I noticed a blogger denouncing the Pope for unspecified comments on immigration during his current visit to America, and sent him the following email:
Dear Mr. Lillpop,
What did the Pope say that you object to?
So far as I can tell from Joe Guzzardi’s piece at
all the Pope did was (1) say to President Bush that he hoped a humane solution could be found to the problem of illegal immigration, and (2) tell the Bishops that he hoped they and their communities would continue to welcome the immigrants who joined them.
The first is a point anyone could agree with. See, for example, Allan Wall’s VDARE argument that mass emigration is bad for Mexico:
On that line of thought the humane thing would be to restrict legal immigration and enforce the law.
As to the second statement, it’s consistent with the Pope’s stated view, which Guzzardi quotes, that the authorities should decide what laws are in the public interest and enforce them, but believers should be welcoming on a personal level.
It’s a mistake for immigration restrictionists to help people like LA Archbishop Roger Mahoney present the impression that Church teaching favors open borders and illegal immigration.
UPDATE: John Lillpop sends me a reference to a weblog entry at the Washington Post that says that “The pope … issued a statement in Spanish telling the Latino community he would urge President Bush to grant legal status to illegal immigrants living in the states.” I haven’t found the statement or any independent reference to it, and in general journalistic reports about what the Pope says are quite unreliable, so it’s hard to comment.
SECOND UPDATE: A New York Times article seems to confirm that the Pope said nothing to call for open borders or legalization of illegals, suggesting if anything that (in the American case) reforms in Mexico would be the truly humane solution:
“The separation of families “is truly dangerous for the social, moral and human fabric” of Latin and Central American families, the pope told reporters aboard his plane. “The fundamental solution is that there should no longer be a need to emigrate, that there are enough jobs in the homeland, a sufficient social fabric,” he said. Short of that, families should be protected, not destroyed, he said. “As much as it can be done it should be done,” the pontiff said.”
The Times piece is notable for the contrast between what the Pope actually said and what immigration advocates say he said.