Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bishops Take Clericalist Stance on Illegal Immigration

This article originally appeared in the Catholic "Crisis" magazine but was removed, presumbly at the instance of the American Catholic Bishops, who would seem to have a glass jaw when it comes to criticism.  A reader of "Crisis" was incensed at the suppression and wrote his own commentary on the matter, which appears second below

George Neumayr

The proper configurations of immigration law is clearly a matter on which Catholics can disagree. But one would never know that from the recent pronouncements of the U.S. bishops. What they call on their web page the “Catholic Church’s position on Immigration Reform” is not orthodox teaching but tired left-wing clericalism.

Blurring the line between real Church teaching and personal political opinions disguised as Church teaching undermines both orthodoxy and unity. But clericalist bishops don’t seem to care. They like that blurred line, as it allows them to play lobbyists for their pet political causes, from global warming to gun control to amnesty.

It is a scandal that the U.S. bishops feel entitled to use the faithful’s money to put together propaganda campaigns for disputed policy prescriptions. Were those policy prescriptions Republican rather than Democratic, liberals would be the first to object and bemoan the insidious influence of “religion in politics.” Imagine if the USCCB had a web page called taxjusticeforamericans.org and offered a “parish kit” that explains the “Catholic Church’s position on tax reform.” And what if it proposed an “intercessory prayer”(as it did for “immigration reform”) for the passage of a Flat Tax act? The cries of “clericalism” would be resounding.

But for what amounts to advancing the cause of amnesty, the bishops feel no qualms about using the faithful’s money to supply parishes with tools of propaganda, such as a “sample homily on migration related issues from Cardinal McCarrick,” which “may provide some insights on creating a homily related to immigration.”

Bishops who can’t even bring themselves to withhold Communion from abortion advocates lash out at “opponents of immigration” venomously, speaking of them as if they are apostates. By “opponents of immigration,” the bishops mean Americans who support existing law. What is contrary to Church teaching about that stance? Since when has opposition to illegal immigration constituted a sin against “justice for immigrants”?

Hectoring the American people about clinging too tightly to the rule of law seems an odd exercise of the Church’s moral authority. If anyone is on shaky ground in the illegal immigration debate, it’s the Cardinal Mahonys who encourage the breaking of just laws. What exactly is holy about that?

The irony is that the same bishops who won’t criticize Caesar when he is wrong will criticize him when he is right. Securing borders falls within the authority of Caesar. For the bishops to treat the performance of that legitimate duty as evidence of injustice does nothing to aid the advance of the Church’s teaching on the natural law.

At the very least, the bishops could temper their clericalism by acknowledging that supporters of existing law and secure borders hold a defensible view. Instead, they act like Democratic partisans who use sophistries and motive-mongering to shut down debate. It serves the political needs of the moment to cast opposition to their lobbying as opposition to “immigrants.” But that is completely dishonest. Does disagreeing with the bishops on something as technical and complicated as “earned citizenship” really make one less understanding of the true nature of justice? Is a Catholic “anti-immigrant” if he favors, say, legal residency rather than legal citizenship? There is no “Catholic teaching” on the precise form of a state’s regulation of legal immigration, much less on its handling of illegal immigration.

The specificity of their demands makes their clericalism look even more ludicrous. The other day leading bishops were urging that the already liberal immigration bill currently under consideration in the Senate be made even more liberal. It has too many “restrictions,” said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez.

Bishops have neither the authority nor the expertise to descend into the details of policy like that. By doing so, they just weaken the perception of their authority where it does exist. The Church in America appears to be gravitating back to the “Seamless Garment,” the attempt by clericalists in the 1980s to lump half-baked liberal opinions on trendy topics in with the Church’s official teachings. Out of that confusion came a stream of inane statements on subjects the bishops knew little to nothing about. This had the effect of making all the Church’s pronouncements look like feeble opining.

A glimpse of the garbled message to which Seamless Garment-style clericalism leads could be seen in Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s recent remarks after the Boston bombings. “The individualism and alienation of our age has spawned a culture of death. Over a million abortions a year is one indication of how human life has been devalued. Violent entertainment, films and video games have coarsened us and made us more insensitive to the pain and suffering of others,” he said. “The inability of the Congress to enact laws that control access to automatic weapons is emblematic of the pathology of our violent culture.”

So a million-plus abortions a year is “one indication” of a violent culture and another is the failure of a specific piece of gun-control legislation backed by the USCCB to pass. Can’t the bishops see how this dilutes the Church’s teachings? Can’t they see that in their desperate craving for political relevance they make the Church’s most important contribution to politics, the transmission of natural-law orthodoxy, irrelevant?

Clericalism ends up dogmatizing personal opinions and relativizing dogmas, making the Church just one more forgettable voice in the din of public life.


On the suppression of the Neumayr article

I really was looking forward to Mr. Neumayr's analysis of why U.S. Catholic bishops seem so Hell-bent (this faithful Catholic chooses the expression deliberately) to flood the United States with all-too-often incompatible foreign nationals, including those who have already entered the country illegally or remained illegally, and to have them all whose numbers we cannot remotely begin to estimate—granted U.S. citizenship as quickly as possible. I won't delve into analysis of who benefits from such nation-destroying folly except to note that it is not ordinary Americans, Catholic or otherwise. Good shepherds do not betray their flocks by agitating for their displacement in their own pastures, and I know of nothing in Christian tradition or Magisterial teaching that justifies U.S. bishops' strident support for effectively unlimited mass immigration. On the contrary, their advocacy of such an unquantifiable transformation is irresponsible imprudence.

If U.S. Catholic bishops should want a primer in intelligent immigration law—which I rather doubt—they would with great profit study the immigration laws of Mexico. Those are laws written in Mexicans' national interest, and the Mexican government actually enforces them.

Given their reprehensible collective weakness in addressing the homosexual scandals that have disgraced too many of our bishops and priests (one, of course, is already too many) and their unedifying timidity in the face of recalcitrant "Catholic" pro-abortion politicians, it takes chutzpah—if one may apply that term to our prelates—for such compromised shepherds to advocate a radical transformation of the United States, about which we may be sure only that the America most of us Americans grew up in will be destroyed, to be replaced by…what? A colder Brazil? A more libertine Iraq?

I have lived and worked in Mexico; I quite enjoyed it and I've spoken Spanish almost all my life. Despite my personally being quite comfortable among Mexicans in Mexico, one thing living in Mexico taught me is that I do not want America to become more like Mexico. And how may Americans prevent that when the federal government allows millions of Mexicans per year to settle in America in violation of U.S. law?

Of course, America's illegal demographic transformation includes far more than just Mexicans, and many who are anything but benign. Yet our bishops celebrate all of this entirely unnecessary social disruption, as did Pope John Paul II. At least the late Holy Father was far away from the mess, not that that is an excuse. I'm pretty sure most lay Catholic Americans do not share our bishops' enthusiasm.

One of the loudest of our transformer-bishops is Los Angeles' Archbishop José Gomez, a Mexican immigrant to America. While Archbishop Gomez is more palatable than his predecessor, Gomez's relentless advocacy of deluging America with his countrymen is a personal conflict of interest that cries to Heaven.

American Catholics are enduring an unprecedented time of weak and in several cases actively bad bishops. It is not disloyalty to the Church or the Faith for concerned Catholics to call their straying shepherds to account when they insert themselves so irresponsibly into secular political conflicts—at the expense of their American flock, the very people who should be their first concern. It is a matter of great sorrow, and anger, for this Catholic American to watch the bishops of his Church acting as a fifth-column against our country.

I don't know if any of the above echoes what George Neumayr had written that "might cause offense in some quarters," but they are things that need to be said.

And I must say that I am very sorry to learn that Crisis, a publication I have long respected, is being censored in this way. I would love to know who the "powers that be" to whom you refer are; you, of course, are under no obligation to disclose that.

I thank you for your explanation. And I'm very grateful to you for replying to my query. But I hope Crisis is not being force-marched into the pro-amnesty camp. I suppose we'll have an answer to that when we see what Crisis's powers-that-be consider addressing this topic "in a more acceptable manner" to be.


Rubio Claims Amnesty Needed to Identify Illegal Immigrants

But law already requires all aliens to register

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is claiming amnesty is necessary so that the United States can determine the identity of illegal aliens in the country. However, basic enforcement of existing immigration law is all that is necessary to acquire their identities. Instead of promoting amnesty, Sen. Rubio could demand that the Obama administration enforce 8 U.S.C.  1302, "Registration of Aliens," which makes it "the duty of every alien" to register their presence in the United States if they remain here 30 days or longer. Failure to do so results in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment up to six months.

Rubio explained his support for amnesty and his flip-flop on border security, saying: "We don't want to wait on legalizing, and I'll tell you why. My original position was that we wanted to secure the border first, and then legalize. The problem is we have millions of people here now, by some estimates ten, eleven million. We want to know who they are and freeze the problem in place. I don't want that number to grow. It behooves us to know who they are as soon as possible, so it doesn't get worse."

More details here

The existing registration law applies to nearly all illegal aliens. The Department of Homeland Security's estimates of 11.5 million illegal aliens (as of January 2011) are on based the American Community Survey. The survey uses a two-month rule for calculating residency; those here for less than two months are not counted. This means that the 11.5 million illegal immigrants are by definition people who have been in the United States illegally for more than 60 days and running afoul of the 30-day registration requirement. There is simply no question that the illegal immigrant population is comprised of people who are violating this registration statute.

Sen. Rubio seems to have fallen into President Obama's trap: First, the Obama administration refuses to enforce immigration laws, and then the president points to all of the illegal immigration that results as a reason for amnesty. Rubio appears to have embraced the amnesty agenda as a means to correct a problem that has resulted from intentional non-enforcement.

View the Senate bill, CIS Senate testimony and commentary here

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820,  Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076.  Email: center@cis.org. Contact: Marguerite Telford, 202-466-8185, mrt@cis.org.  The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States.  The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization

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