Immigration and Catholic Social Teaching


One of the most hotly contested issues in our country today is the issue of immigration. People of good will fall on both sides of the issue, and I don’t pretend that a blog post will be able to sway people’s convictions one way or another. However, it is important to recognize where people are coming from in this debate and to be loving in our dialogue. Frequently in the immigration debate, as with many debates in politics, people stop listening to the other side and demonize their opponents. This is a far cry from the Gospel imperative to love all people, regardless of their beliefs and/or behaviors.
The immigration issue in Arizona has gained much press in the recent weeks. Catholic leaders have spoken prophetically in support of comprehensive immigration reform that respects all parties involved. While Catholic social teaching (CST) does not purport to have all the answers for every political problem, the values we espouse as Christians must influence the way we approach these issues. In particular, CST demands that we recognize that everyone is created in the image and likeness of God and has inestimable dignity, regardless of his/her legal status. How we legislate these issues is open to legitimate discussion and disagreement, but we can never lose sight of this fundamental principle. Further, it is easy for many of us in the first world to overlook all the privileges we have had in our own situations and not be able to see the plight of many people who feel forced to immigrate to our country for a host of reasons, often in extremely dangerous conditions.
The following link provides resources from the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Church’s approach to comprehensive immigration reform. it is my hope that the bishops’ teaching will be prayerfully considered by all thinking Catholics as we together discern the best way to deal with this complicated issue.

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