Skip to comments.Florida Bishops on Immigration, Jan/2011
Posted on 01/02/2011 2:41:49 PM PST by shuck and yall
Florida Catholic Bishops Statement on Immigration
The Bishops of Florida have issued a statement on immigration which coincides with National Migration Week celebrated January 2-8, 2011 in parishes around the United States. Their message focuses on the flawed federal immigration system that divides families, causes economic hardship and diminishes the dignity of the human person.
The full statement appears below:
Florida Bishops' Statement on Immigration January 1, 2011
When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest him. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the Lord am your God.
Leviticus 19: 33 34
We, the Catholic bishops of Florida, are deeply concerned with our nations flawed immigration system and its impact on the human dignity and lives of our migrant brothers and sisters. This system divides families and causes human suffering to those who search for work in support of their families.
In Florida, our economy is dependent upon manual labor for agriculture, construction and the service industry. Limited numbers of worker visas are available to bring unskilled labor into the U.S. for jobs but too often, demand exceeds need. This has created a market for undocumented workers who may face abuses such as inadequate wages, substandard housing and no benefits with a real threat of exploitation by unscrupulous employers, human smugglers and human traffickers. While the Catholic Church does not advocate for undocumented immigration into the United States, it respects the dignity of the human person and the right to work to meet the basic needs of their families.
The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2241)
The failure of the United States Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform leaves migrants in search of work without legal protection and vulnerable to mistreatment. At the same time, our State and nation benefits from their work and their taxes, creating a permanent underclass with no rights in our society. In his 1981 encyclical letter, Laborem Exercens, Pope John Paul II expressedthat care should be taken to prevent the exploitation of those who must emigrate in order to find work. Furthermore, just legislation must ensure the same criteria apply to immigrant workers as other workers in society. As a moral matter, we cannot accept the toil and taxes of these human beings without offering them the protections of our laws. This is not the American way.
We also have grave concerns about the impact of this flawed system on family unity. Families are the building blocks for society and the place where children are nourished and protected. Too often, backlogs and visa quotas for countries prevent immigrant citizens and legal permanent residents from bringing spouses, parents and minor children from overseas, a wait for some approaching 20 years. The U.S. citizen children of undocumented immigrants are at significant risk if parents are incarcerated and scheduled for deportation.
Our humanitarian concerns with the broken immigration system do not conflict with, but complement the right of the sovereign nation to control its borders. By repairing the system comprehensively, and providing legal means for entry, the nation would replace illegality with legality so that individuals and families could migrate and work in a safe and controlled manner. This would not only protect the rights of the migrant, but also help ensure national security, as law enforcement would be able to focus on those who come to our country to harm us.
The Church recognizes the right of a sovereign state to control its borders in furtherance of the common good. It also recognizes the right of persons to migrate so that they can realize their God-given rights. These teachings complement each other. While the sovereign state may impose reasonable limits on immigration, the common good is not served when the basic human rights of the individual are violated. (Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, a joint pastoral statement composed by the Bishops of Mexico and the United States.)
While we support the right of the sovereign nation to control its borders, this does not mean that it should be done in a manner that undermines basic human rights. The vast majority of immigrants to this nation are not criminals, which should be taken into account in any enforcement strategy. The recent increases in deportation and the sometimes inhumane treatment of detainees such as refusal to allow contact with families and no legal representation causes us to question the methods used against those already in fear for their lives. Immigration law is complicated and only trained professionals have current knowledge of the laws, not local law enforcement.
Any passing of laws that give legal sanction to profiling people will decrease public safety and discourage reporting of crime. The so-called illegals are so, not because they wish to defy the law, but because the law does not provide them with any channels to regularize their status in our country which needs their labor. They are not so much breaking the law, as being broken by the law.
Instead of passing local and state laws which cause fear in immigrant communities, Congress must bring these persons out of the shadows so they can fully contribute their talents to our nation. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has consistently advocated for a path to citizenship meaning those who are already present and contributing to society could come forward and pay a fine, undergo a comprehensive criminal background check, show they have paid taxes, are learning English and obtain a visa that would lead to permanent residency. Immigration is a federal issue and there must be a federal solution rather than the attempts to craft varying proposals in several states including Florida.
We call upon our federal delegation to lead the fight for comprehensive immigration reform in Congress. We call upon the Florida legislature to resist efforts to demonize those who provide the labor for our economy and a living for their families. Our Catholic Social Teaching and the tradition of the Church affirm the dignity of every human being, made in the image of God.
Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski Archdiocese of Miami Bishop Victor Galeone Diocese of St. Augustine Bishop Robert N. Lynch Diocese of St. Petersburg Bishop John G. Noonan Diocese of Orlando Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito Diocese of Palm Beach Bishop Frank J. Dewane Diocese of Venice Auxiliary Bishop Felipe J. Estévez Archdiocese of Miami
To print this statement, click here.
To read and print this statement in Spanish, click here.
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Disagree on some many points.
Hey Mr Bishop what about the 6-8-10th Commandants?? Tell your little angles to go home.
I wonder if the Bishops of Mexico are agitating for an open southern border of Mexico. Can’t ignore that Leviticus passage, right?
Here's a rebuke from Pope Benedict XVI
As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts Gods nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: "In the beginning was the 'logos'". God acts with logos. Logos means both reason and word a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.
Catholic immigration position ping.
I would recommend you read "Render Unto Caesar" by Archbishop Charles Chaput. You will learn a lot. The Catholic Church is not a law enforcement entity nor exclusively an American institution. It has a higher mission. It is an organization answerable only to the source of our rights, not those who seek to restrict or ration them. It is an institution that is a collection of citizens with a right to speak out on any issue like any other organization. As citizens, we will not abdicate our shared civic life to a political or economic elite or vocal crowd. Frankly, we Catholics are a little tired of hearing outsiders tell us to keep quiet about our religious and moral views in the big public debates that involve all of us as a society.
A nation's political life, like Christianity itself, is meant for everyone, and everyone has a duty to contribute to it. A democracy depends on the active involvement of all its citizens, not just lobbyists, experts, think tanks and the mass media. For Catholics, politics and the pursuit of justice and the individual good in the public square, is part of our history of salvation. No one is a minor actor in that drama. Each person is important.
Tolerance is not a Christian virtue, but charity, justice, mercy, prudence, and honesty. Tolerating evil and injustice within a society is itself a form of serious evil.
Our form of pluralism does not mean that Catholics should be quiet in public about moral issues because of some misguided sense of good manners. A healthy democracy requires vigorous moral debate to survive. Real pluralism demands that people of strong beliefs will advance their convictions in the public square, peacefully, legally and respectfully, but energetically and without embarrassment. Anything less is bad citizenship and a form of theft from the public conversation.
You mis-spelled your screen name, mad_as_ole
One of the most valuable books I own:
After reading the `statement’, unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the Bishops have read it, or anything similar: their rhetoric and logic is pure, boiled spinach.
These eight illogical bishops are speaking for.....exactly eight people. As a Catholic, I have absolutely no obligation to agree with them or follow their advice on this issue.
|Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, 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.|
And to keep in mind what Pope Benedict said about "Forgiveness is not a substitute for justice."
My bible speaks of my moral obligations to the disadvantaged, the poor, the downtrodden. It does not tell me to satisfy my obligations by reaching into my neighbor’s pockets. It mystifies me that to some, immigration from Mexico is only a US problem. Mexico gets off easy, without much criticism for applying more stringent immigration laws than their neighbor to the north. Yet, when US laws are violated we are chastised for not being more “understanding, compassionate, humanitarian and even christian” but no mention of “Rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesars”. After 16 years of a Catholic education and I find myself more in conflict with the “shepherds” of the church than ever before.
So what does that mean?
Making irrational arguments in un-Godly.
What don’t the good bishops keep asses out my government and I will keep my ass out their fake church.
Unless the Pope himself is one of the bishops, a document written by more than one bishop is not authoritative. And as a general rule, any document written since 1970 by more than one bishop reads as vague, obtuse polito-speak.
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