“Overcoming indifference to migrants & refugees”
Cardinal Michael Czerny, Pope Francis’ point man on migrants, talks to The Tablet’s Rome correspondent Christopher Lamb
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30 July 2020 5pm BST
Christopher Lamb is a British journalist who is the Rome Correspondent for Catholic publication The Tablet. He is a contributor to the Vatican Insider page of La Stampa and a regular commentator for the BBC on Vatican and religious affairs.
Christopher studied Theology at Durham University and then completed a postgraduate diploma in journalism at the London College of Communication. Before joining The Tablet he worked at The Daily Telegraph.
Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ was born in the old Czechoslovakia in 1946 but left for Canada with his parents at the age of two.
The son of immigrants joined the Society of Jesus in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1973. His ministry has taken him to Canada, Central America and Africa where he has worked principally on human rights, health, peace, ecology and AIDS.
In 1989, shortly after the coldblooded murder of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador, he became director of the Human Rights Institute at the Jesuit-run Central American University in El Salvador, a position that had been held by one of the murdered priests. He also served as Vice-Rector of the university at that time.
Later, in 2002, Fr Czerny founded and directed the African Jesuit AIDS Network, which is at the forefront in the continent's battle against HIV/Aids offering testing, care, psychological support and treatment.
After eight years in Africa he started work in the Vatican and, since 1 January 2017, has served as an under-secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. This role sees him report directly to Pope Francis.
The Pope created Fr Czerny a cardinal on 5 October 2019, with his ordination as a bishop taking place a day earlier. Last October he served as a special secretary to the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon region.