During his visit this week, the Pope has made repeated comments critical of immigration enforcement efforts–such as they are–in the U.S. His primary concerns are not the sovereignty and security of our country. Open borders benefit Catholic churches looking to fill their pews and collection baskets. The Vatican and American bishops, led by radical L.A. Cardinal Roger Mahony, have long promoted immigration anarchy and lawlesness. Their campaign continues:
More than 45,000 people filled Nationals Park on a clear spring day, as the pope, wearing scarlet vestments, led the service from an altar erected in centerfield of the recently inaugurated baseball stadium. Rows of red-robed church leaders joined him. The enthusiastic crowd burst into cheers when Benedict entered the stadium in his popemobile.
His homily was more somber. Benedict examined American society, saying he detected anger and alienation, increasing violence and a “growing forgetfulness of God.”
“Americans have always been a people of hope,” he said. “Your ancestors came to this country with the experience of finding new freedom and opportunity.
“To be sure, this promise was not experienced by all the inhabitants of this land; one thinks of the injustices endured by the native American peoples and by those brought here forcibly from Africa as slaves.”
It was not the first time on the trip that the pontiff has delicately critiqued his host nation. Speaking to his American bishops Wednesday, he said the U.S. must be welcoming to immigrants, helping them to flourish in their new homes.
Following a White House visit, a joint statement from the U.S. and the Vatican hinted that Benedict raised concerns with President Bush about punitive immigration laws. It said the leaders discussed “the need for a coordinated policy regarding immigration, especially the humane treatment of immigrants and the well-being of their families.”
It’s one thing to show compassion to legal immigrants, legitimate refugees and asylees, and those abused and mistreated by smugglers. It’s quite another to support the systematic undermining of an orderly immigration and entrance system that imposes limits, eligibility requirements, criminal background checks, medical screening, and a commitment to assimilation. There is nothing Christian about facilitating illicit, illegal activity like this:
The Vatican donated at least $20,000 to build a shelter for Central American immigrants traveling to the USA, angering immigration control advocates as Pope Benedict XVI begins his first official U.S. visit.
The Pontifical Commission for Latin America, which reports to the pope, sent the money in January to help the Brothers on the Path charity construct a $120,000 shelter in Ixtepec in southern Mexico, the Vatican confirmed Tuesday.
Many Catholic churches in the USA and Mexico have programs to aid immigrants, but few receive direct support from the Vatican, said Alejandro Solalinde, a priest and director of the project.
The donation comes at a delicate time, as the United States fortifies its southern border and the number of Central Americans crossing illegally is high. The area around Ixtepec is a major conduit for Central American migrants who ride freight trains to the U.S. border.
The illegal alien sanctuary movement sabotages the very compassion it purports to defend.
Brooke Levitske at the Acton Institute put it well:
…[I]llegal immigration raises two separate matters of conscience, which pro-sanctuary Christians blur and equate. The first is the question of immediate need and the Christian duty to extend compassion. The second is the long-term issue of how best to preserve the common good.
To deal with the first: Scripturally speaking, it seems clear that giving immediate, material assistance to anyone in need is always right, whether to an enemy soldier bleeding alone in a ditch or to the child of an illegal immigrant family in ones church with an urgent medical need. If an individual feels compelled to assist an illegal immigrant in some tangible way, his conscience should be free to do so. Political circumstances should not condition acts of mercy or evangelization for us any more than they did for Christ, who associated with Samaritans, tax collectors, and the so-called dregs of society. It is part of Christian duty to minister to others, no matter what they have done or how they arrived on ones doorstep.
With that said, it seems inadvisable to the church, as a societal institution, to disobey the law to protect illegal immigrants from deportation. Christ expected his followers to treat criminals in prison the way they would treat him, but he said nothing about busting them out of prison. The church has a tremendous interest, morally and practically, in preserving the rule of law. From a moral perspective, Scripture teaches that we are to submit to the governing authorities appointed by God. Churches especially ought to honor conscientious immigrants who follow the laws of the land and not undermine their difficult and virtuous choices by systematically condoning illegal behavior. And practically, American churches ought to venerate and cherish the law because it is the guarantor of their religious freedom.
…While there is room to debate how well the U.S. has protected its borders, we should acknowledge both its right to do so and the complexity of our national security situation. We need to have patience with the present laws even as we seek to improve them through due process. It is also important to remember that law is not meant to abolish suffering, but only to prevent injustice.
C.S. Lewis wrote in The Abolition of Man that a hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head, but a soft heart does not guarantee right thinking, either. Disregarding the rule of law to help illegal immigrants is a paradoxical way of hurting them. The rule of law is the sustainer of the free and prosperous society that draws immigrants to the States. It is something immigrants’ own countries often cannot guarantee them, and it is what makes ours look so appealing. And if we shirk the rule of law if laws of entry can be applied to some immigrants but not to others we are cheating all immigrants out of the kind of society they are seeking in the first place.
Catholic elites can afford to harangue us about our perceived lack of “humanity.” Fact is, we remain the most generous and welcoming nation in the world to those who line up and play by the rules. It is not heretical to challenge the unholy alliance between the open borders lobby and the church establishment. If the Vatican had its way, we’d be paying for every last organ transplant for every last illegal alien patient in the world.
Question: Have you heard a single Catholic leader express compassion or outrage about the murder of young Jamiel Shaw in Roger Mahoney’s sanctuary of Los Angeles by an illegal alien gang member?
Commenter Granite asks: “What would His Holiness have to say if, hordes of Muslims who happened to have entered Italy illegally and were descending upon the Vatican; who, while acting upon last Friday’s sermon by the Muslim cleric in Ramallah, to conquer Rome, “the Crusader capital”, were in the meantime in need of food, water, and shelter? Would he want to keep them out of the Vatican?”
In fact, at least one Catholic leader has voiced concern about uncontrolled mass immigration of Muslims to Italy and the threat it poses:
Cardinal Giacomo Biffi based his argument on a trenchant analysis of the cultural (not racial) roots of the Italian nation. The London Daily Telegraph (September 16, 2000) quotes him:
“The criteria for admitting immigrants can never be just economic. It is necessary to concern oneself seriously with saving the identity of the nation.” Italy was not an “uninhabited region” lacking in history and traditions, which was fit to be “indiscriminately populated.” While it could admit anyone it wanted, no one had a “right of invasion.” He urged politicians to heed his words, since “not all of the cultures of those newly arrived are in favor of living together.” …
He said he had recently aired the same views with a government minister. “I said, ‘If you really have the good of Italy at heart, and want to spare a lot of suffering, then you can’t allow all the immigrants in.'” He said he had warned the minister that civil unrest would be one of the consequences if immigration was not religious-selective. He told the minister: “I’m surprised you still haven’t thought things through.” He added: “I don’t know how you’re going to cope with Friday as a holiday, polygamy, discrimination against women, and the fundamentalism of Muslims, for whom politics and religion are the same thing. Do your sums properly.”
Update: Tom Tancredo weighs in.