Budapest (MTI) – The Catholic community of Szeged in south Hungary embraces solidarity towards migrants, but it must also call attention to the dangers of a possible “cultural invasion” that growing mass migration may bring, Bishop Laszlo Kiss-Rigo said in a statement sent to MTI on Saturday.
“All our fellow humans suffering from physical, emotional or intellectual poverty should be helped regardless of race, language, religion or sympathies,” the bishop said. The Diocese of Szeged-Csanadi has been a leader in demonstrating charity towards migrants for years. He said however that the current situation at Hungary’s southern borders was “not primarily a refugee issue”. The situation can best be helped by working together, as suggested by Pope Francis, Kiss-Rigo said.
The new problem is a growing wave of migrants, which is really mass migration supported by organised crime groups that exploit people to the fullest. This can lead to cultural invasion at the very least, the bishop said. He said that he had briefed Pope Francis about the situation and of the dangers concerning the migration wave experienced in Szeged and its surroundings.
The diocese’s support programmes include a 15 million forint (EUR 47,700) scholarship scheme for poor students of India and Africa, among them Muslims, who then return to their home countries with medical degrees. The diocese also helped poor communities in India build churches with a donation of more than 30 million forints. Last year it had offered to take in 1,000 Christian refugees from Syria, but the targeted group had never managed to reach the Schengen border, the bishop said, adding that their offer is still open to asylum-seekers who arrive legally and who register with the authorities, file and receive asylum status and choose to stay permanently in Hungary.
For three years the Szeged diocese has operated a shelter for unaccompanied minors who are refugees. The facility houses 400 children and provides services by teachers, interpreters, medical staff and mental hygiene experts. The diocese’s volunteers have set up tents at Roszke at the Serbian border and provide medical care to migrants while collecting and distributing donations. They offer migrants warm accommodation and a place to rest. The diocese has also offered a building to accommodate police officers on duty at the borders, the bishop said in his statement.
The diocese has operated a Christian Roma College for years, “so it would be hard to label us racists” unless it was with consciously malicious intent, he said. “At the same time, it must be said that most of the migrants have more cash on them than a Hungarian police officer earns in six months,” he added. Many of them behave in a “self-confident, aggressive way” and they often use their children as human shields. Sometimes, when asked to collect the rubbish they leave behind they will say: “let the Christians pick it up, that’s what they are for”. “Many migrants show no sign of the slightest willingness to accommodate,” the statement said.
Another danger of the current mass migration is that as a result of the “accelerated, aggressive cultural invasion, the social identities of some European countries are lost or changed,” it added.
“The thinkers or politicians of Europe who have neglected, rejected or attacked Christian roots, claiming to keep an equal distance from all human values, are really working to build the dictatorship of no values”, the bishop said. Now these politicians are looking at current events helplessly, in hypocrisy, the statement said.
“Others — more and more people all around Europe — including in Hungary, support a self-preserving strategy independent of blind ideologies and party politics, which is built on directness, solidarity, Christianity, reason and a need for sacrifices. This strategy is best represented by the Hungarian prime minister,” the statement added.
On Monday the Washington Post published remarks by Kiss-Rigo, saying Pope Francis was wrong about the refugee problem, and did not know the situation in Hungary.
“They’re not refugees. This is an invasion, (…) They come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar.’ They want to take over.”, the paper quoted Kiss-Rigo as saying.
Kiss-Rigo later told daily Nepszabadsag that the Washington Post had quoted him out of context and that he agreed with the Pope’s spiritual guidance regarding refugees. “Catholics are indeed obliged to help refugees,” he told the paper.
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