“Jesus would help”

Refugees on the rescue ship "Lifeline" © Felix Weiss

Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx has defended his donation to private sea rescuers in the Mediterranean Sea. In a guest article for the "Bild" newspaper, the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference praised the work of the rescue organizations.

The president of the German Bishops' Conference writes that he has "great respect" for the people who support the weakest in this way. At the same time, he stressed that sea rescue is "of course not a political solution to the challenge of migration". For this it needs other ways.

Marx's comments came after he gave his support to the private sea rescue mission of the German ship "Lifeline" 50.000 euros had donated. According to a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, the money comes from funds available to Marx. In the guest post, he writes that for him, Pope Francis' words that the Mediterranean must not become a cemetery are a "personal call to action".

Christian mission: mercy

Marx announced that the church wanted to help on the ground in the home countries of migrants. "We want them to be able to live there without persecution, hunger and hardship," he wrote. In the fight against the causes of flight, the international community, the EU and the German government are also needed.

"But as long as there are people who make their way across the Mediterranean in their need and desperation, our mission as Christians is mercy," the cardinal emphasizes. "A Christian confession that stands idly by and watches the catastrophe that happens every day on the Mediterranean Sea is not credible." Jesus Christ would also help and not "idly" look on.

AfD: Lifeline mission only seemingly Christian

Criticism of the cardinal's support for the "Lifeline" came from the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag. Church policy spokesman Volker Munz, called it "an absurdity that Cardinal Marx supports the private rescue ship 'Lifeline' with funds from church taxes". The work of Lifeline is "only apparently Christian".

Through the presence of such ships in the Mediterranean Sea, many people would only be attracted to embark on the dangerous journey and risk their lives.

Most recently, the "Lifeline" had made a push to sail under the Vatican flag. But the Vatican rejects this, the letter to Captain Claus-Peter Reisch said. He has been on trial in Malta since early July. Among other things, he is accused of not having properly registered the rescue ship. He has since been released on bail, but the trial is still ongoing.

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