We are all pilgrims on our way to our true home... Father Tony, 03/11/2018
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
The issue of immigration is hotly debated right now and there are some strong feelings regarding the presence of undocumented people in the U.S. I want to revisit a bulletin article I wrote last year which articulates the Catholic social teaching on immigration.
The Church’s teaching on Migration is rooted in Scripture which speaks of how the alien is to be treated. Leviticus 19 says; “When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest him. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the Lord, am your God."
The Church recognizes that any nation has a right to control its borders, but it does not have the right to do so in order to simply accumulate additional wealth. The U.S. and Mexican Catholic bishops in the 2003 pastoral letter, ‘Strangers no Longer’ wrote; “The Church recognizes the right of sovereign nations to control their territories but rejects such control when it is exerted merely for the purpose of acquiring additional wealth. More powerful economic nations, which have the ability to protect and feed their residents, have a stronger obligation to accommodate migration flows.” Likewise, the presence of immigrants within a country must not be used as an opportunity for exploitation. “Emigration in search of work must in no way become an opportunity for financial or social exploitation.” The immigrant also has responsibilities in his new-found home to contribute to the domestic common good of prosperity, freedom and peace.
Strangers No Longer lays out five principles for both nations to consider as they make their policies regarding immigration. By following these principles in regard to immigration policy, governments would go a long way to respecting Catholic principles in this area. The principles are;
Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland;
When opportunities are not available at home, persons have the right to migrate to find work to support themselves and their families;
Sovereign nations have the right to control their boundaries, but economically stronger nations have a stronger obligation to accommodate migration flows;
Refugees and asylum seekers fleeing wars and persecutions should be protected; and
The human dignity and rights of undocumented migrants should be respected.
In these days when the immigration issue is hotly debated, may we have the mind of Christ and be led by the Holy Spirit recognizing the dignity of every human being and keeping in mind that we are all pilgrims and our true home is in heaven.
Sent by Pamela Vogt on Sunday, March 11 at 12:00PM