An interview of Włodzimierz Rędzioch with Stefano Fontana – a director of the International Observatory of Church Social Teaching named cardinal Van Thuan – about the phenomenon of migration

WŁODZIMIERZ RĘDZIOCH: – Why did the International Observatory named cardinal Van Thuan decide to devote the 8th report of the Church social teaching in the world to the phenomenon of migration?

STEFANO FONTANA: – Because we are witnesses of the phenomenon of big migrations, which will change the previous order of the world and our western societies. We wanted to look into this phenomenon because it is not explained enough either by specialists or by media. Moreover it seems that this phenomenon, presented as unexpected and spontaneous, in fact, is organized, and even planned.

– There are attempts to explain the migrations with the economic reasons, aren’t there?

– Certainly, there are economic motifs, which influence this phenomenon, but they do not explain it completely. It often happens that illegal immigrants are from countries of good perspectives of economic growth and are arriving at such countries as Italy, where the Domestic Gross Product has been decreasing since 2001, and unemployment is very high.

– But it is said that just for economic reasons, western countries find it profitable to let immigrants in…

– The cost of keeping an immigrants is higher than economic profits which he can give to the country where he is arriving. It is not true that immigrants guarantee keeping the pension system in the country like Italy. Immigrants do not replace ‘empty cradles’, do not replace children who are not born.

– But in the west, it is decades since the rate of birth has been falling - we can speak even about a demographic collapse in western societies, so there is an opinion that it is necessary to balance this fall with migrants who usually have more children…

– The decrease of population in the West was needed and planned. We must remember that for decades governments, international organs and agencies, big American foundations have been functioning not only to discourage families to have children, but they have been promoting abortion and contraception, individualistic and unfertile lifestyle, a perverted idea of a woman and the gender ideology.

– It is known that migrants are not arriving in Europe but they are receiving help from traffickers of people. Shouldn’t we fight those who are organizing smuggling of migrants?

– This is a criminal network, which is organizing migration movements on the international scale – there are even rates depending on places where a migrant wants to get. It does not exclude the risk or denies the fact that migrants are travelling in inhuman conditions, and this is often compounded by cruelty of people traffickers. Police actions against these organizations would be possible, but so far nobody has ever tried to organize such coordinated actions. It shows that migrations are a phenomenon tolerated and also planned.

– Traffickers are trafficking refugees to Europe, escaping from conflicts and asylum-seekers persecuted in their countries but also a lot of people, who are looking for a better life. Should we let them in our country?

– There appears an idea that even those who are travelling abroad to find a better life, and who are not refugees or asylum-seekers, have a right to humanitarian help, settling in other countries and integration. But this way of understanding may lead to provoke migration of unpredictable proportions. Countries would not be able to control migration flows, whose victims they might become. And in this way the common welfare of the society might be endangered and political authorities would not be able to provide it. And this is unacceptable.

– A lot is said about integration of migrants who might become good citizens of European countries thanks to suitable policy. Have integration processes of migrants turned out to be successful in Europe?

– Visions of integration in western countries vary a lot. There is no common idea of integration. What does this word mean? Solutions of the multi-cultural type failed, and they were not replaced by any others. In western countries there is no common vision of integration.

– What is integration of multi-cultural type?

– Multi-cultural solution is accepting culturally and religiously homogeneous groups of immigrants and allowing them to integrate socially in their closed groups. But in this way a phenomenon of balkanization is caused – in European countries we have already got a lot of autonomic enclaves which live their own life. We must emphasize the fact that today immigrants have relations with their countries via internet, Skype, mobile phones which is the reason that the integration process is becoming much more difficult. Besides, in immigrants there appears a belief that they can remain what they are, and they are only trying to use privileges coming from life in western caring countries. For these reasons, a lot of experts think that integration is impossible.

– Definition of the word ‘integration’ assumes that there is a system of values and rights, culture and tradition reflecting history of a host country, in which immigrants are ‘scaled’. But there appears a question: ‘What do western countries want to integrate immigrants in?

– One of reasons for which integration is difficult or impossible, is cultural emptiness of western countries. In these countries there is no identity which was destroyed because of spreading secularism and nihilistic individualism and it causes a situation that they have got nothing to offer to immigrants. in the extreme pluralism of western societies, unacceptable cultural visions and social practices are being accepted such as marriages of underage children or polygamy.

– It seems to me that in the recent times the social teaching of the Church is hardly engaged with such matters as nation and national cultural identity, and these issues are significant in the context of mass migration of people of different national, cultural and religious identity….

– The last pope who was systematically engaged in these arguments was John Paul II - we must mention his encyclical ‘Centesimus annus’, his numerous speeches or a book ‘Memory and identity’. It is impossible to understand a human in any other way than in the culture of his nation, in memory of his identity – the Pope taught. In these reflections of John Paul II, the key role was played by the history of Poland. Therefore today Poland is one of EU countries which are the most resistant to forced migrations aimed at creating a multi-cultural society – such a society is negation of the nation.

– The problem is that today the multi-cultural, multi-ethnical and multi-religious society is presented as something very positive, so why wouldn’t foreigners be integrated?

– That is true that the perspective of the multi-cultural and multi-religious society in the West is presented as something positive. It is said that variety is good and brings profits to everybody. Mono-cultural societies are considered as something old-fashioned or depressing. International organizations and worldly centres of authority are making pressure to impose the model of the multi-cultural and multi-religious society onto the world, and this aim is supported also by big migrations of people. An alternative next step can be creating a new conventional culture and new civic religion, to impose on all citizens. This is a kind of a new project of ‘perpetual peace’ of Kant or something reminding of masonic and gnostic attempts to create universal religion, which would put the end to cultural and religious conflicts, and would unite everybody in the super-culture and super-religion of humankind. The multi-cultural society would only be a step on the way to creating a society ‘pensee unique’, governed by international organizations and by worldly centres of authority whose model would be imposed onto all nations weakened inside by multiculturalism.

– We must not forget that the Church also speaks about the unity of the humankind….

– Christian concept of the unity of the humankind has an excellent theological basis in the common nature of sons of God the Creator, but it is organically rich and does not reject national identities, which also have religious dimension. If we omit the issue of the nation, there appear a few possible dangers. The first of them are based on perceiving migration only as moving of people, not as migration of cultures or religions. And this is a very essential mistake. Another danger is the fact that the common welfare of citizens is neglected. Political authorities of countries letting immigrants arrive,, must consider the common welfare of the political society and must maintain identity or cultural identities which are an alive memory of their past. Thirdly, there is a risk of a dangerous turning point in the Church towards a language and mentality of today’s international organizations. And the Catholic Church cannot use the same ideological language as the UNO uses.


„Niedziela” 17/2017

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Lidia Dudkiewicz • Translation: Aneta Amrozik • E-mail: