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The Church of Cliches

Last week, during the kerfuffle over the ridiculous SCOTUS rulings on so-called "same-sex marriage", our readers may have missed the fact that one of the Catholic Churches esteemed Archbishops decided to wade into the immigration debate with some learned comments on American "identity".

Now, lest you think I'm being sarcastic and dismissive of Archbishop Gomez, I want to note upfront that I really do accept the fact that good conservatives will have differing opinions about what to do about illegal and legal immigration and that prudential concerns will cause people of goodwill to disagree. Our former blogger, Jeff Culbreath, and I certainly did not agree on every aspect of immigration policy; but I respected his position because I knew he came to it after careful consideration of both the facts and the moral questions involved.

As for Archbishop Gomez, one can only wish he approached the issue in the same way as Mr. Culbreath -- with a careful consideration of the facts and moral issues involved. Instead, his remarks to Catholic journalists in Denver retreat into so many cliches, that it is almost too easy to take them apart (but too much fun not to!)

His first cliche (or is it just plain wrong?) is the statement that "the need for immigration reform...is the most pressing issue that we face in American public life.” Really your excellency, there are NO more pressing issues in American public life -- for example the fact that the Hispanic out-of-wedlock birthrate is now 53.4%, or the fact that 53-56% of American Catholic support so-called "same-sex marriage", or the fact that over 80% of American Catholics think birth control is "morally acceptable", or the fact that over 1.2 million babies were killed in their mothers' wombs in 2007, or the fact that the U.S. is on an unsustainable fiscal path, etc., etc.

Next, the Archbishop says "that most Americans have forgotten their immigrant roots" -- how does he know? Has he commissioned a recent survey? Then he goes on with these interesting observations:

During his remarks, Archbishop Gomez addressed the root of the immigration debate by asking the questions that underlie the issue: “What does it mean to be an American? Who are we as a people, and where are we heading as a country? What will the 'next America' look like? What should the next America look like?”

The archbishop noted G. K. Chesterton's comment that the U.S. is the only nation founded not on a material basis, such as territory or race, but on a belief, a vision.

The Founding Fathers, the writers of the Declaration of Independence, envisioned a nation “where men and women from every race, religion and national background could live in equality.”

Need I remind the good Archbishop that the Founding Fathers also thought certain races made good slaves? Or that women should not vote? Or that it would be absurd to suggest that millions of "settlers" from Islamic countries would make good American citizens in 1801 - 1805?

But to answer his excellency's earlier questions -- why can't the American people decide that we don't want more low-skilled immigrants because they'll drive down wages of the Americans already here? ("What should the 'next America' look like? -- what if the answer is that it should look more like the America of 1950, because the America of 2013 isn't doing too well.) Indeed, if we are "headed" as a people to "failure" because many of our current immigrants, both legal and illegal, are not assimilating American values successfully, then shouldn't we as a people be allowed to say -- enough -- and put a halt to all immigration for awhile until we figure out how to do a better job with the legal immigrants we have here?

Back to the Archbishop's cliches -- he then goes on to say:

"The belief that America was to be a place of equality created a nation of “flourishing diversity” through immigration...what’s at stake in the immigration debate: the future of the American dream.”

Ah yes, the American dream. But shouldn't that dream be first and foremost a dream for the citizens of America -- after all, as Steve Sailer loves to point out the Constitution begins with the words, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union... and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." U.S. citizens come first in any discussion of immigration -- not those chasing the desired goal of U.S. citizenship. And can we please cut the crap about "flourishing diversity" -- while the U.S. has indeed welcomed many ethnic groups from Europe, we were primarily founded by the British and Northern Europeans and Samuel Huntington has already devoted his scholarly efforts to exposing the "wonderful benefits" of diversity.

Next, Gomez decides to tug on our heartstrings, while at least acknowledging in passing the sins committed by the illegal immigrants themselves (we should be thankful for small favors):

Instead of having open hearts to admittedly illegal immigrants, Archbishop Gomez said America has been addressing the issue with discrimination, race-based criminal profiling, random identity checks, commando-style raids of workplaces and homes and arbitrary detentions.

America has forgotten that illegal immigration “is no ordinary crime,” he emphasized, and that those labeled “illegals” are “the people next door” who hold down jobs and have kids in school.

“That’s what makes our response to this 'crime' so cruel,” said Archbishop Gomez. More than a million have been deported in the last four years, with thousands more being held without charge or representation in detention centers.

The desire to enforce American immigration law is leading us to break up families, the archbishop said. “We’re talking about fathers who, without warning, won’t be coming home for dinner tonight … about women suddenly left as single mothers to raise their children in poverty.”

How dare we "discriminate" (i.e. use common sense) to catch folks who break our laws! And for the record, when we "break up a family", there is no reason mom and the kids can't join dad back in Mexico when dad gets deported -- I don't care if they've been living here for 5, 10, or 15 years -- when the parents made those bad choices they should have thought of the potential consequences to their kids. And Mexico is no third-world hell-hole -- it's not France but it's not the Democratic Republic of Congo either -- folks lead middle-class and working-class lives in Mexico with many, if not most, of the modern conveniences we have here in the U.S. So spare me the sob stories about mothers living in poverty because daddy was taken away by the mean United States government -- the government is supposed to enforce the laws for the common good. When millions of people break those laws (for their personal benefit) and disregard our citizen's will as to what constitutes the common good of this nation, then we have every right (and duty) to punish those folks and send them back to their countries of origin.

The article closes out with a couple more Gomez howlers:

Catholics, the archbishop urged, “need to be the conscience of our nation. We need to help our neighbors to remember the founding vision of America: that all men and women are created equal and endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights.”


"We have a chance to create a path to welcome millions of new Americans who would share our national ideals, beliefs and values. This new generation of immigrants promises to help renew the soul of America.”

I'm all for helping educate my neighbors in the finer points of America's "vision" as articulated in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution -- neither document speaks to the unrestricted right to move wherever you want and expect the citizens of a foreign country to welcome you as one of their own! And again the his excellency is commissioning all these opinion polls to find out what all these illegal immigrants think (is he sure they share our "national ideas, beliefs and values? Not according to that Hudson Institute report I cited above).

Time for the Catholic Church to ditch the cliches and start thinking seriously about immigration.

Comments (26)

and that those labeled “illegals” are “the people next door” who hold down jobs and have kids in school.
...More than a million have been deported in the last four years, with thousands more being held without charge or representation in detention centers.

Bunk, pure, unadulterated bunk.

The vast majority of the illegals deported are ones who were caught only a little while after they got here (not the ones who have a house next door with wife, and kids in school, THOSE ones make up very few of the ones deported), or they overstayed their visa (a visa often for tourism or education - so they weren't even HERE for work etc), or have committed other crimes, or similar situations. Not the neighbors next door, keeping their heads down, have been here 10 years, etc...

I have so little patience for this crap. The archbishop doesn't seem to even MENTION basic Church doctrine on immigration law, such as the foundational one that every country has a right to regulate entry to its territory for the sake of peace and good order. Having immigrants come here and disrupt (just to pick one example) schools that have to educate them into a new language, without accounting for the effort and its costs starts to violate the basic rights of nations.

I would be halfway willing to legalize 70% of the illegals tomorrow if every one of them did the following: put on a tracking anklet, signed a written document that they had been here illegally, and that it is THEIR OWN obligation, at their OWN cost, to learn our language and customs; if they paid (or agreed to pay over a few years) a fine that would - in the aggregate - pay for the costs of running immigration enforcement and law enforcement as it stems from the illegals who have come here; and agreed that if they are found guilty of a felony or serious misdemeanor they would be deported anyway.

The other 30% are, of course, the problem children of the issue, the "soft underbelly" of the liberal insanity: the gangs, the drug runners, the terrorists, the jihadi sympathizers, the anarchists and so on, as well as those who have no skills AND no prospect of supporting themselves legally from tomorrow on.

I say "halfway willing" because of course this would do nothing to solve the economic issues, which are serious. The labor of illegals has already depressed wages of legal Americans significantly, damaging the labor force. To turn them into legals overnight, and THEN require all employers to pay them legal salaries and taxes, would result in a whipsaw effect, with resulting dislocations of business (and their legal workers). It's not that I don't want to make sure all employers pay honest wages and benefits, but to make it happen overnight is not so wise.

It still isn't FAIR to let people breaking the law to get away with it. (That's why I would impose a fine on every one of them commensurate with the cost - that's actually letting them off very cheaply indeed). But it would almost be worth it just to put paid to the liberal cacophony and say SHUT UP to their stupid egregious illogic.

Or that it would be absurd to suggest that millions of "settlers" from Islamic countries would make good American citizens in 1801 - 1805?

This is actually a very interesting point. The Ottoman Empire had the resources to set up colonies in the Midwest and Islam has a long tradition of seafaring trading-proselytizing as evidence of how far it reached into the Pacific. Imagine if the Ottoman Empire had tricked an impressionable Thomas Jefferson by offering him a faustian bargain: we'll help you suppress Spanish and British influence on your southern borders if you'll turn a blind eye to us claiming the land West of the Louisiana Purchase. It wouldn't have taken much effort for the Ottomans to get a few tens of thousands of colonists to the plains region and God knows they'd have been ruthless in expanding against the pagan Amerindian tribes.

** that reminds me of a point I made to an atheist once about if Muslims had landed in Mexico instead of Catholics. The atheist did not know that Islam scripturally teaches ruthlessness toward pagans unwilling to convert. That is, only Jews and Christians theoretically fall under dhimmitude. Had the devout Muslims seen the Aztec religion, they'd very likely have put most of the civilization to the sword.

Mike T,

Sometimes you are an abolute delight! Have a great 4th of July!

In fact (history trivia) America was somewhat forced to recognize that we could make common cause with the British through our need to deal with the pirate (Muslim) Barbary states. The British naval power was on the rise in the early 1800's and was quite helpful in that endeavor.

I'm a bit of a patzer when it comes to the issue of immigration generally (as opposed to, say, Muslim immigration in particular), so I doubt that I'll have anything profound to add here. What I will say is this: Whenever I feel myself the most sympathetic to the idea of amnesty for some (the good citizen next door who got accidentally caught in a tangle of regulations he couldn't understand or whatever), I always want to add that if we offer anyone amnesty, we need to secure the border thoroughly first (and esp. the border with Mexico), so that this whole non-enforcement cycle, involving tangles that are harming the innocent (e.g., people who came here as children, people who didn't know they were coming here illegally, or what-not) doesn't keep on going. And every time I see that suggested or suggest it myself, the pro-amnesty crowd always wants to nix the border-control-first stipulation. That makes me enormously suspicious and throws me back in the direction of being an immigration hawk all over again.

What I find ridiculous about the enforcement angle is the idea that it would cost a lot of money. Shutting down the DEA and transferring its $3B budget to CBP as a new line item to hire 10k-15k more agents within two calendar years would do the trick on manpower. Most of the people opposing the enforcement are simply arguing from a position of bad faith.

"Had the devout Muslims seen the Aztec religion, they'd very likely have put most of the civilization to the sword."

And this would not necessarily have been a bad thing.

90% of the natives north of the Rio Grande ended up dead in some war or massacre or other, and they haven't been missed. It's their mestizo cousins from where genocidal conflict didn't happen that are the source of much of the trouble.

"America was somewhat forced to recognize that we could make common cause with the British"

No somewhat about it. George Washington, 1795 or so: "we must marry ourselves to the British fleet and nation".

I suppose I shd. be grateful for the agreement implicit in the second part of that comment, but the advocacy of deliberate genocide in the first part is, let us just say, entirely unacceptable.

Thanks Lydia -- sometimes my posts can really draw out the crazies!

Chesterton implicitly endorsed the Roman bloodlust against Carthage in The Everlasting Man, but it was on the grounds of the wickedness of Punic religion, not the byzantine matter of Punic genetic stock, which would probably be the focus of so many despairing materialists of today. It just illustrates the narrowness of latter. Despite the horror of their religion, and the supposed meagerness of their genetic endowment, the Carthaginians nevertheless managed to produce a rather terrifying number of military geniuses and statesmen.

Meanwhile, on this tangent let's note that the Spanish ruin of Aztec religion was not bad thing. And I do think it's somewhat difficult to draw a clear moral distinction between the methods of the Spanish imperialists of that age, from the methods of Jihadist imperialists of any age. Torture, slaughter, enslavement: these features of open policy in both.

Yes how dare you, you stupid immigrants, refugees, poor people...?
And if you have children - who cares whether they lived for 15 years in the U.S? Blaim yourself.
O.K. - these genocides in America or Carthago were somewhat unacceptable, but at least they wiped out the pagan religions. Since the Europeans/Romans killed 90% of the people by war and germs the latter had to stop sacrificing a human now and then. That's a good thing, isn't it? Whereas Cortes was a sensible ambassador of catholicism (he had some minor character flaws, but who has not?), the Aztecs were wicked.
I think that's the Christian way to think about these matters as Jesus taught us. As you know, Jeff, he always stuck with the rich, the powerful, the established and the self-righteous. Dont't let yourself be deceived by leftist scholars, archbishops and popes who think otherwise.
Keep up the good fight, Jeff!


And if you have children - who cares whether they lived for 15 years in the U.S? Blaim yourself.

Obviously most of the world doesn't care since our form of Jus Soli is not practiced by most of the world.


While it would be tempting to ignore your childish rant, I do think it is important to clear up one common misconception that keeps popping up among left-wing types. While the Bible and Christ urge us to help the refugee and stranger who needs help, it is a common misconception that immigrants from Central America fit this description. Most come here simply to make more money than they could in Mexico, or Guatemala, etc. There is no reason they can't stay in their own countries and try and improve their lot there. America has a proud tradition of helping real refugees from around the world and should continue to do so -- as long as the numbers are within reason and we emphasize assimilation at all times!

P.S. Cortes wouldn't have been successful in his campaigns without local help -- plenty of tribes were all too happy to give him assistance in defeating the Aztec empire so they wouldn't have to be slaves and/or sacrificial fodder for their sick cults.

Most come here simply to make more money than they could in Mexico, or Guatemala, etc. There is no reason they can't stay in their own countries and try and improve their lot there.

This truly is the elephant in the room about migration, in my opinion. You cannot take a block of people from a country with deep-seated cultural pathologies, transplant them in another country and expect those pathologies to stay with them. A Mexican is a Mexican be he or she in Mexico, the US, Southeast Asia or on a colony ship to Mars. It's only when the Mexican stops being a Mexican by a conscious decision to embrace another culture with fewer pathologies or stays in Mexico and consciously chooses to reject their cultural pathologies that they'll improve their lot.

expect those pathologies to stay with them

*stay behind in the old geography.

I find the Church's stand on immigration as treasonous. To destroy the racial homogeniety of a country is to commit treason. To undermine the majority WASP character of America is wrong.

Let me remind you Catholics that America is built on a Masonic foundation. Freemasonry has been condemned in many encyclicals. Freemasonry is about rebuilding the Tower of Babel. If you Catholics read the Bible, God destroyed the Tower of Babel and called it Evil.

America is the rebirth of the Tower of Babel. Catholics can not participate in this process. This immigration thing is about turning America into the Tower of Babel.

Like Jeff said, our posts here do occasionally draw out the crazies.

We need to spend more time unpacking the lessons of the Crusades. Censorship of the contributions of Religious Americans and Christians specifically have raised a generation that has next to no idea that Multinational Coalitions of Armies have fought with Islam before, why they did it nor what success or failure came of it.

On occasion, I listen to former soldiers and on occasion active soldiers speak of "Rag Heads." I see how close we are to the facts on the ground in Europe before the Crusades detonated. There is a lot we should be learning from history -- or shall we just forget and blindly repeat it.

I am not Catholic, yet I can see that having aborted one in five persons in the USA, we draw their replacements through immigration. The issue needs to be addressed, both at the earlier source of human annihilation and the down stream consequence of immigration.

But, even if we do perfectly fix all immigration issues, what then? Shall the abandoning the public acknowledgement of God lead to strait paths for the American nation? King Solomon would say that is not so.

Trust in Adonai with all your heart;
do not rely on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him;
then he will level your paths.

Archbishop Gomez is just practicing self-interest. The Catholic Church would wither if not for a constant influx of immigrants.

On genocide, there were deliberate genocides of pagans defined both in terms of religion as well as lineage in the Old Testament. At no time does the OT suggest that there was anything wrong with this. IIRC, in the case of the Midianites, the Israelites tried to soften the blow by keeping the women alive but were rebuked for it.


Assuming you are referring to the destruction of the Canaanites, I think your glib comment needs to be rebuked. Here is Justin Taylor with some wise thoughts on the incident in question:

5. God’s actions were not an example of ethnic cleansing.

The Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy) provides laws for two types of warfare: (1) battles fought against cities outside the Promise Land (see Deut. 20:10-15), and (2) battles fought against cities within the Promised Land (Deut. 20:16-18). The first type allowed for Israel to spare people; the second type did not. This herem practice (the second type of warfare) meant “devotion/consecration to destruction.” As a sacred act fulfilling divine judgment, it is outside our own categories for thinking about warfare. Even though the destruction is commanded in terms of totality, there seems to have been an exception for those who repented, turning to the one true and living God (e.g., Rahab and her family [Josh. 2:9], and the Gibeonites [Josh. 11:19]). What this means is that the reason for the destruction of God’s wicked enemies was precisely because of their rebellion and according to God’s special purposes—not because of their ethnicity. “Ethnic cleansing” and genocide refer to destruction of a people due to their ethnicity, and therefore this would be an inappropriate category for the destruction of the Canaanites.

6. Why was it necessary to remove the Canaanites from the land?

In America we talk about the separation of “church” and “state.” But Israel was a “theocracy,” where church and state were inseparably joined and indistinguishable, such that members of God’s people had both political and religious obligations. To be a citizen of Israel required being faithful to God’s covenant and vice-versa.

The covenant community demanded purity, and egregious violations meant removal (e.g., see Deut. 13:5; 17:7, etc). This also entailed the purity of the land in which they were living as God’s people, and failure to remove the unrepentant from the land meant that the entire nation would be pulled down with the rebellious, resulting in idolatry, injustice, and evil (e.g., Deut. 7:4; 12:29-31)—which sadly proved to be the case all too often under the old covenant.

Christians today are not in a theocracy. We are “sojourners and exiles” (1 Pet. 2:11) with no sacred land in this age. We live in the overlap of the old age and the age to come—”between two places” (in the creation that groans—after the holy-but-temporary Promised Land and awaiting the holy-and-permanent New Heavens and the New Earth). In this age and place we are to respect and submit to the governing authorities placed over us by God (Rom. 13:1-5)—but they are not, and should not be, a part of the church (God’s people called and gathered for Word and sacrament). Furthermore, God’s gift of specific, special revelation to the whole church has now ended (cf. Heb. 1:1-2: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son”). These factors combine to ensure that nothing like the destruction of the Canaanites—required for the theocracy of Israel to possess the physical land—is commissioned by God or is permissible for his people today.

7. The destruction of the Canaanites is a picture of the final judgment.

At the end of the age, Christ will come to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 4:5), expelling them from the land (the whole earth). That judgment will be just, and it will be complete. That is the day “the Lord Jesus [will be] revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might (2 Thess. 1:8-9). Amazingly enough, Paul asks the Corinthians something they seem to have forgotten, if they once knew it: “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? (1 Cor. 6:2).

How does this work? What will it look like? We don’t know for sure. But God’s Word tells us that God’s people will be part of God’s judgment against God’s enemies. In that way, God’s command of the Israelites to carry out his moral judgment against the Canaanites becomes a foreshadowing—a preview, if you will—of the final judgment.

Read in this light, the terrible destruction recorded on the pages of Joshua in God’s Holy Word become not a “problem to solve,” but a wake-up call to all of us—to remain “pure and undefiled before God” (James 1:27), seeking him and his ways, and to faithfully share the gospel with our unbelieving neighbors and the unreached nations. Like Job, we must ultimately refrain from calling God’s goodness and justice into question, putting a hand over our mouth (Job 40:4) and marveling instead at the richness and the mystery of God’s great inscrutable mercy (Eph. 2:4). At the end of the day we will join Moses and the Lamb in singing this song of praise:

“Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Rev. 15:3-4)

I'll see you your wise thoughts and raise you the actual text:

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 'Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites; afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people.' 3 And Moses spoke unto the people, saying: 'Arm ye men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian, to execute the LORD'S vengeance on Midian. 4 Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Israel, shall ye send to the war.' 5 So there were delivered, out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. 6 And Moses sent them, a thousand of every tribe, to the war, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy vessels and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand. 7 And they warred against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew every male. 8 And they slew the kings of Midian with the rest of their slain: Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian; Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword. 9 And the children of Israel took captive the women of Midian and their little ones; and all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods, they took for a prey. 10 And all their cities in the places wherein they dwelt, and all their encampments, they burnt with fire. 11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of man and of beast. 12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and unto Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp, unto the plains of Moab, which are by the Jordan at Jericho. {S} 13 And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp. 14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, who came from the service of the war. 15 And Moses said unto them: 'Have ye saved all the women alive? 16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to revolt so as to break faith with the LORD in the matter of Peor, and so the plague was among the congregation of the LORD. 17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. 18 But all the women children, that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Based on this, I have a feeling they didn't inquire as to the religious status of the slain, but instead followed a "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius" approach. In fact, Moses complains that they didn't go far enough, kill all the boys too.

As for the semantics about genocide, at the end of the day all the Midianites were dead and their society utterly erased. That's genocide, man. It's understandable that past Christians, confronted with the Aztecs, followed the OT example.


Nothing like trying to argue that the American Catholic Church's leadership is very wrong about immigration reform and you wind up talking about Biblical justifications for genocide!

But your quote doesn't help your case -- notice the first sentence: "And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 'Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites; afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people.'"

As Taylor convincingly argues, unless you are trying to say that Cortes was a later-day prophet that spoke regularly with the lord (and that somehow he was avenging the land of Israel), then I would argue it wasn't at all "understandable that past Christians, confronted with the Aztecs, followed the OT example." The problem remains the NT and what it says about the OT, which Right Rev. Bartolomé de las Casas tried to explain to his Spanish contemporaries back in the day.

By the way, Gomez is now hawking his book about immigration to the faithful -- based on what he's said about the book in the press it is just as bad as the quotes he gave to the press. Sad.

I didn't bring up genocide, I just commented on it. But my case is merely that genocide happened in the Bible and it was never considered a bad thing that it did. The usual rationalization (which may be entirely true) is that God commanded the past genocides, but He no longer gives commands anymore.

As for Gomez, again he is just pursuing his self interest. Americans don't give a damn about Christianity, including Catholicism, so the Catholic church has to fill its pews with some other people. I can't blame Gomez for thinking that illegal immigrants from south of the border are just like us when that is what most Americans think, and what all right-thinking Americans think.

The Catholic or any other church is a bit player in immigration though, as in everything else. A withering institution only good for trotting out whenever it says something politically useful. As long as the Republicans support open borders as a giveaway to the mega-rich, there will be no significant opposition to immigration.


I find that this attitude of despair and defeatism is quite common on blogs associated with the reactionary right:

"The Catholic or any other church is a bit player in immigration though, as in everything else. A withering institution only good for trotting out whenever it says something politically useful. As long as the Republicans support open borders as a giveaway to the mega-rich, there will be no significant opposition to immigration."

I'm going to have to disagree with both you cynical take on Archbishop Gomez's beliefs as well as your take on today's Republican party. As I said in the OP, as faithful Catholics there is nothing inherently wrong with us disagreeing with one of our church's shepherds, as long as we treat him with respect and begin the discussion assuming honesty and integrity from someone in such an important position.

The Church is "good" because she speaks the truth about spiritual matters -- that is ultimately why anyone should pay attention to what she has to say. You may be right that Americans increasingly ignore her truths, but that says more about modern-day America than it does about the Church. And while there are Republicans beholden to the "mega-rich" there are others, particularly those in the House, who are intent on fighting the current "reform" legislation and believe that the issue of immigration is about more than cheap labor.

Maybe people should listen to the Church, but they don't. It is a non-factor in my generation, and I don't think it is much of one in the previous generation.

I'm glad there are at least a few politicians who maintain some level of opposition to amnesty, but they are a faction within a faction. Perhaps if they could push a pro-labor angle and swing some Democrats it would make a difference, but current Republican dogma states that unions are the evilest thing there ever was, and even if it didn't I'm not sure that strategy would work. Which is just another way of saying that all the momentum is on the amnesty side. The anti-amnesty side can occasionally put up a large enough blockade to stop them, but the blockade this time is already much weaker than back in 2006 and it is only a matter of time.

This is getting a little too much into diagnosing what is generally wrong with the right, but on immigration the right loses because it has no coherent vision of its own and is therefore simply reacting against whatever the left is doing. You can call this defeatism if you want; I call it taking stock of reality.

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