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    Friday, December 30, 2005

    Church before Borders,1,3840084.story

    Loiacono, and other priests along the border, reflect Roman Catholic social teaching that recognizes the right of nations to control their borders but also asserts that people who cannot support themselves have a right to find work in another country for their survival.

    But promoting such compassion for illegal immigrants and helping them once they are inside the United States are a tough sell these days.

    Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minuteman Project, a burgeoning vigilante group that fights illegal immigration, said there should be limits to mercy for people who break federal law."We have a long history of churches being sanctuaries because they perceive these people as being just children of God," he said. "But how do they know they're not aiding and abetting terrorists?"

    Founded in 1884 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the church leaves its doors open overnight for immigrants to rest until the office opens in the morning.

    Meidy Garcia said she and her 3-year-old daughter, Susan, could have died if the church hadn't provided refuge. During their two-week journey from Honduras, they slept in a rat-infested house, endured double-crossing guides and ached from hunger and thirst.

    Such a mess we have created through neglect and lack of courage. Unable to articulate clear legal controls that match the permitted reality, both the USA and the immigrants participate in a unofficial winking tango that hurts everyone by encouraging lawlessness and confusion.

    Mexico is known for their bureaucracy instead of effectiveness. We have become them.


    Blogger Papalist said...

    My understanding is that the Church's encouragement for helping the oppressed and forlorn immigrants is actually accomplished through U.S. laws on being a refugee and on seeking asylum. I don't see how pursuit of heftier wages or social security, or desire for the American dream morally justify breaking immigration laws. And this latter category of immigrant pertains to the great majority.

    January 02, 2006  
    Blogger Joseph said...

    I get the impression from the Priests I have mention immigration to, that the Church sides with the poor immigrants, and that national borders are a non-religious construct. That's all I know about it.

    It would be interesting to know more.

    January 03, 2006  
    Blogger Joseph said...

    Papalist said...

    It would.

    My intuition (and hazy memory from a class on Catholic Social Teaching) is that the official Church position (i.e., not just social-justice Catholics) is that JUSTICE is the norm.

    Migrants are to be treated justly.

    States are entitled to enact just laws respecting immigration.

    The question is, what is justice? My own view is that justice appreciates the ease with which SOME potential immigrants can exploit the laws, and decries this, not only for unlawfulness, but because others who obey the law do not achieve the immigration status they seek.

    Joseph said...
    Makes sense to me. These Priests I mention I would categorize as liberal Franciscans.

    January 03, 2006  
    Blogger Joseph said...

    Papalist said...

    I don't think the Church's position is that poverty is what entitles migrants to more open immigration, and that seems to be what these liberal Franciscans fail to see.

    January 03, 2006  

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