The chaos of migration, the migration of chaos.


Stefano Fontana interviewed by Lorenzo Bertocchi on the occasion of the publication of the VIII Report on the Social Doctrine in the World (Cantgalli, Siena 2016)


Stefano Fontana is the director of the International Observatory Cardinal Van Thuân on the Social Doctrine of the Church, an institution based in Trieste (Italy), the diocese entrusted to Archbishop Crepaldi, who is the President of this Observatory. One of its core activities is the publication of this Report on the Social Doctrine of the Church in the world, an annual endeavor involving data and documentation gleaned in collaboration with five other international research centers.

The latest Report, The Chaos of migration, the migration of Chaos ( Edizioni Cantagalli pgs. 224, Euro 14), deals with a very timely theme. The approach is pragmatic and based on principles. “The issue”, says Mr. Fontana, “cannot quite simply be reduced to a sort of slogan driven philanthropy.”


Mr. Fontana, do we have to just give in to migratory flows?

First of all, we must not turn a blind eye to facts: asylum seekers are a scant minority, and the majority of today’s migrants are not famished people, but persons who had resources of one kind or another at home; international trafficking is organized and reveals a “mind” executing a well defined plan, this being the destabilization of entire areas in northern Africa and the Middle East intentionally triggered by certain western powers and not by chance. Therefore, accepting migratory flows as something unavoidable does not strike me as being correct.


Fine, but the fact remains. The sole solution is multi-ethnic society.

If the current migratory flows are planned and piloted to a great extent, it is necessary to say that this multi-ethnic society is somehow imposed upon us. Specifically bearing the brunt of all this are two most important things: one is the reality of nations with their own cultural identity now being sacrificed to this multi-ethnic globality; the second is the Catholic religion which has always reached out to persons, as well as to peoples and nations, giving life to their culture and civilization. Those opposed to the first consequence are called ‘populists’, and those opposed to the second consequence are accused of are lacking in mercy.


Regarding mercy, Catholics are receiving ever increasing appeals to receptive openness. . .

In our annual Report Archbishop Giampaolo Crepaldi indicates four criteria for dealing correctly with the this issue from the view point of the Church’s social teaching: those in need are to receive humanitarian assistance (assistance to all, but don’t take in and accommodate one and all); there is a right to emigrate, but not a right to immigrate; each nation must regulate migratory flows while defending its common good, also regarding the conservation of its cultural identity; the fact that special attention must be focused on Islam.


Let’s return to the subject of the multicultural society. Many people believe this would be a pro-pacification solution, Is this true?

The multicultural society could turn into a ‘Balcanization’ of Europe. An archipelago of social islands, each autonomous and independent with their own names, systems of rule and law, and schools. The multicultural society is tantamount to the fragmentation of Europe. It is a form of potentially belligerent cohabitation rather than peaceful coexistence, and in many cases has already triggered civil conflict. This will come about when certain quantitative thresholds are crossed, as is already happening in some European countries. With respect to this phenomenon, public authorities by now believing in nothing at all will be able, at the most, to apply measures seeking to ensure law enforcement, but said measures will become increasingly less enforced. For example, some metropolitan neighborhoods are already not accessible to police forces. People do all too much wishful thinking about this multicultural society.  


You don’t mean to say that the laicity so many people rave about may turn into a police state?

This is the bitter fruit of our western world, and hence while importing religions and cultures, we export relativism. Nowadays laicity is understood as a public zone impartial to religious absolutes or indifference to religions, or else all religions outside the public sphere as in the case of Hollande-style Jacobinism, or all inside that sphere as in the case of the American jumble. In both cases, however, political power exercises its authoritarian absolute imperative which very closely resembles a State religion. Both the state contrary to religion and the state indifferent thereto are not secular in the correct sense. Each state must distinguish among religions, using the criterion of humanism born also thanks to Christianity, and defend these values not only because they belong to their own history but also because they are true and useful for social coexistence.  


What about freedom of religion?

First of all, it is not an absolute right. For example, a nation that pursues the common good cannot grant public space to religions that fail to respect the dignity of the human person and the minimum dictates of natural moral law by permitting, for example, physical mutilations and polygamy, or apply a parallel legal system disregarding human rights, or expect to be able to institute forms of theocratic power. From this point, Islam has particularly difficult features.  


Is integration therefore a myth?

Integration is very difficult and even impossible in some cases. The western world, and Europe in particular, thinks that crossing its borders are individuals alone, while actually being imported are peoples, cultures and religions. Europe is importing other civilizations  and does not even ponder whether they are compatible with its own culture born of Christianity because all it knows how to export is relativism. Moreover, Europe is no longer able to even see whether a religion includes  practices conflicting with natural moral law, for example, with the principle of male-female equality. National authorities must be interested in the truthfulness (or falsehood) of religions because there are also inhuman religions or ones with inhuman features. Benedict XVI’s teaching in this regard was very important, but not that many interested persons took it up or reacted to it.


What’s your formula so migratory flows wouldn’t become “migration of chaos”?

Western governments should screen arrivals by taking into consideration the specificity of the cultures of origin as well as religions that may be more or less compatible with real integration. They should implement demographic development and family support policies so immigrants wouldn’t “overtake” natives. They should disrupt the networks of human traffickers and boycott military operations destabilizing crucial areas instead of taking part in them. They should claim and expect equality of treatment on the part of Islamic countries, defend the Christians being persecuted in those countries, engage in military action as well against the bloodstained caliphates, and have ever in mind a list of values that immigrants would be expected to share.


Lorenzo Bertocchi

(La Verità, 24 December 2016)