Cardinal: Walls Aren’t Solution for Immigration

Caritas President Says Development Is Real Answer

ROME, JUNE 25, 2008 ( The Honduran cardinal who is president of Caritas Internationalis says walls are not the solution for immigration issues, and that the real answer lies in helping poor countries.

Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga and other Honduran bishops visited Benedict XVI on Tuesday for their five-yearly visit.

Later, the cardinal spoke with Vatican Radio about the challenges facing Latin America, including emigration. He affirmed that “the solution does not lie in building walls, but instead in helping poor countries.”

“No one emigrates for pleasure, but out of necessity,” he explained. “When young people can’t find work, they must necessarily look for it in other places, if they are not to enter the drug circuit.

“We are convinced that the international community must recognize that development cannot exclude anyone, and solidarity and justice must prevail. Without solidarity and social justice, in fact, it is difficult to have peace.”

The cardinal addressed other “thorny problems and issues” in Latin America and, in particular, Honduras, “such as the increase in the number of poor, due, above all, to the increase of the price of petrol and of basic goods.”

Some 70% of Honduras’ 7 million inhabitants live below the poverty line.

“The cancellation of the foreign debt has not created the conditions for the country’s re-launching, in part, because money is used to buy fuel, indispensable for the production of energy,” Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga lamented.


Along with these challenges, the cardinal said he believes that in Honduras, the difficulties faced by families are the Church’s priority.

In this context, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa said that “an evangelization effort is needed so that the social doctrine of the Church can reach everywhere, including the political-institutional realm.”

“When positions of power are attained, it seems that the common good is forgotten,” he lamented. “Moreover, where there is poverty there is the temptation of easy money and the penetration of drug trafficking.”

In regard to sects, the Honduran cardinal explained that “one of the causes of their growth is due to the fact that in the past, there has been a lack of priests.”

Honduras is mostly Catholic — some reports say as much as 97% of the population belong to the Church.

“Some communities did not have priests,” Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga reported, “although in our country the number of the ‘delegates of the word of God’ has grown — laymen and women who, after previous training, have made it possible for our faith to be preserved. We have 30,000, and they work even in the smallest villages.”

On the contrary, “sects make much noise, they enjoy gains and money and, above all, they don’t have to maintain structures.”

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