Pope Francis has said quite a few things over the past couple of years that have raised eyebrows even among moderate-to-liberal Catholics, and many of his stranger comments have been in service of immigration – including the issue of refugees. This week, he went as far as to claim that through helping refugees, Western countries could begin to win the war on terror.
“I encourage you to welcome refugees into your homes and communities, so that their first experience of Europe is not the traumatic experience of sleeping cold on the streets, but one of warm welcome,” Francis told European Jesuits in Rome for a conference in refugees.
Francis said that not only was it the Christian duty to take in these refugees, but that it was the only way to stop the bloody massacres carried out by Islamic radicals. He said that open-hearted hospitality was “our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism.”
That’s a nice sentiment – the kind you might expect from someone who is clearly invested in helping the poor and downtrodden – but it isn’t the kind of sentiment Westerners want to hear right now. It’s not that Europeans and Americans are too selfish to welcome refugees; it’s that we see what this influx is doing to our culture and our very safety. And it’s not bigoted to ask very serious questions about the extent of our collective obligations. How many people have to die or get raped before we shut the door?
“We have sent many operatives to Europe with the refugees,” said an ISIS commander last year. “Some of our brothers have fulfilled their mission, but others are still waiting to be activated.”
He wasn’t lying. While it’s true that many refugees want nothing more than a better life, ISIS is cleverly using their pipeline to sneak militants into countries that would otherwise be difficult to crack. Just last year, officials arrested more than 40 terrorists who had posed as migrants before attempting to carry out attacks. The Islamic terrorists behind the attacks in Paris and Brussels were among those who had exploited the refugee crisis.
It’s understandable that Christians, Europeans, and Americans would want to do something magnanimous about the horrible situation in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. But when push comes to shove, we do not have to trade our own security to see for the well-being of hundreds of thousands of Muslims. When Pope Francis throws open the gates of the Vatican, maybe we can reconsider.