Immigration and the US Catholic Conference

Lack of Unity

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)  is being dismissed by most Catholics when it comes to politics. Recently the USCCB released a pastoral letter on migration entitled, “Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope.” In the letter the Bishops say “[w]hen persons cannot find employment in their country of origin to support themselves and their families; they have a right to find work elsewhere in order to survive. This position is one of the reasons the Bishops continue to be dismissed in the political arena. They seem not to be concerned about the legal ramifications of such a statement on illegal immigrants and their families.

The Rainbow Sash Movement certainly understands the need for compassion and assistance to those who are in need. The Bishops  remind us what the Church Teaches. They say the Catechism of the Catholic Church instructs the faithful that good government has two duties, neither of which can be ignored.

The first duty is to welcome the stranger out of charity and respect for the human person made in the image of God. Persons have the right to immigrate and thus government must accommodate this right to the greatest extent possible.

The second duty is to secure the border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good. Sovereign nations have the right to enforce their laws and all persons must respect the legitimate exercise of this right: “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 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.” (C.C.C.2241).

The bishops’ appear to be speaking out of both sides of their mouth. On one hand they are saying we are all each other’s brothers and sisters and must take care of each other of each other, while at the same time seeming to support illegal immigration. The Catholic Catechism only adds to this confusion by making two opposing positions.

The USCCB further promotes confusion when it allows unions for some employees, then came the neutral bishops’ (neither hot nor cold) position on unions in Wisconsin and now Ohio.

Concerning the USCCB position on Gay Marriage they confuse chastity with celibacy, and then expect reasonable people to take them seriously in the face of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Every four years, the Catholic bishops of the United States publish a detailed statement about how Catholics should think about key political issues in light of church teachings. A new poll of U.S. Catholics shows that just 16 percent have ever heard of the bishops’ document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” and just 3 percent say they have read it.

The bishops need to lead on their knees in a very visible way, and should not teach with ambiguity which lacks courage.

Jim Hall
Rainbow Sash Movement

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