Saturday, July 14, 2007

The other part of the Church's teaching on immigration

My Vatican Information Service newsletter on Wednesday contained a summary of the speech delivered by Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, during the Global Forum on Migration and Development

It has the usual things about human rights, but there is one part that is not emphasized enough by many Church leaders:

"But rights and duties go together," he added. "Therefore, at the same time, migrants have the duty to respect the identity and the laws of the country of residence, strive for proper integration (not assimilation) into the host society and learn its language. They are to foster esteem and respect for their host country, even to the point of loving and defending it.

Living in Texas, I have seen much, much abuse of the immigration laws and have seen a lot of people who refuse to integrate (which is sad because it is to their own disadvantage).

Certainly, immigrants (even illegals) are humans, but the fact that they are humans means they also have the ability and duty to strive to not be a burden. It is a part of man's dignity to be able to work for his own sustinance. These people are not animals that we keep in a ghetto (or barrio) zoo. It's win-win if illegals use the proper channels to become legal and contribute to our country. There is a system that works (even if it can seem onerous. Unfortunately, there are many who don't bother with it. Again, it's only to their own disadvantage.

Yes, I have known illegals, and also those who have become citizens. I have seen the system work and I have seen the advantages of citizenship and integration firsthand. I have also lived in another country, so I know the difficulties of going to another country, culture, and language.

There's still opportunity here in the U.S., but you have to want to work for that opportunity.

Fr. Stephanos also has a good summary of what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches about immigration:

What does the Church teach about immigrants?


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