By REY FLORES
CHICAGO — Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., recently wrote an editorial published in CatholicPhilly. com titled “Justice, Prudence, and Immigration Reform” where, in one part, he makes the case for why prolifers need to reexamine the whole immigration issue.
Chaput writes: “The Catholic commitment to the dignity of the immigrant comes from exactly the same roots as our commitment to the dignity of the unborn child. Any Catholic who truly understands his or her faith knows that the right to life precedes and creates the foundation for every other human right. There’s no getting around the priority of that fundamental right to life; but being ‘pro-life’ also means that we need to make laws and social policies that will care for those people already born that no one else will defend.”
Archbishop Chaput is right in saying that we pro-lifers shouldunderstand the whole notion that divine law precedes any man-made laws and we must think, speak, and act like Catholics first, instead of secular political conservatives.
Today I am not askingpro-life Catholics to rethink the whole immigrant justice fight. We have already done that with mostly positive results, and continue doing so. My goal with this article is to call on the pro-immigrant justice Catholics to get on board with the pro-life agenda.
While most of the folks that need to read this article aren’t likely to beWanderer readers, I’ll ask those of you reading it to try to get a copy of it into the hands of your local diocesan peace and justice rabble- rouser. At first, these activists might be repelled by the fact that it’s coming from The Wanderer,but just tell them that it was written by a former community organizer from Chicago and they might be a little more open to reading this.
In most cases when I have asked pro- lifers to rethink immigrant justice, many have lent me their ears and were open to reexamine their views on the value of all life and human dignity; not all, but most. I have had lesser success with Catholic immigrant justice organizers who are less likely to discuss the scourge of abortion, which is rampantly victimizing the very same communities with which they purport to be in solidarity.
Just what kind of justice are the immigrant justice organizers seeking? Do they ever take into consideration that many of the immigrants that they are organizing are first and foremost Catholics? The organizers certainly aren’t stupid and have historically and, I’ll add, rapaciously infiltrated our own churches to recruit and organize for a smattering of secular social justice concerns.
Worse yet is that many clergy are right on board with the leftleaning Marxist and socialist wannabe organizers. Liberation theology rules the day in some parishes. Never mind all that silliness about eternal souls and sin and all that antiquated hooey!
Let’s take the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education; they are members of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC), which also counts the Virginia New Majority as a member organization. Virginia New Majority’s description on the IIC web site says that they “ educate and organize Virginians in support of social and economic justice for all people, particularly African-Americans, immigrants, youth, women, and the LGBTQ community.”
Now, why is it that the whole LGBTQ agenda has to be now tiedinto the whole immigrant justice battle? It is unfair, counterproductive, and contrary to Catholic teaching because the two agendas are totally unrelated and the Church supports justice for immigrants, but not the LGBTQ agenda.
Also, I have to ask: What good is it to fight for humane immigration reform when these families are being used to reach secularist goals? How can they even use the word “ humane” when many of these immigrants end up being coopted to inadvertently support inhumane anti- life and anti- family agendas?
Yes, we must fight to defend the basic human rights of these immigrants — but not so that their daughters end up as human guinea pigs for the public schools and social welfare programs that shove birth control pills at them!
I have been at plenty of Spanish- speaking Catholic parishes in many cities across the country and rarely do I see anything beyond the immigrant rights and the oftenproblematic social justice propaganda on the church bulletin boards. There are a few brave organizers that dare cross that line and organize for both immigration reform and pro- life causes and in no particular order.
What the USCCB, Archbishop Chaput, and Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George need to do is to tell their pro- immigrant justice fighters that it isn’t just about amnesty or getting driver’s licenses. These bishops have done plenty to remind us all to welcome the immigrant, but have not realized what kind of wolves they have entrusted to organize the immigrants.
The Catholic Church in America has outsourced our own socialjustice interests to the secular community organizations and the leftist labor union lobby that only seeks to use immigrants for their own political gain. These outsiders could care less that these Catholic immigrant families have eternal souls and make every attempt at separating them from their faith.
In Chicago, the Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education schedules weekly vigils and rosaries at the Bridgeview Immigrant Detention Center. Many gather and pray for the souls detained within those walls and for the families they have been separated from.
I cannot understand why these same prayer warriors cannot or will not make the connection with the pro- life battle. It is identical to what the pro-life prayer warriors do outside the abortuaries. They too pray for an end to the breakup of families and the permanent separation of mother and child through the murderous and unjust act of abortion. Many of the abortions are more than likely being done to Hispanic immigrant women and children.
America’s bishops have got to take a firm stand and clearly remind the pro- immigrant justice Catholics that they too have an obligation to defend life at its very beginning. If they don’t know where to start, I know plenty of solid pro- life Hispanic leaders that are ready to help build the bridges between the divided camps. + + + ( This article reflects Rey Flores’ own views and does not represent the views of any organization. Rey Flores can be reached at reyfloresusa@ gmail. com.)
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