Your humble correspondent has been accused of being anti-Catholic (for writing blogs and articles, like America's Vaticrats, that have criticized certain parties). Not so! I am only anti those anti-American Catholics who want to destroy this country by Mexifornicating it. That means condemnation of the amnesty-supporting Conference of Catholic Bishops—but not ordinary churchgoers, who agree with the majority of their fellow Americans that borders must be controlled and immigration laws enforced.
But I must admit I had to blink twice a couple weeks back when I heard a Catholic priest bravely buck the establishment of his church to stand with the rule of law and genuine morality. The title of his talk, to a Washington D.C.-area patriotic immigration reform conference, was "Ethics and Morals of Illegal Immigration"—something you don't see every day.
Father Pat Bascio has been a parish priest on the frontlines where a lost job can devastate a family. His personal experience, as well as a broad understanding of the complex topic of immigration, informs his recent book On the Immorality of Illegal Immigration (which can be ordered from AuthorHouse). You can see a Google preview here.
Father Bascio is retired now, after a career that included postings in Tanzania, Grenada, Trinidad, and New York's Harlem. He has a PhD in Systematic Theology from Fordham University and has written several books, including: The UN Was My Parish; Building A Just Society, The Failure of White Theology: A Black Theological Perspective; Defeating Islamic Terrorism: The Wahhabi Factor; and even a couple of novels. He writes:
"It is the function of the Christian church to make a moral judgment about economic and social matters whenever the fundamental rights of the person demand it. However, after examining all the evidence and listening to the voice of the American people, I believe that the Christian church, both here and abroad has made a serious misjudgment, supporting a policy that has a long list of attendant evils."
On the Immorality of Illegal Immigration is an honest book that names both winners and losers, and takes the wrongheaded evil-doers to task:
"The Christian leadership of this country, not really comprehending the wide-ranging problems connected with illegal immigration has blessed violating the sovereignty of our nation, depressing the wages of American workers, encouraging the growth of the most violent gangs in America, driving up black unemployment and draining the best and brightest of the Third World, leaving it helpless. How could the church possibly desire that this state of affairs continue?"
Father Pat is astute in both politics and psychology:
"Groups that favor illegal immigration often invoke the Almighty and wrap themselves in the mantle of compassion as their justification for turning a blind eye to the terrible consequences to America of our porous borders. If simply giving somebody something they want without making them earn it is compassion, then laziness is next to godliness. The American and Mexican bishops should use their good intentions and powerful influence to remind the Mexican government that it has a responsibility for its citizens."
Although Catholic theology does acknowledge the right of nations to protect their sovereignty against foreigner invasion, the church hierarchy in America promotes open borders as passionately as the Communist Party. These clerics' respect for the integrity of the American nation-state is weak, to put it mildly. As I reported Father Michael Seifert of Brownsville TX asserting back in 2006: "Any family in economic need has a right to immigrate, that's our posture." [Church organizing anti-Minuteman campaign, By Sara Inés Calderón, The Brownsville Herald September 5, 2005]
The Catholic Church was the de facto government of Europe for a millennium, so there may be a vestigial memory at work to create this disregard of law and sovereignty. Or maybe it's just the spiritual arrogance.
"'The so-called "illegals" are so not because they wish to defy the law; but, because the law does not provide them with any channels to regularize their status in our country — which needs their labor: they are not breaking the law, the law is breaking them.'—Most Reverend Thomas Wenski, Bishop of Orlando"
Bunk! The United States has the most generous system of legal immigration on earth. But we cannot admit all of the five billion persons who live in countries poorer than Mexico. Many will have to pursue a better life at home. And the Catholic Church, being a global organization, is perfectly positioned to help them rise above poverty—why is there no "stay put" ministry in the countries of origin? The American hierarchy's ideology seems to be from the Gospel of Karl Marx, not scripture, where Jesus said to "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's".
What's so refreshing about Father Pat is his direct aim on the morality aspect of illegal immigration. He doesn't buy the fatuous argument of big churches that the right of poor people to move wherever they want supersedes anything else. His work raises the question: what kind of twisted "morality" condones harming one group of poor people to benefit another?
In the speech I heard, Father Pat described returning to Harlem years after he left a much-beloved parish there. He had been invited back to perform a marriage ceremony. His friends took him around the neighborhood to see the changes. They made no comments, but after a while, Pat noticed that many jobs in Harlem were being done by Hispanics and not black people. "That's when I got it", he said.
What he "got" was that mass illegal immigration is deeply harmful to real people.
Nevertheless, the Catholic Church has been using its considerable assets to push amnesty for illegals. When Rep. Luis Gutierrez made his amnesty tour to whip up support for amnesty, he reportedly traveled "from church to church, city to city". (See my VDARE.com first-person account from St. Anthony's Catholic Church in San Francisco Speaker Pelosi Boards Gutierrez Amnesty Express)
It appears that Catholic hierarchy sees continued Hispanic immigration as vital to keeping their institution alive and pews warm with obedient parishioners. A recent Pew Forum investigation found that 10 percent of Americans were ex-Catholics. The church would be shrinking if not for the many foreign newcomers. But one estimate found that 40 percent of new immigrants are Catholic. Since 1960, Hispanics have accounted for 71 percent of new Catholics in the country. Another way of putting is that "71% of the U.S. Catholic population growth has been due to the growth in the number of Hispanics in the U.S. population overall."
The Bishops were cheered by a 2006 report showing the success (in terms of their congregations) of a southern-focused open-borders policy that is rapidly Hispanicizing the United States – a policy the American people never chose.
The church is also one of the most insistent voices that illegals get healthcare on the taxpayers' tab. Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento stated the legislation "has to include at a minimum some kind of safety net for the undocumented" [Bishops say health reform should include all immigrants, legal or not, The Tidings, October 12, 2009]
The Los Angeles Times noted the papal pronouncement underlining that view: Religious leaders seek healthcare for illegal immigrants, By Teresa Watanabe, September 20, 2009.
"The Roman Catholic Church, the nation's largest religious denomination, with 67 million members, considers healthcare a basic human right, a position articulated in a 1963 papal encyclical by Pope John XXIII. As a result, the church believes that illegal immigrants should be included in any health reform plan, according to Kathy Saile, director of domestic social development with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"'If healthcare is a basic right, you can't start cutting people out,' she said."
The Church is another institution that is generous with other people's money. The September meeting of Hispanic Bishops produced a list of desired social benefits including healthcare, well-paid jobs, subsidized housing, the DREAM Act and amnesty for all. And there is no enforcement that Catholic elites like. They want an end to the border "blockade", a pathway to legal employment and "family reunification" (in America, of course).
One who recently slathered the spiritual conceit on thick was Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in his October 8 testimony for the Senate Immigration Subcommittee.
"I must say upfront that the U.S. bishops are very concerned with the tone on Capitol Hill toward immigrants, most recently in the health-care reform debate. Such harsh rhetoric has been encouraged by talk radio and cable TV, for sure, but also has been used by public officials, including members of Congress.
"We are hopeful that the future national debate on immigration will focus upon the many contributions that immigrants, both documented and undocumented, make to our country and not scapegoat newcomers for unrelated economic or social challenges we face as a nation. History informs us that our nation has been built, in large measure, by the hard work of immigrant communities. We must remember that, except for Native Americans, we are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants to this great land."
The entire presentation was a creampuff confection presenting a fantasy of adorable immigrant families who can do no wrong. In the McCarrick universe, no illegal alien drives drunk, joins a criminal gang, deals crack or displaces an American worker.
Of course, many other religious groups have drunk the amnesty Kool-Aid as well—including evangelical Christians whose rank-and-file do not support rewarding lawbreakers with the keys to the kingdom. A new Zogby survey shows that even 56 percent of Mexicans polled think that another U.S. amnesty would increase the likelihood that people they know would go north illegally.
At a time when 15 million Americans are unemployed, and an estimated 8.3 million foreigners are working illegally, why isn't the moral choice worksite enforcement and an overall moratorium rather than amnesty for millions of lawbreakers? Every well publicized DHS raid removing a bunch of illegals has been followed by long lines of citizens the next day to apply for those gigs. The current job market has 6.3 people competing for every available position, up from 1.7 job seekers in December 2007.
The bishops and their followers might take a hint from the oath of the medical profession to "abstain from doing harm". What they are doing in America is demographic warfare painted up as compassion, and it's wrong any way you look at it.
Father Bascio's On the Immorality of Illegal Immigration does not much discuss theology very much, nor report any significant tangles with church higher-ups over immigration policy. (I was intrigued!) What you get is a basic immigration book with the many sub-issues as seen by a man concerned with morality. The harm to black Americans gets a whole chapter, because Father Bascio thinks they are getting a particularly raw deal.
How sad that this fine man is—or perhaps I should say seems to be—such a rarity among his fellow clergy.
Brenda Walker (email her) lives in Northern California and publishes two websites, LimitsToGrowth.org and ImmigrationsHumanCost.org. She suspects that Jesus would have supported the Minutemen, since he declared, "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber." (John 10:1)