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A view of the Mavrovouni camp for refugees and migrants, Lesbos, Greece A view of the Mavrovouni camp for refugees and migrants, Lesbos, Greece 

EU Bishops advocate welcome and protection of refugees in need

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, President of the European Bishops Conferences (COMECE), appeals to EU States to welcome and relocate refugees in concrete solidarity.

By Benedict Mayaki, SJ

The President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union, (COMECE), Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, has called on the EU States to allow refugees who are stranded in countries of first reception to be relocated to other EU nations, ensuring them the protection and promotion they need.

Cardinal Hollerich’s call joins with Pope Francis’s appeal to EU member states during his recently-concluded Apostolic Journey to Cyprus and Greece (2-6 December), two countries at the frontline of migratory routes for migrants headed for Europe.

Migrants in need of protection

In a statement addressed on Wednesday to EU authorities and to the Church in Europe, the COMECE president noted that the Pope’s recent travel to Cyprus and Greece has highlighted the precarious situation and desperation of our refugee brothers and sisters in some European countries who are “waiting for us to hear their voices asking for our help and attention.”

The Church in Europe cannot be indifferent to such a call, Cardinal Hollerich stresses, adding that it must “respond with a renewed commitment, with a prophetic voice and with concrete examples of solidarity towards these refugees, children of God, people with faces, biographies, and families, who need us now more than ever.”

Appeals

In light of the situation, the COMECE president urges EU countries to generously welcome and relocate refugees and their families in concrete solidarity, allowing those stranded in the countries of their first reception, as in the case of Cyprus and Greece, to be moved to other EU countries so they can receive the protection they and their families need.

Cardinal Hollerich also appeals to the parishes, communities and faithful in the Churches in Europe, to become “true witnesses to Christ” during this Christmas season, and “to welcome in a spirit of service those who have arrived in  our lands seeking protection as refugees.”

He also calls on the Churches to “make a joint effort that leads to concrete projects to accommodate [refugees], in collaboration with public authorities.”

Concluding his appeal, Cardinal Hollerich implored the Child Jesus whose birth we will soon celebrate to enlighten us so that we can recognize Him in every refugee that knocks on  our door, and to give the strength to “overcome the indifference of our societies to those who suffer and are in need.”

22 December 2021, 12:00