Santorum on US Bishops and immigration

A reader sent me a link to a piece from the Des Moines Register:

Santorum in Iowa: Catholic bishops are wrong on immigration

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, [NB:] who usually attends Latin Mass [I assume that doesn't mean the Novus Ordo in Latin] 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.”

Santorum’s half-hour interview was recorded as part of a series of “Conversations with the Candidates” produced in a partnership of The Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television. It will be broadcast on IPTV at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Santorum also said in the interview that despite his single-digit poll rankings, he remains optimistic he will do well in the Iowa Caucuses. He said that as president he would support policies that would be helpful to traditional American families. He spoke of growing up in an environment where doing service, loving your country and doing the right thing were drummed into him.

There are various social questions about which we Catholics can have a lively debate and differing opinions and solutions.  What to do about the problem of illegal immigration is one of them.  There is far wider leeway in the matter of immigration than there is for, say, the right to be born.  We Catholics may not legitimately stray on that foundational point of social justice.

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56 Responses to Santorum on US Bishops and immigration

  1. Catholic Hokie says:

    Just as a note, the Latin Mass the article is referring to is a Novus Ordo in Latin. He usually attends the church that attended growing up, St Catherine of Siena Parish.

  2. buffaloknit says:

    Thanks, Fr. Z for sharing this! I think this may be one of the topics we disagree on, Fr Z.

    Mother Angelica talks about something called ‘misguided compassion’-one of my favorite topics!-which I first learned of in John Zmirak’s books and essays. I’d like to share what this is, because for me, a lot of ‘disagreement’ Catholics may have with one another over immigration, stems from ‘misguided compassion’ or ‘mercy without justice’ or whatever you want to call this particular issue. This is rather cut and dried, if you ask me. Also, in my minimal experience, everything that calls itself ‘Catholic social justice’ is a euphemism for something done in the name of ‘charity’ that both violates justice and prudence in one fell swoop.

    Here is my paraphrasing of this question-ask yourself: is an action/plan/etc motivated by some virtue, say charity, and at the same time, is it a violation of some other virtue, such as prudence or justice? If so, then the initial ‘charitable’ action, probably is not very charitable now after all.

    I don’t see how one can honestly call automatic amnesty, the failure to assimilate to a new culture, etc, etc, prudent, just or even charitable on the part of the host-nation. Another uncharitable thing, IMO, is the failure to enforce laws already on the books.

    We need to pray for authentically Catholic politicians who are not afraid to remain Catholics in the public square!

  3. Robert of Rome says:

    I don’t think Mr. Santorum’s position is far at all from that outlined by Pope Benedict XVI in his Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2011): “The Church recognizes this right in every human person, in its dual aspect of the possibility to leave one’s country and the possibility to enter another country to look for better conditions of life. At the same time, States have the right to regulate migration flows and to defend their own frontiers, always guaranteeing the respect due to the dignity of each and every human person. Immigrants, moreover, have the duty to integrate into the host Country, respecting its laws and its national identity.”

  4. disco says:

    The idea that someone from another country can come to the United States and become a citizen is perhaps the single greatest thing about our country. I’ve known several people who have done so legally and I find it to be an inspiring act which reflects well both on their individul perseverance and our American democracy. These people are also the individuals I know who are most vehemently opposed to illegal immigrants receiving amnesty or public assistance, etc.

  5. Cathy says:

    Sometimes I think the biggest problem in regards to immigration and politics is the question of why people are coming into our country illegally. Are they looking for jobs? Free healthcare? Personal security because the government and police have been corrupted by drug cartels? Are the drug cartels chasing people to this side of the border with guns given to them by our own government? Are the people chasing them coming over as well to sell drugs and extort money from those living here by way of threatening the lives of family members still in Mexico? Are foreigners from other countries, including enemies of the US gaining access to our country through the southern/northern borders?

    And yet, even with these questions answered, if we look to our constitution and the powers – responsibilities – given to the federal government, they are responsible for securing and protecting our borders and enforcing the law when the law has been broken. Unfortunately, I believe that because they have not done this effectively, the people who will be hardest hit by the lack of federal response will be the citizens of the USA. Part of the government solution proposed is E-verify? Like the TSA resorting to pat down old women and babies at airports in order not to be called “profilers” in their attempt to keep the air safe from terrorists, I honestly think that the federal government will propose a solution to illegal immigration by imposing upon the citizens of this country another level of its own “right” to profile every citizen born in the US. In other words, when the federal government fails, they don’t pay, we do.

  6. MarylandBill says:

    The immigrant debate I think is one that often lacks any appreciation for exactly all the problems are.

    In the first place, I believe the current best estimates place the number of illegal immigrants in this country at 11 million; in other words roughly 1 out of every 30 people who live in the United States is here illegally. I think often those who seek a path for normalization (amnesty followed by citizenship and/or some sort of permanent resident status) are simply recognizing the fact that there is probably no practical way to force all of them to leave.

    In addition, since many of those illegals have been here for extended periods of time, they often have children who are American citizens. Therefore removing illegal immigrants from the country would like cause many families to be divided; this division could bring with it a whole host of other issues.

    The final problem I have noticed is that the immigration problem frequently focuses on trying to catch the illegal immigrants; either at the border or in other locations. The problem is that the real reason illegal immigrants come to the United States is that we, as a whole (I know not everyone, but collectively as a society), have encouraged them to do so by allowing companies to hire them and suffer few consequences. Immigrants come because they can get jobs here; companies want them because they work far harder for far less money than most Americans are willing to work for (There are plenty of Americans who work just as hard, but they generally only do it in jobs that pay a lot more money). I know there are some industries that essentially get raided regularly. The illegals are arrested and the companies are fined but the fine is small enough that a year later they have as many illegals working for them as they did before.

    If we want to stop illegal immigration, we need to remove the financial motive. Companies that hire illegals should receive fines that are so substantial that they will do everything they can to not hire an illegal. Once there is no work for illegal immigrants, they will stop coming.

  7. Iowander says:

    I may caucus for Santorum, but I agree with the bishops on this issue. I find it irritating how superficial the debate on the immigration issue is, and I’d love to hear Santorum or anyone else talk more about how their approach better fits with Catholic social teaching.

  8. jasoncpetty says:

    The former Senator’s right on this point, but won’t we need the extra manpower when everyone’s on their way to Iran after his first day in office?

  9. JamesA says:

    Father, I’m glad you picked up on this. I am a big fan of Santorum and believe he is a very faithful Catholic— I did not know before this article that he attended the “Latin Mass”. Even better !
    I noted that he is not quoted as saying “the bishops are wrong”, as the headline seems to suggest. I don’t think he would say that. What he seems to be saying is that he disagrees with them, and gives reasons why. Big difference.
    Re: Iowander, I agree that the debate is superficial. The most superficial thing about it is the naive view that anyone who wants to live here, for whatever reason, has a right to do so, and may break the law to accomplish that. And that anyone who disagrees with that view is uncharitable, or worse. Knee-jerk responses to matters of “social justice” are superficial, indeed.

  10. Centristian says:

    I like Senator Santorum but I respectfully differ with him on this point. In my opinion, what we need to do, first, is secure the border with Mexico (on the assumption that this problem is not an issue along the Canadian border). That is a crucial first step. Incentives by way of amnesty cease to be incentives if nobody can get across the border any longer.

    Once that is done (and our politicians assure us it can be done), the situation of illegal immigrants already in the United States can be addressed. I have to say I side with Newt Gingrich’s position on this matter. If we’re talking about illegal immigrant families who have lived here for a number of years who are wage-earning, law-abiding, and productive members of their communities, then, by all means, find a way to legalize their status without granting them citizenship. After that, give them a time frame in which they must apply for and qualify for citizenship by going through the process that all other immigrants must go through. That seems fair enough to me.

    It would be, in my opinion, nearly tantamount to an atrocity that the federal government should come swooping down merciliessly upon illegal but long-resident, good, decent (and mostly Catholic, incidentally) families, uprooting them and returning them to abject poverty and misery in a place they felt the need to flee from in the first place for their very survival. Such families, since their arrival, have made good and have, by their law-abiding records and by their industry over a number of years, earned the right to be given a break and a chance to make good their citizenship through the normal channels.

    Now, on the other hand, if some guy has been here a year or two and is here alone, send him back. The same for illegal immigrants who get themselves arrested for committing serious crimes. Back you go. Obviously. But good, productive families and individuals who have made good and done no harm? Why send people like that back to Mexico? Those are precisely the kinds of people we would want as citizens.

    Those politicians who advocate that our government should make no exceptions at all in expelling all illegal immigrants en masse strike me as rather cold and merciless, and I hope that the opinions of such politicians do not correctly reflect who we have become as a country. Do we really want our government to preside over a modern day trail of tears? Aren’t we still hanging our heads in shame over the first one? Bear in mind, too, that many of the places that illegal immigrants find themselves settling in were once a part of Mexico before the United States conquered them. Who has invaded who, actually?

    As a Catholic, I would welcome the legal embrace in this country of so many more of my brethren in the Faith. In an age in which we find ourselves alarmed that our European allies are experiencing a mass influx of Islamics, I have few complaints about an influx of Catholics into the United States. Let our law-abiding and productive brothers and sisters in the Faith remain here amongst us.

    May God our Father, through His Son our Lord, by the hand of the holy Virgin of Guadelupe, bless them, protect them, and provide for them homes sure and true in this land graced by the watchful patronage of the Immaculate Conception. And may we all ponder whether or not a predominantly Catholic USA one day becomes for us a curse or a blessing. I say “welcome home”.

  11. Catholicity says:

    It makes me wonder why “the Catholic bishops” are taking a stance on a political issue and giving the impression that the rest of the Catholics in America fall in line behind them. This irks me, because as stated, they are encouraging people to cast aside the rule of law, and thumbing their noses at all of those who played by the rules even though it was inconvenient…because it was the right thing to do. We are being told that the bishops instead support those who took the illegal path, and what the hay, let us reward them for ignoring this country’s legitimate laws. I say this as a Catholic with many friends and co-workers from south of the border, many who served in America’s armed forces for the right to gain legal citizenship. I love the bishops, too, but seriously they need to focus on their competencies and leave the lay faithful to our obligation to work in the world.

  12. AnAmericanMother says:

    Santorum is right.
    Legal immigrants would be completely blindsided and betrayed by amnesty. They spent years and considerable money to comply with the rules. Now they discover that the rules won’t be enforced for those who broke them in the first place.
    This teaches contempt for the law.
    It also leads to exploitation, undercutting of American low-wage workers (particularly young male minorities, but also all entry-level employees), and propping up the corrupt Mexican government by being its “safety valve” to get rid of the disaffected.
    All clerical positions on political matters tell you is which newspapers they read. Most are complete naifs when it comes to politics. You’d think they would have learned the danger of naifs
    getting in bed with the secular radical crowd, after the consequences of their wrongheaded position on health care . . . .

  13. trad catholic mom says:

    I support Santorum, and I agree with him.

    My husband is a first generation American with parents on both sides that came to the US legally. In fact my FIL was refused entrance to the US due to quotas and went to another country where he became a successful business man and later earned entrance into the US. The whole time he was supporting family members back home and worked to legally get them citizenship.

  14. downyduck says:

    1) We are a nation of laws and laws provide order, the opposite of which is chaos. Immigration IS allowed, the legal kind. Perhaps the process shouldn’t take so long or be so expensive, but anything worth having takes sacrifice.

    2) It irritates me that this letter is put forth by only the Hispanic bishops… if this is truly the Catholic position on illegal immigration, then ALL bishops should stand behind it. It is what it is, why does race have to play a role?

    3) I wonder how Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller would feel if I broke into his mansion and stole some of his goods? Or how would he feel about one of his employees embezzling money from the Archdiocese? Would he feel that these actions were “vibrant” and would he be oh so thankful?

    4) We should always show compassion for our fellow man, no matter what. We’ve “adopted” an illegal couple with two small children, doing what we can to help them support their family. They are here and I am not going to turn them in or turn a blind eye to their plight.

  15. Dismas says:

    Given Santorum’s strong, well ordered stances on doctrinal moral issues concerning matrimony and infanticide, nothing he has said here in regard to immigration could dissuade me from voting for him.

  16. catholicmidwest says:

    There are many pages of references to strangers in the Scriptures, and it’s difficult to interpret them in one way, even though in the new testament it says they should be “welcomed.” Welcomed can also mean a lot of things, so I don’t think we have to opt for one solution to the problem. There could be many solutions as long as immigrants are not treated downright viciously by us, and they’re not being treated that way in a general sense now.

    That said, on purely practical grounds, I can’t imagine why this argument is so important to people seeing as how our borders are still open. The argument solves nothing as long as our borders are open. I believe, and have believed for a long time, that we need to completely shut our borders with Mexico, Canada and our airports and carefully control who comes into the country and on what terms. This can be done with modern technology. Then we can start to sort out who’s here and who needs to be here. People who show up at government offices to get a drivers license, get a license plate, pay a ticket, get a benefit, get a passport, buy a transportation ticket, pay a tax bill, etc should be checked for nationality of origin and paperwork, and can be then fined and entered onto the record at that time if they are illegal. They can also be enrolled properly at that time in citizenship classes for which they need to pay a modest fee, and which they need to pass to stay. The fees should help pay for the program and provide a penalty for having broken the law to prevent the idea that they can just waltz in. And the closed borders will also prevent the idea that people can just waltz in.

    The idea that we can just export everyone who’s illegal is outlandish from a financial point of view. We’ve let this go on too long and it would cost billions of dollars. And to get around that, we don’t have the will to confiscate property and send people home on their own Visa cards, and I don’t know that it would be just anyway. That might violate scripture.

    We already have laws but we have ignored them for a couple of decades. Now is the time to deal with this by closing our borders definitively. And BTW, the biggest threat to the nation is not Mexicans. The biggest threat to the nation is people arriving by airport on student visas which are never followed up on, and they never leave, and people from other countries who get here indirectly and illegally by way of Mexico and Canada. For the most part we share much more culture already with middle and south Americans and they assimilate more easily than others; the main problem with them is that there are so many that assimilation becomes more of a risk, even with them.

    People MUST assimilate into American culture if they come to live here. They must become Americans. Violent investment in the traumas of their ex-countries should not be allowed on American soil. And I’m talking about zero-tolerance.

  17. wolfeken says:

    I wish it were the case that Mr. Santorum attends the traditional Latin Mass, but it is the (partially) Latin novus ordo (at the heavily Opus Dei parish in Northern Virginia) that he goes to.

  18. Sadly there are some in the blogosphere who attempt to conflate assent to the pragmatic, political stances a Bishop’s conference advocates on issues like the death penalty, immigration, or defense issues, with assent to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Then anyone who even respectfully disagrees with a Bishops’ conference policy program is labelled as a consequentialist dissident and a cafeteria Catholic, as if questioning or rejecting the bishops’ stance on food stamps or immigration were equivalent with rejecting their stance on abortion or homosexual marriage.

    Benedict XVI acknowledged there are degrees of assent in these matters, when he said, “there may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    Good on Santorum, the bishops need to realize they can’t use what ought to be their hefty moral witness on ridiculous issues like immigration, or the minimum wage or “global climate change.”

  19. catholicmidwest says:

    Oh, and one other thing. It should be illegal for an immigrant to have more than one citizenship–ours. They should be expected to acquire citizenship in the US and pay modest costs to acquire it, and when they acquire American citizenship, they should be required by law to formally and publicly renounce the citizenship of their former country(s). It’s a guarantee that they know what they want, and are willing to become American.

  20. Legisperitus says:

    Sometimes I think the idea that people should have an unconditional right to live in the United States has its ultimate origins in the Puritan myth of the “New Canaan” or “New Jerusalem,” which basically has America on some level usurping the place of the Church in its holy and salvific qualities. Sure, people should not be hindered by red tape in their quest to enter the promised land and enjoy its benefits; but the promised land is the Catholic Church, not the United States.

  21. Martial Artist says:

    Iowander, et al,
    It would appear that no one who has commented on this thread listened to the National Security debate a couple of weeks ago. One of the candidates proposed a policy that is, IMHO, clearly closer to what the Bishops have encouraged.

    His first premise is that it will be materially impracticable to deport the approximately 11,000,000 people who are in this country illegally, and it would be cruel to deport parents or grandparents of children born in this country, which latter are citizens of the U.S. under our Constitution. His proposal was, in my close paraphrase (id est, not an exact quotation), as follows:

    If we find a family of illegal immigrants who:

    • have been in this country for something of the order of twenty or more years,
    • belong to a church,
    • are paying their taxes,
    • are raising their family and otherwise abiding by the laws of the U.S. and the state in which they reside (in other words, behaving like solid citizens),
    then there should be a formally established mechanism by which those who meet the specified terms can become legal residents (although those not born here would not be granted citizenship).

    His expressed concerns were with, not only the impracticability of deporting all of them, but of the hardships imposed on sending all of those who meet the test in being separated, children from parents, and perhaps also from grandparents. This would allow them to be repaid with the benefits for their contributions to tax funded programs (Social Security, unemployment insurance, etc.). They would not be allowed to vote, nor be granted any of the other privileges reserved to citizens, but they could live out their lives close to, or directly with, their children and grandchildren and continue to contribute to U.S. society, as they have already been doing for two decades or more.

    This seems to me a more humane solution to the problem, and still preserves the privilege of full citizenship on those who follow the rules.
    The candidate whose idea this is: Congressman Dr. Ron Paul. He may be a Baptist, but that, too, is a Christian ecclesial community, and ISTM that his proposal has more merit than either amnesty, which replaces one injustice with another, the latter levied against innocent parties, or deportation, which can scarcely be considered charitable. I would also humbly suggest that those very considerations make it more in line with Catholic social teaching. And, finally, I think the Bishops might just find this an achievable, reasonable, and Christian compromise lying between amnesty and forced deportation.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  22. Martial Artist says:

    Having now read a little further down the thread, it may have been Gingrich that proposed this. That’s what sometimes happens when one gets past retirement age—the memory begins to be less reliable.

  23. Martial Artist says:

    Ron Paul has essentially the same view as Gingrich for dealing with existing illegals is virtually the same as that outlined above, in addition to which he believes we need to make our border as impermeable to illegal immigrants as is realistically possible.

  24. Iowander says:

    Keith,

    You are right, the debate isn’t entirely superficial, and I shouldn’t have stated it like that. And superficialness in politics is far from limited to immigration. But, I do find it irritating, especially when a candidate like Santorum is given the opportunity to engage a comprehensive approach advocated by Catholic bishops in popular media.

  25. Stephanus says:

    Surely the most important, the fundamental thing uppermost, in the bishops’ mind is how breaking licit laws affects the souls of those breaking them?

    Doesn’t entering a country illegally, save in the case of avoiding a greater evil, constitute a serious sin?

    Is improving one’s lot economically, at the expense of others already living in a country, who have helped build up the economic situation that is so attractive, not sinful?

    Stephanus

  26. Joe Magarac says:

    It’s true that nations have borders and laws, both of which must be respected. But it’s worth noting that our laws on immigration have changed in the past and can change again. It was once very easy for unskilled laborers and their family members to immigrate and become citizens; it is now rather difficult; it could be made easier at some point in the future. Catholics who wish to legalize existing immigrants and welcome future immigrants are thus not denying that ours is a nation of laws; they are instead proposing that the laws be changed.

  27. “Santorum, [NB:] who usually attends Latin Mass [I assume that doesn't mean the Novus Ordo in Latin] . . . “

    I understand that, in return for the pivotal traditional Catholic vote, Santorum has promised that on his first Sunday in the White House, the presidential reporters following him everywhere will be treated to their (possibly) first TLM.

  28. kab63 says:

    I have recently discovered that my next-door neighbors are illegal immigrants. They have owned their house for 2 years, they have 5 children and, until a few months ago, had a stable mother and father in the home. However, the dad went to Mexico to see his ill father and was caught at the border trying to return here.

    Our sloppy border let this family come in at some point; our government decided to make mortgage loans available to non-citizens (and car loans as well — a new-ish Prius sits in the driveway). Our country is codependent in creating a situation where a family, including 2 teen boys, is without its father. They have been good, hard-working neighbors.

    To put all the blame (and all the painful consequences) of illegal immigration on people like this family is uncharitable and dishonorable. We held the door open and, indirectly, invited them in. Comparing the immigration practices of our grandparents who came from Europe to today’s immigration from South of the border, as Santorum does, is shallow policy thinking.

  29. albizzi says:

    I much like these words of the famous french singer Charles Aznavour who legally acquired the french citizenship when his family was fleeing the Armenian genocide by the turks. Aznavour is a contraction of Aznavourian.
    “We fought to become, we succeeded, and we were, we are proud to be french.”

  30. dominic1955 says:

    What would really help the most is if there were some way we could just clean up Mexico of their extremely corrupt government and all their drug lords. Mexico would not be a bad place to live were it not for those two things. They have lots of natural resources and all sorts of things that should make the nation capable of being worth staying in.

  31. avecrux says:

    I agree, kab63. Although I respect Rick Santorum for many reasons, I question how much real world experience he has like your own. I doubt he is living next door to illegal aliens.
    Someone needs to explain how rendering more and more families fatherless in this day and age is good for this country. I really don’t know. They are often hardworking and Catholic, too.

  32. disputationist says:

    Like the theologians who provided cover for the Democrats to support abortion in the 70s, now there are ‘conservative’ priests and theologians who provide cover for Catholic Republicans to support the grave evils of torture, unjust killing of criminals and foreign civilians, and reject Church teaching on the universal destination of goods and the government’s role in providing for the common good. Fr. Z, it is because of this cover that these pols can easily get away with this, and they also mislead the faithful in doing so.

    See here for a less panty-waisted analysis of the interview : http://catholicknight.blogspot.com/2011/12/rick-santorum-attacks-teachings-of-pope.html

  33. disputationist says:

    Like the theologians who provided cover for the Democrats to support abortion in the 70s, now there are ‘conservative’ priests and theologians who provide cover for Catholic Republicans to support the grave evils of torture, unjust killing of criminals and foreign civilians, and reject Church teaching on the universal destination of goods and the government’s role in providing for the common good. Fr. Z, it is because of this cover that these pols can easily get away with this, and they also mislead the faithful in doing so.

    See here for a less panty-waisted analysis of the interview : http://catholicknight.blogspot.com/2011/12/rick-santorum-attacks-teachings-of-pope.html

  34. Mundabor says:

    Santorum is so good! Rigidly orthodox Catholic, but with the guts to criticise his bishop when they are CINO and follow easy slogans and cheap popularity.

    I can’t imagine he will ever have a chance, but I am glad he made it up to Christmas and was able to bring a clear Catholic voice to the debate.

    Mundabor

  35. AvantiBev says:

    If you could all stop extolling the wonderful virtues of “Catholic” Mexico’s citizens illegally trespassing into our country, you might hear the cries of our fellow Christians who are being slaughtered in the Sharia Winter that has followed Obama’s heralded Arab Spring. A married couple shot to death just walking to their car in Mosul, Iraq this week. Orthodox Church burned by Muslim people AND Muslim police on Nov 29 in Ethiopia. Copts looking at the preliminary election results in Egypt and realizing that democracy is only as fine as the “demos” that make up the majority. Women raped and rotting in prisons in Afghanistan and Pakistan for crimes of “impurity”. Iranian Chrisitan minister awaiting his sentence of execution for “apostasy” from Old Mo’s flock.
    Meanwhile our Catholic silence about them plays into the hands of this current administation’s policies of reuniting Muslim families OVER AND ABOVE Christians trying to seek refugee status. If you investigate, you will find that Christians are being given the shut out by the Obama team.
    I back Santorum and I strongly agree our laws must be respected though we are locking the barn door 30 + years too late; better late than never. My Nonno came here from Italy and went back and forth 3 times until he had earned enough $$ to bring my Nonna from Calabria and start a small store. No signing up for safety nets and entitlements for him. He earned it and his Naturalization paper is framed and hanging proudly on my living room wall.
    However, I want to see our bishops and people wake up to the fact that Catholics and all Christians could be WIPED OUT from Indonesia to Ethiopia if we don’t create the equivalent to the “SAVE SOVIET JEWS” campaign of the 1970′s and 1980′s.

  36. gracie says:

    There are questions re immigration that no one seems to ask.

    For instance, how many Mexicans legally are allowed into the U.S. each year?

    How many illegal Mexican immigrants tried to get in legally first?

    Of those that tried, why were they refused?

    How many Mexicans that come here get jobs “under the radar” and also how many go directly in to gangs? What percentage push drugs?

    Of the Mexicans that get jobs, is it truly a case that Americans won’t take the jobs because the pay’s too low? Are the employers paying below the minimum to their illegals?

    What effect are the gangs having on our safety as well as our economy?

    And, finally – in the best case scenario – if the Mexicans that are coming for real jobs are taking them because Americans won’t, and if they tried to get here legally but couldn’t because the quota for the year had been filled and they were okay otherwise, why doesn’t the U.S. simply raise the quota for Mexico and allow more Mexicans to come here legally? That way, we’d be helping our economy and have a handle on who these people are and they’d be paying into the system. Or is the problem that employers can’t afford to hire them if they had to give them minimum wage? And if that’s the case, we either pay more for our goods and services and demand immigrants be given the same minimum wage as citizens, or we drop the minimum wage for non-citizens and continue to pay what we normally do as consumers.

    Nobody talks about any of this and yet how can we begin to figure out how to solve the problem if we don’t get into the details which none of the politicians will talk about?

    I sincerely wish that instead of the stupid current presidential debating system we have, each candidate would be interviewed for say a half hour a week (no commercials) about issues of substance – with no questions of a personal nature allowed. Maybe someone can think of a better system but all I know of is that the current debating format is all about pitting all the candidates against each other in a kind of bear pit set up where everyone’s trying to outscore each other with “gotcha” moments and that way we never get to know if any of the candidates even understand the issues, let along having an idea of how to solve them.

  37. Precentrix says:

    @Mundabor…

    Are you Mundabor formerly of blogspot and if so hi!

    Precentrix (Insulae Caesareae)

  38. Maltese says:

    Of course, the illegals coming into this Country are largely Catholic. In Europe, the situation is different.

    But the major problem here in the US isn’t illegal Mexicans illegally flowing into our county, but the tunnel networks which bring drugs, and terrorists into the US. Yes, terrorists. The easiest way a terrorist has to get into our Country is through the illicit tunnels from Mexico.

  39. cwillia1 says:

    The American people will deal generously with illegal immigrants once the borders are secured and the laws are enforced. A solution can be found for illegals who are de facto Americans through no fault of their own – perhaps some kind of permanent residency status with no option for citizenship and no right to bring in relatives. Their children will be citizens because they will be born here.

    Americans would be much more open to immigration if it were national policy to aggressively assimilate them. As it stands there are too many immigrants whose loyalty to this country is questionable and their disloyalty is encouraged by the multiculturalists.

  40. KAS says:

    “At the same time, States have the right to regulate migration flows and to defend their own frontiers, always guaranteeing the respect due to the dignity of each and every human person. Immigrants, moreover, have the duty to integrate into the host Country, respecting its laws and its national identity.”

    For me, the above is a key portion of Catholic teaching on immigration that is being IGNORED by our Bishops. The citizens of this country are facing problems caused by unregulated breaking of our laws– ie illegal immigration. The hospitals struggle to keep up with medical care for illegals who don’t pay; the welfare system is accessed by illegals who are content with what they can get for not working and so those illegals don’t work; groups like La Raza break our traditions and mock our flag and claim they will take parts of our country for Mexico; and illegals take jobs that people who came here legally should have as demonstrated by states where when the illegals flee the unemployment stats go down; and the open border allows for unfettered drug smuggling and a war zone on our borders. WE CITIZENS demand the justice of a closed border and only LEGAL immigration.

    If the Bishops feel the need to insist on easier immigration for work– then let them lobby for changes in the legal channels rather than push for Americans to be HAPPY with our laws being spit on and our borders violated.

    It would also be nice if the Bishops told the illegals to learn English and respect the laws and traditions of this country– immigrants who use Spanish to talk behind co-workers backs disrespect the very country that is giving them opportunities!! Why are the Bishops not asking for people to offer English classes at parishes where there might be a need and telling immigrants to learn the language? That would go a long way to helping them integrate and respect our traditions, laws and culture.

    I understand that the desire to feed one’s children is a powerful motivation to come here. I respect that as it is part of the tradition of this country that most of us have at least some ancestors who had the same or similar desires. I DON’T respect that these new immigrants BREAK THE LAWS to get here. Most of the citizens here come from LEGAL immigration and resent law breakers getting special treatment.

    Legal immigrants belong here but ILLEGALS are just that illegal=law breakers. How can the Bishops treat the rest of us, those who PAY for the work the Catholic Church does with our weekly and other donations, as if we were less valuable to God than the illegals? Where are OUR rights to secure borders and respected laws?

    The Bishops are all one sided and it is NOT on the side of the citizens who obey the laws.

  41. mamajen says:

    I basically agree with Rick Santorum, but I do believe that the U.S. immigration process should be simplified to make it easier for people to follow the law. My husband is an immigrant, and we underwent a great deal of hardship to follow the legal process as we felt morally obligated to do. We paid hundreds of dollars, spent months apart and experienced stress as we planned a proper church wedding not knowing for certain if his visa would be approved. Once he came to the United States he was initially not allowed to work, and we were not permitted to accept public assistance (doing so would be grounds for deportation). True, he came from England, and wasn’t trying to escape poverty or war or starvation…but we were fresh out of college and didn’t have a lot ourselves. At this point he’s been here over six years and we haven’t applied for his citizenship yet because we can’t afford the $600+. Although it’s probably petty of me, it’s a hard pill to swallow when people skirt the legal process and then get preferential treatment after doing so. I get frustrated when topics like this work their way into homilies. I think it’s between God and illegal immigrants to decide whether their circumstances mean that they are morally justified in breaking laws intended to protect people. I feel good that we sacrificed and worked hard to respect our country’s just (if somewhat convoluted) laws.

  42. KAS says:

    I totally agree with the idea that US Citizens will be generous with illegals who are here (provided they are law abiding and respecting our traditions like English and flying the US flag higher than any other flag for two examples) once our borders are secured and our laws properly enforced.

    I’d favor worker status being reviewed to make it possible for central and south American citizens who desire to live and work here and give their children an opportunity to come here legally. I’d like to see them give DNA and fingerprints and get an ID card as they come across. That way those who choose crime over work can be more easily tracked down and sent back. Those who obey the laws and work will have children who are citizens. I don’t see how this is anything but FAIR.

    Then there is the question of Christians from other countries where they are being persecuted being denied the opportunity to come here– this should also be changed so that we favor these oppressed Christians over people from groups that are not being so persecuted and murdered.

    But it is difficult to get sympathetic to illegals who have acted as invaders when our borders are wide open and our laws broken.

  43. Peggy R says:

    I agree w/Santorum and disagree with our bishops on this issue.

    But I’ve got to get non-substantive and note a stupid sentence.–>

    *His grandfather’s son – who grew up to become the presidential candidate’s father – was left behind. *

    Wow! Santorum’s dad grew up to become…Santorum’s dad…

  44. Jacob says:

    Peggy, it’s The Des Moines Register, don’t expect Pulitzer Prize winning prose. :)

  45. TKS says:

    It seems to me a solution would be for the illegal immigrants to revolt and clean up their own country. Make it a great place to live. Surely our own government would help. We do in all sorts of other places.

  46. heway says:

    My beloved daughter in law came to the US when she was 16 y.o. Her father came first and the family then immigrated legally. She would agree with Santorum. Everyone needs to immigrate legally. I would disagree with the individual who cited Spanish bishops as advocating this free immigration. Both our bishop and archbishop agree with that statement and neither are Spanish. Having spent 25 years in the Imperial Valley of California, I note that the Mexican bishops never
    speak out against the illegality if this. There are laws which if enforced would take care of many of these problems. A few years back, a deceased Italian physician friend remarked, that Italians in previous eras, were called “wops”, meaning “with out papers” – the way his grandparents immigrated.
    On the other hand, I can see that I would probably make room in my home for Chaldean or Coptic christians trying to escape persecution.

  47. Mr. P says:

    I agree with Santorum, we can’t have a situation where people are rewarded for breaking a law.

  48. irishromancatholic says:

    Just for the record Santorum is no regular attendee of the Latin Mass. He has frequented the Latin Mass here and there. My sister and her husband attend the tridentine Mass every Sunday in Pittsburg. Rick Santorum and his family attended Mass once in Pittsburg in the ten years that they have lived there. What was noteworthy is that they said that Santorum very clearly did not know what was going on. A regular attendee at the Latin Mass would clearly not be confused.
    I attended Mass at Old St Mary’s in washington dc for years while attending Christendom College. This was during the period that Santorum was a Senator and never once did I see him at Mass. I often saw Justice Scalia and Patrick Buchanan at Mass.
    Senator Santorum claims to be a practicing Catholic but he is either ignorant of the infallible Catholic teaching on what is a just war. The Pope and all of the bishops came out emphatically against the war in Iraq. Yet Santorum emphatically lobbied and voted for war. One hundred thousand people have died because of the war and ninety-five percent of the Catholic population of Iraq have been displaced. Additionally, there are thirty thousand wounded Americans and many more wounded and innocent Iraqi’s.
    The teaching on a Just War is infallible. The bishops position on immigration, welfare benefits, death penalty ect. is an opinion (according to Dr. William Marshner chairman of theology at Christendom College) on which we are free to respectfully dissent.
    I would encourage readers to You Tube Rick Santorum’s endorsement of pro-abortion Senator Arlen Spectar. What is particularly appalling is that he endorsed him in the primary when Spectar was running against a strong pro-life candidate.
    I would never vote for Santorum because he rejects the Church’s infallible teaching on a Just War. I think he means to be pro-life, but as his endorsement of Spectar shows he will compromise on abortion if forced to for political survival.
    As a Catholic voter there are clearly better alternatives.

  49. Jim Ryon says:

    irishromancatholic
    A few comments on your comments:
    Santorum didn’t say he attended latin mass, a secular reporter did, and you know how fallible they are.
    The reporter said he attended the latin mass not the TLM.
    Weren’t you confused the first time you attended the TLM?
    Senator Santorum IS a practicing Catholic, one of the very few “Catholic” politicians who are.
    Just war teaching may be infallible (although I’m not sure it is), but the Iraq War teaching is not.
    I don’t think ALL the bishops came out emphatically against the Iraq War. The USCCB does not speak for all bishops.
    His endorsement of Specter, though clearly a mistake, does not mean he is pro-abortion. He has a perfect voting record on abortion legislation.
    Is there anyone running, including Obama, besides kooky Ron Paul, who opposed the Iraq War.
    Please name all candidates running who represent Catholic teaching better than Santorum.

  50. Faith says:

    Thanks be to God, that the times my grandparents came to the country, there weren’t so many pharisaic Catholics around. My Lithuanian grandparents lied about their ages: said they were 18, when they were 15 and 16. In truth, they probably didn’t know, exactly. Not everybody marks and celebrates birth dates likes we do. On my dad’s side, well, his mother was French Canadian and crossed the border, and never went back, nor did anything to legalize herself.
    BTW, my Lithuanian grandparents lived to be in their 90′s, and never learned much English, nor how to read and write. And they lived here for more than 80 years! It’s hard when you weren’t taught to read and write in your own language, how can you learn in another?
    You can judge people by your own cultural standards.

  51. Faith says:

    I meant to say that you CAN’T judge people by your own cultural standards.

  52. Bryan Boyle says:

    Well…considering the USCCB has pretty much squandered whatever authority they had by aligning themselves so closely with one party in this debate (and many others), for what reason should we give any credence to what they spout regarding, what is in the end a political question? They should stick to preaching the Gospel in the Bible, not the one publicized by the lame stream media or whatever the useful idiots are spouting with talking points on the cable news channels. Seems to me they’ve been paying attention for the last 40 years to the latter and pretty much ignoring the former.

    We are a nation of laws, not feelings or cults of personality (regardless of which side of the fence you sit on…). Sneaking into and residing in this country illegally, regardless of your intent, whether you’ve been apparently model citizens, pay taxes, or whatever still does not remove the fact that you broke the law and entered this country without permission. You still committed a crime. Deal with that first. Sorry if this is harsh, but if you’re willing to break the law, you should not be entitled to any of the benefits that come from residing here other than basic needs until you go back where you originated from, regardless of you nationality, and get in line with the rest of the people who have enough integrity to respect the system we have in place.

    And if you think that’s harsh…try doing the same thing in almost any other country on the face of this planet, and see if this discussion would even be going on.

  53. wmeyer says:

    So many are inclined to exercise their ill-formed consciences, and fail to consult what the Church teaches:
    2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

    Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

    Immigration is not a right, it is a legal process. It is not the act of entering the country, undocumented. My wife was a legal immigrant to this country, and is now a citizen. I have been, in the past, an immigrant to Canada, though I did not complete the process.

    The reconquistas, with their notion of free entry, whether Catholic or not, are not following the Church teaching quoted above. The thought I find most worthy of contemplation is this: “Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” Do you see much of that in the demonstrations in the Southwest? I do not.

    When a worthy such as Bp. Slattery posits the right of people to come here despite law and border, then I must respectfully refer him to the CCC. Likewise his brother bishops.

    Interestingly, the very worn argument that “we cannot deport 12 million illegals” is a total canard. As the new sheriff of Tulsa showed in the first months after his elections, when illegals are arrested and deported, others who have not been arrested, but are people of some conscience, head for the border.

    We need to enforce our laws, sufficient to deter the mainly honest folks.

  54. Cathy says:

    An additional situation in our country arises when we do not understand the cultural differences and rivalries of those from other countries who arrive within our borders. Immigration to the US, does not automatically mean that these differences are dropped in the waters which separate the immigrant from his/her country of origin. With the rise in immigration, both legal and illegal, and our romantic affair with multi-culturalism as opposed to assimilation, I fear we have opened our country to situations and opportunities we are entirely ill-prepared to deal with.

  55. wmeyer says:

    Cathy, to the subject of multi-culturalism, as secularism is a great danger to the Faith, so multi-culturalism is a great danger to a society. The damage done in Canada by multi-culti mindset is incalculable. For a succinct example, consider a Sikh who having been accepted to be a mountie, then wears not the campaign hat of tradition, but his turban and kerpan. The notion of a “right” to sully the uniform of the RCMP is purely a multi-culti construct. The Sikh entered the RCMP on his own volition, and could easily have known the uniform requirements. Had it been possible for him to be conscripted to serve in the RCMP, such a right might then make sense.

    We are on the slippery slope to multi-culti ourselves, thanks to the insipid PC mentality. That way lies madness and death.

  56. boko fittleworth says:

    I congratulate our bishops on their support for amnesty and an open US border. It is vital that we keep laborers’ wages low. What I save on my gardeners’ and nanny’s salaries, I can spend on other niceties, thus keeping our economy healthy and growing. If my kind had to spend more on wages, the whole monocle polish industry might collapse.