Friday, May 3, 2013

Immigration Issues: Vortex


I’m glad ChurchMilitant.TV is addressing the issue of “immigration reform”.

I have to say it irritates me to have the bishops get so vocal about issues about which Catholics are free to disagree. I’d a lot rather have them talking about the moral concerns with contraception – a place where there is clear Church teaching which has been ignored over the past few decades, and about which Catholics are not free to disagree. As Michael Voris points out:

…when heavyweight bishops in the US throw that weight behind a legislation that is seen as largely Democratic Party media-sponsored agitprop, it doesn’t reflect well on the bishops who become seen as being in the pocket of one of the parties.

But beyond squandering whatever influence they may have, there are other concerns – like the over-riding of a natural law understanding that a nation gets to define and protect its own borders.

Why do our shepherds seem so unwilling to talk from the standpoint of natural law? Could it be that they, like many lay Catholics these days, don’t really understand how to argue from that perspective? I must say that I never had any training in what is meant by “natural law”, either before or after I came into the Church.

Putting that conundrum aside, there’s also the suspicions harbored by some of the faithful that there’s an ulterior motive to the bishops’ support of immigration reform that pretty much opens the borders. Are the bishops simply encouraging immigration from Mexico because there are large numbers of Catholics among those immigrants?  Voris notes that

…whether it is part of the motive or not, many people simply can’t ignore the reality that a sudden massive influx of millions of Catholics – who the day before were illegal – would certainly improve the rolls.

Voris quotes Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who says that the Church is “one of the most effective tools of Americanization in its best sense”, helping immigrants become part of the social fabric. Sadly, though, many Catholic immigrants who come to the US from Mexico subsequently leave the Church.  I think the closing paragraphs of this Vortex episode ring very true:

The Church helped – to quote the Cardinal – “integrate newcomers into the social fabric of our nation for well over two centuries” by losing more and more of herself with each passing generation.

Perhaps it would have been better had the Church in America been a little more Church and not quite as much America – which SHOULD be the entire question around which Catholic support and discussion about immigration reform and illegal immigrants revolves.

Here’s the Vortex; full script below.



The partisan fight over what to do about illegal immigrants in the country raises some serious questions among Catholics on different levels.

First, when heavyweight bishops in the US throw that weight behind a legislation that is seen as largely Democratic Party media-sponsored agitprop, it doesn’t reflect well on the bishops who become seen as being in the pocket of one of the parties.

But beyond squandering whatever influence they may have, there are other concerns – like the over-riding of a natural law understanding that a nation gets to define and protect its own borders.

What is a nation, after all – as distinguished from other nations – if not a geographically designated boundary?

And here’s another concern that many Catholics have: there are the quietly spoken wonderings that some of the bishops strong support may be seen as an attempt to shore up the flagging numbers of Catholics from non-Hispanic populations.

If it were not for immigrants – legal and illegal, from mostly Mexico – the Catholic population in the United States would actually be in a freefall relative to the overall population.

In 1965, about 24 percent of the US was Catholic.  That’s about what it is today, nearly 50 years later.  But if you factor out the mostly Hispanic immigrants – legal and otherwise – the Catholic percentage tumbles to just 15 percent…a shrinking shriveling Church unable to prop up or sustain its own numbers.

So whether it is part of the motive or not, many people simply can’t ignore the reality that a sudden massive influx of millions of Catholics – who the day before were illegal – would certainly improve the rolls.

Ah, but if that is part of the thinking, they should guess again.  A gigantic percentage of Hispanics leave the Church – just like non-Hispanics do – once they get settled in and grow comfortable in the American Patriotic Church.

Within a generation, studies reflect over half have left.  And since that wouldn’t generally play out until many of the current crop of bishops would be comfortable ensconced in retirement, they would just be kicking the can down the road for future bishops of even MORE lapsed Catholics to have to deal with.

And here is another under the radar concern, which should be much more high profile for the bishops.  There are provisions in the current approach that speed along same-sex marriage. 

If an American man wants to “marry” a homosexual partner who is not American, this bill makes it easy for that to happen, and for the newly wed couple to take up residence here in the US. It grants citizenship to same-sex couples even before they would be recognized on a federal level.

And then there is religious/political question. Every major poll in every election shows that despite their Catholicism, eligible Hispanics pour out on election day, casting their vote in overwhelming numbers in support of the party of death. 

If the bishops think that dealing with Democratic majorities and anti-Catholic politicians are hard to deal with now, just wait until anti-Catholic gang has super majorities in Congress spurred on by the support of the very voters the bishops helped bring into the system.

In fact, according to the highly respected Brookings Institute, "Democrats will be looking at a landslide going into 2028 if the new Hispanic voters continue to favor Democrats."

No one doubts that there is a massive problem that needs to be somehow fixed or at least addressed, but that so many bishops would throw support behind a plan that simply openly the floodgates is alarming – especially when the easily foreseen consequences promise massive headaches for the Church.

And then there is an idea that is very troubling philosophically. It was voiced by New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan in comments made over the immigration debate.

According to media reports, he said the Church is “one of the most effective tools of Americanization in its best sense” and praised it for helping to “integrate newcomers into the social fabric of our nation for well over two centuries.”

That would be all well and good – except – it’s sort of not true… at least in a meaningful sense. Yeah, the Church has become a means of “Americanization” but what Prince of the Church would hold that out as a reason for passing an immigration bill?

There has been a huge trade-off in the faith for that Americanization. As some immigrants moved out of the lower echelons of the socio-economic class, they also moved out of the Church.

The more “American” they became, the less Catholic they became, until – poof! – nearly all gone. So while it may be a boon for America that all these former Catholics came over and contributed to the national fabric, considering that they gave up the one true faith in the process, it does indeed seem odd for a Cardinal to going down that path.

The Church helped – to quote the Cardinal – “integrate newcomers into the social fabric of our nation for well over two centuries” by losing more and more of herself with each passing generation.

Perhaps it would have been better had the Church in America been a little more Church and not quite as much America – which SHOULD be the entire question around which Catholic support and discussion about immigration reform and illegal immigrants revolves.

7 comments:

  1. Timothy Dolan is a buffoon. There - I said it. And I'm not taking it back. For every syllable he utters another person leaves the Church. He's trying to play with the big boys and no one told him the rules of the game or issued him a score sheet.

    The sight of him yucking it up with Obama at the last fancy dinner for something or another made me ill.

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  2. Adrienne...I don't disagree with you! And to think that some people thought he'd be a good pope!

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  3. Whew! I feel better now. Thanks

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  4. ALL of the "Social Justice" Bishops are buffoons. They are playing into the hip pocket of an anti-Christian Marxist president and then they are surprised when he drops an Obamacare in their laps. I'd like to think they are just uninformed political babies, but alas I cannot be that charitable. I actually think some of them believe that all moral teaching (which they do little if any of, perhaps because they don't know it themselves) is social justice and nothing more.

    The Dolans of this Church are sacrificing true believing Catholics for immigrants who are, at best nominally catholic.

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  5. Traditional Catholic in SwedenMay 4, 2013 at 4:44 AM

    It is not very charitable nor Catholic to call a prince of the Church a buffoon. It will not further our cause.

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  6. Perhaps you are right, Sweden. However, "desperate times call for desperate measures". It is also neither charitable nor Catholic to honor the most unabashedly pro-abortion president in history at a major CATHOLIC fundraising dinner, or to fail to teach the grave sinfulness of contraception, or to fail to speak boldly and plainly about the sinfulness of homosexual acts. I would suggest that "the emperor has no clothes", and if we don't say so, we too are uncharitable and uncatholic. Someone needs to tell these clerics that they are blowing it - for the salvation of the clerics' souls as well as for those of the scandalized faithful.

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