In 2018, Catholic Church have spend around 125.5 million euros on refugees in Germany. This was announced by the Hamburg Archbishop Stefan Heße on Thursday at the fourth Catholic refugee summit in Essen.
“Racism and xenophobia contradict the message of Jesus,” said Heße, according to the speech at the opening of the summit. Heße is special representative for refugee issues and chairman of the Migration Commission of the German Bishops’ Conference.
Of the money, 37.5 million euros were invested in domestic projects, 83.5 million went to projects abroad. Total expenditure would thus have remained at a “high level”, but would tend to decline. The decline is explained by the fact that numerous programs expired and refugee work is increasingly part of “regular work”. Especially some projects that should create living space, were completed.
More than 5,000 full-time employees of the Catholic Church and around 51,000 volunteers were in favor of the previous year refugees used, it was said. All in all, however, there was a decline “in the network of full-time and voluntary support, which had previously been broadly diversified in the area. That is because the placement of refugees focuses on specific areas.
Heße reminded that the big challenges in refugee aid are yet to come. Integration following the admission is a long-term task. “Currently our society seems to be divided in the middle of society,” said Heße. Xenophobic ideas threaten to spread in the middle of society. Sometimes, even in Catholic communities, there is fear of being alienated. Therefore, the handling of xenophobic tendencies and right-wing populism is also a challenge for the church’s refugee aid.
The fourth Catholic Refugee Summit brings together around 100 experts, volunteers and volunteers this Thursday. In lectures, workshops and a panel discussion it is about “Challenges of church refugee work in dealing with xenophobia”.