The Refuge Crisis
“Who am I to judge?”
is the Real Problem in the Refugee Crisis
is, we think, noteworthy
that Francis who famously replied to a question about the morality
of a homosexual 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 at
the time to Donald Trump — but could equally be applied to any other
politician — in fact, to every American who is Catholic or Christian
too, are concerned about securing the porous borders
of America ... “through which thousands of pounds of fentanyl are
flowing into the U.S. from Mexico every month.”1
That translates into over 100,000 overdose deaths in America each
year. To be clear, that is 10 x 10,000 ... per year. Francis,
however, has other and more pressing social issues ...
Bergoglio sees what he apparently
understands as a class of people unworthy of calling
themselves — or being called — Christians. They do not align with
his social agenda, apart from which his increasingly
attenuated version of Catholicism cannot coexist. Such non-aligned
Catholics, if we are to understand Jorge correctly, somehow incur
what theologians call laete sententiae, or automatic,
excommunication: by either their moral, political, or social
convictions they are, for Francis, outside the Church — even beyond
the pale of Christianity itself! They are simply “not-Christians.”
This to say nothing of non-Catholics
who believe themselves to be Christians, and who support the
same issue of securing America’s border with Mexico as the
“not-Christian” Catholics do. They must be
Who would believe that Martin Luther’s advocate in Rome could
be so ... uncharacteristically un-ecumenical? Does that mean
besides Traditional Catholics are there even —
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?
What 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
on the faith in God Himself in others? This 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?
You 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 Francis’s readiness 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?
A Painful Perspective on the
Issue and the Refugee Crisis
While this 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.
The matter 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.
Pragmatic Issues we Desperately
avoid at all costs:
Inasmuch as 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 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
very pragmatic questions:
personally prepared to open your own home to strangers?
realistically afford to feed and clothe another family?
you provide them with medical care in the event of institutional
give them transportation to jobs and other appointments (they
will not have cars and many will be unable to obtain a driver’s
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?
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?
what programs on your television set, and when?
Who will have
access to your computer (which most of us rely upon) and how often?
readily bridge language and cultural differences? Are you
prepared to take a crash course in another language to understand
prepared to relinquish your privacy?
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.
A 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 such great efforts to assist — and who have no cultural affinity
with the host country, and no intention of being adapted to or inculturated
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
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?
Suddenly the 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.
(2 mg of fentanyl is considered a potentially lethal dose
1 lb of fentanyl = 453,592 mg
divided by 2 mg = 226,706 doses
x 1000 lbs = 226,000,000 (million) lethal doses
U.S. population: 332 million
(you do the math)
Boston Catholic Journal
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