Yet another African bishop is making more sense than his Western colleagues in the Catholic Church on the issue of immigration. Following Vatican Cardinal Robert Sarah’s recent statements on the problems of mass migration, Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Nigeria said that a country whose citizens feel the pressure to migrate elsewhere has failed its people — going as far as to say that the leadership of that country should resign, reports Nigeria’s Daily Post.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, where he serves as archbishop, Onaiyekan said that it is a sign that leaders have failed “if you live in a nation where your young people are telling you it is better living elsewhere.”
“Authorities should make Nigeria home,” said Onaiyekan. “Same should be applicable to other African countries. Nigerians and other Africans should travel out of their country freely with dignity and respect, and not otherwise.”
“These days, you hear some young Nigerians insisting that the pastures are greener elsewhere even when it is obviously not,” Onaiyekan continued. “If you live in a nation where your young people are telling you it is better living elsewhere, then it is a sign of failure of leadership of such a nation.”
Onaiyekan said that he would resign if he were the leader of such a nation, adding that while he loved calling Nigeria his home growing up, the situation has lamentably changed.
“If I were to the president of such nation, I [would] not hesitate to resign if I continue to hear such a statement from my younger generation,” he said. “I recall vividly as a young child in school some decades ago, I loved Nigeria and professed it openly because I was well taken care of by the government and I had a promising future. But the reverse is the case now.”
Onaiyekan’s statements characterizing mass migration as a tragedy rather than as a positive development stand in stark contrast to Pope Francis, who routinely speaks of it in romantic terms — often to the point of chastising Western nations that do not accommodate mass migration. Most recently, Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea departed from the Holy Father when he emphatically said that Catholics do not have to support mass migration, arguing that the practice will ultimately harm Western culture.
“It is a false exegesis to use the Word of God to promote migration. God never wanted these rifts,” Cardinal Sarah told French publication Valeurs Actuelles before going on to blast bishops who “say fuzzy things, vague, imprecise, to escape criticism, and they marry the stupid evolution of the world.”
Sarah noted there is nothing romantic about people leaving their cultures and homes behind, saying they would best be helped in their culture of origin.
“All migrants who arrive in Europe are penniless, without work, without dignity. … This is what the Church wants?” he said. “The Church can not cooperate with this new form of slavery that has become mass migration. If the West continues in this fatal way, there is a great risk that, due to a lack of birth, it will disappear, invaded by foreigners, just as Rome has been invaded by barbarians.”
Sarah made it clear that he speaks from personal experience. “My country is predominantly Muslim,” he said. “I think I know what reality I’m talking about.”