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Mon Apr 25, 2016, 08:21 PM



Keeping out migrants seeking help is against teaching of Gospel and Pope Francis, says diocesan bishop

25 April 2016 | by Sean Smith

The border fence currently being constructed by Austria to keep migrants from crossing into the country from neighbouring Hungary will have a Catholic sized hole in it after a diocesan bishop refused the government permission to build on church land.

The wall - which is due to be more than five miles long in Austria’s eastern Burgenland province (see map below) - was ordered by the government of Catholic Chancellor Werner Feymann in a bid to cut the number of migrants looking to avoid controls at authorised crossings. But owners of property along the fence must agree to allow it on their land.

But in a statement to the Austria Press Agency Diocesan Bishop Ägidius Johann Zsifkovics, who has church authority in the region, confirmed the church's refusal to cooperate because building a fence to keep people seeking help out was against the spirit of the Gospel.

In a statement Zsifkovics said: “[A fence] would contradict the spirit of the Gospel, Pope Francis’s clear message to Europe, and in particular for a diocese that was in the shadow of the Iron Curtain for decades. We need to tackle today’s problems at their root and that means stopping organised human trafficking, stopping sales of European arms, stopping war and the deliberate destabilisation of the Middle East."


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