Santorum: on immigration, bishops are wrong

He made his remarks while campaigning in Iowa:

The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops are wrong by calling for comprehensive immigration reform that includes an earned path to legalization, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said today.

The Pennsylvania Republican, who is seeking his party’s nomination for president, said in an interview  with Des Moines Register political columnist Kathie Obradovich that the United States is a country of laws and it must enforce those laws.

“If we develop the program like the Catholic bishops suggested we would be creating a huge magnet for people to come in and break the law some more, we’d be inviting people to cross this border, come into this country and with the expectation that they will be able to stay here permanently,” said Santorum, who usually attends Latin Mass with his family at a Catholic church in suburban Washington, D.C.

Santorum said he compares the current immigration situation to his grandfather who came to the United States by himself in 1925 to escape Mussolini’s Italy. His grandfather’s son – who grew up to become the presidential candidate’s father – was left behind. His grandfather worked in the U.S. for five years, earning his citizenship and then bringing his family over to America.

” What are we saying to all the families who are doing it the right way, who are separating from their families, who are making those sacrifices and then we say well, everybody who broke the law came here and we’re going to let you in and those folks, well sorry you’re chumps, you played by the rules,” he said. “We have to have rules and we have to keep those rules in America or we would be a magnet for more people who want to break the law.”

Read more.

You can read the bishops’ position on the issue here and Catholic social teaching on immigration here.

Comments

  1. Henry Karlson says:

    What I often find interesting is when someone in the American “right” talk about the US Bishops being wrong for following Catholic Social Teaching, they rarely talk about and admit the position is not just that of the US Bishops but what one also finds in Papal teaching (such as the annual letters on migrants). Yes, there is need for reform, yes a nation has authority to deal with migration issues, but that authority doesn’t make everything right, might does not make right, and the human person and the human family have rights, too.

    The Holy Family, while in Egypt, were moved around and in hiding because they were “illegal migrants” in Egypt. The map of where the Holy Family hid out in Egypt shows how they moved around to keep in hiding. Let us this Christmas remember the plight of the Holy Family in Egypt as we talk about the migrant and migrant families in the world today.

  2. Fiergenholt says:

    I am neither surprised nor amused.

    If I could give Ric Santorum any advice, I’d say — publicly get out of the presidential race. Regardless of how much of a chance statistics suggested he may have had, he has zero chance now. He have burned a critical bridge and devout Roman Catholics who may have voted for him because he was one of them (and the clear black-and-white choice he seemed to inspire) now have to suffer through the shades of grey that the rest of us serious voters have to.

  3. Henry Karlson says:

    He hasn’t burned the bridge with the Catholics who would have voted for him; I know quite a bit of the “right” online are with him and are against the bishops. They listen to Michael Voris, who also likes to act as if the US Bishops and their Social Justice is something to be ignored, while ignoring the Vatican and its declarations on the subject.

  4. Although Mr. Santorum may not win the nomination, I applaud him for saying to our bishops (in a respectful manner), that on this matter (one not of faith) that they are wrong.

    The focus should be on how is the money we are putting into these countries, via organizations such as USAID, The World Bank, and hundreds of NGOs, being used and is it used effectively. Also, on improved border security.

    The bishops are really not looking to solve the problem, they are looking to see how many more people they can put in the pews (I know that is sounds harsh).

    Unfortunately, it will backfire on them and those they think will come over to the Catholic Church will not — we see it right here in the Archdiocese of Washington. Cardinal Wuerl supports illegal immigrants, via the Maryland Catholic Conference and their support of Casa of Maryland, but it has not shown an uptick in more illegal immigrants in the pews. In fact, just the opposite has taken place. We see more illegal immigrants going to the various pentecostal and evangelical churches, while using the free services provided by the Church.

  5. Mark LaVergne says:

    The comparison with the Holy Family’s journey to Egypt is a stretch. Does Holy Scripture tell us that they were “illegal aliens” — where is that indicated? Moreover, in the language of current immigration law, and given what we know from Holy Scripture, it would seem that the Holy Family fled to Egypt as political refugees (Herod was keen on killing the Holy Infant out of fear that Jesus was heir to Herod’s throne). I don’t think the US has treated as “illegal” those political refugees who seek asylum. We don’t have any reason to believe that they emigrated to Egypt for economic reasons.

    Poster Henry Karlson writes: “The map of where the Holy Family hid out in Egypt shows how they moved around to keep in hiding.” In which Gospel is this map contained?

  6. Henry Karlson says:

    Mark

    Catholics are not sola scriptura. We believe in history and tradition. In Egypt, the sites of where the Holy Family were at are known (I’ve been to quite a few of them when I was in Egypt; one, for example, is near the synagogue in Old Cairo).

    http://orthodoxwiki.org/The_Holy_Family_in_Egypt will be a good foundation (with links) for you to find out about the Holy Family in Egypt.

    Example: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/holyfamily2.htm

  7. Henry Karlson says:

    “Tel Basta – or Basta – which they now enter, is a short distance from Zagazig, the main town in the Sharqiah Governorate about 100 kms north-east of Cairo. Here, Jesus caused a water spring to well up from the ground, and His presence caused the idols to crumble, as foretold by the prophets of old. The townsfolk, in consequence, turned malevolent and aggressive, whereupon the Holy Family turned their backs on the town and headed southwards.”

    http://www.touregypt.net/holyfamily.htm has a lot of insight

  8. Henry Karlson says:
  9. “Any progress that would secure the betterment of a select few at the expense of the greater human family would be an erroneous and distorted progress. It would be an outrage against the demands of justice and affront to the dignity of every human being.” JPII, Building Up the Body of Christ, Pastoral Visit to the US 1987

    That said – I think that there is an inherent danger in saying, no matter how respectfully, that the bishops are wrong in such a public way. If another politician chose another issue (fill in the blank or just think of Nancy Pelosi, for example) we would decry them for challenging the teachings of the church.

    This is less an issue of immigration for me and more of an issue of obedience. We are all called to wrestle with various teachings. The problems come from public declarations against those teachings by people with some power and following (Santorum in this case). So who gets to decide when the bishops are wrong?

    If one feels that strongly about it, one should be in discussion with their bishop or the US Catholic bishops in this case.

    This is a little “cafeteria-y” for me.

  10. Mark LaVergne says:

    @Henry Karlson, thanks for sharing the information put out by the Coptic Church. This is not Holy Scripture, but it is interesting nonetheless. Still, while it confirms that the Holy Family obtained asylum in Egypt, it does not suggest a comparison with those who immigrate for economic opportunity and who stay in a host country illegally.

  11. Henry Karlson says:

    Mark

    It says those who leave as refugees, who often enter some other land unwanted, should be give help and benefit — the Church consistently points out our need to look at human persons, even if they are “illegal” and consider what we do because of the dignity of the human person. The rhetoric used to expel the “illegal immigrant” because it is “consuming what is inside” is exactly the same rhetoric used by many who support abortion: the child is seen as an “illegal immigrant” in the womb and so the woman (like the “host nation”) is free to expel. The same logic. The same argument. Macro/micro.

  12. I think that it is a challenge to consider all circumstances. People are willing to die – crossing deserts, leaving their families, risking lives – to provide livelihood and hope for others. Do all immigrants meet this standard? No. Do most of them – I would venture to say probably more than a few.

    And I always have to consider undocumented workers in the light of ethnicity. I have rarely heard anyone, go on about the large amount of Chinese immigrants that enter illegally and are indentured servants. That is but one example.

    But our Spanish speaking brothers and sisters have a different standard to live up to. This makes me wonder about prejudices, like “hard working Asians,” versus others.

    Just a thought.

  13. Mark LaVergne says:

    If you want to introduce the issue of “ethnicity,” as you put it, please don’t do so in reply to my question, which had nothing to with that consideration and was merely a question about the application of Holy Scripture to this political/economic matter.

  14. Mark LaVergne says:

    Henry, thanks for your thoughtful reply. The first time I have heard that argument. Not sure the analogy you provide really “fits,” but it certainly has me thinking about this is in a new way. I appreciate that.

  15. Wow. Did not think that disagreeing w/ a bishop on illegal immigration was on the same level, as let’s say abortion, to be considered a cafeteria Catholic.

  16. It’s that way for a good reason: “The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are ‘sins that cry to heaven’: the blood of Abel, the sin of the Sodomites, the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan, injustice to the wage earner (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1863).

    That covers murder, sodomy, oppressing immigrants, and causing the suffering of those who work for a living. Quite a challenge, but who said being Catholic was easy?

  17. Holly in Nebraska says:

    I find it interesting that Mr. Santorum’s argument is about fairness and rules, not charity. By all means, let us not have someone getting something the haven’t earned. Considering our salvation is a gift from God, unearned, it is a strange argument for a christian to make. Are rules more important that charity and love? The unworthy prodigal son gets to come to the party and Mr. Santorum doesn’t think it’s fair.

  18. Deacon Mike says:

    To suggest the Bishops’ immigration policy is designed to “fill the pews” is ludicrous. Rather, they are trying to bring Christ’s message of compassion to our country’s debate on a difficult topic that often divides us as a nation. I applaud them for their reasoned and nuanced position.
    Mr. Santorum is no different from other politicians, on both the left and the right. It’s amazing how their publicly stated faith positions (or lack of same) always seem to jive so nicely with what their political parties also stands for.

  19. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    AWDCC:

    The phrase “Cafeteria Catholic” has come to be synonymous with people who dissent from the Left — but an argument can be made that the cafeteria line also forms on the Right. (Members of SSPX might be one prominent example) However, it is most often applied to those who choose not to accept a dogma or teaching of the Magesterium, usually in regard to sexual morality.

    Wikipedia has a decent description of this phenomenon at this link, with a little history of the phrase. It also quotes JP II, who once said:

    It has to be noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church’s moral teaching. It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a “good Catholic,” and poses no obstacle to the reception of the Sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching of the Bishops in the United States and elsewhere.”

    Meantime, in regards to Santorum, it should be noted that his knowledge and understanding of Catholic teachings on social justice might be spotty. This fall, he seemed stumped by the phrase “preferential option for the poor.” You can read about that here.

    Dcn. G.

  20. Mark LaVergne says:

    OK, Henry, I wasn’t suggesting sola scriptura, and I appreciate that Sacred Tradition is another leg of the stool of our faith. Thanks again for the sources, especially from the Coptic tradition. Very interesting stuff. I learned something new today :-)

  21. At the same time, no Catholic is obligated under pain of sin to agree with the American bishops’ statements regarding the resolution of the problem of illegal immigration in the United States. Nor has the pope declared that it is sinful to disagree with amnesty as the correct solution. The Church also defends the right of nations to defend their own borders and populations. Like the death penalty, illegal immigration is simply not on the same level of abortion. Never has been, never will be.

  22. For the record I’ve always been a fan of “illegal immigration”, seeing everyone as “people first”, however, I DO have a problem with chaos, which is always the work of the evil one.

    Kevin says it best: Every country has a right to defend it’s people and borders.

    The reality is, among the authentic needy “illegals” are also terrorists who want to kills us and cause harm to our nation. It’s simply not a “one size fits all problem.” I think it’s fair to say that most of the bloggers here would absolutely embrace any “illegal” person or family who was truly in need, including Santorium.

    As for equating it to abortion, absured, as “one size does fit all when it comes to killing a life in the womb.”

    All said, who could deny the choas if the US adopted a “Come on in, eveyone” policy? If the “everyone welcome” policy didn’t apply, than the logic behind the Bishop’s thinking would have to be flawed, as the entire system would collaspe within days if the entire “illegal world”, from Mexico to Pango Pango was invited.

    God is most certainly chairity and compassion, but he is also ORDER, and for good reason.

  23. Dcn. G.

    1. Altough you are quoting JPII, I would never do it from Wikipedia. Sorry, there is to much bias and too many things which are left out to make it a solid reference tool.

    2. I don’t think that many Catholics consider SSPX to be a “cafeteria” group. (Provided they even know what SSPX is.) I think that most of them would consider them a break away group. However, I am very encouraged that the Holy Father is working on attempting to bring them back.

    3. Faith in the Public Life, is what I consider to be, a more left leaning group of Christians. Looking at their bios really sends up a couple of red flags in my book and I do not believe makes much of a case against Rick Santorum.

    Just my $.02.

  24. Yet another Catholic politician who sets aside teachings he dislikes thinking he knows better.

    While this is not dissent at the same level as that of Pelosi, it is still dissent. Guess it’s time to reassess who to support for the primaries.

  25. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    AWDCC:

    The full text of his remarks that are quoted can be found here.

    Dcn. G.

  26. Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think EVERY bishop takes the “Let ‘em all in policy.” If I’m correct, who is to say that Santoruim’s bishop is one of them?

    Again, Catholic teaching does not endorse chaos over order, which I find hard to believe is the policy of all US Bishops.

  27. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    The USCCB presents its teaching this way:

    Opponents of both lawful and unauthorized immigration often inaccurately criticize the Catholic Church as supportive of “open borders” in an attempt to discredit the strength of Church’s voice in the immigration policy dialogue.

    In the pastoral letter, “Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recognized the right of the sovereign to control and protect its borders, stating: “we accept the legitimate role of the U.S. . . . government in intercepting undocumented migrants who attempt to travel through or cross into [the country].” The U.S. Bishops made clear, however, that “. . .[w]e do not accept . . . some of the policies and tactics that our government has employed to meet this. . .responsibility.” No. 78.

    In “Strangers No Longer,” the U.S. Bishops made clear that despite the sovereign’s right to control its borders and engage in enforcement of immigration laws, the “human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be respected.” The Bishops declared that “[r]egardless of their legal status, migrants, like all persons, possess inherent human dignity that should be respected . . . Government policies that respect the basic human rights of the undocumented are necessary.” No. 38.

    There’s much more on immigration, and numerous documents reflecting Catholic teaching, here.

    Dcn. G.

  28. Deacon Frank says:

    I agree, politics is more important than faith. I was hoping he might rise in the poles, now he’s just another politician who say anything if he thinks it will get him elected.

  29. Deacon Norb says:

    Greg: You nailed it.
    But I would carry it one step further. ALL of us are “cafeteria catholics.” All of us are introduced to that huge banquet of Divine Truth but we are all limited by our own humanity into how much of what we can absorb.

    Ever been to a genuine “Midwestern Smorgasbord” ? The serving bins are huge; there are hundreds of main entrees; thousand of salads, tens of thousands of deserts and who knows how many liquid options. Any one given person is limited by his appetite; his allergies; his cultural baggage (I’m sorry, but you would never get me to eat Kishka or Menudo — but then I can not even get my own wife to try Grits!). Now, all of that food is healthy and filling but one cannot eat all of it because of the limitations inherent within the individual humanity of us all.

    The same is true of feeding on the huge richness of the Catholic experience. I really do not expect a “Charismatic Catholic” to devote a lot of interest to Catholic Mysticism; nor do I expect a Mexican-American Catholic to be enamored by the apparitions of Our Lady of Walsingham; nor do I expect a seminary-based Biblical Scholar to be managing a battered-women’s shelter; nor would I expect a “pew-sitting Irish-Catholic lay person” to understand the issues that the Chaldean Catholics suffer every day. We can’t do that — physically, mentally or emotionally.

    What I do expect is that all of us respect each other and the unique humanity that we represent having been created by Divine Command.

  30. Catholic Social Teaching (including that put forth on immigration by the USCCB) DOES indeed allow for a nation to make just laws regulating the legal acceptance of aliens into their country. There is nothing at all uncharitable about regulating entry OR demanding that peeople (citizens or not) follow these just laws. There is nothing unethical or immoral about secure borders, immigration restrictions or racial profiling within this context for the saftety of citizenship but AGAIN…only if guided by just laws. This is summed up quite nicely at the USCCB website http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/catholic-teaching-on-immigration-and-the-movement-of-peoples.cfm

    In a nutshell the three basic principles of Catholic social doctrine on immigration are:
    First Principle: People have the right to migrate to sustain their lives and the lives of their families.
    Second Principle: A country has the right to regulate its borders and to control immigration.
    Third Principle: A country must regulate its borders with justice and mercy.

  31. Thanks Dcn. Greg, makes perfect sense to me. I would like to see Catholics legally be allowed to “sponsor” some of the needy illegals, especially within our churches.

    Back to topic, based on this, I find it hard to be too critical of Santorium, as I suspect he is referring to the few of the more outspoken Bishops who truly appear to push for amensty.

  32. He has no chance in heck now. I am “on the right”, but informed enough to know what the Church position is on issues and also to know that in matters that do not include dogma, faith and/or morals, a Catholic has to be informed by his or her conscience (a conscience rightly formed ) to agree or disagree on political positions. I happen to disagree with Santorum on immigration. We live in a complex world and those on the right and the left that want to act on simplistic assumptions do a disservice to the Church and to society.

  33. Looks like to me that Santourm is a cafeteria catholic

  34. Deacon Steve says:

    The key to the immigration issue is that nations have the right to enact and enforce just laws on immigration. US immigration policy seems to be very inconsistent, especially when it comes to enforcement. Having worked at a prominent university it was made very clear to me when several professors and researchers that came from foreign countries were not hit with the full force of immigration law when they over exetended their Visas. They were allowed in and out of the country several times with nothing being said, and eventually they were allowed to just renew their visas with no penalties. On the other hand we had a few of the janitors who got caught and were threatened with having the book thrown at them including jail time and then deportation. The US policy needs to be just and recognize the humanity of the people the policy is dealing with. Far too often the Right sees only numbers and leaves out the compassion and the Left ignores any attempt to be responsible with the policy in favor of an “open boarder”. Balance and fairness are what are required when dealing with the immigration issue.

  35. Henry Karlson says:

    Ok, I must have misread your comment — and I am glad that was not your intention. My time in Egypt, my reading of Coptic sources, has given me great insight to the early Christians and Christian history of Egypt. Some of it is quite amazing. I really was enthused when I visited an ancient church near the synagogue (and in the area Jeremiah the prophet resided when in Egypt), a church which was connected to the Holy Family’s stay in Egypt. I learned a lot when I was there — things many do not otherwise hear anymore.

  36. RS is right, what about the people who filed the paper work and waited in line to come here legally, what do we say to them?

    Obama will be tough to beat again. Plus, if we give amnesty to all those Illegal aliens (Obama voters), Obama may get 65 or 70% of the catholic vote this time instead of 55%.

    You liberal Catholics are doing a fine Job at keep the greatest scourge of our generation (abortion) legal.

  37. Fair enough, but I was addressing your words @Mark LaVergne that said “it does not suggest a comparison with those who immigrate for economic opportunity and who stay in a host country illegally.”

    And, for what it is worth, as Catholics, we are not simply “sola Scriptura” people. The application of Scripture is important, but not necessarily the path alone to political and economic matters. Which is why we have the Magisterium, of course.

  38. Amen to your words, Deacon Norb, starting with that first bit. We are all choosing in one way or another. I posited on my FB that choosing and being intransigent is one matter and honest struggle, worked out within the confines and relationship of the church are another. I am all for the struggle – and am actively engaged in it myself on various matters.

  39. deaconnecessary says:

    Well said, brother deacon, well said!

  40. He also disagrees with the Church on torture, war, and the death penalty.
    How is he the “Catholic” guy again??

  41. Just out of curiousity, when you state “in matters that do not include dogma, faith, and/or morals, a Catholic has to be informed by his or her conscience to agree or disagree on political positions”, would you also say that in matters that do include dogma, faith, and morals a Catholic does not have to be informed by their conscience?

    Secondly, and more importantly, is immigration not a moral matter?

    (Have I misread your post?)

  42. I’m curious why fleeing to Egypt as political refugees would be legitimate, but fleeing as economic refugees would not be legitimate.

  43. Fiergenholt says:

    Max:
    “How is he the “Catholic” guy again??”

    Perfectly obvious to me. He has made “anti-abortion” his main “hot-button” political plank and that issue alone makes him a darling of a very select sub-set of Republicans who are Roman Catholic. He believes — and so does his constituency — that this issue alone makes him qualified to be President.

    Be sure to read my posting way up in the beginning of this stream.

  44. Henry, you are wrong on the social teaching on this issue. The Catholic Church encourages countries to support immigration, but it also teaches us that countries are allowed to protect borders and set limits. The left wants to ignore the teaching. I know of no Catholic teaching that says that we should have open borders or support illegal activity.

    I note in your links below I see “Illegal immigration should be prevented, but it is also essential to combat vigorously the criminal activities which exploit illegal immigrants.” In other words, fix the border problem first. I think before the Vatican should get into the business of other countries borders, it should set the example of taking their wealth and giving it away to other countries poor and opening the Vatican to all immigration with full care furnished by the vatican state for those arriving to insure their dignity. In other words, lead by example.

    I would also like to see the USA immigration programs as compared to the rest of the world. I suspect we do a pretty good job so one might assume from this he could be talking to other countries who have done very little to help worldwide poverty.

  45. The solution to the illegal immigration is not one that as a Catholic you have to agree on with the Pope or magesterium as it is with marriage between one man and one woman and abortion. There can be many different solutions to the immigration issue. In fact, in the link Henry provided above, the Pope clearly states “Illegal immigration should be prevented, but it is also essential to combat vigorously the criminal activities which exploit illegal immigrants.” So one could say that fulfulling the call of the Pope is to seal the border to prevent the illegal immigration problem and then look to see what we can do to help the poor. I would say the USA does well on both legal immigration and also on the amount of money we spend on foreign aid to help others as well as the massive donations we give in times of international strife all through our history.

  46. Deacon Mike, you are just flat our wrong. what awashingtondccatholic says is exactly right according to Catholic teaching and so is Santorum.

  47. Deacon Greg, went to the link on actual quote. I note you left off the fact he was talking about “sexual and conjubal morality, divoce and remarrriage. Some are reported as not accepting the Chruch’s clear postions on abortion.” This is right before what was said below. In other words, he was talking about postions that are in line with the magesterium, and illegal immigration is not in that list of things Catholics must believe. I am shocked you used this quote so loosely when it is obvious the Pope was talking about abortion and other magesterial issues.

    “It is sometimes reported that a large number of Catholics today do not adhere to the teaching of the Church on a number of questions, notably sexual and conjugal morality, divorce and remarriage. Some are reported as not accepting the Church’s clear position on abortion. It has also been noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church’s moral teachings. It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a “good Catholic” and poses no obstacle to the reception of the sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching office of the bishops of the United States and elsewhere. I wish to encourage you in the love of Christ to address this situation courageously in your pastoral ministry, relying on the power of God’s truth to attract assent and on the grace of the Holy Spirit which is given both to those who proclaim the message and to those to whom it is addressed.”

    Santorum was right and so are a lot of other posts here. Please show where the magesterium supports the bishops views on illegal immigration and solutions proposed as being magesterial. That is what many on the left never seem to understand that there are things as Catholics we have to accept and others we are free to listen to Catholic viewpoint and decide for ourselves.

  48. Again, there is no magesterium teaching on illegal immigration. Nancy Pelosi is in direct dissent on magesterial teaching on abortion and gay marriage. Yes, we are called to help the poor, but we are left to decide how to do that and it matters more what we do as individuals to help the poor.

    Supporting breaking the laws of a country in fact seems like it is in direct conflict with what was linked above from the Pope: “Illegal immigration should be prevented, but it is also essential to combat vigorously the criminal activities which exploit illegal immigrants.”

    Fran, are the bishops wrong who say voting for an abortion candidate is always wrong unless there is proportionate reasoning? Are they wrong when they say birth control is not to be used? Are they wrong when they so there cannot now or ever be women priests? Are bishops wrong when they say if politicians vote for abortion they should not recieve communion? We have to understand what the Chruch teaches us from a magesterial standing and what it teaches us on all other topics. One we have to accept, the other we can form our own decisions on with our conscience enlightened by the Church teaching.

    I think what should have been posted here was the fact that what Santorum is saying is by all rights correct in regard to actual Catholic teaching.

  49. It is a false argument. The USA has a history of taking in those from other countries who have been threatened with death as is the case with Jesus and his parents.

    I have asked many times where Jesus has anything to say about governments helping the poor. He did not preach suggesting Rome should increase taxes to set up Roman programs to help the poor. Can anyone quote me anything on this? I doubt there will be answers on this point. The entire poverty situation was one that Jesus seemed to favor solved one on one with each of us helping the poor directly as did the Good Samaritan. In fact, I think he would be against what many have done in turning poverty issues into central government programs that drive wedges between poverty and faith.

  50. Holly, Santorum is correct when you are talking about government programs which by their very nature, have a long history of being over regulated, inefficienct, and often leading to bad end results. If government was good at any of this, with the trillions spent on the “war on poverty” or the “war on drugs” or the ‘war on terror” we would have zero poverty, zero drug problems, and zero terror. They have a real mess with medicare, medicaid, social security, and everything else they do. They promised after Reagan amnesty deal to seal the borders so we would never have another 10 million here illegally and it is less than 25 years and we have an even bigger mess.

    When the bishops put out a policy position on something like this, it is their viewpoint but not magesterial teaching. We can openly dissent. We should listen, but if they are wrong, it is not something we have to follow them on. Since they have entered the public political arena, we can challenge them publically on this position.

  51. excellent post Klaire

  52. Wrong, learn what the Catholic Church actual full teaching is on different issues. Dissenting on this issue is far different from Pelosi in full dissent on teaching issues we have to accept and believe as Catholics.

  53. Wrong, all are not cafeteria catholics. Please show where illegal immigration is an issue held firm by the magesterium. Deacon Greg quote on the Pope was about abortion and other magesteriam settled things we have to accept, not this. The cafeteria catholics are those who dissent on church teaching such as women priests, abortion, remarriage without anullment, etc.

  54. Mark, Jesus taught compassion for the marginalized, compassion for the outsider. The Old Testament (Isaiah in particular, I think) is full of admonitions about how we should treat the foreigners in our midst. Rick Santorum has rejected a core teaching of the Christian-Judaic faith traditions. And yes, there will be people who want to tout Santorum’s position; they value their political allegiance over the teachings of both the OT and NT. I suspect they do not realize that’s what they’re doing, which mitigates the guilt somewhat.

  55. naturgesetz says:

    It is worthwhile to think of people like Sts. Margaret of Scotland, Elizabeth of Hungary, and (good king) Wenceslas, whose sanctity was most notable in their care for the poor. They lived in an age when state power was the personal power of the rulers. When they cared for the poor, it was de facto the state caring for the poor. Most individuals did not have the means to undertake laprge scale programs for the relief of poverty. IMO it is legitimate for governments in our day to undertake to a considerable degree the charitable work which was at one time the preserve of the ruling class.

  56. Deacon Norb says:

    Let’s consider this analogy from medicine.

    Among the stranger psycho-neurotic diseases that afflict humankind is one that often folks joke about but can be deadly serious. It is called loosely “food addiction” but the most bizarre version is that which a person refuses to eat anything else other than the food they are addicted to. One of the funnier and better known names is “choco-holic” but you get the idea. There are plenty of stories of pre-school children who eat flour-based school paste. The parallel with the alcoholic is another good example only this is with drink and not food.

    Now, that food (or drink) addiction always leads to destructive human behavior. Their nutritional balance is all askew and thus they are susceptible to all sorts of rare illnesses. Their behavior is dysfunctional and often destructive. AND, what is often the case, they will deny that their behavior is abnormal at all.

  57. In the USA, up until FDR, the federal government was not in the business of taking money from people in taxes and deciding who should pay and who should receive and what guidelines or regulations should be in place for those actions. It was also then before we had the myth of the “wall of separation” between church and state. We had the majority of charity work done by church groups where it was considered a charity and came with help in correcting lives that would lead to the need for more charity. Now, we have federal agencies dictating the rules on organizations like Catholic adoption agencies forcing them out if they do not agree to give children to gay couples because the system is set up now around the huge tax revenues to the federal government and thus they dictate how they are spent.

    My issue with the government programs in total and especially those of the federal government is that they are all a mess and filled with fraud and abuse. They come with heavy doses of regulations, many of which are anti religion. They have never produced anything of real value if viewed from the large picture and not a few cases where they seem to work. Because many see their checks already showing huge tax withdrawls taken before they get their money, we tend to look at other charity work as already paid for to government and most cannot afford to pay more and meet their own family needs. This is not a good system. Did we win the war on poverty yet? Wonder how many trillions have been poured into that war on poverty since 1965?

    I wish Americans would one day wake up and say this experiment in huge federal government has not worked. Lets trim it back at least to where it was in 1965 and go from there while looking at the individual problems and see what can be done to actually get people working for a worthwhile wage again. As long as the federal government, and for that matter the state and local government which also have grown, we will never have control again on a local level to fix things broken in our own back yards where it is most effective.

  58. naturgesetz says:

    I agree that there is no need to federalize care for the poor and that the War on Poverty has been a failure. Before FDR we did, and still do have governmental welfare programs and agencies at levels below the federal government. In Massachusetts when I was growing up every city and town had a Board of Welfare Commissioners, who provided for the destitute. Then the state took over the responsibility, and handles the work less effectively, but it’s still involved.

  59. Henry, I look at refugee as someone like those who feld Cuba and came here. They were in danger. The same was true of the Jewish people many countries took in during WWII. If we look at the world, there is much worse poverty in many areas of the world than Mexico. We cannot take in the worlds problems and in fact we cannot take on all of Mexico or other Latin countries problems without bankrupting this country. In many countries, refugees are held in camps along the border of that country and provided basics of life which I believe the Catholic Church has called for with those in need. Food, shelter, etc. What is happening here is something different in that it is immigration with a desire to live here in this country, send their kids to the schools, go to our healthcare system, and grow their families. All worthwhile goals, but that is not what I would call refugee’s. They need to file for immigration and come here legally showing respect for our laws over their personal desires. again, I am all for a discussion about how many our country can handle and that is where I think the Church has a role to play. The Church can step forward and say we will take personal responsibility for this many immigrants to insure they are fed and cared for by our people and this number can be added to the immigration roles. But the bishops are advocating breaking the laws of the land and this is where the problem comes in.

    As to your argument about abortion, that is really a sad one. The mother in this case did something, unless it was rape or incest, where their action resulted in a the creation of a baby. It would be like America sent agents down and brought over someone by our own actions and then callled them illegal as would be the case with rape. Thus the human being in her womb is the product of an action on her part and the gift from God of a human being. Second, no one I have heard is for killing the illegal immigrants, even the most ardent anti illegal immgrants folks. We view them as human beings or should if we have half a brain. She is not seeking to have the child moved out and sent back to where it came from because it invaded her body, but to have it killed. So your argument is idiotic. try again.

  60. Don’t be fooled by this false argument. See my response.

  61. naturgesetz says:

    Benn, even if we gave amnesty to all the illegal aliens, it would not necessarily make them voters. They could be given green cards, rather than citizenship.

  62. Paul, there is a vast difference in issues within the Catholic Church. There are issues which we have to accept and believe. Some try to make other issues into the equivalent and that is simply bad Catholic teaching. One major difference is that often there are different ways to accomplish something like dealing with healthcare costs or illegal immigration and the Church has no particular authority or infallible teaching on these things. Taking care of the poor on a religious basis in fact should be what we do as a person to help the poor. How the government does it should be considered something outside that area of Catholic thinking other than to encourage love and compassion. But none arrise to a place close to things like abortion and marriage between one man and one woman or other clear magesterial teaching. that was my point on Jesus not advocating a big government Roman program to help the poor. He was obviously concerned about the poor so his choice not to point to government, but in fact to separate Caesar from God was an indication that things related to religion should in fact be seperate as outlined in our constitution and protected from Government.

  63. Deacon Norb

    If one is addicted to a food like choclate, it could be bad for them. However, in most cases, it is not a huge issue. However, if one were say addicted to a poison food, even a small amount could be very very bad. It could be lethal. The Catholic Church has listed foods that are not good for us but leaves us to make the final judgement on those foods. One might be our need to help the poor and even then to leave to us how we help the poor in our own way depending on our own situation. However, with abortion, they try to show us that this is a poison and supporting it in any way should be understood as killing our soul. The Holy Spirit allows us to make clear judgement on things like this by giving the Catholic Church special status to its Pope and Magesterium to list those special things that we can trust to be infallible.

    Thus we can see what Santorum has said is outside that area of special protection meaning we can listen and should do so, but are not bound by what is stated. Even if the entire USCCB made the statement in unison, it is not the magesterium and thus it is not infallible correct and in fact could be wrong. In this case, I would agree with Santorum that it is wrong because we are a nation of laws and frankly a nation with huge compassion for others. But by coming here and breaking our laws, you have arrived in our home and crapped on our table. From this unlawful act, many others will follow. The Church would be best served by telling those in these other countries to obey our laws and at the same time, forcefully make the arguement for changes in the laws. It would have far more power if they would act in this manner and have more respect. The bishops for years in evading ongoing child abuse have shown a disregard for our laws so this simply adds to that viewpoint. They have sought to hide behind the letter of the law in regard to statute of limitations, and now advise us that breaking our immigration laws are OK with them. I think this is sad and does nothing to our position in this country as a faith that supports the laws. I also find it interesting that they are screaming out for pro life people to obey all the laws even as 4000 babies a day are being slaughtered. One would think if the laws do not matter in illegal immigration, they would advise civil disobedience at the abortion mills.

  64. Wrong, looks to me like you do not know what the Catholic Church teaches and the various levels of importance and infallibility. You might want social justice teaching to rise to the level of abortion, but it does not in Catholic teaching. That is because there are many ways to help the poor and the Church does not detail the one and only way to accomplish helping the poor. It certainly does not by magesterial teaching say big government solutions are the way to solve every issue known to mankind.

  65. One part of immigratin law is to help the country move forward. If there is a scientist in another country who will improve life in this country, they are going to take priority over someone who cannot read or speak the language. We have modified the immigration laws downward in many ways over the years to not only allow more, but to remove some of the other issues. Immigration also has a place for when the people are in dire danger if they stay in that country as with Cuba and during WWII with the Jewish population. A country has to balance a lot with immigration and that also includes how it will impact jobs and wages of those already here. It is thus not about fairness, but what is good for the country in the first consideration. There is also a time frame required for people to be assimilated into the country for them as well as for those living here. But everyhing goes wrong when you have a problem protecting your borders and millions poor through each year. It makes those waiting in line and doing things the right way look foolish and reward those who break the laws. That is why we say seal the borders and then talk about immigration issues. We did the deal backwards in the 80′s with Reagan giving amnesty with the promise to seal the borders and nothing was done.

  66. Max, Church teaching on torture has a lot of ways to look at the topic and it has not been handed down by the Pope or Magesterium with a list of things that are called torture with infallible teaching. The Catholic teaching does not go by the geneva convention or even the Army manual. On the death penalty, again there is no magesterial teaching outlawing any and all capital punishment. Thus on these issues, one can find things they disagree on and still be a Catholic in good standing. One cannot ignore long standing infallible teaching that the Pope has declared to be non negotiable on the issues of abortion and mariage between one man and one woman. I know the left leaning Catholics do not like this, but that is indeed fact. I wish some of the deacons posting here would actually take their training and put it to good use on these facts as it would help Catholics to better understand what must be accepted and believed. You would think on a Catholic blog site it would be essential part of the overall mission.

  67. Post it often, but how about showing that these positions are magesterial and blessed with infallibility and listed by the Pope as non negotiable.

  68. Mark:
    I think that you mean magisterial, not magesterial?

  69. The two are not comparable because the Holy Family were asylum seekers running for the Baby’s life.

    Modern illegal immigrants tend to be economic opportunists, unwilling to stand in line. They are not starving in Mexico anyway. The unemployment rate is about 5%.

    Further, too many people in the Church wrongly extrapolate the Church’s teachings about the Church’s duties toward immigrants (legal) and apply them to the government and legal American residents toward the illegal ones.

    Note in JPII’s 95 Address that he says that people should attempt to help people become legal but if that is not feasible, they should be helped to go home or sent to another country willing to accept them.

    NOTHING in the whole of the Church’s teaching requires open borders, retention of illegal entrants unless they are true asylum seekers or social services. The must be accorded human rights, but NOT the rights of citizens.

    Further they have “a duty to respect the laws of the host countries and potential immigrants.

    We need justice for all and that means, as both JPII and B16 have taught to fix the social problems which encourage the emigration out of the sending counties.

  70. Fiergenholt says:

    Vettas said

    “They are not starving in Mexico anyway. The unemployment rate is about 5%”

    Prove it. That is so far out of line with reality (especially considering that our unempliyment rate in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona is over double that).

    Hyperbole does get challenged on this blog occasionally

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