Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bishop Vasa on immigration: "Church will provide comfort, solace and perhaps even sanctuary"

In a May 13 diocesan newspaper column devoted to illegal immigration, Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon urged Catholics to consider the human dignity of illegal immigrants.

“I do not think the Church would propose hiring ‘coyotes’ to help bring people to the United States illegally,” he writes. “Yet, once people are here and in distress then the Church will provide comfort, solace and perhaps even sanctuary because that is what the Church does. There may be some of this that is technically ‘illegal, but splitting up a family or sending a family-wage earner back to Mexico where he can no longer provide for his family is not in accord with what we are to do as members of a church. It is not consistent with the dignity of human persons.”

Read more of his statement here...


  1. The borders need to be closed now. The Federal Government is to blame for the huge problem we are not facing because of their unwillingness to control the borders. I do not think it is right to support the illegal immigrants in their illegal behavior. Just as I would not support my son in illegal behavior. When one crosses into another country without permission, that is trespassing. When one comes into my home, without permission it is trespassing. When one comes over the border illegally, then proceeds to obtain fake identification and steals social security numbers so they can work, we can NOT give them solace. We can love them and still teach them what they are doing is wrong. As I do my children. What arrogance we have in America to think this is a "better life". Mother Theresa said America is the most spiritually poor country. I have developed deep friendships with many priests who have come from Africa. Very poor countries. They all say the same thing about their villages, very little materialism poisons their family. Who said America, in all cases is a 'better life'??

  2. Since we know the borders won't be closed and 11-18 million illegal immigrants won't be deported, what do you want to do?

    Indignation is understandable and natural since grave injustice has been committed. Indignation, however, is no exemption from dealing with reality. And the reality is that neither Democrats nor Republicans will close the borders nor will they deport the majority of illegal aliens.

    Further, the American people will not support comprehensive immigration reform without a believable commitment to secure the border. We went through that in the last Bush administration.

    So, in the meantime, how is the Church to treat illegal immigrants who are frequently Catholic?

    1. Welcome them so they will come out of the shadows.
    2. Minister the sacraments including penance.
    3. Urge them to pay back taxes, go to the back of the line and pay a penalty.
    4. Give them sanctuary and promise to stand with them through the process of naturalization.
    5. Where appropriate ask them to turn state's evidence against factories or agribusiness which lure them over here and hold them in a form of indentured servanthood.

    What do you think?

  3. I,m sure annommous speaks for the vast majority of american catholics.They have built the entire southwest with their blood and sweat.But sadly,even catholics can"t treat them with the awe and respect they deserve.We are all illegal aliens before the great god,and we all be begging mercy.People like annonymous have a great problem being faithfull to the church and its sentiments on many issues.I feel sorry for the cold hearted catholics,who don"t mind "illegals" doing their dirty work,but love saying such derogatory things about them...rob

  4. Rob, Please reread the first posting. Your comment strongly implies that this writer, like the "vast majority of Catholics', is cold hearted', want illegals to do 'their dirty work', love to denegrate them, have 'great problem being faithful to the Church'. I only know this commenter from the comment. How can you conclude these terrible things about him/her and the 'vast majority of Catholics'? You could not be more wrong. Your response shows your own shortsightedness and prejudice. Please rethink your writing and your position based on study and facts and not conjecture and propaganda. The current situation is not sustainable. What do you recommend? Please leave suggestions without insults. -Regina

  5. Rob, the Federal Government has created a "serf" class by perpetuating this "dirty work" for the illegals.

    Don't you see how allowing this to continue, only continues the cycle of use??

    I do NOT want to continue this cycle. I do want the true dignity that all immigrants deserve, to go to everyone who wants to come here.

    Here's the deal husband was born in Mexico, his father came here legally over 50 yrs ago in the hopes of a better life. He worked hard, obtained the proper documents for his family (to which they waited in Mexico for TWO YEARS). My husbands father worked hard and bought a home for his family. They came to America and were so grateful for what America had done for them all, they denounced their citizenship in Mexico and became AMERICAN citizens. They are all productive citizens today who respect the laws of THEIR country today. They do not see themselves as Mexican as much as they see themselves as AMERICANS who worked hard for what they have.

    There are real problems we have with illegal aliens. My son is a law enforcement officer. He sees it every day and his job is that much harder due to the drug smuggling that comes from the open borders. Every car he pulls over he never knows what the outcome will be -- you see although my son looks white - he is half Mexican and is called a racist by most of the Mexicans he pulls over - there is some shame at least when my son -with great pride and honor" shares where his father and his father's father came from - legally. the sacrifice they endured; the separation, hard work, and financial sacrifices his father and grandfather made for my son to share in the American dream should be a cause for pride and honor -- What is most distressing for my husband and his family is what they did right, the sacrifice they made, is being negated.

    Rob, I happen to believe the best way to ensure dignity is to encourage abiding by the laws of the land. And as a Catholic, I am a great defender of the Catholic Church. I am a faithful Catholic who has an opinion of the current situation that is really not that much different from the Magisterium. The church does not encourage illegal behavior. The church does not want open borders. The church is more concerned for the soul than the body...

    I am not any less a Catholic because I think real dignity comes from the hard work of all the immigrants who came here legally and taught their children to respect and honor this country...and fly the flag of the United States. Not Mexico. My husband always asks his Hispanic brethren waring the flag of Mexico. "WHAT has Mexico done for you? This is the country that is helping you, wear the American flag in gratitude and appreciation for better life you came for!

  6. The Bishop speaks to teach and I accept his teaching. Families should never be broken up and tramatized in such a way. Human beings are always entitled to be treated with dignity and protection.

    Although I am very aggrivated about the lack of protection US citizens feel, that is the fault of the Government and the businesses that encourage these desperate people to come. There should be strict penalties for businesses who count on the slave labor of illegal immigrants. Possibly shut down. The border must be secure for everyone's sake.

    Inviting people to risk their lives so that businesses can have cheap illegal labor is disgusting. As a Catholic I know that I must follow and obey the teachings of the Church, because God's teachings are perfect.
    As a flawed human being I have to raise my heart to the Lord and Trust in Him.

    I am mostly upset about the lack of integrity our government has shown regarding this important issue and has created such messes.

  7. Liz,

    I and all the rest of the Catholics that support this law follow the teachings of the Church too.

    Not one person, including my son and the thousands of law enforcement officers who will be enforcing the law - want to mistreat anyone.

    But we do insist our laws are respected. Just as I insist on anyone who comes to my home, respects my rules, and enters after being invited.

    What is most disturbing is it seems we are ignoring some very important facts in regards to illegal aliens:

    -Many are "breaking" up their own family by leaving their family and country of origin - and even starting NEW families once they arrive here.

    - For illegal aliens to get employment they must have documents and a social security number. So after they have illegally entered the US they then steal someone's social security number and identity. The process of illegally entering a country is not as innocent as some are trying to make it. Why do you think Arizona has the highest percentage of "identity theft"?? Why do you think we have the highest kidnapping rates?? Why should we endanger our law enforcement officers anymore than they are already are with crimes perpetrated by illegals too? Believe it or not, I voiced these concerns because of my sons vocation as officer of the law and the response I got was "he knew he was going into dangerous work". Wow, that is the thanks we give these young men and women for keeping our neighborhoods and highways safe??

    We need to close the borders. The back of the line means the back of the line...and back to their country if need be.

    In closing I thought I would share a principle of immigration taught by the Church:

    **Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland. All persons have the right to find in their own countries the economic, political, and social opportunities to live in dignity and achieve a full life through the use of their God-given gifts. In this context, work that provides a just, living wage is a basic human need.

    The church does not expect us to allow open borders. "The Church recognizes the right of a sovereign state to control its borders in furtherance of the common good."

  8. Anonymous to Liz,

    Good engagement.
    I'm not sure who is arguing for open borders, do you? Seriously, I would like the names of Catholic organizations that support open borders.

    The church teaches that there is a right to migrate.

    The church teaches that that right is not absolute.

    The church teaches that prosperous nations have a moral obligation to welcome the poor and immigrants to the degree that they are able. That is determined by the host nation.

    The church teaches that law enforcement must be consistent or it will bring the law into disrepute. St. Thomas Aquinas also believed that failure to properly carry out the law jeopardizes the common good and the popular understanding of who God is.

    The Church teaches that crossing a border illegally to achieve a beter life for one's family is not an evil of nearly the same magnitude as rape and murder....


  9. Greetings Al.

    First I would like to personally thank you for your show, it is one of the few that examine political issues while putting a Catholic lens to it.

    As for who is arguing for open would be interesting to ask the same people who are presently supporting the illegals here already, if we should keep out all the others that are "looking for a better life" by closing the borders? Where does this welcoming begin and where does it end??

    I thought the end does not justify the means??