Are Patriots Apostates?

I was inclined to be kindly disposed toward the incoming archbishop of Los Angeles. Archbishop Jose Gomez faces a thankless task, taking over a church that has just suffered a major persecution — one conducted by his predecessor in office. Whatever the legal cloud following him up from Texas, Archbishop Gomez was formed for the priesthood by members of Opus Dei, a worthy and much-maligned group. That much sounds promising. The state of catechesis and even of liturgy should improve in that long-suffering archdiocese — though it’s too much to hope that Archbishop Gomez will deconsecrate the $189.7 million monstrosity Catholic Angelenos call the “Rog Mahal” and sell it off for its proper use as a Sam’s Club or a slaughterhouse.

Archbishop Gomez is critical of the governance of our country. I’m fine with that. Since I started working as a pro-life activist at age eleven, I’ve dealt with a queasy cognitive dissonance, that sick twist in the gut that comes from knowing that some of our nation’s laws are at odds with basic human rights and the teachings of the Church. As I wrote in 2008:

The first time I ever saw our nation’s capital was on the March [for Life], way back in high school on a bus the Knights of Columbus rented to take us down there. Those vast, wedding cake buildings that represent the authority of the U.S. government, adorned with flags, bronze statues, bas-reliefs and grand inscriptions . . . it all seemed such a miserable sham. Those structures built out of butter cream looked to me like whited sepulchers. The Supreme Court on whose steps we stood seemed a structure built of bones, and the city a fortress defending a vast and soulless regime of death.

Opposing our nation’s official reading of its own Constitution on such a fundamental issue as the right to life teaches a citizen to think independently. It reconditions the hair-trigger reflex that says, “My country, right or wrong.” In subsequent years, I have followed my Catholic conscience on many other issues: I have documented war crimes committed by American soldiers (including a friend of mine) in the first Gulf War; I opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, months before it started. Writing about history, I have condemned the use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; denounced American intervention in World War I (not World War II, I hasten to add); and explored the tyrannical nature of American laws imposing Prohibition and “eugenic” sterilization. There are strict limits to what the State has the right to do to its citizens, and even to its enemies, and on occasions our great country has crossed that line, I must regretfully admit.

Precisely because I have striven to form my citizenship and scholarship in accord with my well-informed Catholic conscience, I resent it when Church leaders willfully misrepresent Church teachings in the service of a foreign or ideological agenda. My resentment simmers toward rage when these leaders try to bully Catholics into flouting our nation’s just laws, betraying our fellow citizens, and sinfully neglecting the duties demanded by the virtue of patriotism. It’s even worse when these Catholic leaders build up the political power of the very politicians who defy authentic, unambiguous Church teaching on every key current issue — from the sanctity of life to the meaning of marriage — by offering citizenship to hundreds of thousands who habitually vote their racial self-interest instead of their Catholic consciences. I regret that, even before he has taken office, Archbishop Gomez has fallen into each of these errors.

 

Is it un-Christian of me to greet the new leader of our country’s largest archdiocese with this shot across the bow? It’s certainly impolitic, and it won’t help me get my books sold in his cathedral bookshop. I might have held my tongue, had I not read Archbishop Gomez’s manipulative 2008 keynote speech at the Missouri Catholic Conference Annual Assembly on the subject of immigration. In it, Archbishop Gomez explicitly compares Catholics who oppose the mass influx of millions of unskilled workers to . . . Julian the Apostate.

For those of you who aren’t history buffs: Julian was the neo-pagan emperor who tried to stamp out the Catholic Church. That is what the new Los Angeles prelate thinks of Americans worried about the fiscal, social, and economic implications of

Such Americans are apostates, as Archbishop Gomez says explicitly, insisting: “We must defend the immigrant if we are to be worthy of the name Catholic.” I’m glad that Air Force veteran Rev. Patrick Bascio will not fall under Archbishop Gomez’s authority; as the author of the tightly reasoned book The Immorality of Illegal Immigration, this former pastor in Harlem (who points up the devastating impact of immigration on black Americans) might find himself condemned as a heretic.

In a previous article, I wrote about a device I called the Amazing Catholic B.S. Generator and suggested that the “pastoral letters of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, which appear in his paper the Tidings, seem to have been entirely produced by the Generator — which must be running day and night in the basement of his extraordinary new cathedral.”

Well, it appears that Archbishop Gomez has cranked up the Generator himself. In fact, it is set at full throttle: In his speech, Archbishop Gomez claims that the Holy Family themselves were immigrants seeking a better life in Egypt — just like today’s entrepreneurial immigrants who leave jobs and homes in Latin America to find more comfortable lifestyles in the United States.

But Joseph and Mary were not economic refugees, slipping across a border in search of higher carpentry wages. In cold, biblical fact, they were refugees from political persecution, who fled for their lives and returned home as soon as it was safe. No one, not even the strictest border-control activists, opposes temporary refugee programs for those under political persecution. But Gomez’s speech implies that patriotic Americans who want our laws enforced would have sent Jesus, Mary, and Joseph back to the murderous King Herod. He also slyly suggests that Americans who oppose mass immigration aren’t really pro-life, in the course of this weird syllogism:

In Catholic teaching, the right to migrate is among the most basic human rights. It’s very close to the right to life. Why? Because God has created the good things of this world to be shared by all men and women — not just a privileged few.

I searched for some connection between Archbishop Gomez’s premise and his conclusion, but eventually I gave up. So let’s address what rational content can be assayed from his assertion. The “right to migrate” means the right to leave a country. Of course, no Catholic supports a Berlin Wall holding unhappy citizens in their home countries, any more than we favor placing innocent people under house arrest. Does that mean we must allow anyone, for any reason, to move into our homes? We oppose abortion; does that mean we’re morally obliged to adopt indefinite numbers of children?

If so, if every Catholic must support open borders in his country, then Archbishop Gomez ought to carry this message to his native land, Mexico — which strictly, even savagely, patrols its southern borders with Central America. Why not go further, and help the truly desperate peoples of Congo and Sudan emigrate to a land with far more economic opportunities — such as Mexico?

No one, not even Archbishop Gomez, is claiming that Mexico is undergoing something akin to the Irish potato famine — which led one-fourth of the Irish population to flee to the United States and Canada (neither of which had welfare states on which the immigrants could become dependent). Indeed, although large parts of the country are now controlled by drug lords linked to immigrant smugglers, Mexico is modernizing rapidly, producing some massively wealthy citizens — such as the richest man in the world, Mexican Carlos Slim.

There are many problems in Mexico, of course — and most of them stem from centuries of poor governance, public corruption, oligarchy, lawlessness, socialism, and religious persecution. The citizens of many countries suffer from similar legacies — for instance, most of the Middle East. Is the United States obliged to import all those people, too? Why would we hesitate? Beyond the mass unemployment and crippling welfare costs, we would fear the cultural and political impact of mass immigration by people who — not out of any moral flaws in their character, but for good, historical reasons — don’t share our respect for public institutions and private property. I fear that these people will live and vote according to the dysfunctional culture of their “old countries” at the expense of the hard-won, fragile civic order of our own.

That makes me a xenophobe — and therefore an apostate, according to Archbishop Gomez, who says:

The Christian word for “hospitality” is like the antidote to that. Philoxenia literally means “love of strangers.” This is who we are called to be — “lovers of strangers.” Lovers of the immigrant, the alien, the undocumented. This love is not some sentimental affection. It’s a radical love in which we open our hearts and our homeland to the stranger in need.

There’s little point in rationally engaging such rhetoric. It is not aimed at our reason but more primitive parts of the brain that are moved by squeamishness and shame. Let me try to move the argument back to the frontal cortex for a moment.

Christian love consists first in praying and acting for the eternal salvation of someone’s soul (the spiritual works of mercy) and second in caring for those in desperate straits (the corporal works of mercy). It does not extend to every action that might possibly be of material benefit to people who aren’t in danger of life and limb but who (for whatever reason) have less money than you. Even if you imprudently choose to do that yourself — to hand out all your cash to anyone who asks — you do not have the right to force your neighbors to do the same, to clog the public hospitals with thousands of strangers who never paid taxes, the public roads with people who haven’t insured their cars, the voting rolls with poor people who will vote to redistribute your neighbors’ wealth. Not only are you not obligated as a Christian to act on this kind of Envy — you are forbidden. Let me say this in black and white: Favoring mass, unskilled immigration into a democratic welfare state is a sin.

The most authoritative source of Church teaching on any issue is the Catechism, which posits in classic, Catholic fashion a pair of obligations which are inextricably linked:

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. . . .

And:

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. (2241)

This reminds me of other Catholic teachings: A worker has a right to a living wage, but only if he actually shows up and does the job. Likewise, if the immigrants don’t do B, we aren’t obliged to offer them A. Ask yourself: Are the angry mobs of illegal immigrants who march through American streets carrying flags of foreign countries, who demand bilingual education, who vote as ethnic blocs, and who commit identity theft to work here illegally fulfilling their side of the bargain? If not, then we are dispensed from ours. They have forfeited our hospitality, and it’s time for them to go home.

Archbishop Gomez has already taken part in marches by illegal immigrants demanding amnesty and citizenship, and now he is abusing as apostates native citizens who seek to uphold our country’s laws. In his Missouri speech, he grudgingly admits that the United States has the right to control its borders and apply the governing virtue of Prudence to decisions about how many new citizens to accept — as the Church clearly teaches. But his statements are disingenuous, since he goes on to condemn every possible means by which America might enforce such laws (which he anyway condemns as “clearly vindictive . . . obviously meant to injure and intimidate”). He opposes workplace raids that target companies who use immigrant labor to undercut U.S. labor laws, avoid workers’ compensation claims, and evade the need to insure their workers — who instead rely on public emergency rooms. Furthermore, it is wrong, he says, to deport those who are living here illegally. Instead, they should have to undertake “community service” — the kind of penalty Americans earn for peccadilloes like public urination. So anybody who craves the privilege of American citizenship, which thousands have earned through service in wartime, can “earn” it by sneaking in, then raking leaves in a public park.

 

I guess I’m not surprised that someone born in Mexico, who is about to take over as pastor of many thousands of Mexican Catholics, might be sentimentally inclined to misguided compassion toward those who came here in defiance of our nation’s just and democratically enacted laws. It is a bit unseemly for a naturalized citizen, who has benefited from our country’s hospitality, to try to take charge of our home and invite in all his cousins — but I will let that pass. I don’t think Archbishop Gomez is moved so much by Mexican nationalism as he is by institutional interests. As I’ve written before,

American bishops have largely given up on passing along the Faith to the next generation of native-born Catholics, and are relying instead on a steady influx of people who have not yet been fully exposed to the acid effects of modernity — including the dominance of “dissenters” in many Catholic schools, the blandness and vagueness of religious instruction, the unrelenting banality of most parish liturgies (with music and rituals that would not pass muster at gatherings of the Boy Scouts), and the dismal quality of education for would-be converts. . . .

I like to ask “conservative” Catholics who favor virtually open borders because it will “help make America Catholic”: Do you think that uneducated Mexican peasants are more likely to save their souls in Guadalajara — or the slums of Los Angeles? Which is a more wholesome atmosphere for their children? Likewise I say to those who blandly suggest that we will “restore American culture” through the influx of “pro-family” immigrants: That’s like flooding a whorehouse with virgins, to try to raise the moral tone. It works — for about 15 minutes.

Beyond the spiritual harm it does the immigrants by corrupting them and worldly bishops by enabling them, the disregard of American sovereignty undermines the very principle of public order. That principle is one of the few political axioms Christ Himself affirmed, when He said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s.” So what is Caesar’s? Beyond issuing currency and collecting taxes, this must include controlling the borders. Enabling illegal immigration amounts to counterfeiting citizenship, and is every bit as evil as counterfeiting currency. If I might for the last time quote an older piece I wrote:

Why is counterfeiting immoral? Let’s say I have a printing press in my basement. I can churn out perfect copies of U.S. currency. But I do not use this for my own benefit. I distribute the forgeries to the poor.

Who does that harm? Assuming that the bills are indistinguishable from real currency, then the merchants who sell these poor folk food and clothes will not be damaged — nor will anyone who accepts the bills subsequently, at least not directly. I might even tithe ten percent of my print-run to the Church. So what’s wrong with my printing the bills? Should the Catholic Worker and the Catholic bishops get in on my project? We could wipe out the Third World debt in a matter of weeks. . . .

I think even the religious Left would agree that I was not rendering unto Caesar what is his. By seizing control of the currency from the government, and cheapening the value of every dollar legitimately earned and traded, I would be damaging the common good.

Likewise, when we foster illegal immigration, and legitimize it later through inevitable amnesties, we are cheapening irreparably the value of citizenship — a privilege for which thousands of people have worked and waited patiently, something which men have enlisted in the U.S. military and risked their lives to earn. . . .

Imagine if you can Jesus Christ, redeemer of man, winking at the Pharisees, and explaining to them how to produce fake gold coins with Caesar’s image.

That is the face of the open-borders Christian.

John Zmirak

By

John Zmirak is the author, most recently, of The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins (Crossroad). He served from October 2011 to February 2012 as Editor of Crisis.

  • Avignon Days

    Very interesting essay.

  • Aaron

    On some other blog, someone quoted the archbishop as being against deporting illegal immigrants because it breaks up families. But that’s exactly backwards: it’s illegal immigration (encouraged by our nod-and-a-wink border policy) that breaks up families — by encouraging families to save up the money to buy one person passage across the border to work and send money home, or to establish a base to start bringing others over. Deportation should re-unite families — back in their homes.

    In cases where the entire family is here illegally and only one person is caught, we of course should offer the entire family free passage back home, to prevent breaking up the family in that case. But that’s an administrative issue, not an argument against a secure border.

    When the archbishop (or anyone) can explain to me why a foreign citizen who has entered a country illegally has a right to that country’s resources while a foreign citizen who stayed home doesn’t, then I’ll take him seriously. In other words, why does a Mexican living in the USA illegally have a right to US health care, education, or welfare, if a Mexican living in Mexico doesn’t? If the obligation is based on the Christian ideal of caring for your fellow man, then there’s no reason it should stop at the border. Without that consistency, this just looks like globalism, feel-goodism, and/or opportunism.

    And anyone who thinks Mexicans will make the US more devoutly Catholic should do a little research, because that may be based on an image of Mexico that comes from 60-year-old Hollywood movies. Mexican Catholics (at least the ones that come to the US) aren’t that devout anymore, and by the second generation they’re fully assimilated and even more liberal than their native-born counterparts. If bishops think immigrants from the south will reintroduce devotion to the Virgin Mary or something, then they’re not just wrong, but they’re starting from a wrong premise.

  • Bob G

    John, you missed another point: the immigrants are sending billions of dollars a year back to their home countries–probably money created and spent by our Gummint, that we will be paying off for years.

    Still, there’s something missing from your argument. You’re assuming the illegals have a choice to stay home. But most of them think they don’t. That’s why they risk their lives to get here. Most of them were living in a failed state in which their means of livelihood has evaporated (many times because of the effects of NAFTA). So they see it as a choice of leave or die

  • Austin

    For many years, we in the US, have allowed the wealthy oligarchy who rules Mexico to dump poor and disaffected people on the United States and thus avoid any real reform in Mexico.
    This has gone on for too long. Why should poor Mexicans have to leave their own country to find work? The wealthy, ruling Mexican oligarchy has conspired with fatcat Americans who want cheap labor, and the result is exploitation of the poor Mexicans and unemployment for Americans, especially in the lower tier jobs. Archbishop Gomez needs to speak out on this, and speak out on both sides of the border.

  • Arturo Vasquez

    It’s nice that all of you Anglos can stand around making assumpitions about why my family came to this country, whether or not we will remain Catholic, or whether we suck more out of the system than we put in. It’s nice that all of you have a place to vent your frustration (“oh, immigrants don’t want to learn English! Oh, they don’t want to integrate, etc.”) It would be nice if you could actually put a face on the Mexican horde rather than just assuming things about us. Because in the end, we are just a bunch of greedy money grubbers who should have stayed in our (barely) subsistence farms in Mexico. I am glad that John Zmirak is not the new Archbishop of Los Angeles, but by all means, vent away!

  • Michael

    Thank you for doing the distasteful work of going through his speech and providing this analysis. Depressing but in a sense, Los Angeles is already seems like territory that has been lost to Mexico so maybe it makes sense to install a Mexican bishop. Maybe we can move the border?

    I remember the Catholic Bullshit Generator piece and since I remember it being the last writing John Zmirak ever contributed to Takimag I have assumed it was the one that got him fired.

  • Joe H

    “The citizens of many countries suffer from similar legacies — for instance, most of the Middle East. Is the United States obliged to import all those people, too?”

    Of course not!

    They’re all going to Europe, and they do there what the Mexicans do here: leave their countries on the implicit or explicit assumption that the one they are going to is better than the one they are leaving, and then spend their lives trying to undermine it.

    Yes, I’ve come a ways on my immigration views. I was a leftist, then I was the sort of conservative you describe at the end, who thought that the “family values” of the immigrants would rub off on Americans.

    Considering the language barrier, I can admit it wasn’t very well thought out.

    My only problem is still with the people who cry endlessly about the prospect of amnesty. We can’t deport 20 million people – that would cost as much in terms of police as does immigration itself cost in welfare services, don’t you think?

    Deport the violent criminals, penalize those left with fines, garnished from wages if needs be, and then I’m fine with hermetically sealing the boarder.

    But we have to admit, don’t we, that most of the ones who are here simply made it – they beat the system, its over.

  • Austin

    California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are already in the process of a defacto “Reconquista.” In another 50 years, the border will have blurred and those states are going to become a defacto part of Mexico. The American fatcats who wanted that cheap labor will have all of us, reaping the unintended consequences of having lost the Southwest. Of course, given how things have been going downhill in the US, I wonder if Mexico will have us? Reconquista? Mexico, be careful what you wish for….you may get it.

  • Robert Brennan

    There I was feeling all warm and fuzzy after hearing Bishop Gomez had an Opus Dei connection, was noted for seminary recruitment, and has a penchant for the Latin Mass and John Z has to go and ruin it.
    I am not now or have I ever been a racist anti-immigrant know-nothing. I do though have a BIG problem with illegal immigration and the reverse racism of people who look the other way when it comes to the laws violated by people who enter this country illegally. The U.S. accepts more legal immigrants from Mexico than any other country…Fine by me.
    But as someone who is strapped to the limit with state income tax due, catholic school fees and tuition due for next year and has to figure out how he’s going to stretch 20 bucks in discretionary spending over the next two weeks, I, like John Z, take offense at being accused of being un-Christian because I want moral and democratically enacted laws enforced.
    I also find it a kind of inverted racism on the part of “immigrant rights” types when they ask NOTHING of the illegal immigrant. The only prerequisite is that they have a desire to better their lives by coming here and working like a dog for 10 bucks an hour as opposed to working like a dog in Mexico for $2. Do they have no obligation to obey laws, even laws that may be inconvenient. I have to obey a rather inconvenient law regarding our nation’s tax code. I have the extra incentive to obey these laws since,unlike the federal immigration laws, the U.S. government is rather frisky and on top of things when it comes to tax compliance. But say they weren’t. Say the IRS was as ineffectual and underfunded as the Border Patrol. My life and my children’s lives would be much better if I had more money for them and less for the tax man. Under the logic of Bishop Gomez would I not be justified in not paying the taxes?
    My apologies to the guy who said the article was a rant, because this response is kind of a rant as well, but hell, I’m on a roll. One last comment and I will climb back into my catacomb…As a resident of Los Angeles and one who saw the monstrosity of the Rog Mahal go up, I noticed that they have gates around the structure and the entrances have these very impressive locks. If the guards who guard this poor excuse of a cathedral can morally lock its gates at night and scrutinize all visitors during the day, why can’t the good ol U S of A do the same.
    I feel better now.

  • Jay

    …must be taken into account by the people who employ illegal immigrants in order to cut their costs. It is not purely a state issue.

  • Cory Fisher

    First off let me state that I understand why people want to come to the US, they want a chance at a better life. Isn’t that the reason why 99.9% of our ancestors came here? They were escaping from places that held little or no chance of an opportunity for a good life. But the difference is that most of our ancestors came to the US the legal way. In my case, my great-grandparents left everything they knew and packed what little they owned with their families and began a journey to the land of opportunities. I say opportunities because there were no guarantees, they could be turned around right after they got here and sent back if they didn’t check out. There was a letter dropped from my family’s last name because my great-grandfather didn’t want to make waves and lose his chance at being an American.

    So the problem isn’t new people immigrating to the US, the problem is people aren’t going through the right process to legally immigrate. Why is this? I believe that it has something to do with beaurocracy, either ours(US) or theirs(Mexico).

    In my opinion, what we need to clean up is the quagmire that is the US immigration system. Why don’t we streamline the application process for a visa, we could quickly and competently conduct a back-ground check to ensure no undesirables are let in and fast track those that are clean. In a matter of mere weeks a person from Mexico could have a visa, a SS#, and an address listed where they plan on living. Get them in the system, paying taxes, and on the path to EARNING US citizenship. My father shared with me his experience of my great-grandmother finally getting her US citizenship, and it changed how I thought about my Grandma Elisabeth. I don’t believe that we should change a thing with the citizenship process, only streamline the application process. The melting pot of America has always been our greatest strength.

    God Bless,
    Cory Fisher

  • Aaron

    A while back I heard a priest give a sermon where he claimed that building walls on borders shows a lack of trust in God. I didn’t get a chance to ask him if that means he never locks his house or car.

    But we have to admit, don’t we, that most of the ones who are here simply made it – they beat the system, its over.

    I don’t think so, but I agree that deporting them shouldn’t be the first order of business. First get the border under control, realistically, with an actual wall, not this virtual wall stuff that somehow never gets built anyway. No, it’ll never stop every single person, but it can stop most. Then enact serious, bankruptcy-threatening penalties on businesses that hire illegals. If you’re caught employing one illegal, it should hurt your pocketbook. If you’re caught with a whole factory full of them, you should be out of business and in jail. That dries up the jobs that are encouraging people to break the law in the first place. Then temporarily offer illegals a different kind of amnesty: a bus ticket home and a bribe if they come forward. (Remember, the border is secure by this point, so they can’t just turn that into a money-producing revolving door.)

    Note that none of that involves punishing illegals or trying to hurt them in any way. I want to give them money! The people I want to punish are the politicians who want more voters, the corporate types who want cheap labor, and the race-mongers who want more supporters. With the jobs disappearing and a monetary inducement to leave, many should leave on their own, and there won’t be 20 million to round up. Besides, if there were just a few, as there surely always have been, it wouldn’t be a problem. It’s the massive numbers, combined with our increasingly exhaustive welfare system, that make things unsustainable.

  • Christine

    I agree with Austin completely. Because of our greed, not enough pressure is placed on the Mexican government to fix their system.

    The corruption and racism, yes racism, in Mexico abounds. The ruling class and rich people who are mainly of European descent don’t care if they lose the Indingenous to the US. These people are considered undesirable to many in Mexico.

    The responsibilities of the Mexican government is never taken into account when we speak about human rights and migration.

    I would love to see a good immigration strategy set into place where we lock the doors, count heads and check criminal records before we let any more people into the country. Our citizens have the right to live safely in a country that does not allow the immigration of criminals.

    Let those already here stay. But after we agree for them to stay, I would like to see a system set up where we would decide how many people we could let into the country each year and give all American people the first look when allowing for immigration. When I say American, I mean people from all of North and South America, not just Mexico. We should help those in the Americas whenever possible and they are usually not Muslim (which is a great bonus, just ask the EU).

    Mexican troops shoot people on site when they cross their southern borders into their country. They are not friendly to migrants who come to their coutnry from poorer countries. We often forget that Mexico has one of the more vibrant economies in the Americas.

    Why is Mexico never made accountable for the way they treat migrants?

  • Pammie

    Having gone through the process many years ago (it took almost SIX years if I remember correctly), I’m not quite sure what has gone awry. It would never have occured to simply arrive and live. And it was a terrible lot of red tape to go through–having to provide police reports from every place one had lived since birth. Having to prove that one would be a productive citizen and having to know more than most natives knew about the US government and history. We thought it was well worth all the trouble, time and expense. United States citizenship was so valuable and we understood the measures to protect the integrity of the process and the country.

    I think it was an American political writer who once called the state we are living in an “anarcho-tyranny” where the government makes ever-more increasingly oppresive rules for the law abiding and lets the law breakers get by with well… breaking the law . Not good, not good, even if a nice Opus Dei Bishop says differently.

  • Anonymous Seminarian

    Dr. Z,

    I agree with everything you’ve written here, and I know one or two…ok, maybe just one…other seminarians who would agree as well. And I would like nothing more than to become ‘part of the solution’ for this problem as well as for the other serious problems mentioned here–with our liturgy, education, and moral requirements.

    But my question is: how? What should your ordinary parish priest do? What should the new Archbishop do? This is a huge problem, and I confess that while I see very simple and practical solutions to fixing the liturgy and the state of Catholic education I have no clue as to how I can help with this.

  • John Zmirak

    A while back I heard a priest give a sermon where he claimed that building walls on borders shows a lack of trust in God. I didn’t get a chance to ask him if that means he never locks his house or car.

    But we have to admit, don’t we, that most of the ones who are here simply made it – they beat the system, its over.

    I don’t think so, but I agree that deporting them shouldn’t be the first order of business. First get the border under control, realistically, with an actual wall, not this virtual wall stuff that somehow never gets built anyway. No, it’ll never stop every single person, but it can stop most. Then enact serious, bankruptcy-threatening penalties on businesses that hire illegals. If you’re caught employing one illegal, it should hurt your pocketbook. If you’re caught with a whole factory full of them, you should be out of business and in jail. That dries up the jobs that are encouraging people to break the law in the first place. Then temporarily offer illegals a different kind of amnesty: a bus ticket home and a bribe if they come forward. (Remember, the border is secure by this point, so they can’t just turn that into a money-producing revolving door.)

    Note that none of that involves punishing illegals or trying to hurt them in any way. I want to give them money! The people I want to punish are the politicians who want more voters, the corporate types who want cheap labor, and the race-mongers who want more supporters. With the jobs disappearing and a monetary inducement to leave, many should leave on their own, and there won’t be 20 million to round up. Besides, if there were just a few, as there surely always have been, it wouldn’t be a problem. It’s the massive numbers, combined with our increasingly exhaustive welfare system, that make things unsustainable.

    I agree entirely. I don’t foresee mass deportations, except of those who committed other crimes (including identity theft). HOWEVER, no amnesty can EVER be granted until the border is locked down tight AND the legal totals of unskilled migrants have been reduced to something like 150,000. Giving up on deportation, and offering amnesty, is the ONLY trump card we have. It is the bargaining leverage. We cannot trade it for anything less than real, effective, ongoing control over the borders AND comprehensive readjustment of how many people we let in, who they are, and why–to match the NEEDS of the American polity, not the greed of corporations and the ambitions of leftist politicians. The last time we agreed to an amnesty, all we got were empty promises of enforcement, and another tidal wave of unskilled workers, even as we outsourced most unskilled jobs to countries like… Mexico.

  • Benito

    The only explantion for the blanket assumptions made here about Mexican immigrants is racism.

    Certainly the tumultuous history Mexico has expereniced in the past 2 centuries has nothing to do with the unjust wars waged against it by its northern neighbor?

  • Julianne Wiley

    John, you have more courage than a dozen of me.

    Plus a valuable — highly valuable —mix of love, outrage and eloquence, each fueling the other.

    I thank God for your readiness to speak up clearly and pay up personally.

  • DWB

    The immigration mess is longstanding and patches won’t fix it.
    While Mexico is the largest contributor of immigrants, legal or illegal, and nobody really knows how many undocumented people are here, one government estimate was that about one-third of the latter were from other countries.
    Does Mexico, with all the problems they have really want California with its massive budget problems. Or Arizona, or New Mexico or Texas? These states and other US territory were wrested from Mexico more than a century ago.
    The US has a big unemployment problem. Are the immigrants, of whatever nation or legality, responsible for the thousands of jobs that have been moved to Asia? Even the US-owned factories along the south side of the US-Mexico border are feeling the pinch of “Made in China”, “Made in Bangladesh”, etc. My Mexico-born neighbor came to this country legally with her family many years ago; when she had completed the naturalization process and was sworn in as an American citizen, with her prized citizenship document, she and others participating in the formal ceremony were given small American Flags…labeled clearly, “Made in China”.
    Early this week I took a disabled American to get her MediCare benefits restored; the process will be delayed until they can see a copy of her $25 US Savings Bond. While we were there, a new Lexus pulled up in front of the government office and a family from India entered with their interpreter who told the receptionist that these recent arrivals were “entitled” to full medical and welfare benefits; their only documentation was new passports.
    There is more than immigration reform needed here.

  • Bob Stone, CM

    John Zmirak: Is American sovereignty a Gospel value or teaching that overrides the long tradition (from Judaism) of “care for the foreigner in your midst,” so well expressed by CCC #2241. I went to Rome to study as a 30-year-old in 1980. My international confreres shot what I thought of American superiority with a couple of holes that have lingered through the years. Your point about the respect the immigrant should have for the country he enters is well taken. I’m now semi-retired (arthritis), and the last parish in which I served had large populations from Vietnam (including the Montagnard, a truly extraordinary people who protected the CIA and the Special Forces during the Vietnam War), Mexico, and people from all over Africa, including some Lost Boys from Sudan, and some refugees from Rwanda. All of these respect the country. The situation of the Mexicans vis-a-vis legal residency is difficult, but not sinful. My experience says that it is more important to care for the stranger than to accuse them of ill will. Where there is manifest ill will (shown by criminal activity), I have no difficulty with our country’s expelling undocumented aliens. But as a Catholic, I am for the alien in our midst, and I believe that as we live the corporal and spiritual works of mercy equally, we become a better people, more in keeping with the more idealistic of our forefathers.

  • Brandon

    When people ask what I think, I usually say that they’re Catholic, their food tastes good, Spanish is a beautiful language…come on over.

    That flippancy usually doesn’t sit well with some folks, but I think we need to keep perspective here. It is a complex issue.

    Enforce the law, yes….but we are talking about people here. I think that gets lost in translation many times in this debate.

  • A Cranky Old Priest

    Without even realizing it, you have just provided a fine example of Mr. Zmirak’s Amazing Catholic BS Generator at work! In your post you take it as a given that concern for American sovereignty and “care for the foreigner in our midst” must be juxtaposed to one another. Then, in a fashion more in keeping with a fundamentalist protestant than with a Catholic priest, you proof-text the Catechism and its scriptural reference, removing it entirely from its context.

    Let me state the obvious: If the “stranger” or “foreigner” in our midst has decided to live here, he is no longer a stranger or foreigner. He is a RESIDENT. If he is here illegally, then he is an ILLEGAL resident. There is no need to impute ill motives to his presence. Objectively, however, the economic effect of his being here illegally — whatever his reasons — along with his 10 to 20 million confreres, is a form of stealing. This, you say is difficult, but not sinful. I heartily disagree.

    I am what is euphemistically referred to as a “late vocation” priest. Having lived and worked in the world for many years before being ordained I notice that, among my brother priests, those who have the least experience with what it is to be truly financially strapped are consistently the ones who feel the greatest obligation to be generous with other people’s money.

    Truth be told, at least in America, most of us who are priests have not had to worry seriously about how to pay bills since the day we entered the seminary. While we report a modest income — maybe 25-30K a year in my part of the country — most everything is paid for or furnished by our parishes. I really can’t think of many daily necessities that we have to provide for out of our own pockets. We may have to pay our own premiums for health and auto insurance, but we are on diocesan plans, and pay very reasonable premiums. Do we ever consider what an average family must earn to have that kind of discretionary income?

    I love being a priest more than words can say, but having said that I must also say that many of us are utterly clueless. If it seems obvious to many priests and bishops that the U.S. should adopt an attitude of “the more the merrier” with regard to illegal immigration, perhaps it is because, for all practical purposes, we priests essentially live on welfare ourselves; and very generous welfare it is! We do our ministries and love our people . . . and the paycheck is always there for us on the first of the month. Many in our flocks, however, live with much more uncertainty.

    Perhaps priests and bishops would be less likely to crank up the BS Generator about immigration if we actually took a look at the work that is required of our parishioners to provide for us as they do. Not a few of them are already angry at what they perceive as a clerical sense of entitlement. (And in many cases they’re right!) That situation is not helped when we stand in the pulpit and further extend the entitlement to illegal aliens, especially when we essentially beatify them with pious titles like “strangers,” “pilgrims,” and “sojourners” in our midst.

    Mr. Zmirak, thank you for another exceptional and thought-provoking article. God bless you and yours!

  • Arturo Vasquez

    “Conservative” Catholics becoming indignant over the influx of predominantly Catholic immigrants from Latin America seems like screaming into an echo chamber. After all, it is a pretty well-established fact that the only thing holding up the Church in this country demographically are immigrants (though that doesn’t really express all of the complexities of Latin American religiosity… again, it is a complex issue). Look at it this way, you could either have an influx of Catholic immigrants who are “breaking the law” by offering to cut lawns outside of Home Depot, or you could swap for the immigrant populations of Europe who are hanging out at the mosque and stewing in the ghettos. Meanwhile, the Church in Europe demographically implodes. Pick your poison.

    And I would rather be in church whose Catholicism resembles what Catholicism has always looked like, with processions, Passion plays, and weird devotions. Where people don’t just want to have 2.3 kids and sing Kumbaya. Where suburban moms don’t drive the newest cars while voting for the rubber-hose Right that thinks waterboarding is the latest full contact sport. But we all have to get along, and we all have to make sacrifices.

  • Nathaniel

    Enforce the law, yes….but we are talking about people here. I think that gets lost in translation many times in this debate.

    Are we treating immigrants like people when we take in huge numbers of them for our profit without any concern about the effects on their culture and ours? Is it so very benevolent of us to let them all in to do the labor(at unjust wages)that we find either too hard or morally degrading?

  • Mena

    I admit I don’t know, so could someone please guide me to all the open-border countries around the world so I can begin to study how they do things? We could use some “best practices” information to help the US stop being so backwards.

    I look forward to advice here. I think we bigoted Americans can learn a lot from all the other non-racial, multiethnic societies with open borders around the world. They are so advanced. We’ll eventually catch up some day.

    Answers anyone? Which countries are the open border countries? Anyone?

  • georgie-ann

    every position has a blind side,…the brotherly-sisterly bond between Mexicans as a group is very real and mutually supportive in a good way,…and in a bad way,…

    we work hard and band together strongly,…but, maybe we also are unreasonable, and expect too much,…

    on the other hand, national self-protective laws are necessary to regulate commonsense practical matters, but also give someone an “excuse” to look down their nose at those “less deserving others,”…

    this is a very painful situation from any point of view taken,…i can only pray for God to help us work it out without becoming monsters,…

  • A Cranky Old Priest

    Mena, I’m sure there are others but Pakistan, Waziristan and Afghanistan immediately come to mind.

  • Brandon

    …They make much more money in America than they ever would in Mexico, doing essentially the same type of work they would be doing in Mexico. By American Standards it is “exploitation” but in Mexico or a Third World country, 2 dollars an hour (for example) is a princely sum. Do I support defrauding or ripping off a wage earner? No…it is one of the sins crying to Heaven for Vengeance…but some context is needed here. If they didn’t come to America, what would they be doing in Mexico?

    That is what it boils down to, really.

    They come here because they can make it better here. Do you blame them?

    What would you have them do?

  • Stan Gwizdak

    As you will see by my last name, my ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower. They became citizens legally through the process available at the time (before and during WWI). I am all for legal immigration and totally against illegal immigration – as is American law – currently ignored by most of the U.S. Government.

    Business sees cheap labor and the socialists, otherwise known as Democrats, see a new constituency to buy off with handouts and a new group to set against other groups thereby perpetuating “class struggle” that all leftist governments need to sustain themselves. A pox on both their houses.

    This country is on the verge of cultural, economic and moral implosion. Once that happens, who will help anybody? France? The UN? Venezuela or Brazil? NOBODY. America still is the indispensable nation with compassion far exceeding all the other nations of the world combined. Compassion will die along with national suicide and there will be days in this country and around the world not seen since before the Flood.

    We serve no man well by killing ourselves. We are killing ourselves with depravity, distortion of what law is and profligate, irresponsible spending that is unsustainable for any nation. Morality? Personal and collective suicide is immoral. Ain’t nobody talking about that.

  • Stephen Wise

    The day is coming in the not too distant future when Americans will flee the U.S., for any place that will take them — including Mexico.

    Hopefully on that day, the Mexicans will be more Christian toward Americans, than their (Christian Conservative) American brethren were with them.

  • Micha Elyi

    For many years, we in the US, have allowed the wealthy oligarchy who rules Mexico to dump poor and disaffected people on the United States and thus avoid any real reform in Mexico.

    “We”? Nope. Maybe you signed the permission slips that allowed all that, Austin. I didn’t. I wasn’t even asked.

    (I don’t think ‘allowed’ means what you think it means, Austin.) [smiley=laugh]

  • Micha Elyi

    The only explantion for the blanket assumptions made here about Mexican immigrants is racism.

    I disagree with you and Arturo, Benito. I even disagree with your premises – the “blanket assumptions” that you mention so casually but fail to list simply don’t exist.

    Certainly the tumultuous history Mexico has expereniced in the past 2 centuries has nothing to do with the unjust wars waged against it by its northern neighbor?

    I disagree that the U.S. waged any “unjust wars” against Mexico. Nor was the Mexican-American war any more significant to Mexico’s problems today than the War of 1812 and the British burning of Washington, D.C. can be held out as the reason the U.S. hasn’t established cities on the moon.

    Often forgotten is that in the early history of the U.S.A and U.S.M the two countries were similar in terms of national wealth and earnings from foreign trade. Also forgotten or ignored is the role of the anti-Catholicism of Mexico’s own leaders. Mexico’s history has mostly been made by Mexicans. They should have kept that Austrian archduke Maximillian on as Emperor instead of killing him.

  • Austin

    Micha, No I never signed any “permission slip.” I think what happened here is our own Federal Government refused to enforce immigration laws and secure the border, often due to pressure from American fatcats who wanted cheap labor. That cheap labor is not just agricultural workers, but maids, nannies, you name it. Liberal politicians wanted to flood the US with Latinos to ensure more votes. Working class Americans got the shaft however, and often illegal immigrants were taken advantage of due to their willingness to work for low wages and inability to protest poor treatment due to their illegal status.

    The wealthy ruling oligarchy of Mexico does not want to reform their economy, laws, etc for a better society for everyone. They want to keep their privlidged status and keep dumping their poor on the US. The bet way to deal with illegal immigration is to force Mexico to take better care of its own people. If things are better in Mexico, much of the pressure will be off to go to the US.

    By the way, what ever happened with NAFTA? I thought that NAFTA was going to make things better in Mexico, create jobs in Mexico, etc. This did not seem to happen. I think our own ruling elite sold us a bill of goods here. NAFTA has only made things worse for everyone, except of course, the ruling elites in both the US and Mexico.

  • I amn ot Spartacus

    I think it was an American political writer who once called the state we are living in an “anarcho-tyranny”

    That was the great Sam Francis

  • I am not Spartacus
  • I am not Spartacus
  • I am not Spartacus
  • I am not Spartacus
  • Earl Gough

    [smiley=think]
    Years ago I spoke on a platform with Congressman Bob Dornan (B1-Bob) where he outlined the connections between the IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation) activities on voter registration of illegal immigrants through the churches for IAF’s own unAmerican political agenda. Not only was (is) their agenda unAmerican, but they clearly worked against candidates who upheld the Catholic Church’s (and basic Judeo-Christianity’s) pro-life and other positions. In doing so, they repeatedly replaced conservative pro-life legislators with radical leftists. Thus, the defeat of B1-Bob.

    The IAF is the child of the radical socialist and community organizer, Saul Alynski. Hmmm! And they are associated with the illegal voter registration and other immoral activities of ACORN. (Was it in Hosea where it was said that we are destroyed for a lack of knowledge?)

    The L.A. Times loosely mentioned Gomez’s working with the Industrial Areas Foundation, but they were not specific about the activities. Perhaps he was helping legal immigrants obtain housing? Perhaps he does not understand the evil agenda of the IAF? (Most Americans are in the dark and too complacent to care.)

    I would think that Fr. Gomez’s formation through Opus Dei would have prepared him to openly consider these issues and if there is a problem with IAF, that lemonade will be made from lemons.

  • I amnot Spartacus

    Whitey Racist, why do you hate Mexicans so much?

    Seriously, this is one of your best columns ever. OK, maybe that is not accurate. Both in here and at Taki Mag you have posted at least five (that I can remember) fantastic pieces on Immigration and every single one of them is fully in line with Catholic Doctrine and legitimate American Patriotism

    I did not want to take the focus off of this fantastic piece but I did post a few links substantiating that while yours is a minority view (making those who disagree with you intellectual racists)it is fully in keeping with rational Catholic thought.

    I live in Florida where I see the results of our politicians electing a new people;

    Bertolt Brecht’s:

    The Solution

    After the uprising of the 17th June
    The Secretary of the Writers Union
    Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
    Stating that the people
    Had forfeited the confidence of the government
    And could win it back only
    By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
    In that case for the government
    To dissolve the people
    And elect another?

    Roger McGrath I

  • R.C.

    One can’t deny that there are bigoted persons, and even racist persons, involved in the vociferous opposition to illegal immigration.

    In fact, such persons might even — I know it’s a stretch, but I think it’s possible — account for as much as 1% of that opposition.

    Very discreditable.

    But what of the remainder? When those who don’t harbor dark opposition to Mexicans on a purely racial basis express vociferous opposition to illegal immigration, what are the motivating factors?

    I wrote a post on that topic some time ago. I’ll re-post it here in a little while.

  • Susan

    Why not simply oppose the welfare state that *requires us* to oppose the immigrant? Were we able to offer a society in which everyone pulled his own weight, I would have no problems flinging the gates open for the whole world.

    This is what makes the USCCB support of the Health Care Bill (despite their feigned protest) so obscene – they have put into place a perpetual leftist machine.

    That actually *undercuts* the Church’s ability to be a charitable institution in its own right.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Were we able to offer a society in which everyone pulled his own weight, I would have no problems flinging the gates open for the whole world.

    Does America have a right to exist?

    If we did what you would have no problem accepting, America would cease to exist

  • Susan
  • Bob Stone, CM

    To my dear brother, on this matter we have a clear difference of point of view. Both probably fall into the zone of opinions. I apologize if I seemed overly dogmatic. I came to formation at the ripe age of 14, so I have spent almost 46 years of my life in the clerical environment. I now live in the assisted-living section of our provincial house, doing a little pastoral, musical, and secretarial work to make some small contribution for my care.

    That being said and confessed, all the immigrants I know face the same struggles you speak of in your life before priesthood. The Montagnard, who arrived here with both papers and benefits thanks to the good offices of the Special Forces and the CIA, suffer greatly because their low-rung jobs in North Carolina (in tobacco, furniture, and agriculture) have dried up. Mexican families, with and without papers, are torn between staying here while making nothing and returning home where the wars of the drug cartels are more serious than we can imagine. This is my experience. If it is worthless or worth less, so be it. I read Catholic teaching through this experience. I leave it to others to assess its value. For this reason I enter the dialogue.

  • I am not Spartacus

    In Catholic teaching, the right to migrate is among the most basic human rights. It’s very close to the right to life. Why? Because God has created the good things of this world to be shared by all men and women — not just a privileged few.

    Imagine 10,000 Muslims setting-up camp in St. Peter’s Square and hearing their Chief Imam, speaking through a Bull Horn, read this statement to the Press.

    Or imagine that Imam reading some of the more unfortunate immigration statements of Pope John Paul II.

    Were that to happen, I imagine we Catholics would experience a rapid development of Doctrine.

  • Baron Korf

    “Conservative” Catholics becoming indignant over the influx of predominantly Catholic immigrants from Latin America seems like screaming into an echo chamber. After all, it is a pretty well-established fact that the only thing holding up the Church in this country demographically are immigrants (though that doesn’t really express all of the complexities of Latin American religiosity… again, it is a complex issue). Look at it this way, you could either have an influx of Catholic immigrants who are “breaking the law” by offering to cut lawns outside of Home Depot, or you could swap for the immigrant populations of Europe who are hanging out at the mosque and stewing in the ghettos. Meanwhile, the Church in Europe demographically implodes. Pick your poison.

    Art, that doesn’t address the question at hand. The law that John is concerned with is entering our country without permission or notice. That helps no one. Those who came here illegally are truly the ones without a home. They aren’t protected by our laws because they are wanted by our laws. So they can be exploited and used and everyone loses excuse the ones who use them.

    Jesse Romero has commented that this system, especially in California, is very damaging to the souls of the immigrants. In particular when they come here individually rather than with their families. Now my church here in Houston has a large number of good devout Hispanics, but I also know a lot of them that abandon that faith and go to Pentecostal or (shudder) Lakewood. I don’t think that in practice John is that far off.

    From what I understand, the hardest part about entering the USA legally is getting the proper paper work from the Mexican Government. Now granted we helped screw them up by backing the likes of Benito Ju

  • Brandon

    And this seems to be the unanswered question….

    What would you have them do?

    Staying in Mexico means poverty and likely death. Going to America means life…for the Mexican Peasant (and I don’t use that term in a demeaning way) the choice is quite simple.

  • Austin

    Most illegal immigrants are good, hard working people, but there is a significant minority who are criminals. The gang MS-13 is comprised of illegal immigrants from Central America and this gang has committed hundreds of murders all over the US.
    In Los Angeles, something like one third of violent crimes are committed by illegal aliens. This is a serious problem, and whenever someone tries to address it, they are accused of “racism” and other such nonsense. The citizens of the US have a right to be protected from criminals, and when those criminals are here illegally, this is a total failure of the US Government to ensure that we, the citizens are being protected from criminals who come here to prey on us.

    A friend of mine was involved in an accident, where he believes some illegal aliens from Jamaica, ran a light in a stolen car, broadsided him, and then vanished. The police officers said that there was basically nothing they oould do. So my friend was on his own, with his own insurance, etc. This is by no means unusual.

    The “Open Borders” folks try to brush this stuff aside, but it happens and it is a problem.

  • Daniel Latinus

    The day is coming in the not too distant future when Americans will flee the U.S., for any place that will take them — including Mexico.

    Hopefully on that day, the Mexicans will be more Christian toward Americans, than their (Christian Conservative) American brethren were with them.

    I have no doubt, that when that day comes, the Mexican government will put up barbed fences, plant land mines, and establish free-fire zones. And they will make no distinction between their former countrymen attempting to return home and the Anglos.

    Mexico presently has draconian immigration laws, much stricter than US laws. (Illegal immigrants into Mexico have complained of bad treatment by Mexican authorities.) Mexico’s naturalization process is also very strict. I am also told non-citizens in Mexico cannot acquire property in the country.

  • Christine

    Regardless of whether you think illegal immigration is just or not, you have to feel bad for the pawns in the game: You, me and the illegal immigrants.

    I can’t afford to hire help to clean my house and tend to my garden, yet those that do hire illegals. I don’t own a business or corporate farm, I don’t hire illegals.

    The Mexicans are made the underclass in this country and it serves the rich well (Ever wonder who works the fields at Nancy Pelosi’s winery?). Amnesty failed in 1986 because no controls were placed upon future immigration, so wages went down for EVERYONE.

    Illegals don’t have a voice and yet they are forced into underclass status. Those that support the system as it stands support racial servitude vis a vis an undocumented underclass. That sounds very racist to me.

    Meanwhile the racist white oligarchs in Mexico thank us for taking their undesirables. How many servants could they possibly need?

    I have family in Mexico who are rich and they and their friends say very unkind things about the dark-skinned indiginous.

    I always find these arguments where Mexican Americans chime in and blame Americans for being racists amusing. If they were to go to Mexico and live, they probably be sent to the back door of finer establishments because of the color of their skin or the “indian-ness” of their features. They would be treated badly precisely because of the station in life the color of their skin afforded them. Mexico is a very racist country in comparison to the US.

    Yet Americans in their eyes are the racists.

  • John Zmirak

    The Montagnard, who arrived here with both papers and benefits thanks to the good offices of the Special Forces and the CIA, suffer greatly because their low-rung jobs in North Carolina (in tobacco, furniture, and agriculture) have dried up.

    Morally, we are certainly obliged to make exceptions to our immigration policy for the sake of groups who either aided our foreign policy (however at times misguided) or who were the innocent victims of our own foreign activism. So I would cheerfully accept the Montagnards, South Vietnamese, Iraqi Christians, and Serbs from Kosovo. That’s just the price of Empire. Likewise, I would have supported offering TEMPORARY refuge, if they had no other option, to every Rwandan Tutsi. But when we accept unskilled refugees for permanent residence, we need to cut the totals accepted for other reasons, to keep a stable and prudent number of such entrants into the U.S. Otherwise, we’re being unfair to the less-educated, lower-skilled Americans who come of age every year, who need to form families and make a living.

    The key to this whole argument is not that we have NO human obligations to distant foreigners, but that we have GREATER obligations to our countrymen, who have obeyed our laws, whose ancestors have paid taxes and fought in our wars. We MAY not neglect those greater obligations for a lesser–just as a mother may not deprive her children of milk to send milk to foreign children, even if the latter are objectively in greater need.

  • Austin

    American citizens are being sold out by our own government in many ways: open borders, which provide cheap labor and hold down wages, which of course, helps the wealthy oligarchy both in the US and Mexico, a foreign policy which benefits Israel, and hurts the US, courtesy of AIPAC and the whores in Congress.
    I could go on and on. The bottom line is, the primary responsibility of the United States Government is to the American people, not to Mexico, not to Israel or any other people. We can no longer afford to assume the problems of the entire world and it is long past due that our so called “leadership” grasp this simple fact.

  • Samuel-TMC

    I would like to hear your positions on the Iraq War and the dropping of the atomic bombs someday. I have not heard a convincing counterargument against their having been used.

    Great article Dr. Zmirak!

  • benito

    To whom do we have the greater duty? The atheist who blasphemes our God, but is a fellow countryman? Or the illegal immigrant who is our brother in Christ by virtue of his baptism?

    Or to phrase the question another way: Which is more important, the First commandment or the Fourth?

  • Ryan Haber

    I am going to go through and try just to enumerate a few basic principles, because my mind is getting clouded by the complexity of the reality. I think I will skip on drawing conclusions as of yet.

    (1) As Catholics, we must admit that our only true citizenship is in heaven.

    (2) The biblically enjoined obligation to care for the stranger, widow, and orphan in our midst is not a proof text, but rather a leit motif throughout the Torah and the Prophets. It is, however, more complex than just “be nice to the poor,” because there is legitimate question about who constitutes, and the best way to care for, vulnerable persons.

    (3) The nation among which we reside has the right to control its borders, particularly for the sake of ensuring the safety of its national citizens.

    (4) Oligarchs in the US and in Mexico both have a vested interest in keeping the border porous – it obviates the need for structural reform in Mexico and keeps costs low and profits high in the service industry.

    (5) The middle class in both the US and Mexico benefit from this arrangement as well – at least at the supermarket checkout line.

    (6) Our “social safety net” is overgrown – not just with immigrants – but period.

    (7) Immigrants have always brought hard work and vitality to this country.

    (smilies/cool.gif The “social safety net,” originally intended for those who cannot (through disability or economic downtown) work, has become a great big economic-status-quo-and-personal-laziness enabling machine.

    (9) There is something hypocritical about an immigrant nation denying entry to hard-working, law-abiding newcomers from joining them.

    (10) Resident guests who violate hospitality through criminality certainly forfeit the hospitality they had enjoyed.

    (11) What is owed in charity (to help the poor whose plight one has not caused) is not owed in justice.

    (12) What is owed in justice cannot rightly be refused (except for genuine inability to cough up) and should not be dressed up as charity.

    (13) Mass deportations are not practically or legally tolerable unless we are willing to turn the US into a police state, complete with some sort of compulsory identification system. Economically such measures remain infeasible because of (a) the cost to do so; (b) the economic vacuum created thereby. Under any circumstances, mass deportations have always caused tremendous loss of life, and so are morally troublesome under even ideal circumstances.

    (14) Faith in God requires us to believe that whatever happens falls within His providence, and so frees us from fear and anxiety, and allows us to engage in public discourse civilly and without vitriol. (So we should: what kind of a witness do a hundred thousand ranter give to Christ?) Faith frees us from getting swept up in fads and the power games of the powers that be. Faith allows us to do the right thing, to follow the will of God, wherever it lead. Faith simplifies and calms our hearts.

    (15) Oftentimes, a solution to a conundrum can be found by stepping outside the pre-drawn parameters of the problem.

    (16) It does seem cheeky for men (here I mean clergy, and I am not anticlericalist) who live on my charity to support the government’s efforts to relieve me of more of my income.

    (17) I’ve never studied it, but dollars-to-doughnuts tithing has decreased in this country in a manner inversely proportional to the increase in taxation over the last century. Clergy who push for programs that will increase spending are biting the hand that feeds them.

    (1smilies/cool.gif People coming to this country aren’t a nameless, faceless mob, but lots and lots of individuals, just as my grandparents are.

    More and more, I think we need to re-visit the whole topic through Cross-eyes: see things in light of the Cross and Resurrection, rather than in light of sheerly transitory, temporal concerns; see things with a willingness to sacrifice and be patient; see things with a concern for the genuine well-being of foreigners, our own families, and all involved.

    Just some thoughts.

  • Brandon

    What would you have them do?

    It is quite easy for us to say “Send Em Back.” This problem will continue unless we look at some other factors here.

    They are downtrodden and beaten and see a chance to make things at least a little better over here in America. Reforming the Mexican government is a flippant and entirely unfeasible answer…Mexico has been dysfunctional since the days of Cortez…they didn’t have the luxury of Common Law or being plugged into the British Trade system like we did. The Hacienda system, Santa Anna, Maximilian, Juarez, Porfirio Diaz, the PRI…Their founding and early history wasn’t as rosy as ours was and I think the myopic and idiotic view that everything would be ok in foreign lands if they were more like us has contributed to American ignorance about the world at large. In short, Mexico will be Mexico…the Caudillo, Corruption and Holy Mother Church have been the only constants in Mexican and Latin American History.

    With that in mind, the question returns…

    What would you have them do?

  • Mike in KC, MO

    Best explanation of the immigration issue I’ve seen yet:

    http://www.fredoneverything.net/TacImmigration.shtml

  • George

    This was a very interesting article, as usual, from Mr. Zmirak, but far too jaundiced. I read through the comments and see that Arturo Vasquez is rightfully indignant (and well he should be) and Benito as well. Mr. Zmirak, what do you think of the San Patricios, the Irish U.S. Army Brigade, who

  • George

    Yes, I think Mexicans entering the United States to work should be required to learn English. And I think we English-speaking Americans should have Spanish in our schools as a mandatory language to be learned. But what if, out of desperation, they cross the border illegally, taking some minimum wage job in order to feed their children? Did you ever think that maybe their poverty back home made it impossible for them to take classes in English beforehand? Did you ever think that maybe they just assumed that some Mexican American business would hire them and that their children would pick up the new language more easily, as children do. Perhaps, too, they were afraid that if they went through the legal process they

  • Linda June

    The day is coming in the not too distant future when Americans will flee the U.S., for any place that will take them — including Mexico.

    Hopefully on that day, the Mexicans will be more Christian toward Americans, than their (Christian Conservative) American brethren were with them.

    Hear, hear, Stephen. While I respect the opinions on this post, I can see that most commentors, (and, alas, even the author) have too little understanding of their government and what it has dumped down the pipe for us in these last days of the American Empire.

    They should all pick up a copy of G. Eward Griffin’s important book, The Creature From Jekyll Island , and read it tomorrow. True understanding of the monetary system is the beginning of all wisdom, one might say.

    Until and unless the so-called “government” returns us to a Constitutional monetary system, ie., gold and silver, the problems of illegal immigration, the ever-expanding cesspool of institutional corruption, the spiritual poverty, the welfare state, false-flag terror attacks and the disengenuos wars of aggression that follow, the growth of police-state tactics and everything else will continue apace, even accelerate.

    Are we sure the promise to build a border fence is for keeping los migros out? Could it be for keeping us in, instead?

  • Linda June

    (13) Mass deportations are not practically or legally tolerable unless we are willing to turn the US into a police state, complete with some sort of compulsory identification system.

    If one became concerned that the illegal immigration problem was maybe a contrived and carefully developed front effort for a more insidious and hidden goal, one might consider that compulsory identification for native and naturalized citizens (like the REAL ID Act) was that goal. The perceived need for mass deportations, if one became overly concerned about motives, could be the front effort for moving all political and religious undesirables to work prisons (like the ones being built by Kellog, Brown and Root on military bases).

    Naw. That can’t happen to us.

  • Daniel Latinus

    First, the Mexicans should not have to take it on the chin for illegal immigration. We have illegal immigration problems with Poles, other East Europeans, Irish, and Indians. Whether one walks acrosss the Rio Grande or overstays a tourist visa, and whether the person who does this comes from Latin America, Asia, or Europe is irrelevant. And all of them should be treated the same way.

    Second, it is by no means an indisputable truth that the Mexican War was a “war of aggression.” The account I read suggests that Mexico was goaded into war with the US by Britain and France.

    And finally, what is going to happen when there are not enough jobs for unskilled labor to do? The number of jobs for unskilled labor is going to get smaller and smaller as the years go by. Prohibiting automation is not a viable option.

  • George

    Just a note. Wish I had the source at hand to cite, but I don’t. Of all people, Ulysses Grant, who was as anti-Catholic as he was anti-Indian (outlawed Catholic priests from his Indian reservations for one thing), said that the Civil War was a punishment on the U.S. for its unjust war against Mexico.

  • Bob Stone, CM

    To John Zmirak, do we not read in Matthew, “Love your countrymen and hate your enemies. But I say to you: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you …?” I think that your delineation of duties does not take into account the sweeping breadth of this New Testament teaching. Granted, in more than one place St. Paul reminds his readers to obey the emperor. My friends from Brazil have told me on more than one occasion that our “America First” attitude is repugnant to them precisely because it fails to place God first and all His people second with distinction.

  • georgie-ann

    what if these were actually “the Last Days?”,…and what if we were being tested on our charity and willingness to share with those who were being “brought in at the last hour?”,…as in the Parable of the laborers who were hired to work in the vineyard at different times in the day, but at the end ALL received a full day’s wage?,…

    do we really know?,…i don’t,…and i DO respect the idea of quotas, and no-criminals, and trying to make things fair, balanced, and manageable,…but it appears to be a very difficult thing to accomplish, from the human capability standpoint,…

  • Sarah

    It looks like the border states have had enough with the Fed incompetence and have taken to local enforcement. Headlines at ConservativeStates.com are saying that Arizona is ending illegal immigration.

    Bet Texas and New Mexico and others will follow. It’s their backyard, and they are drowning in the problem of having millions of illegals entering their territories. I suspect the states have no choice but to act against the crisis.

  • John Zmirak

    The sentiments of generosity which many have expressed toward the less fortunate are praiseworthy… so long as they indicate a personal commitment to help individuals. Each of us is called to promote justice in society, and practice mercy individually. However, we have no right to FORCE mercy on our neighbors. In fact, when it violates justice, it’s a sin. No one has made an argument that we are obliged under justice to open our borders. I have demonstrated conclusively that to do so threatens civic chaos, and violates the just claims of many Americans, to whom we owe a greater duty than to strangers. Any Catholic who wishes to practice mercy toward foreign citizens can look up Catholic Relief Services and send a check. I encourage everyone to do so. If you want to sponsor an immigrant (which means you agree that if he becomes a public charge, you will support him personally) should do so… and pay for his health insurance. Practicing “mercy” politically by dumping responsibilities on strangers who never agreed to it–who indeed indicated otherwise by voting in legislators who set immigration totals and restrictions that are being flouted–is a form of “cheap grace” akin to stealing someone else’s checkbook to give money to charity.

  • George

    Sometimes the children pay for the sins of the parents. It was only 160 years ago when the original “theft” took place. The thieves who started the war had the bigger guns. Solution? Sponsor an immigrant? I have no solution and I cannot afford to sponsor an immigrant. If the Mexicans had bigger guns back in 1846, the Anglos in the southwest would be the immigrants today. My point is that we ought to be concerned more about the causes not effects. Let’s focus on the bigger criminals who are here legally — the ones who hate this country more than any Mexican, the ones who hate Christianity. The ones who are killing the souls (and bodies) of our people with the drugs of pornography, abortifacients, and sex-ed and the consequent sin of abortion. I speak of Hollywood and the entertainment industry and the narco moguls. I speak of Communists, if not card carrying, sympathizers. I speak of anti-Communists who are moral libertines and cry “freedom,” “rights,” for every perversity. The Mexicans are not on the top of this list.

  • I am not Spartacus

    America remains eternally guilty for war with Mexico.
    Mexicans want to come here.
    Mexicans don’t recognise our border.
    Bible teaches open borders, apparently.
    Americans are Anglos or Gringos.

    There really is almost no will to defend America and insist it has a right to survival.

    There are about nine men in America who will reference Blood and Soil, Kith and Kin. Most of the others are engaged in worrying about what other countries think of us or how we must change to accommodate Mexico’s Will.

    America has already abandoned its will to survive.

  • georgie-ann

    i favor quotas,…i favor keeping criminals out and/or sending them back,…i favor ending drug trafficking and human trafficking,…i favor having educational requirements and quotas,…it seems like commonsense,…

    but what good does this do for me in actuality?,…how can i personally control, and “feel obligated” to personally resent, those whom “the powers that be” have not controlled?

    so, in my daily life, i will eventually meet a very nice person, even a sincere Catholic person, even in my own Church,…my education happened to involve a good deal of foreign language study, and i am equipped by training to be able to communicate in a simple, basic way with this person,…in this instance, one on one, i feel obligated to be a kind and friendly personal witness to this “foreigner” in my land,…(i’ve been on the “visitor” end of this polarity in my life, as well,…and i know how difficult it can be),…

    the happening-dynamics of these things seem to be “way out of my control,”…and i do not wish to become a nasty and resentful, cold-shouldered type of individual, when it comes to living my daily life,…then, i wouldn’t even be able to like myself–let alone others,…

    so, i pray,…

    whose job is this anyway?,…

  • John Zmira

    Sometimes the children pay for the sins of the parents. It was only 160 years ago when the original “theft” took place. The thieves who started the war had the bigger guns. Solution? Sponsor an immigrant? I have no solution and I cannot afford to sponsor an immigrant. If the Mexicans had bigger guns back in 1846, the Anglos in the southwest would be the immigrants today. My point is that we ought to be concerned more about the causes not effects. Let’s focus on the bigger criminals who are here legally — the ones who hate this country more than any Mexican, the ones who hate Christianity. The ones who are killing the souls (and bodies) of our people with the drugs of pornography, abortifacients, and sex-ed and the consequent sin of abortion. I speak of Hollywood and the entertainment industry and the narco moguls. I speak of Communists, if not card carrying, sympathizers. I speak of anti-Communists who are moral libertines and cry “freedom,” “rights,” for every perversity. The Mexicans are not on the top of this list.

    George, stop being silly. The world is FULL of borders that were settled by force of arms (for instance, our border with Canada). In the absence of major persecution, the Church has always encouraged the recognition of faits accompli for the sake of peace and order–which is why she recognized the Hanover dynasty and negotiated with it, instead of insisting on the Stuarts.
    Why choose one war, the Mexican-American–which entailed the conquest of mostly empty territory from an anti-clerical regime which had seceded from the Catholic kingdom of Spain, which in the first place had brutally conquered Mexico from Indians–and arbitrarily pick one moment…the Mexican republic…as the moment when eternal legitimacy magically descended from heaven. Plenty of Mexicans don’t accept the Treaty? Too bad. If they want to change it, they should do so honestly, by declaring war. If what they really intend to do by sneaking in is to conduct a war by other means, that’s good to know. All the more reason for turning the border fence into an actual wall, with soldiers.

    However, I really don’t think the guys mowing lawns in LA have any such intention, in the main. “Reconquista” is limited to racist leftist fanatics–and anti-Protestant bigots who pretend that only Catholic regimes (VERY loosely defined…see Santa Anna) have the right to control territory, and any area once populated (however thinly) by Catholics, must be ours forever. That’s not Catholic doctrine. It’s more like an adaptation of the Islamic notion of Dar-Al-Islam and Jihad. As Jack Nicholson once said, “Go sell Crazy somewhere else. We’re all stocked up here.”

  • John Zmira
  • John Zmira
  • Pammie

    Dr. Z wrote what I was thinking. All those who feel so strongly about this issue can very well take action on behalf of the illegal immigrant by sponsorship. If that doesn’t seem feasible by reason of personal finances, then multiply that by 20 million and perhaps the penny will drop at last. How does it help poor people by allowing them to overwhelm the resources of others? SOMEONE will have to pay the price and that someone will be the increasingly put upon American taxpayer….you and you and you. If you can not afford it, what makes you think others can? What Catholic principle gives one the right to demand of others what one cannot give?
    Giving one’s personal resources away to the point of destitution is a praiseworthy and personal decison one may choose to make. One may not demand it of others.

  • Ryan Haber

    If one became concerned that the illegal immigration problem was maybe a contrived and carefully developed front effort for a more insidious and hidden goal, one might consider that compulsory identification for native and naturalized citizens (like the REAL ID Act) was that goal.

    It had occured to me that a number of our many wars (against drugs, immigration, terror, obesity, whatever) are either contrived from the start or else being manipulated. I hadn’t connected in my mind with the REAL ID Act yet, but yeah, it makes some good sense. It might be just the way to get otherwise liberterian-leaning folks to buy into it.

  • Andrew C.

    George:

    Mass immigration from Mexico only plays into the hands of our enemies. They are new fodder for the cults of modernism and the machinations of oligarchs.

    what if these were actually “the Last Days?”,…and what if we were being tested on our charity and willingness to share with those who were being “brought in at the last hour?”,…as in the Parable of the laborers who were hired to work in the vineyard at different times in the day, but at the end ALL received a full day’s wage?,…

    I don’t think that the “Last Days” would require us, as a nation to accept mass immigration, as it is wrong now and so would be wrong and even worse, perhaps, then. The mass migrations of people only causes upheaval, and so would probably hasten or a be a sign of the “End Times.”

    do we really know?,…i don’t,…and i DO respect the idea of quotas, and no-criminals, and trying to make things fair, balanced, and manageable,…but it appears to be a very difficult thing to accomplish, from the human capability standpoint,…

    Like Mexico, the United States has both the wealth and power necessary to fix its problems. What both countries lack is the will to do it. As John pointed out, Mexico is very successful in controlling its southern borders. Granted, we have a much larger border, but the money required for an effective wall or fence is a drop in the bucket. And that alone would probably go most of the way towards fixing the problem.

    To John Zmirak, do we not read in Matthew, “Love your countrymen and hate your enemies. But I say to you: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you …?” I think that your delineation of duties does not take into account the sweeping breadth of this New Testament teaching. Granted, in more than one place St. Paul reminds his readers to obey the emperor. My friends from Brazil have told me on more than one occasion that our “America First” attitude is repugnant to them precisely because it fails to place God first and all His people second with distinction.

    Bob, I think the point is that we do serve God first, and sometimes that means giving your own child food, clothing, education, and assistance first, before and instead of some stranger. After that we have neighbors and fellow citizens and lastly everyone else (there’s some hierarchy in that category, too, obviously). You can’t ignore all the other teachings of the Church and of Christ that clearly tell us we care for those closest to us first, as that is where our obligations lie.

    As for Bible verses, you should probably stop using them if you don’t understand them. Anyone can just throw out a Bible verse and claim that it supports their position. What If we disagree? How do we know what if it applies? Well, the Church has the authority to convey the true meaning and She does not support that interpretation. Also, Christ is telling individuals to love their enemies and be kind to strangers. Does “turn the other cheek” mean we let it pass If someone shoots us and steals our car? No, it doesn’t, because we have a right and a duty to protect our lives and our property, especially if others (family, citizenry, etc) are dependent on us.

    If mass immigration hurts our country and violates our laws, we have a duty (read: moral responsibility) to prevent it happening. What other laws will you strike down? Should the impoverished thieves be allowed to steal with impunity in the name of “charity” or “loving they enemy”? Obviously not, or do you disagree? One can justify striking down plenty of laws with your Bible quote.

  • Brandon

    What would you have them do?

  • Ryan Haber

    I agree heartily that:

    (1) America has a right to defend its national integrity, which for us means primarily territorial extension and national culture, since we are not an ethnically-defined nation.

    I will note that national culture is not “American” precisely because we are not an ethnicity; rather, national culture for us is more about shared convictions regarding public life: its range, limits, regulation, relation with private life, and so on.

    I would like to point out, with George, that these convictions are being eroded by forces far more powerfully by forces far more insidious than immigration, even large-scale immigration. In face, as Linda June wrote, both the immigrants and the natural citizens are bring manipulated around the issue by those forces. Those forces are hell-bent on undermining our shared convictions: a consensus around the morality Christians have inherited from Jews, the commitment to rule of law and the sanctity of the human person that flows from it, limited and distributed government as a protection of those things, a desire for active participation in governance through representative chanels.

    Throughout America’s history, immigrants have always been a source of national vibrancy and innovation. Immigrants to this nation, except for perhaps the very first waves, had little experience with some or all of those shared convictions; some of them really only blossomed for the first time here.

    America is a special place, with a special people. That has to be guarded.

    The meaningful assimilation of immigrants isn’t primarily about language or religion, but about mindset. Immigrants from Latin America, though speaking a foreign language, come from the same basic Jewish-Christian moral tradition that undergirds the whole thing – they are emminently primed to become inculturated into the US, and that need not mean an abandonment of the best things of their own culture, and more than it did for our parents.

    The best reason for controlled borders, other than to keep out dangerous elements, is to permit immigration at a judicious rate – fast enough to be reasonably open to newcomers, slow enough to allow them time to learn our way of life (civil discourse, lol, voting in the national interest rather than narrow self-interest, lolol, etc). I chuckle writing those things because they are becoming things of the past.

    The reason isn’t immigrants. We are the reason.

    It is fashionable to compare the Latin American immigrants to the barbarian hordes that overwhelmed Rome. Setting aside the fact that the comparison is hardly flattering to the US, it misses the real danger. The real danger is to think that poor people, dirty people, are bad or dangerous people, uncivilized people, barbarians. They may be, in the sense of not having all the niceties of civilization. But in a moral sense, for us to call them barbarians is laughable.

    We sacrifice our children to Moloch in the abortuaries.
    We cannibalize them in our medical research centers.
    We practice temple prostitution – for what else is the boob tube and the youtube but an altar to the modern media gods – through pornography?
    We are a nation of serial fornicators and call it “remarriage”.
    We allow our nation’s university dormitories to turn into brothels.
    We encourage the whoring of our daughters through sex education and spiritual, emotional neglect and abuse of our children.
    We worship the gods Popularity, Career, Sex, Money, and Me.
    We have debased our language to the point that every word’s a f**k and nobody knows five other words.
    We lie, cheat, and steal and call it “defaulting”.
    We expect others to pay for it all and call it “taxes” or “social responsibility”.

    We have long since rejected the God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus Christ in any publically meaningful way.

    The barbarians are us.

    We are being led into barbarity by our passions, appetites, and the national leaders who manipulate them in order to maintain their own power.

    The “Mexicans” (they’re not all even from there) have precious little to do with the destruction of a nation such as this. God have mercy on us for thinking it instead of examining our own conscience.

  • Sarah

    The debate is now irrelevant, it appears, as Arizona is going to end illegal immigration in its borders, and at least a few other border states will follow suit.

    What the federal government refused to do to protect the American people the border states will do for themselves.

    ‘Bout time. Immigration must be regular (i.e., regulated) to function properly in any society. You can’t have permanent population exodus flooding your territory without it creating an emergency situation. That’s where Arizona is now, and they’re finally shutting it down.

  • Jimbo

    Why is this so hard to figure out?

    When one enters illegally and takes a job, it is a form of stealing. Every single landscaper around where I live is from a foreign country and I would be an idiot to assume that they all went through the legal immigration system.

    Yet, the younger boys in my neighborhood can NOT find work and get a job, and the ones I have talked to would LOVE to take a job landscaping but can not because they are all filled. Hmmmm…

    So how is it that some in the church defend illegal immigration no matter what? As if there is no harm?

    I have dated 2 “foreign girls” in the past and helped both of them through the LEGAL immigration process and the legal work visa process. It costs thousands of dollars and it is neither easy now simple.

    Question: When one person has to sacrifice and spend lots of money they don’t have in order to get something they want, why is it suddenly OK for someone else who’s ALSO poor, to just skip that process and take someone’s else’s job?

    Illegal immigration is a form of stealing pure and simple and in many ways.

    Solution: Make LEGAL immigration easier. Make those here illegally, RETURN first, then allow them back in again after documenting them. Have compassion for ALL people, the immigrants who are illegal yes, but the legal ones too, the boy who lives across the street from me as well… Come on!

  • georgie-ann

    well-said,…i actually feel a little sorry for the immigrants, some of whose children will inevitably “lose their souls” on our hideous public altars,…

    …and i have definitely considered underlying methods-to-their-madness societal manipulations,…it’s called “governing the masses by the elite”–crowd control, iow,…

    but, please tell me what i, as a simple individual, am supposed to do about it,…or in the face of it,…

  • I am not Spartacus

    America has a right to defend its national integrity, which for us means primarily territorial extension and national culture, since we are not an ethnically-defined nation.

    Federalist #2
    It has often given me pleasure to observe that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, widespreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty. Providence has in a particular manner blessed it with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it with innumerable streams, for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants. A succession of navigable waters forms a kind of chain round its borders, as if to bind it together; while the most noble rivers in the world, running at convenient distances, present them with highways for the easy communication of friendly aids, and the mutual transportation and exchange of their various commodities.

    With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people–a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.

    Until the fatal disease of Liberalism struck the body politic, American Immigration Laws reflected that unity.

    Van den Haag noted: The present immigration statute

  • benito

    I guess Lev. 19:33-34 is meaningless then?

    “If a stranger dwell in your land, and abide among you, do not upbraid hin: But let him be among you as one of the same country. And you shall love him as yourselves: for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

    It seems that the Lord God was telling the people of Israel that there is a right to migrate (just as the Catechism says). In fact, the Lord God seems to be commanding the people of Israel concerning justice owed to the stranger and the alien. He does not seem to be speaking about charity here at all.

    God requires His people to love the stranger as they love themselves, not less as Dr. Zmirak suggests.

    But I guess Leviticus is an old rulebook and Moses was just some crazy middle-eastern zealot. We can just choose to stop listening to the Voice from Sinai whenever it seems to be in our national interest to do so; because after all, we owe more to our contryman than to the starnger. Surely God was mistaken about this one.

  • Ryan Haber

    I Am Not Spartacus,

    The assertion that America is one people is not itself an ethnic claim. I agree that the American identity is a national identity unified by certain convictions and history.

    If, at the time of the writing of the Federalist Papers, America was “descended from the same ancestors,” it certainly was not so for very long. Thank goodness, or most of the rest of us would not be here – Mr. Zmirak would have been Zmiraked out of the country before it could become his home and the home of his heirs.

    As for the “same religion,” good riddance!

  • Baron Korf

    God requires His people to love the stranger as they love themselves, not less as Dr. Zmirak suggests.

    This is like saying that a parent loves a stranger less because they feed their children first and then the stranger from what they have left over. This ignores the fact that a parent has a sacred duty towards their own child that they do not have towards the stranger.

    Likewise a government has the duty to protect its own citizens first, not out of malice but obligation. This is reflected in Church teaching. We are required to give as much help as we can, but not when it causes harm to our citizen.

    Sacrifice and harm are not the same thing. So if the citizens are inconvienced by the immigration, that can be acceptable; but if it comes as a serious burden then the government is failing in its duty. In other words it is fair to deny your kids seconds to feed a stranger, but it is wrong to deny them a meal to do so.

  • John Zmirak

    I guess Lev. 19:33-34 is meaningless then?

    “If a stranger dwell in your land, and abide among you, do not upbraid hin: But let him be among you as one of the same country. And you shall love him as yourselves: for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

    Exodus 22:18; “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

    You want to set national policies by randomly grabbing proof texts out of the Old Testament? Really? Two can play at that game….

  • benito

    Dr. Zmirak,

    You have already established that the “proof texting” is not random.

    The very occaision of your article is the preaching of an Archbishop whom our Holy Father has just elevated to the largest See in the US.

    When His Excellency Archbishop Gomez says,

    “The Christian word for “hospitality” is like the antidote to that. Philoxenia literally means “love of strangers.” This is who we are called to be — “lovers of strangers.” Lovers of the immigrant, the alien, the undocumented. This love is not some sentimental affection. It’s a radical love in which we open our hearts and our homeland to the stranger in need.”

    Is he not teaching us through his authority as a successor to the apostles that this very scripture passage from Leviticus is still binding on us?

    When the Catechism says,

    “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.”

    Isn’t this the magisterial office of the Church teaching us that the command to welcome and love the stranger applies to the New Israel as much as the Old?

  • Jesse

    Maybe if Archbishop Gomez hadn’t hung around Archbishop Chaput so much, his views on immigration could coincide better with the Zmirakian magisterium.

    In the June 3, 2009, Denver Catholic Register, Achbishop Chaput explains the need for immigration reform:
    “We need to remember that how we treat the weak, the infirm, the elderly, the unborn child and the foreigner reflects on our own humanity. We become what we do, for good or for evil. The Catholic Church respects the law, including immigration law. We respect those men and women who have the difficult job of enforcing it. We do not encourage or help anyone to break the law. We believe Americans have a right to solvent public institutions, secure borders and orderly regulation of immigration.
    But we can’t ignore people in need, and we won’t be quiet about laws that don’t work

  • John Zmirak

    So Abp. Gomez is “teaching us through his authority as a successor to the apostles,” is he? Is that what Cardinal Mahony was doing when he issued a pastoral letter teaching Luther’s position on the Eucharist? What the bishops were doing in 1978 when they summoned the pro-gay, pro-women’s ordination “Call to Action” conference? I’ll leave aside the fact that as of 2002 2/3 of U.S. bishops had sheltered abusive clerics (and most of these bishops are still in office). Forgive me if I stick to the Catechism and papal statements. I already explicated the relevant passages from the Catechism (Benito helpfully clipped off the section about the IMMIGRANTS’ responsibilities, which leaves the dishonest impression that we have a one-sided, unequivocal, irrevocable obligation to people regardless of how they act).

    I remember Abp. Chaput very well. He was the point man sent by the bishops’ conference when they tried to bully Mother Angelica into handing them EWTN. She said she would “blow the damned thing up first.” So pardon me if I don’t consider him prima facie trustworthy.

    But let me answer him directly: “We need to remember that how we treat… low-income Americans, struggling fathers of families, teenagers in search of work to fund their educations, ex-convicts trying to make a new start, Americans denied jobs because of quotas, Americans who can’t afford health insurance and tenured teachers who lose their jobs because they don’t speak foreign languages…reflects on our own humanity.”

  • John Zmirak

    So Abp. Gomez is “teaching us through his authority as a successor to the apostles,” is he? Is that what Cardinal Mahony was doing when he issued a pastoral letter teaching Luther’s position on the Eucharist? What the bishops were doing in 1978 when they summoned the pro-gay, pro-women’s ordination “Call to Action” conference? I’ll leave aside the fact that as of 2002 2/3 of U.S. bishops had sheltered abusive clerics (and most of these bishops are still in office). Forgive me if I stick to the Catechism and papal statements. I already explicated the relevant passages from the Catechism (Benito helpfully clipped off the section about the IMMIGRANTS’ responsibilities, which leaves the dishonest impression that we have a one-sided, unequivocal, irrevocable obligation to people regardless of how they act).

    I remember Abp. Chaput very well. He was the point man sent by the bishops’ conference when they tried to bully Mother Angelica into handing them EWTN. She said she would “blow the damned thing up first.” So pardon me if I don’t consider him prima facie trustworthy.

    But let me answer him directly: “We need to remember that how we treat… low-income Americans, struggling fathers of families, teenagers in search of work to fund their educations, ex-convicts trying to make a new start, Americans denied jobs because of quotas, Americans who can’t afford health insurance and tenured teachers who lose their jobs because they don’t speak foreign languages…reflects on our own humanity.”

  • Jesse

    Not that we can’t have a civil disagreement about the prudential matters. Archbishop Chaput adds:
    “Good people can disagree honorably about the specifics of immigration reform. But we can’t honorably ignore the need for reform or the suffering of families who pay the cost of our doing nothing.”

    Which is what Bishop Robert Finn in January with the USCCB postcard campaign was trying to teach:
    “Postcards are available that urge Congress to enact immigration reform that, while addressing legitimate security concerns, respects the dignity of the human person, the unity of the family, and offers a reasonable and responsible path to legal status and eventual citizenship. …
    After holy Mass I will be signing these postcards, which will be sent to our elected officials, and I encourage everyone to please join me in this campaign, so that when the Lord Jesus asks us on the Day of Judgment whether we welcomed the stranger in our midst, we can confidently say yes.”

    I welcome a fruitful dialogue between black sheep like Zmirak and good shepherds like Gomez, Chaput, and Finn.

  • Jesse

    I remember Abp. Chaput very well. He was the point man sent by the bishops’ conference when they tried to bully Mother Angelica into handing them EWTN. She said she would “blow the damned thing up first.” So pardon me if I don’t consider him prima facie trustworthy.

    But let me answer him directly: “We need to remember that how we treat… low-income Americans, struggling fathers of families, teenagers in search of work to fund their educations, ex-convicts trying to make a new start, Americans denied jobs because of quotas, Americans who can’t afford health insurance and tenured teachers who lose their jobs because they don’t speak foreign languages…reflects on our own humanity.”

    By the way, Abp. Gomez now serves on the Board of Directors of EWTN.

    Obamacare, except to the preborn babies it will kill, will provide affordable health insurance for almost all [if you’re not rich or hold a full-time job with good benefits].

    The rest of your litany of struggling Americans can easily be substituted with examples of neighbors, acquaintances, and the Home Depot workers that do my yard work:
    1) low-income Mexican factory furniture worker who had been here for forty years as of the ’86 amnesty;
    2) struggling fathers day-laborers at the Home Depot parking lot looking for work to send some money back home to their wives and kids in Central America;
    3) teenagers in search of work who spent 17 years here illegally but can’t afford “out of state” tuition at their local Cal State University;
    4) ex-detainees at the Federal detention center whose charges were dropped trying to make a new start in the shores of San Pedro;
    5) Mexican priests with tourist visas denied jobs at parishes without Spanish-speaking priests because they don’t have social security numbers;
    6) small-business owners sons of immigrants who will have to drop their employee health insurance because of Obamacare regulations;
    7) Nigerians here legally who lose their jobs because they speak with a thick-accent.

  • benito

    Dr. Zmirak,

    If you don’t see the difference between preaching on principles from scripture and heresy, then I don’t suppose you will listen to me either.

  • John Zmirak

    Dr. Zmirak,

    If you don’t see the difference between preaching on principles from scripture and heresy, then I don’t suppose you will listen to me either.

    What I don’t accept is the authority of individual bishops to make radical alterations in Catholic teaching that fly in the face of centuries of precedent, going far beyond what is taught in the Catechism. In other words, you can cite all the bishops you want. But they have no authority beyond their personal wisdom or knowledge. There have been plenty of heretical bishops throughout history–and there have never been so many as there are now.

    Perhaps I was unclear, so let me restate: Gomez is teaching heresy. His statements are dishonest and un-Catholic. I demonstrated my case in detailed argument which you did not address, but just cited more blather from more bishops. I’m not impressed. You can get a unanimous vote of the (canonically meaningless) USCC, and I won’t be impressed. The Church has for centuries allowed governments to regulate their borders in accord with the virtue of Prudence. It would take an Ex Cathedra statement or a dogmatic declaration of a council to outweigh all that precedent, and the text of the current Catechism, which does NOT accord with Gomez’s position, but with mine, as I demonstrated.

    So learn how to argue, stop invoking discredited or irrelevant authorities, and learn more about Catholic history–especially the history of Christian rulers governing prudently in the just interests of their subjects.

  • Christine

    When the Catechism says,

    “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.”

    What duty, then, does country of Mexico, the richest country in Latin America, have to its own citizens and to migration patterns south of their borders? As a rich country in respect to their neighbors, what does Mexico owe its very people?

  • Brandon

    …is that Bishops who agree with you are authorities, and those who don’t are irrelevant and heretical?

    To assert that a Bishop has no authority is ridiculous.

  • John Zmirak

    Brandon, I’m afraid you misunderstand me. I don’t cite the opinions of individual bishops, even when they agree with me. They simply don’t have the authority either to shrink or expand what the Church teaches, which is clearly stated in the Catechism.

  • Brandon

    ….they don’t have the ability to drastically alter Catholic teaching, this is true. However, to dismiss what they say altogether is also erroneous. You made the point very well that in Catholicism the rulers of a state have the duty to exercise their authority for the good of those under their charge.

    But, I think you are quite wrong in saying that those who support Archbishop Gomez or his Excellency himself is heretical. There are people of goodwill on both sides of this issue, and compelling arguments are made on both sides.

    I have asked this question repeatedly and I’ll ask it again:

    What would you have them do? (the illegal immigrants that is)

  • John Zmirak

    I would ask illegal migrants to stop their political activism, and petition pro-immigrant organizations to agree to serious immigration reform–a real border fence, workplace enforcement through “e-Verify,” and serious reductions in unskilled migrant totals. In return, in tandem with such reforms, amnesty should be offered those illegal immigrants who hadn’t committed other crimes. But only AFTER the real reform. I think that’s a fair compromise.

  • Brandon

    Thats mostly who is coming over here. It isn’t Doctors and Lawyers who are jumping the border in vast numbers, it’s day laborers who are willing to do anything to get some money. They come here because there aren’t enough jobs to go around and the money is better up north.

    Now you may reply that that is a “Mexican problem.” Sure, but again…what are they supposed to do?

    I’m not talking about the loud mouthed activists with the screechy bullhorns, nor am I talking about those who would use these poor people to further an agenda. I’m talking about the people who actually come. All these people know is that the gringos pay more money to do the same type of labor than they do in Mexico…and they can send it back to their family. For them the choice is simple.

    I know that there are parasites, human traffickers who take advantage of these people, and there are drug smugglers too. We can’t allow that to continue…but at the same time, there are a greater majority who just want a better life. This isn’t liberal sentimental pap, this is humanity…this is reality.

    Do you really think a fence is feasible or even desireable? Fences can be breached fairly easily without some serious militarization, Berlin Wall style.

    Secondly, there is the enforcement issue in the work place or in our communities. Businesses shouldn’t hire illegals, but if you try and cork that it will lead to more identity theft and fraud.

    How practical are your ideas to enforce?

  • Arturo Vasquez

    Well, it’s good that you folks got all of that out of your system, since nothing will really come of it. Zmirak: a border fence? Really? We are all for prosperity and the resurgence of capital, but that has meant a free flow of goods and people since David Ricardo. You can stamp your feet and hee-and-haw about the sovereignty of the nation-state all you want, but that has been under siege since, I don

  • Siobhan7

    Fr. Patrick Bascio, an author and retired priest of the Holy Ghost Fathers, recently had published On the Immorality of Illegal Immigration, a book that he says has been sent to many bishops to help inform their views. Fr. Bascio

  • Siobhan7

    Q. You mentioned to me that as a retired priest of a religious order, you don

  • Siobhan7

    Then there are Christian conservatives who are against the capitalist/ socialist combination that the Catholic Church advocates. This is fine for non- Catholic Christians since they are not obliged to follow Catholic teaching. However, in reality, if you look at the teachings of all the major Christian denominations, they heavily favor unionization, universal health care, etc. So, what we have is a major defection of Christians from the teachings of their own churches. This is the subject of the new book I am writing.
    Then you have the rest of Americans, who choose whatever suits them and reject whatever does not suit them. They are Christian in name only. So, the crisis of Christianity shows its head over all these social issues.
    Q. While the Church can clearly be identified as opposing raw

  • I am not Spartacus

    And Dr. Z was courageous enough to not only identify his heresy but to provide evidence he was promoting heresy.

    An Abp ought not attack and vilify Native Americans. A Native American refers to anyone born in America and they ought to be accorded the same sort of reverence and respect as those who break into our country, engage in identity theft, and so cripple our hospitals that they kill them.

    …In fact, the increasing number of illegal aliens coming into the United States is forcing the closure of hospitals, spreading previously vanquished diseases and threatening to destroy America’s prized health-care system, says a report in the spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

    “The influx of illegal aliens has serious hidden medical consequences,” writes Madeleine Pelner Cosman, author of the report. “We judge reality primarily by what we see. But what we do not see can be more dangerous, more expensive, and more deadly than what is seen.”

    According to her study, 84 California hospitals are closing their doors as a direct result of the rising number of illegal aliens and their non-reimbursed tax on the system.

    “Anchor babies,” the author writes, “born to illegal aliens instantly qualify as citizens for welfare benefits and have caused enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and Disability Income.”

    In addition, the report says, “many illegal aliens harbor fatal diseases that American medicine fought and vanquished long ago, such as drug-resistant tuberculosis, malaria, leprosy, plague, polio, dengue, and Chagas disease.”

    So, of course it was perfectly predictable he’d be attacked as being opposed to The Magisterium, the Gospel, and in favor (God only knows how this happened) the United Fruit Company and General Black Jack Pershing.

  • John Zmirak

    Of course, accusing an Opus Dei priest of holding heretical views is a new one for me. One should inform Mr. Zmirak that throwing around such accusations is inappropriate for a layman, particularly insinuating such things about someone who will inevitably be made a Prince of the Church. Is it like he denied the Trinity or something? That isn

  • John Zmirak
  • Brandon

    And the hagiographic but not painting the whole picture stuff behind it. Texans were Pro-Slavery squatters and usurpers of legitimate Mexican authority…this isn’t me being a hate America liberal, this is historical fact. That doesn’t excuse La Raza, so please don’t feign any outrage and make the claim that I am doing so.

  • I am not Spartacus

    A schismatic or an apostate must regularly attack Holy Mother Church for all sorts of reasons – Doctrinal, Ecclesiastical errors vis a vis the Muslims, Jews, Anabaptists, Catharists(you name it) – as a way to solve the cognitive dissonance arising when the apostate or schismatic, naturally, realises he has done the wrong thing. He has left the Catholic Church or so he must, routinely, attack her as unworthy of love or respect. By comparison, what he has done is justified in his mind.

    When it comes to the illegal alien invader from south of our borders, their cognitive dissonance arises from the reality they know illegally crossing the border is immoral and so they cite War with Mexico, The CIA, United Fruit Company, etc as a way to comparatively minimise the guilt of their actions and they put the host country morally on trial for all sorts of reasons, real or imagined and, of course, EVERY Country in history has committed acts far worse than any single individual alien illegally crossing a border.

    We should start to worry when they do not attack anything they can find in American History as a way to comparatively minimise their guilt. At least in their attacks they illustrate they know they are doing something immoral when the illegal aliens are sneaking into America.

    Although, sneaking into an evil country is a bit batty, ain’t it?

  • Brandon

    You’re just dripping with compassion aren’t you.

  • Arturo Vasquez

    I think the word we are looking for at this point is

  • Pammie

    So Brandon. I have a very young Eastern European friend who wants desperately to come to the US. He is not wealthy , or educated but he has the desire to improve his life and he is a hard worker from all indications. He wants to come legally and I have been helping him to explore all his options. In your way of thinking that makes me much less concerned for his welfare than you? If I cared about his well being as much as you should I encourage him to forget the legalities and just come on down?

    You will not help the poor of the world by making this country as impoverished, chaotic and bleek as the ones they are trying to escape. IANS is not guilty of a lack of compassion. He has far more compassion for his children, grandchildren and future fellow citizens than you seem to. True charity begins at home.

  • John Zmirak

    That seems to be what this has degenerated into: just a bunch of people venting their anger anonymously since such things would not be correct to say

  • georgie-ann

    here’s a different kind of idea for consideration:

    is it POSSIBLE that Americans–with all of our wonderful material, educational, and spiritual blessings over the years (not saying that America is without its historical sins)–have NOT succeeded in “living up to the level of our blessings,” in such a way that God might be behind a certain kind of challenge, or change/shift, to our hitherto rather comfortable “status quo” lifestyles?,…

    who can say that there are not now already too many “Americans” who take way too much for granted?,…who are not displaying the effort and zeal needed to maintain and raise our collective level of being?,…

    how many Americans have forgotten, or spurn, God and His Word?,…how many are grateful?,…how many have “sold out” to the secular “gods” of amusement, entertainment, unbelief and licentiousness,…

    these things could be much greater contributing factors and underlying causes of the “troubles” that many are bemoaning here,…

    it is very dangerous spiritually to only look at the “surface” of things,…deep prayer and true soul-searching often tell a very revealing part of the “whole story,”…

    maybe some of us really are “good guys” (by the Grace of God),…but how many “others” very obviously do not come even close?–those numbers increasing with each co-opted, secularized, narcissistic, and self-indulgent generation,…

    maybe our “woe is us” stance speaks of more than immigration troubles,…

  • Brandon

    So Brandon. I have a very young Eastern European friend who wants desperately to come to the US. He is not wealthy , or educated but he has the desire to improve his life and he is a hard worker from all indications. He wants to come legally and I have been helping him to explore all his options. In your way of thinking that makes me much less concerned for his welfare than you? If I cared about his well being as much as you should I encourage him to forget the legalities and just come on down?

    You will not help the poor of the world by making this country as impoverished, chaotic and bleek as the ones they are trying to escape. IANS is not guilty of a lack of compassion. He has far more compassion for his children, grandchildren and future fellow citizens than you seem to. True charity begins at home.

    When did I ever say we shouldn’t enforce our laws?

    My point is that he came off in his post as a cold blooded creep…I didn’t say he was totally wrong, did I?

    Maybe my issue is not with what is being said, but the tone of what is said and the agendas behind who is saying them. But I suppose such concerns mean I want to sell my grandchildren down the river and reduce them to serfdom, right?

  • Thomas

    Since 1973 the U.S. has had about 45 million abortions. That is about 45 million different reasons why we the U.S. won’t be able to to control the border. Natural Law which flows from Divine Law is allowing for the replacements of those 45 million abortions, with individuals who most likely WANT CHILDREN, large families. If it happens to be what “we” call illegal immigrant’s, then that is what is going to happen. HEAVEN is calling the shot’s, and we either cooperate, or live to see possibly Chinese flag flying over the U.S. China then will be able to teach us the difference between FORCED abortions and the voluntary abortions that we have here in the U.S.

    Tom

  • georgie-ann

    involvement in sin breaks down the internal character of a person, of a nation,…

    intellect may be able to describe a problem, theorize about solutions, while it yet will continue to run rampant and unabated–lacking resolve and strength of character to make necessary changes,…

    sentimentality and subterfuge may “talk a good game” with no true carry-through impetus for reform or sacrifice or action,…

    but only righteousness can LIVE and BE and ACT in accordance with strength and resolve and effectiveness,…

    the messages being sent to our developing children by MSM and the fairly corrupt powers-that-be, are NOT messages of true righteousness,…and the more’s the pity,…

    the crops being “sown” are not morally good ones,…therefore, what shall we reap?,…

  • I am not Spartacus

    IANS is not guilty of a lack of compassion. He has far more compassion for his children, grandchildren and future fellow citizens than you seem to. True charity begins at home.

    Thank you, Pammie. I appreciate that.

    Adopting the “compassion” of the Accuse-America-Always Association (The Four A Club) wins one a lot of public approval but that is such an easy act it doesn’t even qualify as an unworthy form of compassion.

    Pity at another person’s sorrow or misfortune, with the desire to alleviate or, on occasion, even to suffer in the other’s stead.

    Rarely do we ever hear (In fact, I have NEVER heard one) a sermon or a statement from a Priest or Prelate demanding Mexico – rich in natural resources – reform its corrupt political system and care for its own people.

    Mexicans are the responsibility of Mexico, not America.

    Now, if a member of The Four A Club wants to switch homes/jobs with some poor Mexican or if some Four A Club member wants to go to Mexico to lead an indigenous revolution to overthrow the corrupt sons-of-bitches depriving Mexican citisens of what is rightfully theirs, I’d help fund them.

    But that is never the case, is it?

    AmBishops scold Christian American Patriots who have done far more for America then they have done, collectively, since the Vat Two reforms seriously erred in its democratisation of the Hierarchy.

    And now we have an Abp calling Native Americans heretics.

  • georgie-ann

    i would love to see some true righteous American grit and backbone again,…i wouldn’t even mind seeing the draft,…it would be nice if men could and would be responsible men,…

    the “idealism” of feminism may have had some legitimate points to make–possibly not in the right way–(although i, for one, did not appreciate being a victim of uncurtailed and unaided domestic violence and alcoholism),…

    but whatever might have been some needed societal “course adjustments”–(since we seem to be doing all this social stuff “by the seat of our pants,” as they say)–has devolved completely into a very low archetypal level of maudlin and nauseating, matriarchal self-pity and indulgence,…mamby-pamby mommies and their overgrown-up mamby-pamby babies “rule,” needing to be perpetually entertained and to continually stuff their faces,…& no end in sight, btw,…just more of the same, or worse,…

    does everything have to completely collapse to the ways of commercialism and “what sells,” before we can have a paradigm shift?,…

    & i blame the very wide-spread use of marijuana & other drugs as well,…

    this is NOT the America that i grew up in,…

  • georgie-ann

    i would love to see the return of true grit, backbone and righteousness to America,…i wouldn’t even mind seeing the draft, if it would help youth to truly grow-up, lacking other effective and formative role-models,…if men could and would stand up and be responsible, this would be a blessing as well,…

    feminism may have had some needed points to make, in this “by the seat of our pants” way our society seems to be developing,…i, for one, though never a campaigning feminist, did not appreciate being an unaided victim of domestic violence and alcoholism,…

    however, our society has devolved into such a babyish, maudlin and nauseating, low level matriarchal archetypal form, that feeding and entertaining the perpetual overgrown self-indulgent “beasts”/babies that have resulted, has become a continual effort and big commercial money-maker, with no transcendent goal in sight,…

    i also blame the wide-spread use of marijuana & other drugs, as damaging to the resourceful/responsible human psyche,…

    this is NOT the America i grew up in,…it is very disappointing,…and i do worry about where things are going,…it is no simple formulaic problem with a simple formulaic answer,…

    & i certainly don’t trust the secular/commercial powers-that-be to find the needed solutions,…

  • John Zmirak

    Great post, IanS. The AAAA has learned that Misguided Compassion
    ( http://tinyurl.com/5ft63d ) is a great way to earn Cheap Grace
    ( http://tinyurl.com/ydpv95e ) nowadays. Lazily cast the lever for politicians who will force sacrifices upon the whole community, rather than lifting a finger yourself.

    Our duty as Christians is to vote and mobilize for Justice (scrupulously, not nebulously defined) in public affairs, while practicing Mercy where it is appropriate in our private affairs. If someone robs you, you’re free to report him–or forgive him. If he robs someone else, you have NO CHOICE but to call the cops and testify.

  • John Zmirak
  • Pammie

    Why are we disagreeing then with such vehemence if you favour enforcing the immigration laws? I believe that is what both Dr. Z and IANS and many others have been proposing. I’m not sure what agendas are behind anyone’s opinion on either side of the issue. I can tell you mine. Having lived quite a few years and in more than a few places, I know what societies can be like when there is no respect for the laws of the land , where there is widespread, unequal enforcement,or where the resources are overwhelmed. Believe me my friend, it’s not pretty. Chaos and the most ruthless members of society soon take over (kind of like Chicago) and they are not concerned with anyone’s human rights.

    I expect the average American, having seen his government send our means of production to other countries and with no new industries or good economic news in sight, is rightfully worried and wonders when someone in the Church and government will put the legitimate needs of the legal citizenry FIRST. And to recognize that these needs are to be the primary responsibility of our elected leaders. Because just as the poor of the world have the right to improve and maintain their lives, so do Americans. And no Brandon I really don’t think you wish your posterity a worse world just because you may disagree with me. However I am very much afraid that without serious remedies applied soon, that will be exactly what happens.

    By the way,Christine and Georgie-Ann I have enjoyed reading your comments.

  • Pammie
  • Brandon

    …I acknowledge the need for reform. We can’t have a porous unregulated border, with the Border Patrol staying in their stations playing Wii…that is a fact.

    However, I am not on board with those who would militarize our southern border and make it on par with East Berlin. I asked a question to Mr. Zmirak that never got an answer:

    How practical and desireable is what he is proposing going to be?

    I have read columns from Pat Buchanan and others who lament that White Americans are going to be a minority by such and such date. I’m of the Caucasian persuasion, and my response to such “concerns” is So What? I’m in an interracial relationship (a race traitor to use bigot speak) and have no interest in “propogating the white race.”

    I don’t like the tone of the rhetoric out there, and I certainly don’t like the Hannitizing of our discourse.

  • John Zmirak

    Dear Brandon,
    I have written on the practical aspects of enforcement at Insidecatholic before: http://tinyurl.com/dj8ycg

    But let me offer you the key points here:
    1. To secure the U.S. border, we must complete a reliable border fence dividing the U.S. from Mexico — the source of most illegal immigration. This fence should not rely on natural “advantages” such as “impassable” deserts and other hazards likely to claim the lives of desperate migrants. Indeed, in such areas the fence should be doubly secure, since the stakes are especially high — not just U.S. law, but human lives. We must also track the comings and goings of those who enter on U.S. visas, and overstay them — such as most of the 9/11 hijackers.

    2. Reduce the influx — legal and illegal — of under-educated and low-skilled immigrants. This can and should be done by altering U.S. immigration law to focus not on the vastly abused principle of “family reunification” (as extended to include adult siblings and grown-up offspring) but the demonstrated labor needs of the U.S. economy. And there’s an easy way to tell what kind of workers our country is short of — the wages they can command.

    If the wages and benefits of unskilled workers and high-school dropouts were soaring, that would indicate a labor shortage and might (all things being equal) justify importing more such workers from abroad. In fact, the wages of the U.S. working class, adjusted for inflation, have been flat for some 30 years.

    3. To prevent U.S. employers from reversing decades of social progress by bidding down the wages and conditions of resident workers, cut the immigration totals for unskilled workers to fewer than 100,000 per year — making space in the economy for young, urban residents to find jobs, form families, and escape the underclass.

    4. Reform laws and policies that unjustly benefit non-citizens. While millions of working Americans cannot afford health insurance or attain quality education for their children, it is simply unjust to allow illegal residents to obtain non-emergency medical care at taxpayer expense, or demand cost-prohibitive bilingual and multicultural programs. For instance, the practice of importing teachers from Mexico into the U.S. to teach immigrant students history using Mexican textbooks — as happens in California, Oregon, and Utah.

    It is also immoral to offer immigrants affirmative action preferences over citizens. As the law stands now, any non-white illegal immigrant who was legalized by an amnesty would benefit from positive discrimination against a U.S. Army veteran who happened to be white.

    5. Eliminate the most irrational criteria for admitting immigrants, such as Ted Kennedy’s “visa lottery,” which awards the citizenship whose value our soldiers fight to protect in a global bingo game. (See, he’s really a Catholic after all!)

    6. Reform “birthright” citizenship — through which a pregnant woman who swims the Rio Grande and gives birth is now the proud mother of a U.S. citizen. This encourages either family break-up or the mockery of our laws.

    7. Abolish programs that retard assimilation. This includes ineffective bi-lingual education, but extends through the whole range of “diversity” programs that reward new Americans for continuing to hyphenate their loyalties.

    8. Overturn America’s unspoken policy of outsourcing child-rearing. Whenever an open-borders advocate tells you that Americans aren’t having enough children to [fund Social Security… grow our economy… maintain global dominance, whatever], think about what that really means. He admits that our current culture, tax, and social policies are anti-family — to the point where Americans are barely reproducing themselves. Instead of reforming these policies to bolster American families, it’s easier simply to outsource child-rearing to other countries.

    9. Attain a just and charitable outcome for those individuals who have illegally entered, lived, and worked in the U.S. This probably will never entail mass deportation — but rather a crackdown on employers who exploit illegal workers. As one of the respondents to my last piece wisely suggested, we might well look to Law & Order for an answer: Immigrants who report on the companies that illegally employ them could be spared deportation, and granted a fast-track to legal status. The only group of illegals which must be swiftly removed are those who commit other crimes.

    As for the remaining millions, as rational human beings they will respond to real-world incentives. When we squeeze out opportunities for them to work on the black market — without legal protection, safety inspections, health insurance or workman’s comp — through workplace enforcement of labor laws, many of them will return to their native lands where they can actually work. If our Congress could face down the cheap labor lobby, it would mandate the universal use of E-Verify, a currently voluntary government system for checking the legal status of job applicants.

  • Pammie

    I certainly never considered there was any racial component to the discussion, I guess because I have a sort of “United Nations” family myself and they all live in many different countries.I have all sorts of friends from all sort of places. I wouldn’t assume that others considered this a ‘race” issue either….much more economics and cultural I should think.

    In any case, Dr. Z. has provided us all with specifics to cure the problem. But Brandon I don’t know that I would compare some type of border barrier to the Berlin Wall because that was erected not to keep West Berliners from entering but to keep East Berliners from leaving. Seems to me there is a difference.

    Not a Hannity fan myself, although Pat Buchanan was right about NAFTA and many other things.,,IMHO.Happy Sunday!

  • georgie-ann

    sorry for the almost double posts (113 & 114),…for some reason the first one didn’t appear to get through, so i quickly tried to recreate it before being late to church (as i hadn’t copied it),…

    but i just wanted to mention that pertaining to the suggestion that i made about the draft: i’ve been informed on a few occasions, (probably by “people who would know”), that the people that i’m considering to have a “need”–that goes unmet under our usual circumstances–to “benefit themselves AND society by a required stint of ‘grown-up style discipline and structure'” are not really the kinds of candidates that the military is actually looking for!,…

    so, i wonder if there are other types of options?,…

    it looks to me like we are wasting quite a lot of taxpayer monies on keeping disruptive kids in public school situations that are not really appropriate for them, and are not addressing their needs,…many of these types end up being candidates for the gangs that are so destructive and on the increase in this area,…it’s very alarming,…

  • Brandon

    …some of those proposals, Mr. Zmirak, but the larger issue and one that I think goes to the heart of the matter is an important one.

    The United States is really struggling now, and I’m not talking about the economy…that stuff comes and goes. We don’t know who we are anymore. America is suffering an identity crisis. The general concensus on what it means to “be an American” has evaporated, and what we see now are two radically different visions on what America is and how we should move forward. The last time we had such an identity crisis it resulted in 4 years of destructive war. You speak of the assimilation and melting pot model, but that model no longer is feasible, because a large segment of America no longer subscribes to the Melting Pot vision of American citizenry.

    I mentioned “race” because to some it does matter, it matters to radical La Raza types and it matters to men like Pat Buchanan. America is not a nation built on ethnicity or religion but on a set of ideals…but what do you do when those ideals are coming apart? What do you do when half the country has a totally opposite conception of what the United States is.

    WHO ARE WE?

  • Andrew C.

    What do you do when half the country has a totally opposite conception of what the United States is.

    I dunno, try to get the people who have the right (or better/less bad) conception to reproduce more so we can maintain some kind of continuity and limit the size of the other group? Parallel societies are usually disruptive. Or is that racist?

  • georgie-ann

    for one thing we are a mix of quite a few things that are not very happily compatible,…

    that’s ok if there is respect for others (going both ways) in spite of this, and a willingness to be law-abiding in general,…

    but there are increasingly destructive and lawless groups and individuals, that have deliberately opposed themselves to a well-ordered and healthy society,…if these are not indigenous, they should be deported,…if indigenous, i think we need some better plans than what we’ve got going at present,…

  • John Zmirak

    The United States is really struggling now, and I’m not talking about the economy…that stuff comes and goes. We don’t know who we are anymore. America is suffering an identity crisis. The general concensus on what it means to “be an American” has evaporated, and what we see now are two radically different visions on what America is and how we should move forward. The last time we had such an identity crisis it resulted in 4 years of destructive war. You speak of the assimilation and melting pot model, but that model no longer is feasible, because a large segment of America no longer subscribes to the Melting Pot vision of American citizenry.
    WHO ARE WE?

    Good question, Brandon. Here is my review (from Modern Age, an excellent journal) of the late Samuel Huntington’s first rate book of that title, Who Are We?:

    THIS IS A RARE BOOK — erudite and readable, analytical but urgent, a work of political science which the author admits he wrote as “a patriot.” While few political theorists outside of certain radical circles are likely to admit that they are not patriotic, one encounters fewer still who write from an explicit desire to preserve and to protect their country. Not just its political institutions, or the ideology which undergirds them, but the concrete, shared reality that is America–so much of which, Huntington convincingly demonstrates, is the result not of inexorable historical processes, or the unfolding of mankind’s deepest yearnings and some obscure divine decree, but happy historical accidents. Serendipity.

    Among these accidents, the author is not embarrassed to point out, is the national character which marked the North American colonists–specifically, their “Anglo-Protestant culture.” Samuel Huntington convincingly challenges the corpus of Cold War (neoconservative and liberal) apologetics for American exceptionalism, which grounded America’s virtues exclusively in the Enlightenment ideology of some of the Founders.

    Professor Huntington notices that literally dozens of other nations were founded at almost the same time, by Enlightened liberal Freemasons from Colombia to Paraguay, yet few of them persevered in their liberal institutions. Why did Bolivar’s Republic founder into chaos and tyranny while Washington’s prospered and stayed (in certain ways) free? Because political seeds can only flourish when they fall in fertile ground. The soil in which liberal, decentralized government could survive–insofar as it has survived–was one which had been prepared for centuries before Jefferson ever set pen to paper.

    Huntington points to the suspicion of centralized authority which persisted in the dominant (Presbyterian, Quaker, and Puritan) strands of Protestantism to which the overwhelming majority of American settlers adhered, the century or more of congregational (rather than papal or episcopal) decision-making through which these churches were governed, and the very worldly work-ethic which dominated men of these creeds. These churches, he says, were the “reformation of the Reformation.” He contrasts their anti-authoritarianism, pragmatism, and general suspicion of institutions with the ways of Anglicans and Catholics–whose faith entails deference to established authority, resignation in the face of suffering, and a reverence for poverty. These are stereotypes, but who can look at Mexico and Texas (for instance) and fail to see their basis in fact? Compare, for that matter, the attitudes towards poverty, war and peace, and religious authority of President Bush and Pope Benedict XVI. One need not agree with the Puritan worldview to recognize that the psychological attitudes it inculcated still dominate American culture and are responsible for its most identifiable virtues and vices.

    This Anglo-Protestant root was planted by America’s earliest settlers–which Huntington carefully distinguishes from immigrants, dispelling the myth that this is a “nation of immigrants.” The Puritans of Massachusetts, the Quakers of Pennsylvania, the Scots-Irish of Tennessee were not impoverished individuals asking admittance of a developed, pre-existing polity to which they would assimilate. They were alien invaders, arriving in groups with clearly defined communal beliefs, determined to buy or wrest a continent away from divided, mutually hostile tribes of hunter-gatherers. That is not the situation faced by subsequent and contemporary immigrants to the United States–at least, not yet.

    With loving detail, Huntington shows how members of every ethnic group that arrived in the United States came to accept the cultural and political mores of its Anglo-Protestant founders. Jews who were not particularly observant in the Old Country established synagogues so they could attend weekly services like the Protestants. Catholics embraced the separation of Church and State–eventually dragging their mother Church after them. Even when religious groups set up their own parochial schools–to resist the steady pressure of Protestantization imposed in the public schools–they invariably laid heavy emphasis on patriotism, mastery of English, and the virtues of “Americanism.” Yet such institutions of Americanization, Huntington warns, have by now largely broken down–leaving a degraded commercial culture and the mass media as the sole means by which new Americans learn the ways of their adopted country.

    Huntington analyzes other developed and developing countries, in comparison and contrast with America, to suggest four themes around which national unity can develop:

    1) Ethnic, based on perceptions of a close-knit, consanguineous group. Examples include the nationalism which arose in Japan, Germany, Ireland, India, and the early American colonies.

    2) Racial, based on visible differences among peoples. Such a unifying principle, Huntington argues, inspired white Americans of various ethnicities once they had begun to intermarry and assimilate–until this identification was rendered morally repugnant during the Civil Rights Movement.

    CONTINUED IN NEXT COMMENT…

  • John Zmirak
  • John Zmirak

    CONTINUED:
    3) Cultural, based on shared ways of living, unspoken preconceptions, and social mores. This mode of identification, Huntington suggests, is what unites most Americans today–although it is threatened by the racialism implicit in identity politics and affirmative action, and by the mass immigration of people from a single nation with a self-confident alternative culture, namely Mexico. He warns, compellingly, that these phenomena might well re-awaken an intolerant white nationalism, inflamed among members of a race who dare not speak its name, aware that their interests are under attack by other, self-conscious racial groups.

    4) Propositional, based on ideological maxims derived from political theory. Nations defined this way included Jacobin France and the Soviet Union. This principle of organization–surely the most fragile–is the only one offered as morally viable (and moral) both by liberal and by neoconservative theorists today. The extension of the American proposition, by force of arms if necessary, seems to be the defining creed of those thinkers whom Professor Claes G. Ryn calls, in his book of that name, The New Jacobins.

    Huntington examines the curious but encouraging persistence of religious practice among Americans–almost unparalleled in any developed country–and concludes that the United States simply cannot be described honestly as anything but a Christian nation. However, America’s mode of Christianity is intrinsically tolerant, individualistic, even entrepreneurial–again, with all the positive and negative attributes that follow along. He cites Irving Kristol’s famous advice to American Jews that they accept and welcome the country’s Christian orientation, which has guaranteed for them an environment almost entirely free of the bigotry Jews encountered in other societies.

    Furthermore, Huntington argues, most of the advances which America has seen towards equal opportunity and social reform have been driven by Gospel values and explicitly Christian movements–from abolitionism to the Civil Rights Movement–rather than by socialist activism, as happened through much of Europe. It is in this Christian core, which now encompasses Catholics, welcomes Jews, and accepts other, more alien faiths, so long as they accept the fundamental principle of tolerant co-existence, that Huntington hopes to ground the unified American identity of the future.

    Huntington does not spend time exploring the roots of our Founders’ creeds and concomitant political virtues, although he points to one writer who does: David Hackett Fisher, author of the invaluable ethnographic study of American settlement, Albion’s Seed (1989). That book, which ought to be read in tandem with this one, grounds the intellectual and political habits of early Americans in the inherited folkways they carried with them from England, and suggests how they developed. Equally important–perhaps as a corrective to Huntington’s fervent embrace of the Reformation–is Russell Kirk’s The Roots of American Order (1974), which shows how the institutions essential to liberty developed in medieval England, grounded in Common Law developed by Catholic jurists, before they were smothered during the Renaissance by the revival of pagan, Roman Law. Indeed, the reliance of both Protestant and Catholic churches on the support of centralizing monarchs to promote their ecclesiastical interests effectively demolished the Church as a countervailing force to the power of the state. It was left, ironically, to the most anti-Catholic movements in Christendom to restore that balance–which was achieved, irony of ironies, in America. The novus ordo seclorum had more in common with the older ordo than the American founders knew. And perhaps that fact is the real source of America’s exceptionalism.

  • John Zmirak
  • John Zmirak
  • John Zmirak
  • I am not Spartacus

    Federalist #2 documents precisely the opposite of the claim America is a idea or a propositional Nation.

    David Hackett Fischer’s seminal history, Albion’s Seed Four British Folkways in Americaproduces the details of The Four Great Waves of Immigration; East Anglia to Massachusetts;The South of England to Virginia: North Midlands to The Delaware: Borderlands to the Backcountry; and what that meant in terms of religion, culture, architecture, child-rearing, food, govt, clothing, etc etc.

    Because the liberals have had a stranglehold on education for such a long time in this country it is imperative that one become an autodidact so one can enter a titanium box of truth and think free of the evil and lies dished-up by the collectivists who desire we believe there is such a thing as a “proposition” nation.

    Who can tell when they are attacking such a nebulous and numinous thing?

    IOW, it is crazy out there. So, find a safe box of truth to think in. The next time some bloke tells you America is a proposition nation, ask him to identify any other time in history where a proposition nation existed. And ask him to name that nation.

    Just because some “conservatives” promote the same lunacy of a propositional nation does not mean it is not lunacy.

    A propositional nation is one particular chimera that ain’t ever been seen, say nothing about haven been captured and corralled and it is the beginning of wisdom to stop echoing propagandists who claim we are a nation borne aloft, soaring above all other nations, on a unicorn named, proposition.

    Books, especially the one by Mr. Fischer, can be educational emetics that can help one purge the political poison the left has used to corrupt the minds of those who had Liberty bred in the bone.

    Why do you think the Govt wants to elect a new people through open borders? Those who know, love, and live Liberty are a constant source of trouble for those who desire political power.

    Passivity and Chaos is sewn by collectivists so they can reap the crop of control. Chaos leads the passive to request the trouble-causing collectivists to “help.”

    Chaos is often a program. Don’t volunteer to promote it.

  • Brandon

    None of those unifying forces are at work in America any longer…we have no unified ethnicity or race, Christianity has been kicked to the curb, and the “Cultural” is coming apart. Pointing these things out is all well and good, but here is the issue.

    White people are not going to remain the majority…this is demographically inevitable, nor should extremism be tolerated to maintain “the status quo”.

    The Secularist disease that has infected Europe has come to our shores, and we are in its grip. We didn’t suffer two World Wars on our soil, so our defenses are not as weak against it, but it is here, and its insidious influence is spreading rapidly.

    America has been here before…in the 1850s…when a large segment of America opposed to what sort of changes were coming down the pipe and wanted to preserve “their way of life” decided that they could no longer continue in our Republic. We are no longer cohesive, and while you may call for a restoration of “American values” the other side has become so entrenched and numerous, it is Mason-Dixon line style divisions, complete with the animosity and tension that goes with it. We may not be necessarily headed for another Civil War (God forbid), but now that the parties have become mostly ideological now as opposed to regional and economic coalitions, there will be less bi-partisanship and more of what we seen now.

    Who Are We?

    I Am Spartacus, despite America’s beginnings, Ango-Protestant WASPs were swept away long ago…and the White European descended Joe paradigm no longer works, and to me is not desireable.

    Who Are We?

  • Brandon

    I won’t beat a dead horse, and in the interests of full disclosure consider myself a patriot. I have no great love for “Anglo-Protestantism” (in my college History of England class I wrote my final paper on St. Edmund Campion and essentially denounced Elizabeth I as a Heretic, Usurper and Liar in true Hilaire Belloc style…not sure if the professor was amused or not) but I recognize its influence on American history and follow the lead of those great Catholics who came before who worked hard to assert Catholic identity in our Republic. We are a Christian Nation I believe, but we have forgotten that and by and large don’t wish to remember.

    The days of the WASP are over, so what to do now?

  • Tony Wawrzynski

    Brandon,

    Do you support any cap on immigration to America? Mr. Zmirak said he would acquiesce to amnesty on the condition that additional immigration would be severely curtailed for a long period afterward. Is even that too restrictive for you? No doubt imperfect but still revealing, surveys indicate that half the world’s population would move to the United States if given the chance. According to you would we have the right to tell any of them “no”?

    Leaving aside Hispanics, what about Muslims? Are they entitled to migrate freely as well? Even if they would like to eventually impose sharia on the rest of us? Where I live these are not hypothetical questions. Does the fact that multicultural societies don’t operate well as free polities give you any pause at all? Does it bother you in the least, as Mr. Zmirak points out, that just about all Third World immigrants qualify for affirmative action at the expense of native Americans? Should that bit of injustice at least be rectified? “Jesse”, tounge-in-cheek, no doubt, reassures us that we won’t have to worry about providing healthcare for immigrants because Obamacare will take care of that. Are immigrants also entitled to welfare upon immediately upon arrival?

    Sorry to ask so many questions, but your comments and those of some others here do beg them.

  • I am not Spartacus

    I was visiting with company and showing them Albion’s Seed and so I didn’t see you post about “Who are we?” by Prof. Harrington. That is a book I shall buy.

    When I read your summary of what he wrote about a propositional nation I realised I was a bit off re my claim there was no such thing.

    I was writing about what I understood to be reality, that no nation had been formed as a propositional nation but it is certainly the case an alien ideology can be imposed upon an existing nation via a revolutionary process as was the case in France and Russia.

  • I am not Spartacus

    The days of the WASP are over, so what to do now?

    One does what has always been necessary to do:

    Save your Soul. Avoid Perdition.
    Pray and Work to preserve Tradition.

  • I am not Spartacus

    I was Blessed to have been born into an Irish-Algonquin Catholic Family in Vermont at a time when liberty was still bred in the bone.

    But, the Liberal Flatlanders invaded us from the south and, naive and trusting, the good folks from Vt. voted the Bastids into power and let them impose their pernicious politics on one and all and they have ruint a once great State. (Go Mr. Thomas Naylor and the Second Republic of Vermont).

    I am the same age as Israel and it seems like my entire life has been spent watching undeniable evidence of the successful Long March through the Institutions while, dumbed down into passivity by liberal propaganda, naive souls not only accepted the inevitability of the process, they became vocal proponents of the execrable programs of the soulless collectivists.

    To my way of thinking, they may as well have been marching through the streets chanting the Confession rightly belonging on the sandwich boards that, had I anything to do with it, they’d have been forced to carry:

    Liberty has failed us.
    Jail us. Jail us. Jail us.
    Liberty has failed us.
    Jail us. Jail us. Jail us.

  • Brandon

    I don’t advocate unrestrainted immigration at all. I actually agree with some of the proposals that Mr. Zmirak put forth, though I am unsold on a “Border Fence” and see any attempt to reinstate a Melting Pot/Assimilationist model on immigrants as doomed to failure because we as a Nation no longer subscribe to the idea, in the points I made above.

    America needs to find its soul again, that is the whole point I am making…we can’t pass on any notion of citizenship or what it means to be an American when we can’t even answer that question ourselves any longer.

  • Chris Hariss

    There is continually a mention of stricter border patrols and immigration laws. However, this would not solve the matter. I urge the government to pass bills inviting organizations to hire legal employees. On the other hand, improve fines for those who hire prohibited migrants and traffickers who treat people much more as a material.

  • Charity in Truth

    Thank you, John Zmirak, for expounding on this very difficult and controversial subject of illegal immigration and grounding it to the Church’s teaching on immigration CCC 2241.

    As you know, Arizona just signed into law S.B. 1070 to enforce illegal immigration in the face of federal neglect. January 26, 2010 the USCCB Bishops wrote a letter to Congress encouraging the Health Care Reform and Immigration after Senator Scott Brown’s win threatened to end the debates on health care. Needless to say the health care reform was maligned not just with abortions but, also, against the Church’s teachings of subsidiarity. I have yet to see any lobbying and letters to Congress from the USCCB to repeal this awful health care bill. Have you?

    And now, the USCCB Bishops seem to be pushing illegal immigration. A Catholic Christian might expect to fight the world but must we, also, fight our Bishops?

    Please check out FAIR for a balanced understanding of immigration away from the bias/liberal mainstream mass media
    FAIR – Federation for American Immigration Reform
    http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer
    Also, Glenn Beck 5 p.m. Eastern has been talking about the illegal immigration and Arizona’s new law on immigration.

    Thank you, John, again for this commentary. I agree with you and many of those who left comments on this.

    May God bless you. May God bless America.

  • Another Christine

    Mr. Vazquez: I say this with all due respect–your comments verge on the frightening. Please, get…a…grip.

    Mr. Zmirak provides yet another exercise in moral clarity. His point that “we have GREATER obligations to our countrymen,” among others, is so obvious to me, it’s unclear why some here can’t grasp it. In any case, the ad hominem attacks are rather boring. A little more substance, dear colleagues, and less rancor.

  • Diogenes

    As a retired INS agent I would just like to point out that all this was predictable 30 years ago. It

  • Ahard

    Quote(52) Enormous Complexity
    April 15th, 2010 | 3:00pm
    I am going to go through and try just to enumerate a few basic principles, because my mind is getting clouded by the complexity of the reality. I think I will skip on drawing conclusions as of yet.

    (1) As Catholics, we must admit that our only true citizenship is in heaven.TRUE, BUT WE HAVE A DUTY TO ESTABLISH A TASTE OF IT HERE ON EARTH.

    (2) The biblically enjoined obligation to care for the stranger, widow, and orphan in our midst is not a proof text, but rather a leit motif throughout the Torah and the Prophets. It is, however, more complex than just “be nice to the poor,” because there is legitimate question about who constitutes, and the best way to care for, vulnerable persons. THE CHURCH ITSELF TEACHES THAT ABOUT IMMIGRATION ALTHOUGH YOU WILL NOT HEAR MUCH ABOUT IT IN THE PUBLIC STATEMENTS ISSUED BY CHURCH SPOKESPERSONS.

    (3) The nation among which we reside has the right to control its borders, particularly for the sake of ensuring the safety of its national citizens. AND FOR PROTECTING THE GOOD IN THE CULTURE.

    (4) Oligarchs in the US and in Mexico both have a vested interest in keeping the border porous – it obviates the need for structural reform in Mexico and keeps costs low and profits high in the service industry. JPII AND B16 HAVE BOTH SAID THAT THE ANSWER TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS TO ESTABLISH CONDITIONS IN THE SENDING COUNTRIES TO MAKE EMIGRATION AN UNECCESARY OPTION.

    (5) The middle class in both the US and Mexico benefit from this arrangement as well – at least at the supermarket checkout line. DON’T BELIEVE THAT. THE ONLY PERSONS IN MEXICO WHO BENEFIT FROM FOOD PRODUCTION ARE THE OWNERS OF SAME WHO MAKE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR OF THE BACKS OF POOR MEXICANS. PEOPLE WILL PICK CROPS HERE FOR A DECENT WAGE WHICH SHOULD DECREASE THE PROFITS OF THE OWNERS, NOT THE COST TO THE CONSUMER.

    (6) Our “social safety net” is overgrown – not just with immigrants – but period. BUT THEY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT WITHOUT HAVING EARNED IT.

    (7) Immigrants have always brought hard work and vitality to this country. SOME. THE CURRENT CROP COME FOR BENEFITS, NOT THE HARD WORK IN GENERAL.

    (smilies/cool.gif The “social safety net,” originally intended for those who cannot (through disability or economic downtown) work, has become a great big economic-status-quo-and-personal-laziness enabling machine.TES

    (9) There is something hypocritical about an immigrant nation denying entry to hard-working, law-abiding newcomers from joining them. NO. ALMOST ALL PREVIOUS IMMIGRANT POPULATIONS CAME PURSUANT TO THE LAWS IN FORCE AT THE TIME. THEY ASSIMILATED. THEY DID NOT COME IN A RECONQUITSTA MANNER.

    (10) Resident guests who violate hospitality through criminality certainly forfeit the hospitality they had enjoyed.YES

    (11) What is owed in charity (to help the poor whose plight one has not caused) is not owed in justice. JPII SAYS RE ILLEGALS IMMIGRANTS.IF LEGALITY IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR VARIOUS REASONS, LIKE WE CAN’T HANDLE THEM ANYMORE, THEY MAY BE HELPED TO GO TO ANOTHER COUNTRY OR SENT HOME. ADDRESS 1996

    (12) What is owed in justice cannot rightly be refused (except for genuine inability to cough up) and should not be dressed up as charity. WE ARE NOT ABLE WITH 10% UNEMPLOYMENT AND STAGNANT MIDDLE CLASS INCOMES.

    (13) Mass deportations are not practically or legally tolerable unless we are willing to turn the US into a police state, complete with some sort of compulsory identification system. Economically such measures remain infeasible because of (a) the cost to do so; (b) the economic vacuum created thereby. Under any circumstances, mass deportations have always caused tremendous loss of life, and so are morally troublesome under even ideal circumstances. YOU ATTACK THE EMPLOYERS WITH FINES AND JAIL. YOU DEPORT ALL BUT THE HARD CASES AND HAVE COMMPASSIONATE HEARINGS FOR THEM.

    (14) Faith in God requires us to believe that whatever happens falls within His providence, and so frees us from fear and anxiety, and allows us to engage in public discourse civilly and without vitriol. (So we should: what kind of a witness do a hundred thousand ranter give to Christ?) Faith frees us from getting swept up in fads and the power games of the powers that be. Faith allows us to do the right thing, to follow the will of God, wherever it lead. Faith simplifies and calms our hearts. FAITH AND REASON MUST GO HAND IN HAND IN THE CATHOLIC.

    (15) Oftentimes, a solution to a conundrum can be found by stepping outside the pre-drawn parameters of the problem. JPII AND B16 HAVE.

    (16) It does seem cheeky for men (here I mean clergy, and I am not anticlericalist) who live on my charity to support the government’s efforts to relieve me of more of my income. BECAUSE THEY ARE LEFTISTS BEFORE THEY ARE SHEPHERDS OF ALL THE PEOPLE.

    (17) I’ve never studied it, but dollars-to-doughnuts tithing has decreased in this country in a manner inversely proportional to the increase in taxation over the last century. Clergy who push for programs that will increase spending are biting the hand that feeds them. OUR ANNUAL APPEAL IS WAY DOWN.

    (1smilies/cool.gif People coming to this country aren’t a nameless, faceless mob, but lots and lots of individuals, just as my grandparents are. YES, AND THOSE WHOSE JOBS ARE TAKEN BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND IDENTITIES ETC. ARE ALSO INDIVIDUALS.

    More and more, I think we need to re-visit the whole topic through Cross-eyes: see things in light of the Cross and Resurrection, rather than in light of sheerly transitory, temporal concerns; see things with a willingness to sacrifice and be patient; see things with a concern for the genuine well-being of foreigners, our own families, and all involved. AS CHURCH MEMBERS WE ARE BOUND TO DO JUSTICE FOR ALL TO THE EXTENT WE ARE ABLE.

    Just some thoughts

  • Pingback: Amnesty Equals Abortion | Crisis Magazine()

  • Immigration is among the least of all problems in L.A. What needs to be wiped out is the modernist infection of the archdiocese. Nowhere is the wretched fruit of Vatican II more rotten than here (note that: the fruit of VII itself, not merely of its interpretation). All of you, read:

    Open Letter to Confused Catholics

    &

    Iota Unum

  • Pingback: How Catholics Should Think about Immigration » Portal de Santa Maria()

MENU