the Roman Catholic leader told the Vatican newspaper
L'Osservatore Romano this Thursday.
"It is a social fact".
"How many invasions has Europe experienced in the course of its
history?" he asked. "But [Europe] has always been able to
overcome herself… increased by the exchange between cultures",
Millions of migrants from the Muslim
world walked into Europe last year, and more than 131,000 have
arrived via the Mediterranean in the first two moths of this year
alone - more than the total number who made it in the first half of
"There's something that bothers me,"
added Pope Francis, who has been considered a relatively liberal
Pontiff. "Of course, globalization unites us and thus has
positive aspects. But, I think there are good and less good
[aspects of] globalization", he said.
In his view, a 'good' version
of globalization would allow
humanity to remain,
"united, but, every people, every
nation, retains its identity, its culture, its wealth".
Thousands of migrants
march from Croatia into Slovenia
struggle to cope with Europe's largest migration of people
since World War II
October 26, 2015.
"The only continent that can bring
some unity to the world is Europe," he went on.
"China has perhaps a more ancient
culture, more profound. But only Europe has a vocation of
universality and of service", the Pope said.
"If Europe wants to rejuvenate, it must rediscover it's cultural
roots. Of all the Western countries, Europe has the stronger and
"Through colonization, these roots have even reached the new
world. But forgetting its own history, Europe weakens. It is
then that it risks becoming an empty place", he stated.
Next he addressed the European Union
"Sometimes I wonder where you'll
find a Schumann or Adenauer, these great founders of the
European Union", he said, appearing to imply that the EU was in
need of reform.
His criticism was cryptic:
"It [the EU] confuses politics with
circumstantial solutions. Of course, you must come to the
negotiating table, but only if you are aware that you have to
lose something because we all earn."
"Your secularism is incomplete… We need a healthy secularism",
he added, taking aim at France's fiercely secular constitution.
"In the Hispanic world it is said
that France is the eldest daughter of the Church, but not
necessarily the most faithful daughter".
Finally, he seemed to recognize that
radical Islam was the root cause of much violence in the
"We work hard to build dialogue
between Christians and Muslims… Every religion has its
extremists. The ideological degeneration of
religion is at the origin of the war",