Marx throws weight behind Merkel on refugees06 October 2016 | by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt
The president of the German Bishops’ conference has said he fully supports Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policy and is deeply disturbed by the rise of nationalism in Germany. The rise has coincided with the “Open Door” admission by Mrs Merkel of more than one million mostly Muslim migrants last year and up to a further 300,000 people in 2016. Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats have lost out to the anti-migrant AfD in regional elections this year.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx was speaking to an audience in Berlin that included Mrs Merkel, the Nuncio, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic and representatives of the Central Council of German Jews and leaders of German Muslim associations.
The cardinal said that respectful treatment of each individual asylum seeker at the border, and a fair procedure in which no one was sent back to a conflict area were the essential points of any refugee policy. Moreover, everything must be done to stop refugees drowning in the Mediterranean and to address the root causes of their flight, he insisted.
Cardinal Marx said he was “deeply disturbed” by the upsurge of a “new nationalism” and, quoting former French president Francois Mitterrand, he recalled that “nationalism means war”. He could guarantee that the Church would fight every form of nationalism, Marx said. “Patriotism yes, nationalism no.”
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