Friday, September 25, 2015

Do as I Say; Not as I Do

Pope Francis, arguably the most credible figure of hope alive in the world today, descended upon America this week making a splash for the ages. It was truly historical but not without controversy. His remarks were both religious and politically partisan.

“Pope Francis challenged America Thursday to embrace millions of undocumented immigrants and join a global campaign against climate change and poverty, wading undaunted into the nation's volatile politics in a historic address to Congress,” reported CNN.  Notwithstanding the Pope’s recent encyclical on the environment which is political and controversial for which I strongly disagree, I find his comments on immigration more troubling.

“Thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children?” he said. “We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’” he added.

However, the pope is not only the head of the Catholic Church but also the head of state of Vatican City which has the most restrictive citizenship and immigration policy in the world. It has NO legal or illegal immigrants because immigration is not allowed. In fact, women are allowed as residents of the Vatican only by virtue of their marital status to one who resides there. Comprising 108.7 acres and 1,000 full-time residents only half of whom are citizens, the Vatican, often acting as a corporation called the Holy See, is a fortress in the heart of Rome.

While the Catholic Church preaches placing the needs of the illegal immigrant over the needs of the state-the United States to be specific, unfortunately, that sermon does not seem to apply to the Vatican. On that basis, I cannot help but ask how much credibility can the pope have on this issue? I recognize the enormous good Catholic Charities does around the world and so my observation does not intend to diminish the good and power of the Catholic Church to be a force for good in the world. However, Pope Francis’ application of the Golden Rule to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” rings hollow when the Vatican simply will not do what it demands of the United States.

Just as the Vatican must preserve its resources for those who reside within its borders, so too must the United States, the largest recipient of immigrants in the world, preserve its sovereignty and resources by controlling the influx the immigration through a legal process. That’s not asking too much of the greatest nation on earth built on legal immigration.

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