The Catholic Church is Wrong on Illegal Immigration

by Ryan on June 30, 2013

in Culture,Economy,Immigration,Politics,Religion

There I was, minding my own business during Sunday morning mass, when my priest referred to a little prayer in the bulletin for what he called “comprehensive immigration reform.”  He went on to suggest that it should be put on our refrigerators to remind us of the issue.  The prayer, called “A Prayer for Immigrant Justice,” goes as follows:

Blessed are You, Lord God, King of all Creation.  Through Your goodness, we live in this land that You have so richly blessed.  Help us always to recognize that our blessings come from You.  Remind us to share them with others, especially those who come to us today from other lands.  Help us to be generous, just, and welcoming, as You have been and are generous to us.

Seems benign enough — outside of the context of the crap sandwich the Senate just passed, as well as the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) support of that bill (pdf)!

For years the American Catholic Church has looked at immigration (of any kind) as a human rights issue.  People struggle coming here and have a hard time getting started.  Yet, I have always believed that there is a stark difference between legal and illegal immigration and being a refugee.  Assist the refugee; imprison and deport the illegal.  The church sees that as a distinction without a difference.  The American church speaks of the terrible hardships and danger which comes with penetrating the Southern border with Mexico, but through their support of illegal immigration they are encouraging more of it, making the illegals the political equivalent of human shields for the church’s broader agenda.

To me, the church’s recent support of this comes down to money and power.  Those coming over are mostly Catholic and have high birth rates, meaning a larger flock with potential financial benefits and political influence moving forward — damn the rule of law, public safety, the fact that we have no money to support 11.2 million (a low-ball number) illegals, all without the guarantee that they will put more money in the basket on Sunday or vote with the church’s moral compass.  It’s quite a political, financial, and spiritual risk to embrace a group of people whose first act on American soil was to break our laws, disturb the peace, become a temporary social burden, and impact the job market by depressing wages.  The USCCB is beginning to sound like Congress, for goodness sake!

“Immigrant justice” means respecting our laws by going through the process the right way, encouraging moral behavior for all involved, and not forcing the charity of all taxpaying Americans through the coercive power of a massive, damaging, and highly subjective immigration bill.  I’m pretty sure Jesus would want you or I to assist individuals involved who cross our paths, rather than forcing others to comply with one’s social and political beliefs at the point of a Roman spear.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sal July 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm

The Catholic Church is not wrong in immigration.

The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

Source: Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2241

This citation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church is what constitutes authoritative Church teaching. If I were to sum it up, I would say:

- It is important for a nation to accept immigrants into its borders.
- Nations have a responsibility to welcome people within it’s borders
- Nations have a right to subject the above to a lawful, judicious process
- Those who immigrate into a nation have a responsibility to obey its laws and fulfill civic obligations.

All-in-all, that is a far more balanced view than what the American Bishops put out. It is very important to remember that what the American Bishops say is not necessarily what is Church teaching, and that for authority on what constitutes Church teaching, one must look to what comes out of the Holy See in the form of official proclamations (even comments the Pope makes outside of formal proclamations cannot necessarily be considered official teaching, although they are an indicator). So a more accurate headline would be that the American Bishops are wrong on immigration.

I also object to your characterization of the motives of the Bishops. As somewhat of a Church watcher, I really believe most of the American Bishops are well intentioned individuals who sincerely believe that what they put out is in accordance with the Gospel of trying to care for the downtrodden. While they are mistaken in their support for the bill, I don’t think their motives are for financial gain, as most of the people affected by this law are already here and don’t necessarily contribute to the Church in great numbers.

The USCCB’s mistake here (and this is often where they make a mistake) is that they let a policy-making arm create these positions and documents surrounding general principles, but not necessarily delving into the specifics of a bill. Even though their principles are flawed, it is compounded by the fact that they are supporting a bad bill without even really knowing what is in it. So while there is fault here on the part of the American Bishops, I don’t think it is ill-intentioned.

Reply

Debi July 17, 2013 at 6:38 pm

I am a 59 year old practicing catholic, who for the first time in my life is unemployed. I have approached my own church and my bishop for help in feeding my family, my “extended” family who has moved in with us because they also cannot find a job. Both my church, and my bishop admonished ME for not trying hard enough, for being lazy, and trying to find the easy way out. Needless to say, not a crumb of bread. HOWEVER, it is preached at every mass we are to help, and the hand out line is full of people who cannot speak our language, who have taken no steps to enter this country the right way, or to obtain citizenship. Why do I have a problem with this picture? First my tax dollars, now my church. SHAME ON YOU

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pamela April 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm

pamela puri nayant puri divorced me after 5 years and stated he used me for citizenship india

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