Every nation has a right to distinguish between genuine refugees and economic migrants who do not share that nation’s culture, Cardinal Robert Sarah has said.

Speaking at the Europa Christi conference in Poland, the African cardinal noted that the country refused to accept the “logic” of migrant redistribution that “some people want to impose”.

In comments reported by the Polish magazine Gość Niedzielny, Cardinal Sarah said that while every migrant was a human being who must be respected, the situation became more complex if they were of another culture or religion and imperilled the good of the nation.

World leaders could not question the “right of every nation to distinguish between a political or religious refugee” who is forced to flee their own land, and “the economic migrant who wants to change his place of residence” without adapting to the new culture in which he lives, the cardinal said.

“The ideology of liberal individualism promotes a mixing that is designed to erode the natural borders of homelands and cultures, and leads to a post-national and one-dimensional world where the only things that matter are consumption and production,” Cardinal Sarah said.

Echoing Pope Francis, the cardinal said that European nations must accept part of the responsibility if they have destabilised the countries that migrants are travelling from – though this did not mean changing themselves through mass immigration.

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