ROME - (ChurchMilitant.com) - A prominent cardinal is calling nationalism a virus.
In an interview with Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano published this weekend, Jesuit Cdl. Jean-Claude Hollerich stated, "Let us combat the virus of COVID, and let us combat the virus of nationalism and egoism."
Cardinal Hollerich is the archbishop of Luxembourg and serves as president of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community.
He gave the interview on Saturday, May 9, which the European Union annually celebrates as "Europe Day."
The comment on nationalism came as part of the cardinal's response to the question, "What then is the message, the challenge, that the Church in Europe wants to launch?"
Cardinal Hollerich also said, "It is so important to show the world that human society can be in solidarity, that such a global crisis, this pandemic, can only be fought on a global level, and that the European Union is an instrument for world peace."
Invoking Pope Francis, Cdl. Hollerich spoke of immigration policies during the interview and advocated for open borders:
It is a great pleasure, I think, for all Europeans to see how the pope who came from afar — as he himself said — has the "European sense," has truly understood in depth what the European ideal is — solidarity. And solidarity does not stop at the borders of Europe. We have problems with borders — borders in Europe and borders of the European Union with other countries. There are people who die on the borders of the European Union and we cannot tolerate this.
The Luxembourg cardinal has been supportive of open borders and relaxed immigration laws for years.
On Christmas Day last year, Cdl. Hollerich spoke about the immigration crisis in European countries along the Mediterranean and its devastating consequences for children:
There are definitely children there that will vanish and be forced into child prostitution. There are children there who will be taught to steal. Others, who will be raped and assaulted. This is gruesome. This is not happening far from Luxembourg, in a place where we cannot help. This is happening in Greece — in Europe and in the European Union. We must be fiercely ashamed that we have not done anything to help.
But on a separate occasion just days before Christmas, the cardinal blamed "right-wing parties" for government inaction on the refugee crisis, saying, "I find it outrageous that we're letting people drown in the Mediterranean; that our hearts have become so hard; that politics no longer dares to act for fear of right-wing parties."
Hollerich became archbishop of Luxembourg in 2011, and was elevated to the rank of cardinal in October 2019.
That same month, Hollerich participated in the Amazon Synod. In the lead-up to the synod, Hollerich expressed openness to the idea of allowing married men into the priesthood to serve remote regions of the Amazon.
He remarked in a press conference on Oct. 4, "If viri probati are a solution there, why not?"
Discussions of allowing married clergy in the Roman Rite often used the Latin term viri probati, meaning "proven men" or "men of proven virtue," to describe the married men who would be admitted to priestly formation as an exception to the rule of priestly celibacy.