ASK FATHER: USCCB urges Catholics to call officials about DACA. If I don’t, do I sin?

From a reader…


As you are probably aware, the USCCB has declared this Monday, February 26 to be a call-in day for DACA, and is urging Catholics to call their congressmen in support of the DREAMERs. On some other Catholic sites people have started a rallying cry, declaring that those who do not call in are being disobedient and will be guilty of mortal sin. I am not sure that this is even possible. Although immigration certainly has a moral component, it strikes me as more of a political issue and not nearly on the same level as abortion, gay marriage or euthanasia. My question is does this statement by the US bishops carry any moral obligation, or are we free to disregard it?

Here we have to walk a fine line and make a few distinctions.

First, contrary to what libs want everyone to accept, some issues concerning human well-being are more important than others.  For example, the right to be born and the right to a dignified natural death are more foundational to human well-being that other issues.   That is why abortion and euthanasia are intrinsically evil.   We really can’t have differences of opinion on those points.  “Gay” marriage violates the image of God in us and the explicit and manifest will of God identifiable in the fact that we are made male and female (and God tells us in Scripture what that’s all about), at the same time as Scripture also has condemnations of homosexual acts.   So, we really can’t have differences of opinion on that.

Then there myriad questions of human-well being that are grayer areas.   What to do about poverty?  What to do about immigration?   These things have to do with contingent moral judgments that admit manifold solutions.  We can have different ideas, legitimate ideas, about how to help the poor and how to help immigrants.

When the bishops of a place decide to make statements about the economy, or immigration or nuclear arms, or whatever else that falls into these areas that involve contingent moral judgments which admit wide variation of solutions, we Catholics must pay attention to what they say.   We pay attention because a) we ought to be interested in social issues and b) they are our bishops.  We owe respect to our bishops, and so we give them an honest hearing even when they are not talking only about spiritual issues or those other issues that don’t really allow for a difference of opinion.

Hence, are are not free to “disregard” what bishops says, individually or collectively.

That said, bishops don’t have dominant claim on our minds or obedience when it comes to matters that are in those murky and difficult areas involving contingent moral choices.   We can listen to them, weigh their arguments and then determine that, yeah I agree, or nah I don’t agree.

If you don’t agree – and remember, we are not talking about matters like abortion, artificial contraception, euthanasia, homosexual acts, etc, – you are not obliged to call anyone.  You can regard their message, disagree, and disregard their invitation to call your elected representatives.

If you do agree – even about those things which admit of many and varying solutions, such as what’s the best way to lift people out of poverty, which school of economics do we think has the best shot, what to do about immigrants, etc. – then you are still not obliged to call anyone.  You can accept their invitation to call someone or your can disregard their invitation to call someone.

If the bishops issue an invitation to call elected officials about things that really don’t admit many solutions, when they have to do with, for example, abortion or homosexual acts, then their invitation has a stronger force to it.   The more the issue has to do with defense of society from intrinsic evils, the stronger the invitation.  However, even then it remains an invitation to call a representative, not an obligation.

I firmly believe that society would be better off were more Catholics, with a strong identity and fidelity to the Church’s teachings, active in the public square.  In a sense, we are obliged to participate in public life, in society, according to our vocations and means, etc.  On the other hand, that obligation isn’t so strong that we don’t have a legitimate choice in the matter.

Bottom line, if you choose not to call anyone about DACA, either for it or against it, you do not commit a sin.  However, were you to call your elected officials in support of something intrinsically evil, then yes, you would commit a mortal sin.

It seems to me that the people who want you to think that it is a “sin” not to call in about DACA – and let’s be clear – they want you to call in support their view – they don’t want you to call if you differ with them, use “sin” (which ironically they don’t believe in for a lot of other clearly sinful acts) to manipulate your emotions.  There are libs who blur issues into one murky cloud of moral choices.  If someone mentions the evil of abortion, they rush in with talk about immigration, as if the two issues were on the same moral footing. In doing so, they blur the clear primacy of the right to be born through associating it with myriad other issues that involve contingent moral choices (“How to we lift people out of poverty?… How do we educate children?… How do we welcome immigrants?… etc.).

Be wary and make distinctions.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Fallibilissimo says:

    I think that’s very sound advice Father, especially reminding us that we ought to listen very carefully to our Bishops.
    Now, supporting the dreamers seems like a great idea (and more!) and I like that the Bishops are speaking up on this matter. I travel about and it’s fair to say I think it’s good for western countries, in general, to be very welcoming to immigrants. Some people disagree with me, that’s absolutely fine. But when I read “declaring that those who do not call in are being disobedient and will be guilty of mortal sin”, I gotta lol pretty hard…you really gotta give it to the libs. So let me get this straight:
    -Raymond Arroyo/EWTN for merely asking questions and allowing discussion= INTERDICT!!!
    -Defending the most basic right to life of the most vulnerable among us= tithe on mint, anise and cumin.
    -Anybody who thinks Fr James Martin ought to rethink his position= nasty homophobe.
    -Any social justice cause that political liberals happen to agree with= the very words of Moses coming down the mountain. You could almost hear Chuck Heston’s sonorous intonations while proclaiming prophetically to those who don’t agree: “Woe unto thee oh mostly conservatives people, you have sinned a great sin in the eyes of God!!!”.

    Oh brother! This just reinforces the great depth of wisdom I see contained in internet comboxes (source of all knowledge) when discussing the etymology of liberal: “liberal” comes from “liber” which means free. For liberals, that means you are “free” to agree with them.

  2. Ave Crux says:

    It has been pointed out elsewhere: why is it we never receive similar calls to action from the USCCB regarding the grave and decisive moral issues which are destroying Christian Civilization and leaving many victims in their wake, such as abortion, the contraception mandate, gay marriage…..?

    Really, why???

    Instead, we learn from Catholic activists that the likes of Nancy Pelosi had the receptive ear of legislators for hours lobbying against Catholic morality and 14 Catholic Senators voting for infanticide without a word from the USCCB.

    How long, O God, how long….?

  3. David says:

    Strange. The kind of people who would tell you it’s a mortal sin not to call in I would have imagined are the kind of people who don’t believe in mortal sin.

    Also, Fr. Z is of course right to say we have a duty to respect our bishops; at the same time it is a sad state of affairs when individually and as a corporate body they so often say such objectionable things that “respect” is not the first word that comes into many Catholics’ minds at news of an episcopal announcement.

  4. tho says:

    When will our bishops stop acting like do good politicians? Do they need to be reminded that their primary job is to save souls? The way they espouse these solely political causes, it seems to me, they are carrying a letter from Nancy Pelosi in their hip pockets.
    Conservatism built the Roman Catholic Church, and except for a few serious hiccups, it was doing really well, until liberal bishops tried to make it more relevant. Pope John is reported to have said open the windows and let in fresh (liberal) air. I think it is about time we closed them.

  5. kurtmasur says:

    Excellent points, Fr. Z. Now that the DACA has been brought up, it would be interesting to have a poll here in order to see how the readershop of this blog stands on this issue.

  6. JustaSinner says:

    Sorry Fr. Z., stopped listening to most Bishops when they pushed the Nuclear Freeze crap, Globull Warming Scam, AND transferred pervert Priests around. I remember a Jesuit Priest (!) that was recuperating at my Parish tell us to tell the Bishops to go to hell in regards to abortion and their lack of action, because the way they were leading Christ’s children astray, and needed to be told about the trip. Last of the good Jesuits…but that was like 30 years ago.

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    Most bishops now remind me of Charlie Brown’s teacher.

  8. TonyO says:

    Yeah, what Father Z said.

    But there is a second issue here as well. The “USCCB” is not simply the bishops. It is a bureaucracy as well, essentially operating like a think tank or a lobby group. The USCCB puts out documents all the time that are not the work of the bishops, i.e. did not go before the bishops to get a vote up or vote down in their general assembly. They are the work of lay employees, sometimes priests, and committees at the USCCB, not the product of the bishops gathered together. These documents don’t have any share in the teaching authority that bishops have by reason of their ordination and their consecration as the ordinary of a diocese. We are not required to give THOSE documents even the attention that Father Z discussed above.

    In this case, the invitation put out by the USCCB is in actuality a creation of the USCCB president, vice president, and chairman of the committee on immigration, all three of whom are bishops. As a document by bishops, it may possibly command the attention of the faithful lay people who belong to the dioceses of those three bishops. The bishop of Galveston-Houston (the president of the USCCB) is not my bishop and while his call to action might have some special claim to attention to his own people, it does not outside of his diocese. Other than through the action of the whole body of bishops which receives a majority vote (sometimes, requiring a 2/3 supermajority vote), the call to action of a bishop who is AT the USCCB has no more force than it would merely because he is the bishop of his own diocese. (Juridical decisions by a bishop bind his diocese, not the members of another diocese.)

    From my own readings, I am convinced that by far the large majority of the bishops in this country have no real clue about the nature of the common good and its relation to immigration. I have read more than one bishop say things that were very nearly a call to outright disobey the immigration law, and some of them were men right near the top of the USCCB roll call. If I call Congress about the Dreamers, I almost certainly will say the sorts of things to my congress-critter that these particular bishops would rather I left unsaid. However, there are still a few bishops who are not hog-wild crazy about the USCCB approach, and I feel free to take their stance more to heart.

  9. LeeGilbert says:

    I am in the same sort of moral quandry from a different standpoint. Is it disrespectful to say, for example, in a letter to the editor (whether of the Catholic press or secular), that the arguments of the USCCB on immigration reform, DACA, etc are a form of special pleading, or that in a given stance on “climate change,” for example, that the Pope simply hasn’t got the competence to deal with the subject.

    It does seem to me that having listened respectfully one can take on their arguments and refute them strongly, without of course crossing the line into disrespectful language. It seems the same thing would apply even in areas that touch on their purview, for example the death penalty issue, where an issue is controverted within the Church, yet the Magisterium is coming down on one side. Still, one does not want to make anyone in the apostolic succession look bad, not only from the standpoint of avoiding sin but also from the standpoint of inviting Divine displeasure and chastisement in this life. It emphatically is not an area where I feel comfortable operating freely and without trepidation.

    That said, I can think of at least four websites very popular within the tradosphere where not only the article aggregators but their commenters feel absolutely free to say anything they like, however shameful or scurrilous, about the pope, the curia, the hierarchy. However wrong the pope or the hierarchy may be on a given topic, calumny against His anointed ones especially has never been something that invites the blessing of God. Often in reading something of that sort I think , “Are you out of your mind?” Yet . . .it is undeniable that reading that sort of thing has affected my thinking. Not good.

  10. VP says:

    The bishops are not urging anything. From the USCCB site:

    “[The bishops]…have issued a call to U.S. Catholics and people of good will across the nation to take part in a “Call-in-Day” on February 26 for the Protection of Dreamers…Therefore, the bishops are asking individuals to contact their Members of Congress to urge them to: [make 3 extremely broad requests of their Member of Congress].” We are free to say, “Nah, I don’t agree” on this one.

  11. NBW says:

    I’ll call in when the bishops fix the following things in their diocese:

    1. Stop pushing teachings contrary to the Catholic Faith
    2. Stop Communion in the Hand
    3. Stop pushing a “new paradigm”
    4. Stop inviting Fr. James Martin to talk in their diocese.

  12. Akita says:

    I will offer a prayer for the dreamers that no matter where they end up, they will end up Catholic with faithful priests and bishops to guide them to Eternity, their true home.

  13. WVC says:

    Of ALL the many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, + (many * 10^999) things going on RIGHT now that demand the bishops’ attention, THIS is what they issue their call for action over? They can’t find the time to address Catholic politicians who support abortion, the whole transgender issue, the crumbling liturgy found in most of the American parishes, the low seminary numbers, priests and theologians waging open combat against each other on Twitter, the horrible things being promoted in the media all around us, the anti-Christian propaganda baked into the public education system . . . .etc. But THIS – oh ho! THIS DEMANDS ACTION!

    I could imagine other ways to damage their credibility, both with reasonable people of good will at large and faithful Catholics in particular, but this is still a pretty solid means to achieve that goal.

    A cynical person might point out the many millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars given out on behalf of the so-called “dreamers” and other so-called refugees, and not a small portion of that goes to Catholic organizations and charities. Even to non-cynics those “optics” don’t tell a great story. It might also do to point out that the pro-unrestricted immigration side is often funded by George “Never Met a Globalist Cause I didn’t Like” Soros – and if I recall there are more than a few bishops names that could be found in one of his recent financial reports.

    May God have mercy on us and on the bishops. May they receive every grace according to their vocation and their need.

  14. UncleBlobb says:

    I’m not commenting, because I’m self-editing, as Fr. Z. wishes this. :)

  15. AA Cunningham says:

    Instead of calling Congress and lobbying for an unconstitutional policy aimed at enabling illegal aliens, call the chancery, read the following paragraph from the Catechism and ask why should attention be paid to Bishops’ prudential statements encouraging the violation of federal law.

    “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.” (emphasis added)

    Catechism of the Catholic Church

  16. Bthompson says:

    I’m totally amenable to eventually letting “dreamers” (although, I hate that loaded buzzword) gain citizenship, and even open to coming to some merciful solution for illegal immigrants generally. However, I wasn’t comfortable with the content of the USCCB’s flier, as it seemed very politically slanted to me. In particular, it seemed like the suggested talking points for a call to our legislators were specifically and intentionally geared toward rebutting points of the President’s proposal. I’m not totally behind said proposal (which has nearly zero chance of becoming law anyway) but the flyer just seemed a lock of hairs too partisan to fit the “we are not Ds or Rs, we are Catholics” position.

  17. ChesterFrank says:

    In defense of DACA Nancy Pelosi mentioned her Catholic faith and the rosary beads she got from the Pope, and that she has met a lot of Popes. Isn’t that enough?

  18. Luminis says:

    Did the USCCB ask us to write letters to the 14 so called catholic senators that voted no on the Pain Capable Act?

  19. bigtex says:

    Let’s say the parents of a young child rob a bank in order to pay for that child’s college education down the road in 15 years. The parents are later caught and sentenced to prison. However, our bishops claim that the child should still be able to keep the stolen money since the child has a “right” to a good education, and shouldn’t be punished for the actions of his parents. Now ask yourself, how is that any different then what our bishops are asking us to do now?

  20. JonPatrick says:

    Seems to me that what is happening here is the Left, pushing its goal of an open society with unrestricted immigration as promoted by George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, is picking the low hanging fruit – these immigrants although having been brought in illegally were children at the time and have lived all their lives in the US thus making a more sympathetic case. Of course once this has passed they hope to use it as a springboard to bring in other groups and to enact amnesty for those here already, etc. I have no problem with allowing DREAMERS under some provision, but one has to realize the goalposts will continually be moving as is always true for the Left. The USCCB needs to stop being the Democratic Party at prayer and start advocating for truly Catholic values.

  21. Andrew says:

    One is always allowed to tell the truth. That’s very liberating. If I was ordered to call, I would say: “Bishop X asked me to call in support of XYZ. I don’t agree with his position but I am making the call because I don’t want to disobey the bishop.”

  22. LarryW2LJ says:

    I get USCCB alerts on my cell phone all the time. I got this one concerning DACA. I get them about religious liberty, I even got one telling me to call my legislators to support FEMA funding for storm damaged Church buildings – all good causes. But I was wondering, however, what happened to the alert to call upon Congress a few weeks ago to support the ban on abortion after 20 weeks. Never got that one.

  23. DavidR says:

    So, now that the USCCB organization has squandered its credibility, I don’t THINK so.

    Get back to me when it no longer accepts the hundreds of millions of dollars of “refugee resettlement”
    federal money that comes from my taxes, then we’ll talk.

    Is it true that 80% of bishops were Arians? ;)

  24. KT127 says:

    It is also worth noting, my being dismissive of lay folks who are pushing the bishops message is not the same as me being dismissive of the bishops. I try not to be rude to anyone. But I am not going to treat you like a bishop or a priest if you aren’t one.

  25. Elizabeth D says:

    I am baffled and saddened by the attitudes of some Catholics about this. All of my catechism students every year are from Latino immigrant families. I welcome them, love them, and invest time, talent and treasure into helping them to reject sin and live virtue, to pray, to know, love and serve God and become saints and every year they respond to that and grow as Christians. Who can fault them too much that Trump immigration attitudes/policy intentions are a point of real and keen anxiety and hurt for them? Who can fault them that the “wall” idea causes them great hurt and anger? These are my kids and I love them. The apparent hostility of some Catholics toward some kids even being present in our country is hard to see. The kids (following adult opinions they are exposed to) say it is racist and have sometimes suspiciously tested me whether I am “racist” too, but they know I care about them even though I am the one insisting our obligation to forgive extends even to Donald Trump and we must love our neighbor including Donald Trump and not hate anyone including Donald Trump (they bring up his name with great frequency). And I suspect there would be no shortage of commenters here who would want to “school” me on why they are right and I am wrong to be simply welcoming of the kids and their families who are my fellow parishioners at my parish. Will the hostility of some other Catholics continue even if the kids grow up to be holy and devoted Catholic adults? Isn’t that who we should want in our country? I really see this as similarly a case of opinions being informed more by political opinionmakers than by the Gospel, as before I returned to the Church and associated with Catholics and other Christians who favored abortion rights and “gay rights”. The gravity of the issues is what is dissimilar, but speaking of deporting children is not without a certain gravity. I don’t think people are obliged to be activists and call their lawmakers, I don’t plan to; I think it matters more to be welcoming not hard-hearted to fellow Catholics who want to raise holy kids. Isn’t that a legitimate aspiration?

  26. Mike says:

    Shortly after I reverted to the Faith, I made a pledge to the annual diocesan appeal. Later in that same year I watched my diocese mount a TV campaign to lobby state legislators to grant undocumented immigrants in-state tuition to state colleges and universities—this while Catholic schools in the diocese were closing and self-styled Catholic institutions of higher education in the diocese continued to waffle on matters of faith. Although I honored my pledge, that was my first and last contribution to the diocesan appeal.

    The longer bishops prioritize political lobbying over the salvation of souls, the faster their dioceses will disintegrate (and coffers deplete), and the more souls will be lost. Call me naive, but why this doesn’t seem to bother almost any of them is a real conundrum to me.

  27. Antonin says:

    Tied to this is the issue of increased border security, a wall, and an end to chain migration. If the Democrats had supported those, then there would have been de facto amnesty for dreamers.

    If the Bishops are going to encourage Catholics to support policies, then they have to understand the issues, the existing legislation, and the process. Otherwise, they sound like naive children.

    So, when the bill was being considered in Congress..why didn’t Bishops urge Catholics to call their congress people and ask them to support the whole package???

  28. Aquinas Gal says:

    The USCCB is a bureaucracy. I don’t think Catholics are obliged to follow their suggestions, frankly, especially because the bureaucracy is run by liberals.
    The bishop in his own diocese is the shepherd of the local church. Bishops’ conferences do not have any special theological status, as I think it was Cardinal Mueller who explained all about that.

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  30. PurdueGuy says:

    Where was the broadcast to tell legislature to vote in favor of the 20 week child protection act? I followed Father Longenecker’s suggestion and called the 13 Bishops and Archbishops in the diocese of the rogue Catholic senators who voted against this bill. Seattle ended up being a twofer (and both women Senators – how sad).

    Pray for Bishops and Archbishops to follow the lead of Bishop Paprocki which he called out Senator Durbin not to receive Jesus.

  31. tamranthor says:

    I have great difficulty listening to the USCCB on issues of any kind, not least political causes, such as this one. The USCCB takes federal tax dollars ostensibly to resettle refugees, who are nothing of the sort. So far, the US has “resettled” more “refugees” than exist in the entire country of Syria. Why is the Church in the business of collecting money from the government from which they are supposedly entirely independent? If the Church has the means to help, then by all means it should do so, but if not, why are we beholden to a government that clearly does not have the Church’s best interest in mind?

    I am certainly NOT against charity to those in need, but it seems to me that those who enter the country illegally and then depend on the charity of others to stay illegally should answer for their malfeasance. Of course the US is the best opportunity for anyone, but immigration laws exist for a purpose, and one of those purposes is to maintain our economy, our autonomy, and our rule of law. I do not find it charitable in the least to find ways to encourage people to break the law. Better, I think, to spend that money where the people live, rather than use it to encourage them to cross illegally and live illegally.

    Disclaimer: My son is adopted from Guatemala. We jumped through all of the hoops and paid many thousands of dollars for that privilege. He is a legal immigrant and a US Citizen. Guatemala remains crushingly poor and miserable. Shouldn’t the Church be working to help Guatemalans in Guatemala rather having them run north for that help?

  32. JustaSinner says:

    Waaa, waa, waa, waaa…?

  33. JustaSinner says:

    Last I checked, Christ’s Church is open to all…even the Dark One itself. So Nancy can come in whenever she feels like. Now, would the Evil One enter? Probably not…lotsa pain coming down. Nancy? Well, everytime she takes Communion in her state, adds to her sins; Amir ugh the Father Z.?

  34. Scott says:

    I have never seen this sort of effort for saving children from the abortionist. Could it be the the episcopacy is more concerned with keeping government money coming in to the dioceses for “refugees” than life itself?

  35. kurtmasur says:

    Elizabeth D wrote: “I am baffled and saddened by the attitudes of some Catholics about this. ”

    Indeed I think it is sad to see Catholics who are against DACA. I am willing to bet that a significant percentage of DACA recipients, if not the majority, are fellow Catholics, many of them parents. When I hear in the news about a father being deported the first thing I think about is that a family is being torn apart. Whatever happened to protecting the family? It seems that Catholics who oppose DACA forget that the Church also teaches and emphasizes the family as the nucleus of Catholic life and education.

    Yes, laws are in place for a reason. But it is easy to let oneself let go and see the law in black and white as a set of rules to be blindly followed. At times we have to remind ourselves that the laws are put in place to serve society’s needs. As the needs of society evolve over time, so should its laws, and is a task the US Congress should soon look at with regards to immigration reform. But what good does it do to send away the sole breadwinner of a family, as was the case of a recent high-profile deportation case? Ironically, the only result is that the remaining family will then have to seek public assistance in the form of food stamps, which I suspect is further against the principles of people most likely to be against DACA.

    Overall, I find it sad that DACA has become a partisan issue across the nation, especially amongst Catholics. For Catholics, it should be obvious how to approach this, considering what the Catechism says about the family, and I think, this is what the bishops have in mind when urging people to speak up. However, it was quite immature and irresponsible of them calling it a “sin” if you don’t.

  36. Hb says:

    Dreamer and DACA presents a host of issues. The US Bishops and Democrats have successfully equated being against illegal aliens remaining in this country illegally with being against all immigration. They are being intellectually lazy by not making proper distinctions. If Americans want unfettered immigration change the law. Otherwise, we need to enforce the law as it is. The President does not have the legal authority to legislate. What we have now is lawlessness and our bishops and others are rewarding it. Our government has shown a level of incompetence at nearly every level and an unfathomable level of short-sightedness.

    I also remember all the bishops blather about nuclear disarmament and other nonsense. Charlie Brown’s teacher indeed. If only our Bishops would spend their time and effort on doing what they are supposed to do and stop trying to curry favor with the political class.

    I can’t but help feeling suspicious of their motives. As others have pointed out, the US Bishops have not been as vocal and active against other moral evils and on some extraordinarily silent. When they have spoken, it’s tentative at best. Milque toast. Many priests who preach about those issues lack the support of their bishop when they are vilified by “Catholics” in the pews.

    It would seem that the Democrats see a new class they can exploit by making them dependent upon government; Republicans see new cheap labor to exploit or continue to exploit; US Bishops see Catholics to fill in the empty pews from the second largest religious group in the US – non-practicing Catholics and ex-Catholics. We don’t need our bishops to be Democrat or Republican; we just need them to be Catholic and wherever there is freedom to leave it to those who have competency to make the best judgments they can in conformity with Catholic teaching.

    If I call my Congressman today it will be to tell him that I am a Catholic priest and an American citizen who strongly disagrees with my bishop regarding illegal aliens. Further, as President Trump reminded everyone, Americans are Dreamers too.

  37. AA Cunningham says:

    “All of my catechism students every year are from Latino immigrant families. ” Elizabeth D

    You fail to note whether or not all your students are legal immigrants or illegal immigrants. I seriously doubt that your “catechism” instruction ever broaches the subject of Section 2241 or the 7th and 1oth Commandments. Do you seriously believe that violating Federal law as well as the actual teaching of the Church – not the prudential feelings of some members of the clergy – is a “legitimate aspiration(sic)”?

    As is so often the case in the contemporary Church militant, the catechists are themselves poorly catechized.

  38. TonyO says:

    Elizabeth D said: Will the hostility of some other Catholics continue even if the kids grow up to be holy and devoted Catholic adults? Isn’t that who we should want in our country? I really see this as similarly a case of opinions being informed more by political opinionmakers than by the Gospel, as before I returned to the Church and associated with Catholics and other Christians who favored abortion rights and “gay rights”. The gravity of the issues is what is dissimilar, but speaking of deporting children is not without a certain gravity.

    I too have helped take care if immigrants. In my case, legal immigrants. Elizabeth, I applaud your helping to teach the kids. As long as they remain here, the kids NEED to be taught. The need doesn’t change because their presence here is illegal.

    But please don’t confuse teaching and ministering to them while they are here with the proper choices about whether> they are to REMAIN here. There are a whole host of additional considerations that go into it, and the child’s welfare doesn’t trump every other aspect of the good, including the common good.

    The parents who are here illegally usually need to be sent home. The common good usually needs to have its legitimate laws obeyed and enforced, or chaos and a GREAT DEAL of suffering will spread. The common good is damaged when laws are ignored. (And yes, the immigration laws are legitimate, as the Catechism makes clear.)

    Should the children be sent with the parents? Well, that’s a bit of a grayer area. Normally, families should not be broken up. Note: when parents choose to immigrate into the US, they choose for their children to uproot them from their homes, from their own culture and their own language, from their extended families and societies, and transplant them to a new place where everything is different. If parents have the right to make such a choice for the kids, and if it is usually better for the kids to stay with their own parents even through such a disruption, then this tells us something about “reverse immigration”, too – sending the parents back where they came from. Normally, the kids should stay with the parents. (Yes, I leave room for exceptions). Morally and spiritually and affectively, kids should be with their own parents wherever possible. Separating the kids from their parents merely because the parents are going to be “living poor” is not enough of a reason to break up the family – kids live poor with their parents all over the world, and we don’t think we need to separate the kids and bring them here. Nor is the fact that the kids will be subject to a new lifestyle and culture that they are not used to – that is just the same thing kids are subject to in immigration decisions all the time, and we don’t think it justifies breaking up the family. Kids have a right to be with their parents.

    That the kids are affected by our decision to enforce legitimate laws on the parents is simply the effect of HAVING LAWS, and it is to be laid at the parents’ doorstep, not ours. The parents are responsible for the bad choices and the bad outcomes – just as what happens to kids the world over when their parents make bad choices. That’s the nature of free will in social beings – others will suffer from one person’s bad decisions. I don’t object to softening the blow to some extent – say, allowing the parents to take a goodly portion of their illegally obtained money, so that they are not destitute when they arrive back home, for example.

  39. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Sarah Hoyt wrote a column about this. As a legal immigrant from Portugal who got her citizenship the normal way, she was very offended by this, and so were her adult sons. They got a sermon about it. At Mass. The sons are determined not to go back to that parish.

    So if you know any good Catholic parishes around Denver (traditional or not) with pastors who aren’t crazy political, they are in the market for a new one.

  40. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I forgot to link the column: “Rendering unto Caesar”.

    And here’s her blogpost about it, which might be more suitable for parish recs.

  41. philosophicallyfrank says:

    There are a couple of things to keep in mind. Back in the early 1930s, Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt bought the Bishops’ souls by offering them Gov’t. money; which they accepted. Well, I have no idea what it amounts to now-a-day; but, it has to be sizeable and if they were to lose it; I suspect that they and their dioceses would, likely, be in a lot more dire straits then they are as is. Secondly, Bishops’ Conferences, to my knowledge, have no Canonical authority. They are just another bureaucracy and their nature is to grow and absorb more and more power. Thirdly, if they are so worried about the breaking up of families; why don’t they put pressure on the Mexican Bishops to put pressure on the Mexican Gov’t. to create jobs for their people and remove the motivation to go to America for work. Mexico is a resource rich country and can easily provide jobs for their people and not necessitate the break up of the families. Fourthly, it is the role of the Bishops to get souls to Heaven; not break up Hispanic families. Instead of us writing our Congressional representatives; we should be writing our Bishops and suggest to them t6o stop believing LA auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron’s promotion that Hell is an empty threat.

  42. Fallibilissimo says:

    Thanks for your comment Elizabeth D. I really liked what you said and hope some minds can be changed on this matter. I understand how people see the demands and requirements of due justice being owed to State laws, but I also think some good sense (epikeia) should take some root, especially when discussing the protection of families.

  43. robtbrown says:

    Lee Gilbert says,

    That said, I can think of at least four websites very popular within the tradosphere where not only the article aggregators but their commenters feel absolutely free to say anything they like, however shameful or scurrilous, about the pope, the curia, the hierarchy.

    Those are private websites with private opinions. There is nothing officially Catholic about them

  44. WVC says:

    Hey, doesn’t it “break up families” when we send people to prison? We don’t want to rip fathers or mothers or children from their families, do we? Therefore we should either put the entire family in jail or just eliminate the entire concept of prions, right?

    Or maybe we can conclude that “not breaking up the families” is not a rational argument in this type of discussion. It’s likewise not valid when it comes to discussion of illegal aliens.

  45. LeeGilbert says:


    Your beautiful comment provoked a lot of thought, didn’t it? Many of us are very conflicted over this, and no wonder, for what is at issue is a conflict of citizenships. As Ann Coulter pointed out in a column several weeks ago, as Americans we owe the “dreamers” nothing. Their parents came illegally, and many of them have received many, many benefits over the years. Besides that, granting them legal status would be an affront to the many people who have gone through the long, difficult process of becoming citizens legally.

    On the other hand, the “dreamers” and their parents are Catholics on the whole. “Consequently, [they] are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household” (Ephesians 2:19). Viewed in that light, we owe them a great deal, for clearly heavenly citizenship is superior to secular citizenship. TOGETHER with the dreamers and their parents we are adopted children of God, share the same divine life, and have the same eternal destiny. In other words, our ties to them are fraternal, REALLY fraternal and far surpass any obligations to or fraternity we have with our fellow Americans qua Americans.

    That much seems clear.

    The question then becomes how do we render to God the things that are God’s and to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s in this case. To give Caesar his due, the law should be upheld, for the common good requires that this nation should have borders.

    To give God His due in this extraordinary circumstance we should come alongside our fellow Catholics with extraordinary solidarity, as you are doing, with aid of all sorts.

    Yet, to tell you the truth, in the end I think that discussions of this sort are academic. If one has ever been to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, and seen Mexican women proceeding on their knees from the entrance to the altar, then from the altar back outside, around the side of the basilica and up the stairs ( still on their knees) of Tepeyac hill, then he realizes that the unmentioned, never discussed “elephant in the room” in this entire discussion is Our Lady of Guadalupe. In a contest between Our Lady of Guadalupe ( and Mexican women of this stripe) and President Trump ( and political conservatives of our stripe), who do do you think will prevail? Honestly, I doubt that the illegal immigrants sheltering under her mantle have very much to worry about on the whole.

  46. Semper Gumby says:

    Many good points here, to mention just a few: Ave Crux, David, JustaSinner, TonyO, NBW, and AA Cunningham with that excellent quote from the Catechism.

    ElizabethD and Fallibilissimo: Sure, charity is to be extended to those in distress, citizens or illegal aliens. But in addition to good points there are problematic areas with your comments, to name just one: “Who can fault them that the “wall” idea causes them great hurt and anger?” That is, quite frankly, an emotional, selfish, and even racist reaction. It certainly goes against both Scripture and the Catechism, and reveals a profound lack of knowledge of national sovereignty and national security. If one wants to play that game, there is “great hurt and anger” felt by many U.S. citizens whose charity was exploited by illegal aliens and certain U.S. politicians- resulting often in mass murder, murder, rape, theft, lawlessness and rebellious “sanctuary” cities, increased drug trafficking, fraudulent voting, and increased debt. This list could be longer.

    Let us seek first the welfare of our country, and thereby be better equipped to help others in distress, be they geographical neighbors or halfway around the world.

  47. WVC says:

    I’d also add that 1 Tim 5:8 is an important point to consider.

  48. WVC says:

    To put the moral aspect of this immigration question into a better framework, might I suggest “The Morality of Everyday Life” by Dr. Thomas Fleming? The idea of obligations to a universal “humanity” runs very contrary to the traditional understanding of duties as related to one’s family, kin, friends, community, and then nation.

  49. TonyO says:

    On the other hand, the “dreamers” and their parents are Catholics on the whole. “Consequently, [they] are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household” (Ephesians 2:19). Viewed in that light, we owe them a great deal, for clearly heavenly citizenship is superior to secular citizenship.

    @ LeeGilbert, most people from Latin America are culturally Catholic. However, many of those who come to the US are not actively practicing Catholics, and a significant percentage (I have heard up to 1/3) actually become Protestants. According to the statistics I have seen, you will not find that most illegal immigrants darkening the steps and doors of our churches, more’s the pity.

    Secondly, while being a member of the Church is more important than being a citizen, it does not REPLACE being a citizen in distinguishing our duties to them. We have duties to others depending on ALL of the relationships in which they stand to us, not depending on just one or two. We owe our own families much more than we owe the stranger across the continent. We owe our neighbors next door who are not Catholic some things that we do not owe to our fellow parishioners who live several miles away (such as looking after their dog while they are out of town). We owe the non-Christian citizens of our city things that we do not owe to the Catholic people of Kazakhstan, such as honesty in paying our taxes and being an attentive juror in court cases. National citizenship impinges on one set of duties and obligations, heavenly citizenship impinges on quite another set. We do not owe illegal immigrants who are Catholic to treat them as if they were citizens of our nation, we owe them to be treated as humanely as possible while carrying out the dictates of the just laws regarding treatment of illegal aliens. They deserve no less than to be treated as human beings, including being treated as responsible persons who are owed punishment for violating laws which protect and support the common good.

  50. Kathleen10 says:

    Does anyone give Kate Steinle even a thought?
    Do enough people realize that many violent crimes are committed by the people flowing over our borders? Anybody checked out MS-13 gangs and what they are doing in Long Island? Ever consider how much in social services illegal citizens cost us? Ever think about the drain it puts on medical care, schools, public resources? Do people realize that California, thanks to open borders and lack of ICE enforcement, sanctuary cities, etc., a hell hole? They are having Third World conditions in San Francisco and San Diego. The streets are full of feces, needles, and filth. Hepatitis is becoming epidemic. Homeless “tent cities” are popping up and are getting huge. You want this in your neighborhood?
    You know what, this is all theory to people, until it’s not. People die because of illegal immigrants, but as long as it’s not you or yours, it’s all dreamy dreamtime, and look at me, I’m a real compassionate person, not like you there, with your hard heart and lack of compassion, not wanting your nation to be sovereign any longer, but filled up with people who came here by breaking federal law, jumping in front of people who did it the law abiding way. I’m so grateful I’m not like you.
    The thought that illegal aliens are wanted here for Democrats to win elections, that never occurs to you? The Democrats could care less about these people, it’s just votes for them, and the people who cheer for it are just useful idiots.
    The bishops get paid huge amounts of money by the federal government to take in illegals. Our bishop encourages them to “not open the door” if ICE shows up, which to me, is shocking. They offer legal services in order to fill out paperwork to try to stay. That’s pretty much all I see the bishops caring about anymore. The bishops have lost all credibility. Do they realize this?
    People who can’t see how they are being manipulated into gullible, foolish “compassion” are going to one day wake up to a nation they no longer recognize. For heaven’s sake, read about London, Paris, Germany, Sweden. That horrible reality is going to be our future if people don’t stop being so easily manipulated. It is NOT our Christian duty to allow an invasion into our nation. N-O-T.
    I’ll give the bishops a listen when they get back to religion and stop being Democrat hand puppets, but they show absolutely no interest in that. As was so aptly pointed out, they said nothing about the pain capable bill. I better shut up now.

  51. Elizabeth D says:

    A.A. Cunningham, your doubts about my “catechism” instruction (to quote your “scare quotes”) and insinuation that my 6th graders &/or their parents may be covetous or thieves do not really merit a reply. From God’s point of view justice and the going-beyond-justice of Charity are of more profound importance than particular national laws. It would be good to adjust the laws to give more people a chance to migrate while also following US law. Following civil laws is good whenever the law doesn’t require an evil of us; respecting civil laws is part of acknowledging that God’s kingdom is not of this world… but following civil laws is not the essence of justice before God.

    Lee Gilbert, you make a point that I have discussed to my catechism 6th graders repeatedly this year: “for clearly heavenly citizenship is superior to secular citizenship.” I would say that my appreciation of our being citizens of God’s kingdom has really grown this year. For instance one boy in class insists that he is “Mexican not American,” that Mexico is “home” that its flag is his national flag, etc, and yet he agrees it’s a greater thing to belong to God’s kingdom. I think the whole class has taken consolation in our citizenship in God’s kingdom where we really do all belong. Even in discussing the Beatitudes, which I normally have found a little hard to explain well enough for both 6th grader comprehension and my own satisfaction, I found that I could easily present them as being “the way things work in God’s kingdom, when God is truly in charge” as opposed to the obviously different ways things work in the countries of the world, where the rich, the people who already confidently consider themselves righteous, the strong and violent, the popular who say what people want to hear etc are the winners. I pointed out meekness especially, controlling one’s anger, and that in God’s kingdom it’s not the rich or aggressive, but those who control themselves against anger who inherit the land.

    Yes, it is my hope that my catechism students grow up to be very holy and inherit the land, and if not yet then at least when Jesus comes again in glory and there are new heavens and a new earth. In the meantime, if anyone thinks my 6th graders are trespassing then pray God to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

  52. Elizabeth D says:

    With Semper Gumby calling me a racist, for I cannot figure out what reason, I think this conversation has jumped the shark.

    [I read his comment. I don’t think he called you a racist. He spoke to a reaction. Of course if you wish, you can now make this a discussion of what you were called, at which point this all becomes pointless.]

  53. WVC says:

    Elizabeth D – if the boy believes he’s Mexican and loves his country and his flag . . . .then what’s inherently evil in hoping he returns to his homeland? Aren’t gratitude and patriotism also authentic virtues? Do you not see any inherent conflict in trying to have masses of people living in the same area but pledging allegiance to two different cultures, nations, and ways of life? If being Catholic was the only requirement for peace, how does one explain the history of battles and skirmishes all throughout Europe and throughout Latin America? Wasn’t the 100 Years war fought between two Catholic countries?

    At any rate, while you seem to have a very kind and open heart, you also seem to have only a vague notion of the reality of nations and cultures. Perhaps if you had to teach a catechism class to less docile, possibly more aggressive older teenagers you might better understand some of the very legitimate concerns voiced here. It is not racist or uncharitable to posit that nations exist for a reason, and that people are best served and best belong in their own nation and not some other nation. Remember, it wasn’t mankind that broke everyone apart into separate communities after the Tower of Babel debacle. A Catholic should understand that nations actually have a divine origin, and it was through God’s very specific set of chosen people that salvation was wrought.

  54. LeeGilbert says:


    FWIW, When we arrived in Milwaukie (working class suburb immediately adjacent to Portland), Oregon ten years ago, St John the Baptist Parish was mostly Anglo. By now, however, the Anglo Masses have thinned out considerably, and the Spanish Mass is jammed. And the Spanish Mass has one thing the Anglo Masses do not have: children, lots of them. Moreover, the old timers tell me that at this point the Mexicans are keeping the parish afloat financially.

    I will grant that many Mexicans have become Pentecostal, Evangelical, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists. And if on arriving in this country they encountered the same sort of atitudes among fellow Catholics as reflected in some of the comments here, it is not hard to understand why.

    You write, “They deserve no less than to be treated as human beings, including being treated as responsible persons who are owed punishment for violating laws which protect and support the common good.” The question about the “dreamers” is, though, whether the children of these illegal immigrants are also “responsible persons” who deserve to be punished. And surely by now there is a third generation.

    Left out of the entire discussion are those who hired the illegal immigrants, and who lured them here with economic opportunity. Surely they should be dealt with in similar draconian fashion, possibly by having their assets siezed and citizenship revoked. Rosa, the hard-working maid; Pedro, her husband, the wiry and hard-working gardener; AND their children should be thrown out of the country, but the Tech CEO and his trophy wife who hired them . . . do they even get a slap on the wrist? If one wants to talk about laws and the common good, then how do farmers and landscape companies etc. escape the net and proportionally severe punishment ? Our reverence for the law is conveniently selective.

    Then, too, just from the standpoint of the good of the country, with seculars, WASPs and many Catholics contracepting themselves into oblivion, why would we not want them replaced by hardworking, fertile and ( on the whole, Catholic) Mexicans?

    These people still have an idea of how to parent their children, whereas on the whole our born-here American parents do not. Perhaps Portland is a special case, but isn’t it true that police forces, the military are having a hard time finding fit candidates to replenish the ranks from among our addle-brained, out of shape, drugged, and misanthropic young? Yes, there are wonderful exceptions( your children, my children), but on the whole we are in great trouble if we are relying on the younger generation of Americans to carry the American tradition forward.

    Of course, the Mexican population is not without sin, either, but speaking on the whole, their presence, legal or not, offers a very great deal to us as a nation, as well as to the Church in this country. If only we would seize the moment, as Elizabeth D. is doing, and give these people both Catholic formation and brotherly solidarity. She writes, “I think it matters more to be welcoming not hard-hearted to fellow Catholics who want to raise holy kids. Isn’t that a legitimate aspiration?” From the standpoint of Heaven, our true country, it is not only legitimate, it is highly praiseworthy and sure to bring many blessings on Elizabeth and everyone like her.

  55. WVC says:


    Actually, at the Traditional Latin Mass I attend there are tons of children. I have 7 of my own, and I’m on the small side (we have folks in the 13 to 15 range). I’ve found this to be true at all of the Latin Masses I’ve attended thus far.

    Regarding Mexicans being better parents than Americans – I’d say statistics don’t support your case on this. I’m not arguing against your personal experience with specific people, but if you look at crime, welfare, and broken home statistics you’ll see the majority is not your ideal “two parent family carefully raising their children.” Where do all of the MS13 gang bangers come from? Somewhere, I promise – they didn’t just exist ex nihilo. Even speaking of the so-called “dreamers” – especially the unaccompanied minors – what kind of parent SENDS their child UNACCOMPANIED to another country? I actually think it would be our good, Catholic duty to try our best to reunite the UNACCOMPANIED child back with his or her parents as soon as possible, no?

    Regarding folks who hire illegal aliens – I’m sure you’ll find the vast majority of folks who believe in reasonable, patriotic immigration reform also support 100% no-exceptions E-Verify for all employers. I would be happy to see the most painful of punishments heaped upon the corporations that, by my reasoning, are actually traitors to their country and countrymen. Companies like Disney who want to import cheap labor so they don’t have to pay Americans a livable wage are disgusting, and there are many who would be happy to watch them pay the price for both betraying their countrymen while simultaneously taking gross advantage of foreign workers.

    I wish folks could understand this is a discussion about policy and prudence. It doesn’t have to be personal. Pointing out that we need to stop illegal aliens, that we need to support and protect American citizens, that labor markets have finite boundaries, that many (but not all) migrants have values that do not comport with our traditional beliefs – this does not make one a bad person, a bad Catholic, or a bigot. Pointing out that Mexico is the decapitation by murder capital of the world is not the same thing as saying “Pedro” in your Catechism class is a bad person and should be treated inhumanely. This is not personal.

    There’s no time or room for moral one-up-manship here. It’s not about who is more compassionate than someone else. This should be a discussion grounded in reason and facts and not sentimentality. Life is not a Lifetime Channel Movie.

  56. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z: Yes Father, the reaction, not ElizabethD.

    WVC: Good points.

    Tony O: Good points.

    ElizabethD: We have had several exchanges in the past two years in which we tended to disagree. I distinctly recall complimenting you once, and possibly twice. That said, here are two observations. First, you claim to have detailed knowledge of “God’s point of view,” the “essence of justice before God,” and of “when God is truly in charge.” Perhaps it applies to the context of teaching the Beatitudes, but your phrase “my own satisfaction” is rather telling. Second, you continue to show little, if any, regard for serious matters here on Earth, and for the people grappling with such issues, unless: these matters directly impact you, occur in your immediate vicinity, or can be manipulated to support your particular agenda. Have a pleasant day.

    AA Cunningham: Good points.

    LeeGilbert: Note that you are descending into ad hominem, erroneous or even fabricated statements, and an odd and rather sinister blend of eugenics, racial bias, and Catholic tribalism:

    “…the same sort of atitudes among fellow Catholics as reflected in some of the comments here, it is not hard to understand why.”

    “…with seculars, WASPs and many Catholics contracepting themselves into oblivion, why would we not want them replaced by hardworking, fertile and ( on the whole, Catholic) Mexicans?”

    “…police forces, the military are having a hard time finding fit candidates to replenish the ranks from among our addle-brained, out of shape, drugged, and misanthropic young? Yes, there are wonderful exceptions( your children, my children)”

    Ok, there’s more, but that’s enough.

    Kathleen10: Many good points. Please allow me to repeat a few:

    “Anybody checked out MS-13 gangs…” And LaRaza, Mecha, etc.

    “…this is all theory to people, until it’s not. People die because of illegal immigrants, but as long as it’s not you or yours, it’s all dreamy dreamtime, and look at me, I’m a real compassionate person, not like you there…”

    “The Democrats could care less about these people, it’s just votes for them, and the people who cheer for it are just useful idiots.”

    “The bishops get paid huge amounts of money by the federal government to take in illegals. Our bishop encourages them to “not open the door” if ICE shows up…”

    “…read about London, Paris, Germany, Sweden…” [SG here: The “world’s first feminist government” in Sweden is seriously problematic and even malevolent regarding, in addition to other policy areas, immigration and its impact on Swedish citizens.]

    “That horrible reality is going to be our future if people don’t stop being so easily manipulated.” Amen.

  57. The Masked Chicken says:

    What we have here is a conflict of analogies. Consider a child born of rape. The child is naturally innocent and should acquire none of the stigma of its sinful origin. So, one group is right to say that the child is innocent and should be given every advantage despite its violent conception. On the other hand, the child is not supernaturally innocent, because it inherits Original Sin. So, the other side is right to say that if the child dies before baptism, it will either go to (depending upon the time in Church history and the group) Hell, Hades, Limbo, or whatever place of merely natural beatitude exists (in the current thinking, the Church leaves the judgment of the child to God and His mercy).

    These analogies may be applied to the current DACA situation, only in reverse. One side sees that, properly speaking, these young people are supernaturally innocent of their parents sinful immigration. Thus, Elizabeth D. is right to point out that her kids are morally I nnocent of the sins of their parents and deserve every concession, possible. I have never met Elizabeth, but we have corresponded, off-site, and she, in my opinion, is a woman of good character (hey, Liz), so I fail to see why the discussion has been so tense.

    That being said, the other side is right to point out that, in a natural sense, however, the kids inherit the, “natural sin,” of the illegal immigration of their parents. Thus, Kathleen10, TonyO, etc., are right to point out the consequences of these children if not properly properly integrated into society. Thus, what they need, by analogy, is some sort of, “ natural baptism,” that would free them from the effects of their parents sins, while, simultaneously, integrating them into the Body Politic. The question is, is this possible?

    As an aside, let us look at the commonly cited passage of Scripture related to immigration. Exodus 22:21: “Thou shalt neither vex [hiphil yanah, in the Hebrew] a stranger[ger, in Hebrew], nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

    Now, yanah has the sense of maltreat or mistreat, treat immorally, when used with hiphil. Sending an illegal immigrant back to his country is NOT an example of yanah behavior, because it says in Levitcus 6:2 – 5:

    “If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.”

    Now, entering a country, illegally, is not only trespassing, but, potentially, could corrupt the indigenous population, so sending away an illegal immigrant is not yanah behavior, but, in certain cases, can be the prudent thing to do, in a moral sense, so citing the passage from Exodus is a week argument, indeed.

    Thus, I see no strong moral argument for supporting DACA, which is, technically, the sort of arguments that the bishops should be making. Governments have the Natural Law right to decide on prudential policies for allowing immigration.

    Nevertheless, the young immigrants are here. What can be done? The simplest thing is to say that from this day forward, the loophole in the law is closed and the young people who are already here should be given expedited naturalization, if they choose it. That way, it will be clear that this type of behavior, where families are split up, won’t happen, again, but those, who through no fault of their own have taken advantage of an earlier bad law (in my opinion) will be brought in in a legal way.

    The Chicken

  58. TonyO says:

    The simplest thing is to say that from this day forward, the loophole in the law is closed and the young people who are already here should be given expedited naturalization, if they choose it.

    Chicken, that may be simple for someone who was brought here as an 8 year old and is now 18 – they can stay here on their own while their parents are deported. It isn’t simple for a child brought here as a 2 year old and is now 13. They can’t just stay here on their own. Moreover, that child of 13 has a right to be with her parents, (other than when the parents are thrown in prison), so applying your “simple” solution means breaking up a family. Not good.

    Finally, while your solution is simple, that does not mean it best serves the common good. By having the child stay here (and having grown up with law-breaking parents who are given stiff treatment by the US authorities), are we generating a large group of young citizens (or “citizens”) who really have no respect for the US way of life, of principle, of the rule of law? Can we know? There are all sorts of prudential elements to the issue that need to be considered. Maybe it matters how many years they have already been here? Or what age they were when they first came here? How have they fared in school – are they actually literate, can they speak English well enough to get a GED in English? These are just a few of the prudential considerations, there are dozens more. It cannot be made “simple” by just ignoring all the complexities, without effectively doing a poke in the eye to the common good.

  59. TonyO says:

    And, by the way, I don’t think it is a loophole in the law at all. There is a perfectly ordinary way of following the law in regard to these people who are here illegally. They have no legal claim to remain here other than a plea for mercy – i.e. a plea not to apply the law. That’s not a loophole.

  60. Semper Gumby says:

    Masked Chicken: Your assertion that “What we have here is a conflict of analogies” and your resulting comment both fail to come to terms with the hard facts- the causes and consequences- of DACA as noted by numerous commenters here over the last several days. You express puzzlement over tenseness, review this discussion to clarify any uncertainty. You raise the question: is it possible to integrate them into the Body Politic? Kindly direct your attention to the comment of AA Cunningham at 25 Feb 9:21 pm. Here is a key sentence from the Catechism for guidance:

    “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.” Certain bishops and commenters here should keep that in mind. Cheers.

  61. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Semper Gumby,

    I was trying to explain why there might be a dichotomous state of opinions, with one side emphasizing one aspect of the situation and the emphasizing the other. I was not examining the law, but the responses. My puzzlement was over the fact that people do not seem to respect that there can be a diversity of opinions (well, at least two sides to the issue) and were treating a regular commenter with a little more vinegar than normal.

    I am quite aware of the teaching of the Church with regards to immigration. I did cite the Natural Law, after all (I did not go into the Aquinian details). I know the DACA children have no rights under law, but neither are they morally guilty of anything, whereas the parents are. That is where the problem comes: the parents are both naturally and supernaturally (morally) guilty, while the children are naturally guilty, but morally inculpable. Now, the parents have tried to game the system and they got caught and are using their children as pawns. The children could be ordered to return with their parent to their land of origin, but there are some edge cases. There need to be some exceptions on a case-by-case basis. My understanding is that some of these children are so old that their upbringing has, essentially, been in an American environment.

    I am sorry if I didn’t write as clearly as I meant to.

    As to the blanket amnesty suggestion, that was just a way to try to satisfy both sides. As TonyO points out and I concede, it would not work in practice. I did have a section in my original comment which I cut out that said something similar to what TonyO said about splitting up families, but I said it in the context of excoriating the USCCB and I decided to remove it so as not to cause scandal.

    I am no fan of the USCCB position on the DACA matter. I should review the issue in more detail before commenting further on it (if at all).

    The Chicken

  62. Semper Gumby says:

    Masked Chicken: Ok, thanks, I was wondering where you were going with “conflict of analogies” given all those hard facts, but I think I got it. And glad I could help with that Catechism quote, that one sure is a humdinger. And regarding your issue with vinegar and a broader perspective for some here, I’m glad a review of the discussion is helpful. Cheers.

  63. Justalurkingfool says:

    This is a complex problem. For me it involves family. No one has a right to be here who violated the laws to get here, unless their circumstances were existence threatening. This is taken into consideration when people seek asylum. No one has a right to sit at my table if it is going to destroy my family, even the innocent. I will try to help them, as possible, but the interloper is the problem, not the existing resident.

    The Catholic Church had no problem supporting my wife’s adultery which resulted in me, the innocent spouse, losing our children and staying broke for almost 15 years, in order to try to maintain my relationship with them.

    The Catholic Church is in no position to speak about anything related to the family. Those of you who support the Catholic Church, and it

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