Populism is pushing democracy to the brink, warns new cardinal

Light of truth

Democracy is under threat due to the rising tide of populism, according to a new Luxembourg cardinal who is urging the church to stand against anti-democratic forces present in politics.

Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich, who made a cardinal by Pope Francis on 5th October, said the simple answers offered by populist politics will not solve complex problems and end up leaving people even more disillusioned. “The church has a very clear standpoint. We are against populism, we are in favour of human rights and we are in favour of democracy. And democracy is in danger because civilisation is changing,” he told The Tablet.

The interview is published on the day the Supreme Court ruled that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament was unlawful, although Hollerich spoke to before the ruling was announced by Lady Hale.

Cardinal-designate Hollerich, 61, who is President of Comece (the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union), said the pace of change caused by digitisation raises questions about how democracies can function in the future.

“Populism in that sense is very dangerous because the questions are not asked anymore,” he said. “You give a very simple answer – and simple answers are popular nowadays. It’s much more difficult to present a complex situation and find complex solutions. But people will also be disillusioned.” “If the United Kingdom is not a member of the European Union, it is still a European country, and we need to have good relations,” he explains. “So we should do everything to have the best deal, and compromises have to be found, and that is very important for me.”

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