This item from the AP caught my eye this morning:
As Republican governors ramp up their high-profile transports of migrants to Democratic-run jurisdictions, the practice is getting a mixed reaction from Christian faith leaders — many of whom, especially evangelicals, have supported GOP candidates by large numbers in recent elections.
Some depict the actions as inhumanely exploiting vulnerable people for political ends, while others say it’s a harmless way of calling attention to the impact of immigration on states near the southern border.
You can read more here.
N.B.: It’s worth remembering that Catholic teaching is clear — and not at all “mixed” — when it comes to the life and dignity of the human person. Pope Francis has spoken about it often (particularly in reference to migrants and refugees.) It is intrinsic to our call to respect life.
As the USCCB notes on its website:
The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching…We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
Our history and tradition are unambiguous:
“God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female, he created them.” — Genesis 1:26-31
“For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving them food and clothing. So you too should love the resident alien, for that is what you were in the land of Egypt. — Deuteronomy 10:17-19
“Human persons are willed by God; they are imprinted with God’s image. Their dignity does not come from the work they do, but from the persons they are.” — St. John Paul II, On the Hundredth Year [Centesimus annus], no. 11
“Whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury.”— Second Vatican Council, The Church in the Modern World [Gaudium et Spes], no. 27
“As Jesus’s disciples we do not want to be indifferent or individualistic. These are the two unpleasant attitudes that run counter to harmony. Indifferent: I look the other way. Individualist: looking out only for one’s own interest. The harmony created by God asks that we look at others, the needs of others, the problems of others, in communion. We want to recognize the human dignity in every person, whatever his or her race, language or condition might be. Harmony leads you to recognize human dignity, that harmony created by God, with humanity at the centre.
The Second Vatican Council emphasizes that this dignity is inalienable, because it “was created ‘to the image of God’” (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 12). It lies at the foundation of all social life and determines its operative principles. In modern culture, the closest reference to the principle of the inalienable dignity of the person is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Saint John Paul II defined as a “milestone on the long and difficult path of the human race”, and as “one of the highest expressions of the human conscience”. Rights are not only individual, but also social; they are of peoples, nations. The human being, indeed, in his or her personal dignity, is a social being, created in the image of God, One and Triune. We are social beings; we need to live in this social harmony, but when there is selfishness, our outlook does not reach others, the community, but focuses on ourselves, and this makes us ugly, nasty and selfish, destroying harmony.
This renewed awareness of the dignity of every human being has serious social, economic and political implications. Looking at our brother and sister and the whole of creation as a gift received from the love of the Father inspires attentive behavior, care and wonder. In this way the believer, contemplating his or her neighbor as a brother or sister, and not as a stranger, looks at him or her compassionately and empathetically, not contemptuously or with hostility. — Pope Francis, General Audience, August 12, 2020.
It’s worth noting that Sunday September 25 is the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Several weeks ago, Pope Francis published this message for the occasion:
We must accept Christ’s salvation, his Gospel of love, so that the many forms of inequality and discrimination in the present world may be eliminated.
No one must be excluded. God’s plan is essentially inclusive and gives priority to those living on the existential peripheries. Among them are many migrants and refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking. The Kingdom of God is to be built with them, for without them it would not be the Kingdom that God wants. The inclusion of those most vulnerable is the necessary condition for full citizenship in God’s Kingdom. Indeed, the Lord says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me” (Mt 25:34-36).
He concluded with this prayer:
Lord, make us bearers of hope,
so that where there is darkness,
your light may shine,
and where there is discouragement,
confidence in the future may be reborn.
Lord, make us instruments of your justice,
so that where there is exclusion, fraternity may flourish,
and where there is greed, a spirit of sharing may grow.
Lord, make us builders of your Kingdom,
together with migrants and refugees
and with all who dwell on the peripheries.
Lord, let us learn how beautiful it is
to live together as brothers and sisters. Amen.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 9 May 2022
Let us pray!
Meanwhile, the response in Massachusetts has been heartening and humbling. See below. The Gospel is being lived out in a beautiful and unexpected way.