Germany's Catholic Church raised around 80 million euros ($90 million) in refugee aid from January to July 2016, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chair of the German Bishop's Conference, said on Thursday.
Speaking to the press at the closing of this year's annual conference,
which took place in the eastern German city Fulda, Marx said the sum
only takes basic provisions into account, and does not include the work
undertaken by religious orders and associations.
Aside from financial
aid, Marx said at least 1,381 church buildings are providing lodging for
around 28,000 refugees.
Of the money raised this year, more than 50 million euros were spent
on financing projects in Germany, while around 27 million euros went
towards provisions in crisis zones. These funds came in addition to the
112 million euros raised by the German Catholic Church in 2015.
Marx also said the number of full-time volunteers providing help to
migrants living in Germany had risen from 5,100 to as many 100,000 in
the space of just a year.
He called on dioceses and communities to continue providing for
asylum-seekers in Germany, and on churches to offer special services,
sermons and pilgrimages to Christian migrants in their mother tongues.
What is still lacking, however, are sensible laws on migration. Marx
said it was "incomprehensible" that such laws had not yet been
"Germany is a country of immigration," he said. "Even if some people refuse to believe it."
Discourse on migrants 'alarmingly radicalized'
Marx said he found some of the rhetoric on migrants "alarmingly
radicalized" and called on society and political circles to rediscover a
more rational discourse.
Radicalized rhetoric, Marx said, "was unjust
towards migrants, the vast majority of whom are neither terrorists nor
criminals, and unjust on civic society."
The remark was a reference to comments made by the Christian Social
Union's (CSU) General Secretary Andreas Scheuer last week. When speaking
of a Senegalese migrant, Scheuer said: "The worst is a
football-playing, altar-serving Senegalese migrant, who has been here
for three years - as an economic migrant. We can't get rid of him."
The German Bishop's Conference condemned the remarks.
Marx said viewing the refugees themselves as a problem and simply
seeking to quickly get rid of them was not the right way forward.