The understandable pushback by immigration reformers like Lou Dobbs, Peter Gadiel, Joe Guzzardi and Brenda Walker against the recently-concluded "Migration Week," orchestrated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and their ex-Carter Administration staffers, doesn't end the story. There's more to "Migration Week" than meets the eye…especially when seen through the eyes of faith.
Let me stipulate: History offers all too many examples of certain members of the Catholic hierarchy getting involved in particular political issues, when they would have done better by simply reaffirming Catholic moral principles for the faithful.
And, although couched ever so loosely from statements by the Holy See, the ulterior motive concealed in the USCCB's thinly-veiled celebration of the illegal alien in America was certainly plain: to give globalist activists within the Church—both ordained and laity alike—the opportunity to mobilize and supposedly transform the Catholic faithful into an army of like-minded Open Borders activists.
The "Justice for Immigrants.com" web site was produced by hired public relations guns at the e-advocates marketing company. The web site, of course, was bought and paid for courtesy of the USCCB by the unwitting Catholic faithful. E-advocates describes itself as
"the nation's premier, full-service Internet and grassroots advocacy consulting firm backed by the commitment and expertise of Capitol Advantage, the nation's top provider of cyberlobbying technology . . . [that] helps organizations harness the power of the Internet to achieve legislative and political objectives, offering clients a full range of advocacy consulting services."
All of this is deeply offensive to patriotic American Catholics, among whom I count myself. The late and great American Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, now declared a Servant of God (support his cause for canonization here), has been quoted as making the following observation about the Holy Mother Church he loved and served:
"There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church."
Thanks to the USCCB's politicization of "Migration Week" in America, we now have even more work to be done. Archbishop Sheen, ora pro nobis!
During the 1950s and 60s, Sheen dispensed a wealth of wisdom to the faithful through an amazing one-man television show called Life is Worth Living, for which he won an Emmy Award in 1952. The program is now in reruns on the EWTN network.
The Open Borders premise that anyone should be able to cross the national border of the United States at any time, and for whatever reason—including "to have a better life" in consumerist America—would have been totally incomprehensible to Archbishop Sheen.
In stark contrast to the ordained devotees of globalism in the public eye today, Archbishop Sheen made it clear to his viewers in 1953 that "Jesus came to save people from their sins, not from economic insecurity."
But the USCCB ignores this wisdom. Instead, it spins a web of rationalizations for globalism and unilateral economic "migration" to the United States. Typical documents:
The USCCB then proceeds to quote itself from these documents, creating the impression that globalism is now the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.
But statements by American and/or Mexican Bishops concerning U.S. immigration policy do not speak for the Vatican, the Holy See.
In fact, the October, 2005 message of Pope Benedict XVI written for use on the 2006 "World Day of Migrants and Refugees" contains no Open Borders imperative.
Pope Benedict XVI actually made reference to distinctions between "national and international migration, forced and voluntary migration, legal and illegal migration, [and those] subject also to the scourge of trafficking in human beings."
That's illegal—not "undocumented"!
The Pope's message said nothing about illegal aliens having a right to enter the United States at anytime they want, as many times as they want, for whatever reason they desire.
Pope Benedict's message, as with most Papal statements dealing with refugees and other immigration-related issues, focuses entirely on Christian charity and pastoral care—especially administering the sacraments to the faithful in foreign lands.
The point is that the American Bishops, or any Bishop for that matter, cannot make the faithful do something that is unjust—in this case open the U.S. borders to all.
If such a position were translated into American public policy, the result would be injurious to the welfare of this country. Hence the faithful would not be obliged to obey.
Further, the fallacy of Open Borders ideology is simply a logical deduction from Catholic principles.
"Each human community possesses a common good which permits it to be recognized as such; it is in the political community [emphasis in original text] that its most complete realization is found. It is the role of the state to defend and promote the common good of civil society, its citizens, and intermediate bodies."
By ignoring this tenet of the Church, the USCCB is raising a serious problem for good Catholics who do not subscribe to Open Borders ideology, and who are trying to do God's will.
The bottom line for good Catholics—laity, religious and ordained included—is that they are not obligated to subscribe to the American Bishops' position on Open Borders and illegal alien amnesty because it is so clearly against the common good of the United States.
Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church is not a representative democracy in the American political sense. An individual Bishop has the power over his particular diocese; and then over him is the Pope. Period.
The 1988 Apostolic Letter by Pope John Paul II—Apostolos Suos, on the theological and juridical nature of Episcopal Conferences—deals with the question of Bishops' conferences very convincingly:
". . . the Bishops assembled in the Episcopal Conference and jointly exercising their teaching office are well aware of the limits of their pronouncements. While being official and authentic and in communion with the Apostolic See, these pronouncements do not have the characteristics of a universal magisterium.
"For this reason the Bishops are to be careful to avoid interfering with the doctrinal work of the Bishops of other territories, bearing in mind the wider, even world-wide, resonance which the means of social communication give to the events of a particular region."
When Pope John Paul II explained that Bishops' conferences "do not have the characteristics of a universal magisterium," that means that the USCCB cannot create doctrine for the Roman Catholic Church.
The National Episcopal conferences of American Bishops carry very little if any weight at all. Their Open Borders lobbying efforts should carry none whatsoever.
Confusing the statements of the USCCB with those of the Holy See—the Vatican—would be, in American government terms, to make the mistake of believing that the National Governors Association is anything other than what it is: an organization having no legitimate lawmaking authority. (This is why VDARE.COM was wrong to headline Brenda Walker's polemic America's Vaticrats Wish You Happy National Migration Week! It's not the Vatican, it's the American Bishops, stupid).
"So [American] Catholic bishops have lurched to the Left, and embraced open borders…In fact, of course, the broadly leftist positions identified with 'social justice' by the Catholic Left have no basis in Catholic tradition. Most were adopted by America's bishops' committees, I believe, to counterbalance the seemingly 'right-wing' stances on life issues which the Vatican pressured them to maintain."
Open Borders Bishops? Never before has America had a group of Catholic Bishops proclaiming anything which is so obviously incorrect.
But it's just another chapter in the unfortunate saga of the leftist march through American institutions, including the Catholic Church.
After 2006 Migration Week ended, the proof became undeniable. While the USCCB marshaled its formidable nationwide resources for a January 14 celebration of the illegal alien in America . . . there was no similar "justice for the unborn" lobbying campaign to mark the January 22 anniversary of what I as a Catholic regard the shameful decision in Roe v. Wade.
Vittorio Roma is a Catholic writer. Juan Mann, our regular Monday night columnist, will return next week.