Congressman Tom Tancredo gave a rather interesting speech on the Pope and immigration. It has caused a stir, mainly due to certain ill-considered suggestions in the latter half of the speech which should not have been made -- but the first half appears to me to be dead on. Watching the video, you'll see where he strays outside the realm of polite criticism into the sort of speculation that is not helpful to the discussion and which clearly obscures his larger, much more important point.
Like I said, part of the speech obscures the much more revealing information that precedes and follows it.
And so the Democrats are trying to make political hay out of Tancredo's less than diplomatic insinuations.
As John McCain attends the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington today, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean called on the Republican nominee to denounce insulting comments made by one of his campaign surrogates, Rep. Tom Tancredo. Tancredo issued a press release yesterday attacking the "Pope's comments regarding U.S. immigration policy" and accusing his position of stemming from an interest in "recruiting new members." Dean issued the following statement:
"If John McCain is serious in his pledge to run a respectful campaign, he should immediately denounce Tom Tancredo's insulting remarks about Pope Benedict XVI.
It is, all-in-all, a dishonest statement on the part of the Democrats, beginning with the headline calling Tancredo a McCain surrogate -- despite the fact that the comments in question were made as a member of the House of Representatives on the floor of the House. I guess that for Democrats, the speech and debate clause protects hiding evidence of bribes in one's office, but not actual speech and debate. But I digress.
Since Tancredo was not speaking as a surrogate for John McCain, I see no obligation to denounce or repudiate anything. And given the regular strident attacks on the Catholic Church and various popes on the issue of abortion by more Democrats than I can count, I don't see where Howard Dean can insist upon respect for this pronouncement without engaging in hypocrisy of the rankest sort.
But I decided I would go to an authoritative source on what the Catholic Church teaches about immigration. Indeed, I found it in the most authoritative of teaching documents -- The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.
Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.
Well, let's consider this bit by bit.
The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin.
As Tancredo clearly points out, we already do this. We take more immigrants than any country on the planet -- legally. One can argue about how many are enough, but no one can legitimately dispute that the US complies with Catholic teaching here. And given the current economic climate, it is legitimate to question if we are ABLE to legalize those currently here without further damaging our economy, much less admit even more hoping legally while absorbing the next wave awaiting the next amnesty.
Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.
Again, we do that . We educate the children. We give whole families medical care at government expense while our own citizens are forced to provide such care for themselves. We legally protect the rights of workers to be paid even if they have no legal rights to work, and we prosecute crimes against illegal immigrants. But I would remind the Holly Father that guests enter through the front door at the invitation of the host -- those who do otherwise are trespassers and, dare I say it, invaders whose uninvited presence does not merit a generous welcome.
Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption.
Oh, it seems that the Holy Father and so many others have ignored this little element of Catholic teaching on immigration. Doesn't the duty of immigrants towards the United States include FOLLOWING THE LAW by entering in an orderly fashion, with all required paperwork completed? Doesn't that include the right of the host country to set reasonable limits upon who can enter and when -- and how long they are permitted to stay? After all, the official compendium of Catholic teachings does not call for open borders here.
Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.
Yeah, there is is -- immigrants are required to obey the laws. You know, like not entering the country illegally or working illegally. If they cannot do that much, everything else the Pope calls for is irrelevant. Under the teachings of the Church itself, the US has no obligation to accept or keep illegal aliens.
Indeed, I'd like to go back to that quote from Cardinal Giacomo Biffi that Tancredo quotes -- "There is no such thing to a right of invasion." Orderly, controlled immigration is a right -- pell-mell rushes for the border in order to unlawfully enter a country to illegally seek employment or government benefits in another country is not.
But I do have a suggestion for Benedict XVI, if he really wishes to help out some of those illegal immigrants.
Why not load up a few thousand on specially chartered Alitalia flights and take them home to the Vatican with you. Between the Holy See itself and your summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, you can find a place for them all. Give them Vatican passports and offer them Vatican citizenship -- pay their medical bills, feed them, clothe them, and educate their children.
In other words, put your money where your mouth is -- and if you won't, I respectfully suggest that you shut it on this issue, because the US government and US taxpayer are already doing more on behalf of illegal immigrants in a manner consistent with Catholic teaching than you are.
And as for Howard Dean, until the Democrats add a plank to their platform calling for a ban on abortion, he should shut his mouth as well.
UPDATE: Now criticizing the Pope's comments on immigration is being declared "anti-Catholic".
OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Rosemary's Thoughts, The Random Yak, 123beta, Maggie's Notebook, Right Truth, Oblogatory Anecdotes, Cao's Blog, The Amboy Times, Phastidio.net, D equals S, Chuck's Place, Nuke Gingrich, Wake Up America, Woman Honor Thyself, McCain Blogs, The World According to Carl, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, , Right Voices, and OTB Sports, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.