Exclusive: Barbara Simpson examines Church dilemma over shielding lawbreakers
Published: 4/5/17

If anyone wonders why Roman Catholics in this country feel as though their heads are spinning, the latest statement by the archbishop of San Francisco provided fuel for the fire.

The man in question, Salvatore Cordileone, expressed his feelings about what President Donald Trump is doing in terms of the border and immigration.

Clearly, the archbishop is not pleased with what is emanating from Washington concerning the people in this country illegally.

The dilemma for Catholics is whether they should adhere to the law or make allowances for those who deliberately break the law.

If they side with the lawbreakers, are they committing a sin, or are the rules of the Church now up for grabs?

For many, it appears, that’s the case.

For many, it appears that not only does the Church have “cafeteria Catholics” – those who pick and choose what they will do rather than follow Church law – but now the Church has to deal with “cafeteria rules,” in other words, Church rules and guidelines that people can pick and choose at will and still be considered “good” Catholics.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, the archbishop told the paper that he was “nervous” about the executive actions President Trump has taken on the issue of immigration.

The actions that disturb the archbishop are the decisions to build a border wall, hire 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and cut federal funding to sanctuary cities.

When asked directly his reaction to the presidential actions, Archbishop Cordileone told the paper that the Church would protect those who could be deported and make sure that those affected “know their rights.”

Let’s see, just what are the “rights” of people who have broken the law to get into this country, who are working here illegally, often using stolen or faked identification, perhaps driving without a license, and taking advantage of our social service programs even though they’re here illegally?

Outside of basic “human rights,” they have none of the rights of American citizens or people who are in this country legally.

According to his interview, the archbishop said none of what President Trump has done is unexpected, but since he seems to be focusing on “criminal” illegals, the archbishop appears to think people who are here, working and “contributing to society” will be allowed to stay.

Sorry, Padre – just the illegal crossing of the border disqualifies people for the benefits of American citizenship. Those people who are here and working need to go home and follow our immigration rules as people have done for decades.

Neither the Catholic Church in San Francisco nor anywhere else in California has made a statement concerning the city status as a “sanctuary city,” which means illegal aliens are a protected class and local police will not cooperate with federal counterterrorism efforts. The city just officially cut ties with Homeland Security and will not comply with President Trump’s executive orders.

The Church and the city seem to have conveniently ignored that Kate Steinle was shot to death in 2015 by a five-time deported, seven-time convicted illegal-alien felon.

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez admitted he came to San Francisco because it was a sanctuary city and he knew he would not be deported. He wasn’t, and hasn’t been deported, and Kate Steinle is still dead.

Her death has become a political football when it’s really a horrible tragedy.

Had the law been followed concerning illegal aliens, had the city complied with the requests that they cooperate with the FBI and other federal agencies, Kate Steinle’s death might have been avoided.

As it stands now, she is just a statistic that almost everyone seems to ignore, and that appears to include the U.S. Catholic hierarchy, which also strongly opposes President Trump’s executive orders on illegals.

So just what is a good Roman Catholic to believe or do?

It has nothing to do with anti-Catholic sentiment. This week – National Catholic Schools Week – President Trump has praised the Catholic system of education for all it has done to “nurture devotion, impart wisdom and minister to the 2 million students daily and the diverse communities they serve.” And he is correct.

But things are not quite so rosy. For example, because of changes in population and demographics, in the Diocese of Oakland (across the Bay from San Francisco), it’s just been announced that five Catholic schools will be closed and the students merged into existing facilities.

According to Bishop Michael C. Barber, declining enrollment and increased costs forced the decision and the creation of a new school “network” to provide the education desired for the children.

So getting back to the original question: What is the average Roman Catholic to believe?

As a Catholic myself, I see our beliefs being watered down as politics makes dangerous inroads into our doctrines and the bishops who are supposed to provide the guidelines allow “cafeteria Catholicism” to win out.

The real question is: Which version of the Catholic Church will survive?

Get AQ Email Updates


  1. Dear Barbara,

    Thank you for your question. Here’s the answer…

    [ h/t to John Vennari who posted this link the other day. Please keep praying for him, everyone. ]


    Why Saint Thomas Aquinas Opposed Open Borders

    by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D., Breitbart

    Every nation has the right to distinguish, by country of origin, who can migrate to it and apply appropriate immigration policies, according to the great medieval scholar and saint Thomas Aquinas.

    In a surprisingly contemporary passage of his Summa Theologica, Aquinas noted that the Jewish people of Old Testament times did not admit visitors from all nations equally, since those peoples closer to them were more quickly integrated into the population than those who were not as close.

    Some antagonistic peoples were not admitted at all into Israel due to their hostility toward the Jewish people.

    The Law “prescribed in respect of certain nations that had close relations with the Jews,” the scholar noted, such as the Egyptians and the Idumeans, “that they should be admitted to the fellowship of the people after the third generation.”

    Citizens of other nations “with whom their relations had been hostile,” such as the Ammonites and Moabites, “were never to be admitted to citizenship.”

    “The Amalekites, who were yet more hostile to them, and had no fellowship of kindred with them, were to be held as foes in perpetuity,” Aquinas observed.

    For the scholar, it seemed sensible to treat nations differently, depending on the affinity of their cultures with that of Israel as well as their historic relations with the Jewish people.

    In his remarkably nuanced commentary, Aquinas also distinguished among three types of immigrants in the Israel of the Old Testament.

    First were “the foreigners who passed through their land as travelers,” much like modern day visitors with a travel visa.

    Second were those who “came to dwell in their land as newcomers,” seemingly corresponding to resident aliens, perhaps with a green card, living in the land but not with the full benefits of citizenship.

    A third case involved those foreigners who wished “to be admitted entirely to their fellowship and mode of worship.” Even here, dealing with those who wished to integrate fully into the life and worship of Israel required a certain order, Aquinas observed. “For they were not at once admitted to citizenship: just as it was law with some nations that no one was deemed a citizen except after two or three generations.”

    “The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst,” Aquinas logically reasoned, “many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people.”

    In other words, Aquinas taught that total integration of immigrants into the life, language, customs and culture (including worship, in this case) was necessary for full citizenship.

    It requires time for someone to learn which issues affect the nation and to make them their own, Aquinas argued. Those who know the history of their nation and have lived in it, working for the common good, are best suited to participate in decision-making about its future.

    It would be dangerous and unjust to place the future of a nation in the hands of recent arrivals who do not fully understand the needs and concerns of their adoptive home.

    When facing contemporary problems, modern policy makers can often benefit from the wisdom of the great saints and scholars who have dealt with versions of the same issues in ages past.

    Aquinas’ reflections reveal that similar problems have existed for centuries—indeed, millennia—and that distinguishing prudently between nations and cultures doesn’t automatically imply prejudice or unfair discrimination.

    Sometimes, it’s just the right thing to do.

    Originally posted at: www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/01/31/saint-thomas-aquinas-opposed-open-borders/

Leave a Reply