Christians assisting migrants should love them “without hidden intentions” and not try to convert them, the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has said.
Cardinal Gerhard Müller said said that proselytism “is practically a manipulation of the conscience” and that the church’s mission is to help mankind relate to and love those escaping war and persecution.
The cardinal was speaking at an international conference at the Vatican organised to reflect on Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, on charity (“God Is Love”) and the relevance of the Christian perspective of love in today’s world.
Cardinal Müller also said that the Church must assist with more than just material needs. He said: “The mission of the church is to give witness to Jesus Christ. It would be a way of despising someone if I said: ‘You only have material needs.”
Jesus’ commandment to love one’s neighbour, he said, is a call for Christians to manifest God’s love to others, particularly through works of charity. However, in addressing the needs of migrants, Christians are called to help “without hidden intentions.”