Cardinal Sarah: Europe Can Avoid ‘Self Destruction’ by Developing Africa, So Migrants Can Stay Home

Guinean cardinal Robert Sarah attends a mass at the St Peter's basilica on March 12, 2013 at the Vatican. Cardinals moved into the Vatican today as the suspense mounted ahead of a secret papal election with no clear frontrunner to steer the Catholic world through troubled waters after Benedict XVI's …

Conservative Roman Catholic Cardinal Robert Sarah has called on Europeans to help Africa develop in order to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, claiming Europe is on a path to “self-destruction.”

Cardinal Sarah spoke to French media in the wake of the deaths of 27 migrants in the English Channel earlier this week, saying: “My reaction is a revolt. There is a triple betrayal. We are taking away young people from Africa, intelligence, living forces, who are torn from their country.”

“Then these young people are presented with Europe as Eldorado, they are told that they will have everything when this is not true,” he added, newspaper Le Figaro reports.

“Finally, we do not react against the smugglers who take advantage of their naivety and make them succumb in the open sea. We should fight against this evil at its roots and present Europe as it is, with its difficulties too,” he said.

“The best greeting you can offer these migrants is to develop their country, so they can stay at home,” he said, warning that currently, Europe is on the path toward “self-destruction” as a result of mass migration.

According to the Cardinal, who is originally from Africa himself, the best way for Europe to help Africans is by helping African countries develop so that migrants do not undertake the often dangerous journey to illegally reach Europe.

Policies to help develop African countries have been made in the past, including a proposal for a Marshall Plan-style project that would provide development funding.

Others, such as French President Emmanuel Macron, have suggested that Africa has “civilizational” problems, rather than financial ones.

“What are the problems? Failed states, complex democratic transitions, and extremely difficult demographic transitions,” Macron said in 2017, noting that in some countries, women have an average of seven or eight children each.

Cardinal Sarah also stressed that Europe should keep its roots and tradition, saying: “My idea is that everyone keeps their roots, their cultural and historical richness, and to communicate it to their children. That’s what we’ve all received.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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