The head of the German Roman Catholic Church has broken with most of the political elites in the country and called for a reduction in the number of refugees being allowed in.
“As a church we say that we need a reduction in the number of refugees,” Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chairman of the German bishops’ conference, told the Passauer Neue Presse daily on Saturday.
He added that Germany cannot “take in all the world’s needy,” according to The Guardian.
While many religious organizations have asserted it is the church’s duty to help the less fortunate, the cardinal asserted the migrant crisis should not solely be a matter of “charity but also reason.”
Cardinal Marx also expressed concern over growing xenophobia in Germany amid the worst refugee crisis Europe has seen since the second world war.
Germany’s anti-Islam group PEGIDA staged rallies in several cities across Europe on Saturday to protest the influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa.
Last week, Frauke Petry Germany’s rightwing populist AfD party suggested that police “if need be” should threaten to shoot people seeking to enter the country.
Referencing Germany’s dark past, Cardinal Marx lamented such rhetoric saying, “Sadly there has always been a certain potential for rightwing extremism and racism in Germany,” according to The Guardian.
Nearly 30% of Germany is Catholic, making it the largest Christian denomination in the country. But the influence of Cardinal Marx and the Catholic Church in general has declined in recent years as secularism/atheism has been on the rise — as it has been in the rest of Europe. Still, it is a significant break with Chancellor Merkel, who still insists on allowing hundreds of thousands of refugees into the country.
“Charity but also reason” is an excellent way to approach the refugee crisis. Unfortunately, Merkel’s refugee policy has has seen little reason and far too much charity. As the refugee crime wave grows and the anti-immigrant forces swell, the political fallout for Merkel and her dwindling number of allies could eventually result in not only Merkel’s ouster, but an historic repudiation of Europe’s open-borders policy. And with another huge wave of refugees expected as a result of the Russian/Syrian/Iranian military triumphs in Syria, Germany especially will be forced to confront their open-door policy and its consequences for the future of their country.