Interlude: on migration

Today’s homily will be posted a little later; it still has to go through a final edit before I’m comfortable sharing it.  (Meaning I ad-libbed the ending all three times I preached it, so I need to sit down and actually write an ending for publication…)  But before I do that, I just wanted to drop a little social teaching of the Church on you.  I was struck by a line in Psalm 146, which was our responsorial psalm today:

The Lord protects the resident alien, comes to the aid of the orphan and widow, but thwarts the way of the wicked.

In light of what I consider to be a very misguided Executive Order, I, a faithful Catholic and a loyal American, now present to you, in no particular order, some thoughts for your consideration:

Pope Saint John XXIII:

The deep feelings of paternal love for all mankind which God has implanted in Our heart makes it impossible for Us to view without bitter anguish of spirit the plight of those who for political reasons have been exiled from their own homelands. There are great numbers of such refugees at the present time, and many are the sufferings—the incredible sufferings—to which they are constantly exposed. Here surely is our proof that, in defining the scope of a just freedom within which individual citizens may live lives worthy of their human dignity, the rulers of some nations have been far too restrictive. Sometimes in States of this kind the very right to freedom is called in question, and even flatly denied. We have here a complete reversal of the right order of society, for the whole raison d’etre of public authority is to safeguard the interests of the community. Its sovereign duty is to recognize the noble realm of freedom and protect its rights.For this reason, it is not irrelevant to draw the attention of the world to the fact that these refugees are persons and all their rights as persons must be recognized. Refugees cannot lose these rights simply because they are deprived of citizenship of their own States. And among man’s personal rights we must include his right to enter a country in which he hopes to be able to provide more fittingly for himself and his dependents. It is therefore the duty of State officials to accept such immigrants and—so far as the good of their own community, rightly understood, permits—to further the aims of those who may wish to become members of a new society. We therefore take this opportunity of giving Our public approval and commendation to every undertaking, founded on the principles of human solidarity or of Christian charity, which aims at relieving the distress of those who are compelled to emigrate from their own country to another. And We must indeed single out for the praise of all right-minded men those international agencies which devote all their energies to this most important work.

Pope Pius XII:

But the condition of these exiles is so critical and unstable that it cannot longer be permitted to continue. While, therefore, We encourage all generous and noble souls to put forth their best effort to aid these homeless people in their sorrow and destitution, We make an earnest appeal to those responsible that justice may be rendered to all who have been driven far from their homes by the turmoil of war and whose most ardent desire now is to lead peaceful lives once more.

Pope Pius XII again (unofficial English translation; the official Italian text is here):

Consider yourselves responsible for him.  For his miserable lot today may well be yours tomorrow!

3 John 4-6

Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers, especially for strangers.  Please help them in a way worthy of God.

Deuteronomy 23:8

Do not abhor the Edomite: he is your brother.  Do not abhor the Egyptian: you were a resident alien in his country.

Leviticus 24:22

You shall have but one rule, for aien and native-born alike.

Leviticus 19:34

You shall love the alien as yourself.

Exodus 22:20

You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt.

I could keep going – for instance, I never even got Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, or Francis yet….but do I have to?


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