Earlier this month, May 2019, hundreds of migrants in France occupied a Parisian airport chanting that “France belongs not only to the French” and that they had the “right” to be there.
To say immigration is a wedge issue in today’s church would be a serious understatement. While I hate to further the oversimplification of our increasingly divided congregations by splitting us into left and right wings, it is the easiest way to describe the current situation. The right tends to hold opposition to abortion and church approval of same-sex unions as their pet issues. Most of us would say that is because distortion of our sexuality is the weapon that the devil is using to attack the church, but liberal leaning Catholics might say that we are simply prudish and obsessed with sexual repression. We are simply “behind the times” they say, clinging to useless old rules, and lacking in the mercy Christ showed the Samaritan woman at the well and the adulterous woman about to be stoned, etc.
An issue the Catholic Left commonly latches on to as a proof of their Christian agape towards their fellow man is support for unrestricted immigration, or at least indefinite asylum for an unending stream of refugees. After all, weren’t the Holy Family refugees when they had to flee to Egypt to escape Herod?
Pope Francis has been famously vocal on this subject. The pontiff criticized Donald Trump for his proposal of “building walls, not bridges” during the 2016 election and went so far as to suggest the candidate (now president,) along with his supporters, are not Christian if they support deporting illegal/undocumented immigrants and building a physical barrier on the border. More recently, His Holiness contributed $500,000 to a migrant caravan who were denied entry into the United States.
I would advise anyone particularly concerned about the last point to read the full article and not just the headline. Presuming the money is spent where it is proposed to be (and that might be a large presumption,) it is a truly Christian work of mercy to save the poor from starvation and exposure. Whether the caravan was entitled to entry into the United States, or the migrants occupying Charles du Galle are entitled to a share of France, is another topic altogether.
The Catholic Church “acknowledges and supports the right of nations to control their borders and to enforce their laws.” (trigger warning: America Magazine) The reason this article, which unsurprisingly leaps to the conclusion that the ill-established “rights” of migrants supercede borders, cedes this so bluntly is because the church has taught thus quite clearly for centuries.
” In truth, Catholic teaching, as articulated by several popes through the years, is remarkably clear on national sovereignty and borders. Pius XII, the author of “Exsul Familia”—known as the Magna Carta on Catholic teaching on migration—wrote to U.S. bishops in 1948 that while national sovereignty “must be respected,” migrants should be accepted as long as “the public wealth, considered very carefully, does not forbid this.” Saint John XXIII, in his encyclical, “Pacem in Terris” (“Peace on Earth”), taught that nation-states have an obligation to the “universal common good” that requires them to welcome newcomers: “When there are just reasons in favor of it, he [every human being] must be permitted to emigrate to other countries to take up residence…”Kevin Appleby “America Magazine”, emphasis added
“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. “
The italicized portion was not only formatted differently, it was omitted entirely from the article. America Magazine could not even cherry-pick one paragraph out of the catechism to advance the liberal point of view on immigration, they had to split one in half.
The conversation among the faithful should therefore not be about an perceived obligation to accept a tsunami of humanity that does not “respect with gratitude” what it means to be a citizen of their new country, but rather when there are “just causes” to accept such immigrants/migrants, and whether “the public wealth” can sustain that acceptance.
Liberalism, and its shadow of Socialism, claim to be for the worker. For a long time in the United States, the Democratic Party was allied very closely with the Catholic Church, as it had been the party of the Irish and Italian “working man,” and has only recently become the party of abortion and the other facets of the sexual revolution. JFK made no public statements on abortion, but his SCOTUS nominee Byron White joined the dissent in Roe v. Wade, accurately writing that abortion was a new “right” with no constitutional basis, wholly manufactured in the Roe decision. Top democratic presidential candidates (trigger warning: Hillary Clinton) relatively recently opposed recognition of same sex unions before supporting it.
There are points on which I may not seem as “counterrevolutionary” as my header would suggest. Society should be ordered in a way that all workers are paid wages that allow them to live a decent life and support their families. A basic level of healthcare and education should be available to everyone. Liberals and socialists in the United States seem to believe this as well, but they seem willing to make an exception if the worker is Mexican. In that case it is apparently acceptable for them to do demeaning tasks such as cleaning toilets for slave-tier wages.
Imagine for a moment holding the point of view that we must increase the minimum wage to $15/hr, and medicare must be provided for all, while simultaneously believing that we should import thousands of unskilled workers who are willing to work for beneath minimum wage and with no benefits. The latter drops the price floor out of the labor market. If you dissent with my point of view (I dare to dream such a person is actually reading my blog) this is the one link I want you to click. Not only has the old alliance of Catholics and democrats become morally unfeasible, it is no longer beneficial to the working class the left purports to represent.
It is not heartless to “preserve the public wealth,” as Pope Pius XII suggested we do. To allow our healthcare facilities, education system, and housing market to be utterly devastated for the sake of “equality” only brings us the equality of Venezuela, where nobody gets basic amenities besides those at the very top, so mostly everyone is equal.
The Marxist notion of equality is akin to advising a man to dive into a whirlpool to save his drowning friend, that in drowning together they might be equal. Those who try to claim moral equality with those who wish to save the innocent being slaughtered en masse because they also support an economically unfeasible and exploitative strategy on immigration need a drastic re-examination of their views.
Cultural self-destruction does not come from the gospel, as Cardinal Sarah pointed out so eloquently, but rather from the lord of self-destruction himself. In the same way as God says “I AM” and encourages us that we should be and should grow, the devil says “I am guilty, and you are too, and neither of us should be.” Marxism and liberation theology are but poisonous fruits of this tree, and we should feel no guilt in resisting them as our forebears did.