Print Version    Email to Friend
Don’t create a new generation of refugees

Vatican (SE): We must not allow another generation of refugees, undocumented migrants, stateless persons, people without a job or a community to call home to develop, warned Robert Cardinal Sarah, the president of the Vatican aid organisation, Cor Unum, at a press conference in the Vatican on October 7, saying the that the situation in the Horn of Africa is now critical.

In launching an appeal for a school in every village, Cardinal Sarah said that an entire generation is at risk of being lost unless something drastic is done to nurture the younger generations.

“The millions of displaced persons who are currently wandering in an attempt to survive will become tomorrow’s refugees,” he said, adding, “… we must seek to provide formation, because education is the motor of development.”

He went on to say, “Where there is a school, where there is education, there is the possibility of a future where tomorrow there will be work and families can be created… I am making an appeal for a school in every village.”

Cardinal Sarah explained that Cor Unum is putting in US$400,000 ($3.1 million) to supplement the supply of emergency aid and special collections are being taken up in dioceses across Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France and Ireland.

He added that the Church is also collaborating with the Anglican Communion in its response to the emergency, which he described as “a significant testimony to the charity that unites us.”

The Guinean cardinal added, “Our efforts speak of the vitality which the faith can produce and which finds expression in the fruit of shared love, compassion, concern for others and the promotion of the welfare of human beings of whatever race or religion.”

He called this cooperative effort a consequence of faith, which becomes love in action.

However, Cardinal Sarah lamented that the same spirit of concern and cooperation is not always found in the international community, as many nations cannot get over the hurdle of self interest.

“Unfortunately,” he continued, “it is often clear that the mechanisms governing international activities are dictated by the pursuit of the interests of individual nations. Selfish considerations prevail even in international politics.”

He said that in order for the common good to prevail, the international community must work to overcome these hurdles.

“We must allow ourselves to be inspired, implementing policies which are truly aimed at the common good. Only the search for the common good can ensure that there are no winners or losers, murders or victims, exploiters or exploited,” he explained.

“What must prevail is a vision of man and society in which the economic value is granted the recognition that it deserves, but not given the final work on good or evil,” he warned.

Sharing the stage with Cardinal Sarah, David Pain, the head of the African division of Christian Aid and envoy of Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, read a message from the head of the Anglican Communion.

“In the face of those who hunger and thirst, we discover the face of Christ. It must be with renewed passion and commitment that we seek effective and enduring responses to the end the intolerable scandal of recurring famine in our world,” he read.

For his part, Cardinal Sarah said, “The Catholic Church will continue to do her part and seek collaboration with other Christian communities in order to play an active role in resolving the current humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa.”

He went on to explain that the press conference “is a response to the pope’s desire to bear witness to the charity of Christ and the Church towards those who suffer.”

He reminded his audience, “Wherever man suffers, God is close by.”

More from this section