Polish Archbishop: Security concerns less important than helping needy

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, head of the Polish Episcopate Conference said on Monday that the concern to preserve one's own security cannot outweigh the attitude that should be directed at helping other people.

Archbishop Gadecki met with journalists in Warsaw during a press conference summing up the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which the Catholic Church celebrated on Sunday.

As the head of the Polish Episcopate Conference (KEP) stressed, the Catholic Church is guided in its approach to the problem of refugees and migration by the principle that all people are children of one God.

"Everyone would like to live a safe life, only then our attitude does not have much in common with Christianity," Archbishop Gadecki said.

"Personal egoism, that is caring for one's own safety, prevails over altruism, that is, over an attitude which should be focused on helping other people," he argued.

The archbishop noted Pope Francis' message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees saying that migrants' rights should override national security concerns. "The principle of the centrality of the human person (...) obliges us to always prioritise personal safety over national security," Pope's message read. 

Referring to statistics that say 63 percent Poles are against accepting refugees, Archbishop Gadecki pointed out that in the Catholic country people should be guided by the Gospel," he explained.

In Archbishop Gadecki's opinion, the Polish government helping the Middle East war victims as close as possible to their homeland "is a good move." However, he added, on-site aid "does not solve all the problems." "A certain number of people cannot return to their countries (...). These people need to be taken care of, whether we want to or not," Gadecki stressed.

The head of the Polish Episcopate Conference stressed he hoped it will be possible to return to talks with the Polish government on humanitarian corridors.

Bishop Krzysztof Zadarko, KEP delegate for immigration, presented the document of the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development, entitled "Responding to Refugees and Migrants: Twenty Action Points"

"It is an initiative of the Holy See, in response to the efforts of the whole world, on how to deal with the migration and refugee movement, on how to contribute in a manner appropriate to the Church," Zadarko said.

The bishop added that these 20 points refer to the four verbs that Pope Francis used for refugees: receive, protect, promote and integrate. He explained that people who want to live in Poland need to be guaranteed not only language learning and the opportunity to learn about culture, but also access to the labour market, health care and education for children.