February 12, 2010

Letters to the Editor

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When it comes to immigration, Indiana Catholic Conference and The Criterion try to have it both ways

The more that the Indiana Catholic Conference and The Criterion try to clarify their position on illegal immigration (see the Jan. 29 of The Criterion), the more confused I become.

On the one hand, they concede that the state has a right to control its borders and may establish “reasonable requirements for citizenship and its privileges.”

On the other hand, they insist that we must “welcome as brothers and sisters in Christ,” all immigrants, including those who flout those requirements. Is the contradiction not self-evident?

By contrast, section 2241 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that nations are obliged to welcome strangers only “to the extent that they are able.”

That means, of course, that while the individual’s right to immigrate is of paramount importance, it is not absolute. Any policy position, therefore, that does not reflect that vital distinction is neither reasonable nor consistent with the Church’s teaching.

In keeping with that point, it appears that the ICC and The Criterion are trying to have it both ways, claiming not to support illegal immigration while, at the same time, lamenting the “human consequences” of enforcing any kind of law that would discourage it.

- Stephen L. Bussell, Indianapolis

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