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A Different Perspective on “Justice for Immigrants”?

October 18th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Last weekend, various Catholic Churches distributed “Justice for Immigrants” regarding U.S. immigration “reform”.  It is unclear who is responsible for composing and distributing the materials, although there is a prayer included “from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition.”  

Pray for the Persecuted Church

Pray for the Persecuted Church

Just who are the members of this “Interfaith Coalition?”  And why should I pray their prayer?  For all the hoops people need to jump through to distribute materials against the intrinsic evils of same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception (even EWTN materials have been rejected in some churches), it seems rather strange that these materials have no contact information or identification of authorship.  Website? Phone number?  Address?  No to all three.  

The first paragraph mentions that the “Church” advocates for “immigration reform”, without mentioning which Church.  The remaining three points do specifically mention the Catholic Church; i.e.  why the church cares about immigration policies, whether or not the Catholic Church supports illegal immigration and whether or not the Catholic Church supports “amnesty.”

Biblical Quotes in Context

While there are two biblical quotes in the first paragraph, they are meaningful but taken out of the total context of biblical references to treatment of strangers in our midst.  Generally the word does seem to be applied to foreigners, although 3 John 1, 5-6 refers to the “brethren receiving hospitality”: “Beloved, it is a loyal thing you do when you render any service to the brethren, especially to strangers, who have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey as befits God’s service.”   

Syrian Refugees

Syrian Refugees

The Old Testament quote given on the “immigration” reform materials is to Leviticus 19:34, “to treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you.”  Other Old Testament quotes shows one of the two sides of treating the alien as also reinforcing the need of the stranger to obey the laws of the land in which he lives, and to be responsible for himself:

  • Genesis 23:4 in which Abraham, a stranger, insists on paying his own way for a burial place for Sarah rather than demanding a handout from the owners of the property.
  • Exodus 12:48 is regarding circumcising those seeking to be assimilated into the community: “And when a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it.”  Does immigration reform imply a need to accept the God upon Whose laws the country was founded?  To renounce Sharia Law and all actions permissible under it, but outlawed in the host country?
  • Leviticus 16:29:  “And it shall be a statute to you for ever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves, and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you….”  What demand does this place on the stranger to conform to practices and customs of the host country?  Does it require having the ability to “press 2” to be understood?  To skip paying taxes?  Free healthcare?
  • Leviticus 17:12:  “Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.”  Isn’t it reasonable for a prospective host country to refuse admittance (or continuing residence) to anyone who breaks or has broken the law?  Why not?
  • Leviticus 18:26:  “But you shall keep my statutes and my ordinances and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you.”  How far is it reasonable to insist on aliens changing their own practices to conform to the host country?  Removal of burquas and head covering for security screening?  Not blocking streets for worship?  Performing military service?  Learning the language? 

    Secret Faith in Malaysia

    Secret Faith in Malaysia

  • Proverbs 11:15:  “He who gives surety for a stranger will smart for it, but he who hates suretyship is secure.”  Isn’t “immigration reform” giving up part of our own country, so is the right to require repayment of all taxes, interest, and costs of maintenance a rightful demand?
  • Proverbs 20:16:  “Take a man’s garment when he has given surety for a stranger, and hold him in pledge when he gives surety for foreigners.”  Should those who agitate for “immigration reform” pledge something of themselves to guarantee performance?  Is the Church willing to give up donations in order to have them routed to care of immigrants?

It would seem only fair in using a single verse from the Old Testament to justify the position on the “Justice for Immigrants” flyer to also look at other quotes which require the stranger to abide by all the laws of his host country.  Most exiles from Israel were forcibly removed from their homeland, not freely choosing to migrate.  Such exile was often a punishment, not a reward.  It seems as if even Mary and Joseph, fleeing with the Baby Jesus to Egypt, at least had, in the gifts of the Magi, resources to provide for themselves.

The single New Testament quote used on the flyer is Matthew 25:25, God’s reward for those who

Prayer in Pakistan

Prayer in Pakistan

welcomed the stranger.  There is indisputable merit for each of us to see Christ in every single person.  But this teaching is given in terms of the Judgment, of each individual’s treatment toward every person.  It is not an exhortation to government, or to groups, or about tax rates and migration.  It is one-on-one that we are judged, and there are many opportunities in life to welcome a stranger.  It is not a call to corporate action.  There are few quotes in the NT on hospitality to the stranger, but there is still the warning to beware of the stranger, mention in John 10:5, contrasting the Good Shepherd to the hireling or thief: “A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”  The flock has a reasonable basis to fear the ‘stranger.’

Two verses out of context do not, of themselves, make the point which the anonymous author of “Justice for Immigrants” seeks to impose.  Rather, they raise concerns that there may be other over-simplifications or misleading statements in the materials distributed.  And there are, indeed.

Points of Concern

The immigration problem is a prudential judgment issue for Catholics, even though the USCCB call it:  Church teaching on migration and immigrants”.  Yes, our consciences should be well informed, and we should carefully discern, but the anonymous author of the Justice for Immigrants flyer makes some points which I am not personally prepared to accept, even if from the USCCB, even under biblical disguise.  Here are a few issues based on the language presented:

Bombed Out Church in Nigeria

Bombed Out Church in Nigeria

  1. Illegal Aliens:  There is much language which tip-toes around the fact that many of the 11 million “undocumented people” are illegal aliens.  However, the “be nice” language proposed does not change reality; i.e. “Let’s stop using that dehumanizing term [illegal] for our brothers and sisters.”  Well, many absolutely ARE illegal, having entered by a variety of subterfuges (not through the main gate of the sheepfold, but over the fence, so to speak), mis-representing themselves, and cutting ahead in line of those patiently waiting to follow the legal procedures.  These illegal aliens compete for jobs which others need to feed their families, make it harder for older members of the workforce to find jobs, and put enforcement officers at risk.  They ARE illegal aliens. Period.  And I, for one, do not intend to change my language to obfuscate this reality.
  2. Immigrant workers without documents are vulnerable …they need a way to regularize their status to avoid being exploited.”  Isn’t entering a country illegally and taking jobs away from those who are here legally an example of exploitation by the very people complaining about being exploited? 
  3. “Young people…brought to this country as children…deserve the chance to receive an education and reach their potential….”  What about the people whose place they take in colleges and universities?  What about students whose parents scrimp to send them to college and pay the bill at the risk of their own retirement?  What about those deserving of scholarships who will be passed over?  What about students taking on enormous debt to educate themselves?  What about the inequities and unfairness created by trying to give more to those who snuck into the country?  Who should be paying for their education when their family income has been “off the books”?  Or “under the table”?  Perhaps those who have employed illegal aliens at discounted pay, uninsured, should pay?  This simplistic statement on the “Justice for Immigrants” handout makes no proposal how to handle justly.                                                                 

    Hunger in Somalia

    Hunger in Somalia

  4. “Legitimate security concerns of our nation?”  While the flyer has a throw-away half sentence mentioning the “legitimate security concerns of our nation,” it offers no recommendation of how this will be achieved.  Rather, on the USCCB website, it calls for “Abandonment of the border ‘blockade’ enforcement strategy.”  What are we to think this means with respect to safe borders and the protection of our border patrol officers and the safety of surrounding communities?  The write-up mentions $18 B for border patrol.  Clearly it is not enough, nor is any proposed legislation that doesn’t protect the borders of our sovereign nation.  While we live very near a border in our own area of the country, the problem in upstate New York is not nearly so great as along the southern U.S. border.  Unless we have lived there, or communicate with family and friends living there, we have no idea what it is like to be in an unsecured area, with drug traffic, gun running and more, and little federal protection.  Those who sit complacently in the northeast dictating “Justice for Immigrants” ought to walk a few miles in those shoes.  Or sit at home wondering if one’s border patrol spouse is going to come home that night?  The handout we received in church mentions “death of thousands of migrants [no reference given.]”  It doesn’t mention the deaths of our border enforcement officers, but rather the “cost” for border security.  We know that one side of the aisle sees immigration reform as absolutely tied to safe borders.  The proposed petition is silent on safety.
  5. “Our nation’s economy demands foreign labor, yet there are insufficient visas to meet this demand….”  Tell it to those who have lost jobs due to illegal aliens willing to work for lower wages in a shadow economy.  The sentence itself is a non sequitur.  There are many ways to use foreign labor if it really is needed, and most don’t require visas.  Many large companies have foreign manufacturing sites, for example, which also have their own set of problems.  But it is unreasonable to imply that a visa bottleneck justifies hopping the border illegally.  If it were a true visa bottleneck of needed workers, a reasonable alternative would be to open the visa gate.  The real issue no one seems to want to touch, Bishops included, is that we wouldn’t have a laborer shortage if 50 million Americans hadn’t been killed in the womb.

    The Persecuted Church

    The Persecuted Church

  6. “…face interminable separations…[from families] of twenty years of longer….”  This is not a new situation, and it is often a choice for financial reasons.  Many cultures (including grandparents and great grandparents of those alive today) came to this country to make money, return home, and take care of their families.  (While the cause may be about money, that of course does not mean there aren’t still people fleeing persecution and that is, of course, an exceptional circumstance in the U.S., but documentable for exemptions.)  When do we advocate holding people responsible for their own actions?  Who made the decision to jump the border in the first place? 
  7. Low skilled workers: Also slipped into the petition are the words to address “the root causes … such as…economic disparity,” sounding more like handouts than hand-ups?  The petition states that the family is a “cornerstone” of the immigration system (so, will single people be discriminated against?) and calls for providing legal paths for “low-skilled immigrant workers to come and work in the United States.”  Why would immigrants at other skill levels be discriminated against?  Such wordings, if not intended, then are very naïve.  But it cannot escape note that aligning the USCCB’s intervention to “low-skilled immigrant workers” also aligns their goals closer to those of the Democratic net for new voters.  These words on the petition to Congress absolutely and unashamedly align with the Democratic agenda. 

Catholic Bishops’ Proposal Faulted

The petition calls for the signer to agree with the Catholic Bishops.  So, visit the USCCB site and the “Justice for Immigrants” proposal:. http://www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/justice-for-immigrants.cfm  There are a number of points of contradiction between the USCCB proposal, the backgrounder distributed, and even the petition to Congress. 

The backgrounder distributed last week denies that the proposal is for “amnesty,” but their definition of “amnesty” is debatable; i.e. “implies a pardon and a reward [sic] for those who did not obey immigration laws….”  Check out the dictionary definitions; I don’t see the word “reward” used at all.  Rather, what the bishops seem to be proposing fits fairly well the dictionary definitions of amnesty.  They like to call it “earned legalization.”  But it IS Amnesty. 

Dropping Bibles and support in Colombia

Dropping Bibles and support in Colombia

The Bishops’ “earned legalization” is a can of worms, and the essence of being misleading.  At its heart, on this backgrounder, the writers call for some hurdles to be jumped to “lead to permanent residency.”  Fast forward to the petition to the Congressman, and note the words “provides a path to citizenship”.  Residency and Citizenship are NOT the same thing; the wording blurs the line and misleads voters.  Won’t many more people object to citizenship?  Is the word “residency” supposed to soften the blow and build consensus? 

The entire petition is prefaced with the words “I agree with the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that now is the time to pass just and compassionate immigration reform.”  Why, after 11 million illegal aliens have entered the country, do the bishops think that “now is the time?”  And that we are now supposed to agree with them?  Where was their voice when border patrol officers were being killed, schools were pressured to teach other than in English, and government offices were becoming bilingual?  NOW is the time?  Further, how can anyone sign this petition unless the full USCCB position is first known and accepted?  There is a disconnect between what the petition says, and what the backgrounder implies, and what the Bishops’ say on the USCCB website.

See “Justice for Immigrants” at:  http://www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/justice-for-immigrants.cfm 

I am concerned that the “JFI campaign” is not only misrepresenting its advocacy for illegal aliens as Church teaching rather than as a matter of prudential judgment, but that it has highly manipulative primary objectives:  “To create political will for positive immigration reform; to enact legislative and administrative reforms based on the principles articulated by the bishops; and to organize Catholic networks to assist qualified immigrants obtain the benefits of the reforms.”  I can’t imagine these words in Christ’s mouth; it sounds more like a Marxist community organizing event.

Prothesthes supplied in Nigeria

Prothesthes supplied in Nigeria

A further cause of concern is that these recommendations are based on a decade-ago “pastoral document” between the Bishops of the U.S. and of Mexico.  It called for a scenario which might well be attractive to a Mexican push to get rid of the most unwelcome residents in their own country (aka: open the borders!)  The following is from the USCCB site, calling for:

  • A broad based legalization (permanent residency) of the undocumented of all nationalities;  
  • Reform of our family-based immigration system to allow family members to reunite with loved ones in the United States;  
  • Reform of the employment-based immigration system to provide legal pathways for migrants to come and work in a safe, humane, and orderly manner, and;  
  • Abandonment of the border “blockade” enforcement strategy.  
  • Restoration of due process protections for immigrants.

One of my long time concerns about “staff work” in the Church is that it seems to be a mix of incompetence and manipulation, of financial naivete and cleverness.  Outside of faith and moral teachings, I’m never sure what I can trust and what I can’t, which leads to trusting only what I can verify.  Is the lack of alignment between the flyer, the petition and the USCCB website just a series of errors?  Or is it a flagrant couching to the ears of the audience? 

The Petition

The flyer in the pews of the church which I attended referred to petition cards to be signed, “which will be hand-delivered to Rep. Chris Collin’s [sic] Geneseo office.”  However, that church is located within Rep. Tom Reed’s district.  Why are these cards being solicited for another Congressman?  Republican Tom Reed has the 23rd Congressional District, and Republican Chris Collins is the representative from the 27th Congressional District.  Democrat Louise Slaughter from the 25th District is not mentioned.

Final Reflections: 

Child in India

Child in India

It seems that the USCCB has turned from the traditional Catholic service commitment of building schools, hospitals, churches and orphanages for the immigrant, to telling everybody else what to do, lobbying the government, and spending tax dollars,  It’s a sad state of affairs.  But there are other damages not so visible:

  1. Every tax dollar taken out of someone’s pocket to pay for government mandated programs is one less dollar available to be directly donated to such programs.  Administration costs of government (aka “make work programs”) waste resources better used for real benefits.
  2. Mandatory taxes to be spent at government discretion cripple charitable giving and the soul which benefits from his/her generosity to God. 
  3. The target group for the Bishops’ bestowing of our funds is a group which generally is FAR better off than people in need in many other countries.  Consider the stories of “The Church in Need” and of the voice of modern martyrs.  Food stamps and wide screen TV’s are a long way from the plight of Haitians, Syrians, and the Church in Sierra Leone, for example.  Would we be guilty of being bad stewards of what God has given us, to support those who are so much better off, even though in need?
  4. Why do the Bishops prompt programs that divert funds to many who are not of our Faith, or who are even of no faith, when our own Christians are in so much need and we are called to witness to the world “how these Christians love each other?”
  5. The coziness of the USCCB with aiding U.S. government objectives takes away its objectivity, and compromises the Church for further persecution.  It is fair to ask “If the Bishops had been stronger against universal healthcare mandates, would our consciences be so at risk today?” 
  6. It would truly be ironic if fighting to “normalize” immigrants so they can stay in the U.S. turns into accommodating them into a country fast losing its values, and entrapping souls.  One need look no further than President Obama’s trip to Africa in which countries like Ghana and Kenya stone-walled against his push for abortion and homosexual marriage.  Better to be poor in the flesh, but safe in the soul.
  7. God truly does work in mysterious ways.
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33 Responses to “A Different Perspective on “Justice for Immigrants”?”

  1. avatar ROBERT says:

    GREAT RESEARCH AND A GREAT POST DIANE ! YOU REALLY HIT IT ON THE NOSE!

  2. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    In prior times, immigrants would be medically screened for diseases. Those who were carrying communicable diseases were isolated to protect the health of everyone else. If there were too many issues, the immigrants were sent back home. Today, any illegal, sick or well, is in contact with hundreds, if not thousands of people potentially putting them at risk.

    The other problem I have is that when illegal immigrants work, they are given lower wages. This affects all the local people because their wages are driven down. I am suspicious that one of the forces driving illegal immigration is the desire for

  3. avatar SouthernTierGuy says:

    In my view, it comes down to the following found in CCC 2241 – “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 Catholic Church is officially neither pro-amnesty nor pro-deportation, as made clear by the above. Often I wonder why our bishops ignore what the Catechism says on the issue. I guess they are afraid of getting beat up by the press if they were to publicly state the case for prudential judgment. Also, getting to Richard’s point above, they seem oblivious to the economic hardship that would be inflicted on the working poor if millions of illegal aliens are granted legal status. Peter Kirsanow of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights wrote this editorial a few months back – it is well worth the read. http://www.wvgazette.com/Opinion/OpEdCommentaries/201306140130

  4. avatar ROBERT says:

    RICHARD THOMAS
    Please do not make statements without knowledge. I refute the lower wages statement. Back in the 1990’s I owned an apple farm in Wayne County. Migrants are paid on a basis of flat rate + quantity. In 1992, I can remember that the average hourly wage was $13.50 per hour.
    That was far above what most in the community made as an average wage. I can also attest that Mexican workers were the most honest as well as productive. I can further attest that housing conditions were superior to the past having built a residential building which cost in excess of $140,000 and occupied 10 “migrants”. I also found that the Mexicans versus “old type” migrants, sent their wages to their families back home. It was not spent at a local bar. When the IRS required W2’s, we found that the “old type” migrant gave false information of SS#’s as well as addresses. I can remember receiving “unknown” by the USPS on the W2’s from the “old type”.
    I would further state that if you don’t know what you are talking, than don’t print it. There is a new type migrant and they have a European “work ethic”. I would also say that the Mexican attended Mass every Sunday and were given other spiritual instruction by some of the most kind “worker” of DOR.

  5. avatar militia says:

    So let me get this straight…

    if you cross the North Korean border illegally, you get 12 years of hard labor. If you cross the Afghanistan border illegally, you get shot. If you cross the U.S. border illegally, you get a job, a driver’s license, food stamps, a place to live, health care, housing, child benefits, legal aid, a translator and education? No wonder we are the laughing stock of the world. And still the bishops aren’t satisfied?

  6. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    The experience I mention is the meat packing industry in the midwest. Your experience is 1992. I am talking about conditions today.

    One BIG difference between this current crop of illegals and traditional immigrants is that in economic downturns, the illegals went back to Mexico. So much for loyalty where as the traditional immigrants were here for the duration.

    I fault the companies employing illegal immigrants as well as political parties who stand much to gain by endorsing illegal immigration.

  7. avatar ROBERT says:

    RICHARD THOMAS
    MIDWEST?
    Current figures are about $22.50 an hour…far better than locals! [And that includes Monroe County.]

  8. avatar Tommy says:

    It amazes me how you people can even call yourselves Christian much less a Catholic.
    You obviously have not been listening to our Holy Father these days, but if course something tells that many who follow this blog really have fallen in love with our new Pope.
    Those were an awful lot of words to simply say ” all you immigrants go home”
    Strange given the fact that the Catholic Church in America IS an immigrant church. But I suppose not the kind of ” European White Immigrants” that you would obviously prefer to be landing on our shores.
    Sad, Sad, Sad and shame on all of you!!!!

  9. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    You don’t get it. My father and millions like him patiently waited their turns and then came to America.

    Now, all you have to do is sneak over the border and you are OK. What does that have to say about national security? In failing to guard our borders, the southern part of the Southwest has become a war zone with the drug lords taking over. And all to protect illegal immigration.

    National sovernity is a basic right and illegal immigration threatens that right. I have no problem with people immigrating the right way. What about people in Eastern Europe who want to immigrate. They seem to do it legally. But if you really want to come to America, just come in illegally via the southern border.

    The problem is that powerful interests have much to gain by letting illegal immigrants in. I have no say in this. Powerful interests will win the day. But what they are doing is wrong.

    And if I am not mistaken, there are plenty of African and Asian immigrants who come over legally. So don’t rash judge by stating ” But I suppose not the kind of ” European White Immigrants” that you would obviously prefer to be landing on our shores.”

  10. avatar BigE says:

    @militia
    …Are you really saying that we would not be the laughing stock of the world if we shot or imprisoned illegal immigrants? Is that how you are advocating treating our brothers and sisters in Christ? Do nationalistic interests really supersede the needs of our faith community family? Sounds to me like we are all just trying to “protect our stuff”.

  11. avatar militia says:

    @BigE
    Your comment is an excellent representation of illogical thinking and what has been used over and over on this site to divert discussion into a trough of meaningless banter, inhabited by straw men, rather than deepening understanding of the heart of the issue.

    There is absolutely nothing in my comment that says or even implies violence toward an illegal alien. Rather, it contrasts the violence which is so acceptable in some other cultures with the already explicit values of humane care which is inherent to our culture, even going above and beyond just what is necessary to feed, clothe and give some shelter. The U.S. is way above and beyond the necessary, and when the hand that is being fed turns and blows up a marathon, e.g., many other parts of the world do laugh at us. I am surprised you needed the obvious explained in this amount of detail. But here it is.

    The answer to the rest of your questions is “obviously not.” Instead of making a blanket, liberal knee-jerk reaction about other people’s “stuff”, why don’t you pick one or two points of a long post and articulate your disagreement?

  12. avatar snowshoes says:

    Diane,

    Thank you for an excellent analysis of this grievous problem of parishes distributing materials on “Justice for Immigrants” which are not clearly identifiable as to the source and the relationship to the USCCB, the DoR, etc. Distribution of such materials at more than one parish indicate the diocese is probably involved, in which case there exists even stronger need for some kind of identification. I particularly agree with your Concern #5. I don’t think you said it, but the contradictions among the various documents you cite are made all the more mystifying by the bevvy of attorneys employed by the USCCB. Doesn’t anyone vet this stuff before it is published?

    For World Mission Sunday, today, my parish played a brief video which began with an address by Francis Card. George, Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago. It was a good presentation of a few of the missionary apostolates supported by the Propagation of the Faith in foreign lands.

    Our Lord calls us in the second reading from St. Paul to be competent in our faith, and since Timothy was a bishop, this admonishment is directed specifically at our Episcopoi, but we too, are to be prepared to admonish and teach our Catholic Faith.

    Thank you for the excellent research work you have done in this article, Diane, and for the wise guidance and suggestions you offer. Let us pray that we and our bishops and priests will use it to the benefit of our souls, our parish and diocese and of the civil state in which we live. God bless you, St. Jean Marie Vianney priez pour nous.

  13. avatar DisturbedMary says:

    Fabulous article. Rich and focused. Thank you for putting these smart, considered arguments out front. I knew once the debt ceiling/government shut down “emergency” was “resolved”, we would immediately hear about amnesty from our Church. Sure enough, on October 18, Cardinal Dolan posted “Welcoming Newcomers” on his blog:
    http://blog.archny.org/index.php/welcoming-newcomers/
    I have to wonder who gave him the term “newcomers” — sounds so, so, lovely, doesn’t it. Anyway here is my comment to Card. Dolan which I don’t expect to see printed.

    The amnesty dance begins. Even as citizen Catholics stare down in fear and disbelief the conscience consequences of HHS mandates and as we watch as our healthcare choices subjected to FBI policing, even as our freedoms and our privacy are being eroded by massive government lawlessness, even as America is on the precipice of becoming a bankrupt Godless society, with all that, you are poised to invite 10-20-30 million illegal immigrants to fill your immigrant services offices and ease their way to citizenship. The Catholic Church is supposed to be the Body of Christ; not a political sock puppet used to fetch 30 million voters guaranteeing the Democrat party full and complete control of this country for generations. Cheap labor and Democrat voters. We see through this do-gooder scam. Catholics like myself will be called haters and racists by demagogues like La Raza — and even God help us, by our shepherds who have found immigrant theology in Washington DC. We are witnessing the end of America. The end of religious freedom. And a terrible disunity in our Church. Amnesty will be the straw that breaks our church openly apart.

  14. avatar Nerina says:

    Tommy, setting aside your hostile tone, do you honestly believe there is no room for prudential judgment regarding the immigration issue? Is there any amount of immigration with which you would draw a line? If the U.S. opened the borders, as you seem to prefer, do you not think it likely that the standard of living and the opportunity to which so many immigrants are attracted would decrease significantly. Further, why is there no pressure by the global community to reform the countries from which these people flow? I agree that we should be as welcoming as possible given certain constraints. I don’t know about you, but our family is working our collective tail off to provide for ourselves AND care for strangers in need through our financial support of various relief agencies.

    BigE says we want to “protect our stuff.” Well, yes, in a way I do. I want to protect the heritage that has set this country, in particular, apart from the rest of the world. I do not want to see it become a nation crippled with vast disparities between groups of people. We have so many problems to work on as it is, I’m not convinced allowing millions and millions of new citizens into the country with no real desire to assimilate them into our ever-weakening culture is a great idea at this juncture. Look at the sociological behavior of Mexican immigrants who have come here – it is not good. They become more pro-choice, more pro-homosexual marriage and they enter our country with a vastly different understanding of the relationship between the individual and the state. They expect the government to take care of them.

  15. avatar BigE says:

    @Nerina
    1) Immigration reform doesn’t have to be allowing all immigrants to become citizens. How about just letting them come here and work with some very basic health care, especially as it relates to farming industry?
    2) I’m curious, how do you know that Mexicam immigrants are more pro-choice and pro-homosexual? (and more than who?)
    3) Are you saying that us Americans don’t expect our goverment to take care of us?

  16. avatar Nerina says:

    Hi BigE. When you look at polls of immigrants you find that, over time, 2nd and 3rd generations become much more socially liberal. One leading indicator is the out of marriage birth rate (currently at 43% for hispanics). I agree that Mexican immigrants come here with socially conservative views, but they drop them quickly. They also receive entitlements at higher rates. We can talk about whether or not that is a good or bad thing in and of itself, but we need to know all the facts before we demand blanket amnesty (or whatever we want to call it). It seems immigrants do adopt certain aspects of our secular culture and much to their detriment, I’m afraid.

    Regarding your first question: I would ask you, how many? I certainly don’t have a problem with well-controlled immigration, but open-borders would be devastating I think.

    Finally, yes, Americans do expect some government intervention (and some people expect more than others). Personally, I’d like to see a public square that allows for more private/community sphere action in helping those in need. What we have seen over the last 100 years is an ever-encroaching state and a diminished private/community sphere (in which I would place the Church).

  17. avatar Nerina says:

    Oh, and one more comment about your 3rd question – my husband and I are working and saving under the assumption that we won’t get much help from the government in terms of our retirement and health care. The numbers don’t look good and unless some serious entitlement reform is undertaken, we will be out of luck. I know my husband is planning on working well past the age his father retired at. We are in our mid-forties.

  18. avatar Tommy says:

    Nerina you don’t actually believe that if we allow more Mexicans in the country that the country will become more pro choice and more pro gay marriage . You obviously don’t know many Mexicans or mush about their culture.. Most are neither pro choce or pro gay marriage. Now I wouldn’t worry so much about “those Mexicans” as I would the majority of the “American ” and “Catholics” who by wide margins support both of these issues.

  19. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Tommy,

    You can blame our bishops and priests who NEVER preach about abortion, homosexuality, premarital sex, pornography and birth control from the pulpit. No wonder so many Catholics have adopted the culture.

  20. avatar Tommy says:

    Nor should they Richard. That is the point that our Holy Father was making from day one.
    How about a homily that Christ himself would deliver, you know the ones about, hope, peace, caring and love.
    Perhaps then we would be keeping a few more people in the pews.

  21. avatar Scott W. says:

    Nor should they Richard. That is the point that our Holy Father was making from day one.
    How about a homily that Christ himself would deliver, you know the ones about, hope, peace, caring and love.
    Perhaps then we would be keeping a few more people in the pews.

    No, the Holy Father’s point was that these should not be overemphasized. Since this is situational advice, and the fact that in the typical Amchurch parish there is scandalous silence about them, it doesn’t really apply. We hear plenty of sermons about hope, peace, caring, and love. You can get these a dime-a-dozen. Also available at discount form the Epsicopal Church, or the Unitarians. But it’s always hope, peace, and love in the fuzzy nice secular-progressive sense. While Our Lord does indeed delivers those, he also warns about the narrow way, and the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Peace and love without the Cross is meaningless.

  22. avatar militia says:

    Men who are too cowardly to speak out strongly against true evils have nothing to say to me about the squishy stuff either. I want a priest in the pulpit of heroic virtue, not merely diplomatic tact or social niceness.

  23. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Scott is correct. I have been going to mass for ovwe 28 years and have never once heard a homily on any of the issues i mentioned. I really don’t know where the Pope is coming from but so much evil has resulted from the silence of the clergy on these issues. Love is also telling people what they need to know. Sometimes love can be difficult but it is sinful is our shepherds keep us ignorant on these issues.

    If 50% of all couples using contraception wind up divorcing, it IS love to tell them that. And if only 3% of couples using NFP divorce, then it is mandatory our clerics properly inform us.

  24. avatar Tommy says:

    Well Richard I have been going to Mass for over 60 years and I have heard my share of fire and damnation.
    I have lived and worked all overtgis country and have attende mass in hundreds of parishes .
    I can count on two hands the number of really grat homilies I have sat through.
    Most parishes I have been not one person says hello, you’re never welcomed and people tend to stare at you as in saying” where the he’ll are you from”
    I can count very few parishes where you were made to feel welcome and where the liturgy was inspiring or the homily worth listening to.
    But I have grateful to have a wonderful parish in my homes in Albany, Wadhington and Florida but it took some time to find.
    I dare say those who follow this blog would not be particularly happy in any of them. In particular Washington where I attend the largest Black Catholic church in the city, mass is 2 hours, the gospel choir is fantastic and you never want it to end…and the church is packed to standing room ronly.

  25. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Tommy,

    What Catholic Churches did you attend where they preached about abortion, homosexuality etc and taught the Majesterial teachings. Most Catholics have never heard a homily on it.

    It is nice that people in the parishes are nice and friendly but in the long run, but is feeling good, wanted and approved at Church more important than worshiping and loving God? Are you at Church primarily to feel good and make friends?

    It’s one thing to be made to feel welcome but the substance is also important. Feeling welcome and then having abuses and heresy preached is also wrong. You may feel good but your soul will be in jepardy. And preaching all about social justice and “Jesus loves you” without preaching about the sexual sins is terribly wrong. Most Catholics have been subject to this kind of preaching.

    In one of her apparitions Our Lady said multitudes of people go to hell because of sexual sins. She said the number is like snowflakes implying huge numbers. So, in light of what she revealed, we better start hearing about these topics for our salvation.

    I have attended Churches where the priest does very touchy-feely homilies. Sure you feel good but when you leave mass you ask yourself what was the content of Father’s homily, and most times, you don’t. But you feel good.

    I refer you to St John Vianney. No priest today could hold a candle to him. He was not hesitant to preach that if the congergation spoke certain blasphemous words, it was mortal sin and they would go to hell.

    He is the patron saint of parish priests. He changed his town from one containing people who never reverenced God to a town devoted to living their lives in accordance with God’s will.

  26. avatar Tommy says:

    Richard, while I probably should not waste my time debating you let me just say one last thing.
    I”ll take my “touchy geeky” church over your fire and brimstone. My church is full and I’ll bet yours isn’t.
    And and in less you have sat down and had a one on one direct conversation with God you don’t have a clue what his will is.

  27. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Tommy,

    You are a very angry person. And condesending. My Church is not “Fire and Brimstone” I am afraid you equate preaching about sexual sins as “Fire and Brimstone. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Who cares how many people attend a Church, especially if a popular Church is spreading heresy or is failing to teach the truth. Salvation isn’t a game of numbers.

    And I do disagree. One can discern God’s will through prayer and meditation. You may not be correct 100% of the time but you do pretty well trying.

  28. avatar Nerina says:

    Tommy, please take a deep breath, go back and read my post and try to be charitable. I said that while immigrants may arrive here with socially conservative values, they quickly assimilate into our secularist culture and drop them. Not all immigrants do, but the younger ones quickly abandon traditional views. Look at the out of wedlock birth rate, Tommy. Look at surveys of 2nd and 3rd generations. My only point is that we may not necessarily being doing them any favors if in coming here they are losing their faith and their morals.

  29. avatar Nerina says:

    And, Tommy, I want to be clear about something: I’m not saying that because a person becomes less socially conservative means he or she shouldn’t be allowed in the country. My argument is that for those who have convinced themselves that immigrants are natural allies of conservatives might be overstating the case. That’s all.

  30. avatar Nerina says:

    One more: a recent Pew Research poll reveals that the majority of Hispanics now support gay marriage (54%) which coincides with the culture in general. I’ve also learned that illegitimacy is not the sole product of our culture – rates of out-of-wedlock birth are extremely high in Mexico too. And finally, Hispanic Catholics are slightly less pro-choice than white Catholics (43% v. 53%, respectively, say that abortion should be legal in all cases). In practice, Hispanic women procure abortion a lower rates.

  31. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    And why do Hispanics and Catholics in general back gay marriage. It has never been preached by our clergy. The corruption and ssilence of the clergy is one of the main reasons society is so sick.

  32. avatar militia says:

    Why? Because priests don’t preach AGAINST it, because the pew sitters only remember “just love everybody”, and they equate love wrongly with making people “happy.” Awwww…those 2 guys love each other….awwww….let ’em get married. That’s why.

  33. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Does immigration to the US help the poor of the world? Take a look at this very short presentation: http://www.youtube.com/embed/LPjzfGChGlE

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