USCCCP Bishops – Immigration Not a Matter of Prudential Judgment    

USCCCP Bishops – Immigration Not a Matter of Prudential Judgment 

November 15, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo 

At least, maybe, when it comes to the canard of instant mass deportation.

But in reality, in their recent confab discussing the hot-button topic of immigration, what was presented an attempt to basically refute lay complaints that the US bishops – reverting to unfortunate, damaging, hurtful stands they took in the 70s and 80s – are infringing upon lay rights by insisting upon specific policy prescriptions as being the only doctrinally acceptable approach.  This echoes the dark days of the “Bernadin”-dominated US episcopate, when supposed paeans to “peace” and “justice” were in reality little more than far left talking points and anti-Reagan, anti-US defense rhetoric.

Well, personnel is policy, and Francis has been busy remaking the US episcopate in his own image and likeness.  With men like Blaise Cupich in positions of great influence, and the sidelining of more (relatively) conservative forces like Conley and  Chaput, this is hardly surprising.  Francis’ influence will likely be felt in the US episcopate for a decade or more to come, depending on how long he reigns, and how replaces him.

At any rate, here’s what the bishops, including the liturgical aesthete Cordileone, had to say about the laity and their uppity opinions regarding prudential judgment. I’ll provide a little color commentary along the way:

As the conclusion of a lengthy discussion on migration, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops decided Monday to draft a statement from their president expressing the need for humane and just immigration reform.

The Nov. 13 proposal was first floated by Archbishop Michael Sheehan, Archbishop Emeritus of Santa Fe. After debating how to go about preparing a statement, it was agreed by oral assent that Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the conference, would issue a statement with the assistance of the Committee on Migration, chaired by Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, assisted by Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles.

The discussion followed brief presentations from Archbishop Gomez and Bishop Vasquez. The Los Angeles archbishop outlined the principles which guide the US bishops’ work on migration, which come from Strangers No Longer, a 2003 pastoral letter issued jointly by the US and Mexican bishops’ conferences……… [That is a poor, and in many ways politically extremist, document.  It is on a par with “Always Our Children,” which tacitly or openly endorsed most of the sodomite agenda, for bad documents written by bishops in the past 20 years.  It insists upon basically a free right for Mexican and other Latin American nationals to have free access, on demand, to US jobs, welfare benefits, and services, with nothing more than lip service, and even that slight, to the extremely negative impact mass immigration of low-skill, benefits-seeking, poorly-educated has on native workers in a post-industrial economy.  This is not 1890.  We don’t have millions of manufacturing jobs suitable for a 3rd grade intellect anymore. The bishops are living in a fantasy land, constructed from their near total disconnect with the flock they lead and their needs.  The robust economy and abundant riches they refer to constantly as the driving moral imperative in favor of ceaseless mass immigration with virtually no limit or control no longer exists.  Trump was elected precisely because millions of Americans, more and more of them formerly solidly middle class, can no longer find work.  Their wages are horribly depressed by competition from illegal and other foreign workers imported into this country specifically for the purpose of driving down the cost of wages. Thus the bishops, contrary to their rhetoric, are not really so concerned about the little man – there are millions of Americans suffering gravely from the immigration pandemic – they are actually carrying water for the transnational globalist elite, who want a large and ignorant labor force that makes little more than $5 an hour. This is an environment in which everyone suffers, including the immigrants, the vast majority of which lose their faith, and generally also their moral compass, in crossing the Rio Grande. I am being harsh, the bishops may simply be naïve and myopic, but a very solid argument can be constructed that they are deliberately acting in behest of powerful interests, all the while clothing themselves in the garment of “friend of the little guy” (so long as he is not a native-born American)].

……..Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces raised the question of how to counter charges that immigration policy is a matter of prudential judgement, and that the faithful may therefore in good conscience come to a judgement which differs from that of the bishops.

Bishop Thomas Wenski of Miami responded that “we’re making our prudential judgement, too … in the light of Catholic teaching.” He emphasized that “immigrants are not problems, but brothers and sisters; strangers, but strangers who should be embraced as brothers and sisters. We’re offering what we think is best, not only for the immigrants, but for our society as a whole. We can make America great, but you don’t make America great by making America mean.”

Immigration reform, he maintained, must “include the common good of everyone: Americans and those who wish to be Americans.” [OK, that’s your opinion, but many Catholic laity believe it is not only wrong, it is destructive and harmful and in many ways achieves the opposite of its intent (i.e., worse outcomes for Americans AND illegal immigrants).  We can certainly disagree in prudence.]

Bishop Soto responded that deportations do not fall under the category of prudential judgement, but rather were included by St. John Paul II in his 1995 encyclical [sic] Evangelium vitae among the sins which cry out to heaven, and so is not merely “consistent with Church teaching,” but “to discard it as a prudential judgement doesn’t reflect our tradition.” [First of all, this is a red herring. No one is seriously advocating, or seriously expects, mass deportations to begin this year, or next, or the year after that.  I for one am single-minded – build the dang wall, worry about what to do with those here after that.  We must control the situation, the inflow, before we try to reverse it.  Once the crisis is passed, we can talk sensibly about how to deal with those here.  Secondly, there are four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance.  An encyclical is an important document but not the place for novel de fidedefinitions.  Thirdly, Evangelium Vitae, which focused primarily on abortion and contraception as evils against human life, mentions deportation once, in quoting Guadium Et Spes, the 3rd worst document of Vatican II, for a list of evils which are “infamies.”  Whether an “infamy” equals one of the four sins that cry out to Heaven for justice is quite unclear.  If so, Vatican II added about 30 other sins to that list, because Guadium Et Spes 27 condemned, equally, and without distinction, everything from genocide and abortion to “living conditions” and “where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons.”  That is to say, while GeS 27 sounds impressive, it’s theological import and meaning are muddled, at best.  Naturally, then, it would be a favorite of a progressive bishop.]

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco recommended the five principles from Strangers No Longer as a sine qua non, on which “there can be no disagreement” among Catholics. “While there’s room for prudential judgement, it’s not something that can be taken lightly” because it “involves such basic considerations of justice.” [But justice to whom?  Aquinas and Augustine would indicate that justice begins with those closest to home.  When there are periods of abundance, or when economic and cultural circumstances permit, there can be quite liberal approaches to immigration. With prolonged economic depression and cultural disassociation growing to the level of near open conflict, however, prudence would indicate, even demand, a much more conservative approach.  This has been the situation in the US for over 200 years, with periods of mass immigration leading to problems followed by periods of restricted immigration allowing for cultural and economic assimilation.]

———-End Quote————

But let’s be honest, this issue of mass immigration in the present context, is at least as much – and I mean this from the bishop’s perspective, as well – about insuring permanent ascendance for progressive/leftist politics in this country as it is about any purported concern for the huddled masses yearning to breathe free (and is in fact probably much, much more about the former than the latter).

Correspondent MFG sent me this link, and he notes – quite intelligently – that this seems an attempt by the bishops to up their rhetoric and try to squash lay arguments against the bishop’s very liberal pro-immigration stance.  The prudential judgment argument has been a powerful one, and they seem to be trying to take that away.  As MFG notes, the way to combat this attempt is by returning to first sources and principles, going back to Aquinas, Augustine, Peter Canisius, and others to demonstrate the proper Catholic understanding of the role of government, of citizens of a land’s duties to one another and to those of other countries, of Catholic moral principles (in a hierarchical sense), and all such related topics.

Doing this in a systematic fashion will show that Catholics of any stripe, lay, clergy, whatever, are fully  within their rights to advocate for much more limited immigration than the status quo of the past 50 years, and to preserve the culture and heritage of the land they love, which they see slipping away faster and faster all the time.  This latest bit of rhetorical weaponry from the bishops is frankly very ugly, very manipulative and smacks of desperation.

UPDATE: Commenter CMatt makes a great point that I failed to address (in my defense, I covered quite a bit, anyway) – these are bishops talking, yes, but not necessarily YOUR bishop, and their authority over you as a soul is basically non-existent.  It only exists to the extent that the bishops unanimously approve documents or actions of the Conference, and even in that situation it is more of a tacit authority, something novel in the history of the Church and of dubious significance for souls.  That is the huge problem with episcopal conferences, and why Pope Leo XIII found them far from his liking – they muddy the lines of authority greatly and cause tremendous confusion when their actions are contrary to the Doctrine of the Faith.  Much of Testem Benovolentae, Leo XIIIs encyclical denouncing the heresy of Americanism (which the US bishops have never faithfully implemented) has to do with these manifest problems that emerge from such conferences – bureaucratization, secularization, inordinate focus on money/funding, an excessive interest in the material works of mercy vice the spiritual works, etc.

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