Canonical penalties

For decades many Catholics (including me) have watched in disgust as senior prelates in these United States have remained silent while highly placed and unimaginably wealthy Catholic politicians have used their immense power and influence to further and expand the cause of abortion. Indeed, the USCCB and its minions have not only ignored this gob-smacking public scandal, they have smiled approvingly on, sought photo opportunities with, and truckled to, these people. It makes one want to puke.

From Religion News Service:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opened its spring meeting this week with a stern reproach of the Trump administration’s latest immigration policies, with the group’s president suggesting the new rules on asylum are a “right to life” issue.

Some bishops followed by urging protests, including “canonical penalties” for those who carry out the administration’s new rules.

Within minutes of opening the USCCB’s biannual meeting in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday (June 13), Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB and archbishop of Galveston-Houston, read aloud a statement deeply critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent announcement regarding asylum qualifications…

At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life,” DiNardo said, reading from the statement. “The Attorney General’s recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection…

When he finished, DiNardo asked bishops to clap if they approved the statement. The room erupted in applause…

Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Tucson, Ariz., made a bolder suggestion, raising the possibility of implementing canonical penalties for Catholics “who are involved in this,” referring to children being separated from their families at the border. Canonical penalties can range from denial of sacraments to excommunication, though Weisenburger did not specify what he intended beyond referring to sanctions that already exist for “life issues.” (my emphasis)

To be clear, the United States has among the most permissive immigration and naturalization laws of any nation on the planet. Far more permissive than the Vatican. The United States has also, for decades, been incredibly loose and generous regarding those who ignore the law and come here illegally. The US hasn’t been as loose regarding illegal immigration as, say, countries of the European Union, but it has been far more lax than, say, the Vatican, Mexico or most other nations on the planet. But, currently, illegal immigration (not to be confused with legal immigration) has become a significant public policy problem in the US, as it has in the EU.

The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent that they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin…

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good… may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. 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.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2241 (my emphasis)

Prescinding from the simple fact that the very first act of one who crosses the border illegally is to disregard the laws of “the country that receives” him, regulation of immigration is absolutely a matter within the territory of legitimate governmental regulation. Control of illegal immigration (remember, we are not discussing legal immigration) is not a “right to life” issue, it is a complex matter of balancing charity to those who have already broken our laws with fairness and justice to the citizens and legal immigrants who have not broken our laws. The United States is a large and wealthy country, and can, and has, and still does, warmly accept those who come here legally and want to contribute to, and be a part of, our civilization. But the US is not a bottomless pit, and the US cannot correct all the ills of the world, or the dysfunction of other nations – we are struggling enough with our own dysfunctions.

Catholics may disagree regarding solutions to the profoundly difficult problem of decades of massive illegal immigration in the country, and its heavy aftermath, while remaining within the bounds of justice and charity. For the USCCB to call for canonical penalties against those who are upholding the laws – which are not unjust and which are attempting to deal fairly to all concerned in a nearly impossible situation – while simultaneously ignoring (and by their example, endorsing) the ongoing scandal of politicians who enact pro-abortion laws – is itself a source of scandal, and clerical malpractice. That, in a nutshell, is that.

Curate, ut valeatis.

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