I to judge?”
It appears to Depend on Who ...
and the Real
Problem of the Refugee Crisis
It is, we think, noteworthy
that Pope Francis who famously replied to a question
about the morality of a homosexual person by
answering “Who am I to judge?” — does not
hesitate to judge not just the morality of a
presidential candidate, but to go so far as to pronounce
him “not a Christian” despite his professing to
be so. This was a clear reference, of course, to Donald
Trump — but could equally be applied to Marco Rubio Jeb
Bush, and Chris Christie, all of whom are unabashedly
Catholic. If they,
too, in light of their common concern for securing the
porous borders of America, are, for that reason,
then, eo ipso, they are excommunicates —
outside of Christ and therefore outside the
Church — to say nothing of the
other Christian candidates as well (Cruz, Carson, Kasich) who support the same issue
of securing America’s border with Mexico —
which is the point of influx of virtually
all the drugs that poison the youth across the
country and are indisputably the cause of so much
crime — and murder — in America.
Who will contest that?
is more, will Catholics who support securing our
borders no longer be “Catholics”? To be unable
or unwilling to make a judgment on matters moral despite
clear Catholic teaching on homosexuality, how can Pope
Francis make so audacious a “judgment” on the faith in
God Himself in others? It is a very troubling and
deeply divisive precedent. Despite the pope's
claim, we can think of no reference in any Gospel
that teaches us to “build bridges instead of walls” —
yes, we must love our enemies — but not
enable them nor encourage them in wrong-doing — even if
it is rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But in
rendering to God what is God’s, can anyone make that
damning claim of even the least of His brothers?
may argue that the pope gave these candidates — and those
who support them — “the benefit of the doubt”
but the condemnation stands, does it not, if
they do not share his own views on
matters over which he has no legitimate authority and no
ecclesiastical mandate? How do we reconcile Pope
to make such unsparing judgments — to declare a defined
body of people in matters political as being
separated from God — with the unfathomable
perplexity he demurs from making on a defined body of
people in matters moral — which
Scripture itself and Church teaching condemns? We are
confused. We are dismayed. But now, and much more to the
point, in light of your pronouncement, we are divided.
Or more frightening still, separated in our common faith
by uncommon politics.
In a word,
is Pope Francis prepared to anathematize the faithful, not
through any odor of heresy ... but through the banality of
politics? How did it come to this?
Quo vadae, Francis? Quo vade? Et quare ...?
A Painful Perspective on the “Illegal
Immigrant” Issue and the Refugee Crisis
article focuses on one aspect of securing borders against the
poisonous influx of drugs into America through Mexico, another
dimension remains — and both concern people:
people as immigrants desperate to flee the
violence of a narco-economy that spawns murders and violence on
the south side of the border, and people as victims
in families who suffer from the ravage of drugs north of
the border. The focus is the same: people. Which is the
greatest tragedy? Both are. And the common cause of tragedy on
both sides of the border is the same also: drugs.
of economic opportunity is a complex one that will not be
settled by sound-bites. As Catholics we must remember the
real Scriptural mandates concerning who is our
brother and our obligation to help him in his need (Specifically
the Parable of the Good Samaritan in St. Luke 10.
25-37 Also see St. Matthew 25.35-40, Romans 12.23, Hebrews 13.1,
Deut. 10.19 and Leviticus 19.34) — and our
obligation to welcome strangers.
Francis deeply erred in making pronouncements on the faith in
God of others and declaring them “not Christians”, it
nevertheless remains our obligation to welcome strangers and
foreigners — and this, we argue, is the intended thrust of Pope
Francis's message, however awkwardly delivered. We cannot
contest this as Catholics (indeed, as Christians and Jews
alike). We were all once foreigners in a strange land, or at
least our forbears were. Which, then, is the most vital issue?
Welcoming the stranger or securing our borders against drugs and
illegal immigrants? The answer is not as clear as some
would make it to be. Consider the following:
prepared to open your own home to strangers?
Can you realistically afford to feed and clothe
another family? Can you provide them with medical care
in the event of institutional limitations? Will you give
them transportation to jobs and other appointments
(they will not have cars and many will be unable to obtain a
driver's license)? Are you willing and able to provide
Day Care for their children as parents pursue numerous
appointments to acquire citizenship, enroll in classes to
learn English, and more classes to obtain job skills — all
of which you will likely be required to provide
transportation? Will your home insurance cover liabilities
that may be incurred by residents not on your plan, and if
not, are you in a position to pay for them out of pocket?
Who watches what programs on your television set, and when?
Who will have access to your computer (which most of us rely
upon) and how often? Can you readily bridge language
and cultural differences? Are you prepared to relinquish
your privacy? Is your spouse equally committed to
these necessities or are they likely to strain your
marriage? These are just a few of many other questions
likely to arise should you decide to host an immigrant (or
illegal immigrant) family or individual. These are terribly
practical considerations, no matter how deep your
faith. Are we suggesting that you do not host a family?
No. If you can afford it and can accommodate all the
obligations and liabilities that come with it, we encourage
you to. However, we strongly suspect that the great majority
of those who agitate for immigration (legal and illegal)
would be unwilling to put their outspoken views into
practice by hosting immigrant families. The concept
of unregulated and unmitigated immigration (from Central
America or Syria, to name only a few) is only that — a
concept — until real and practical issues are not simply
addressed, but capable of being put into practice. What is
more, with most families requiring both spouses and parents
to work simply to afford a dwelling (this is the great
unaddressed scandal that is the direct result of the
triumph of Feminism which enslaved male and female alike to
a workplace and equal opportunity for drudgery) who will be
home to provide the transportation and linguistic mediation
needed by a hosted family? A much clearer picture emerges
when we take practicalities into consideration, despite the
depth of our faith. God does not call us to do what is
impossible to us. He sees our yearning to help and He sees
our very real limitations.
country may make the very humane — and Christian — effort to
accept and accommodate as many immigrants as possible. The
key word here is possible. What constitutes the
“possible”? Can a country conscionably accept more refugees
that it can provide for in the way of housing, welfare,
medical care, and education? Must it accept some from
another country by depriving others within its own? Can the
influx be of such magnitude that the very national and
cultural fabric that determines it as a country distinct
from another (in the way of language, politics, ethos,
ethics, and conflicting religions) is subverted and
ultimately superseded by the very immigrants it made so
great efforts to assist — and who have no cultural affinity
with the host country, and no intention of being adapted to
or inculturated by it? It is entirely possible to abolish
any country as we now recognize it by outnumbering its
native citizens with foreign inhabitants of sufficient
number to define it in such a way that it no longer bears
the cultural — and national — identity it had historically
possessed. We need only look to Turkey as an example of the
transition from a once Christian country (the Byzantine
Empire) to a Muslim nation, to name just one formerly
Christian country that fell to the violent spread of Islam.
It is a modern iteration of what is called Theseus’
Paradox: at what point does a raft, each of whose planks
are gradually replaced, become another raft
altogether different from the original? In a
democratic country it is entirely possible to use the very
means of the democratic institution to vote to abolish
democracy and institute Sharia law. There is nothing
illogical in this argument. We can vote to abolish the very
institution used to establish its antithesis. This has
always been a problem inherent in democracy: a plebiscite
vote to abolish it. What then constitutes “the possible” as
more expedient to the "preferable” in the way of determining
the possible allowance of immigrants into a country that
wishes to preserve its cultural and national identity?
National identities are human institutions articulated
through cultural affinities. Is the possible dissolution of
a country and a culture more acceptable to those within it
or to those outside it? Which segment of humanity has the
right to exist, and how do you morally determine that? This
is especially true of incompatible cultures and religions
that cannot coherently — or ideologically — co-exist. There
must be a point of saturation beyond which the one or the
other predominates: what calculus, then, shall we use to
determine the number of refugees/immigrants acceptable,
sustainable, in any given country?
How are we,
as Catholics, to implement what comes to us as a moral
obligation — while sustaining the very Christian mandate that
could lead to its being abolished?
question is not as clear-cut as it reflexively appears to be
purely on a Christian ethos — does it?
Oh, yes — we
have no answers. We only wish you to share in our perplexity ...
however doctrinaire your own opinion is.
Boston Catholic Journal
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