November 3, 2017

Letters to the Editor

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Catechism addresses both sides of the immigration debate in right proportions

In his recent editorial in the Oct. 20th issue of The Criterion, editor emeritus John F. Fink seems to say that those of us who oppose unfettered illegal immigration are in danger of losing our souls because we are ignoring biblical morality and Christ’s command to “welcome the stranger.”

A few of our bishops have been using the same ambiguous formulation, so it may be time for them—and Mr. Fink—to say exactly what they mean. Are they really making the preposterous claim that Catholics must support an open-borders immigration policy in order to be saved?

Because we are dealing with a complex social problem with a moral component, our natural desire for justice can prompt us to embrace an extremist position.

At one extreme, conservative Catholics sometimes allow their passion for law and order to override their concern for those who have been mistreated. At the other extreme, liberal Catholics often allow their compassion for the needy to override their common sense and lead them to propose suicidal immigration policies.

Authentic Catholicism, which is not conservative or liberal, avoids the emotional extremes because it draws wisdom from the natural moral law.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, for example, addresses both sides of the immigration argument in exactly the right proportions. In paragraph 2241, we learn that [a] as a nation, we should help the immigrants to the extent that we are able, but [b] the immigrants must return the favor by following our laws and assimilating into our culture.

It follows that a nation has the moral right to regulate its borders, which means that it also has a conditional right to say no to the stranger—unless, of course, someone can explain how it is possible to regulate without saying no.

It also means that Catholics are not required to support an open-borders immigration policy, and that it is not a damnable heresy to say so.

- Stephen L. Bussell | Indianapolis

‘Celebrate Life Dinner’ stories can provide wisdom and inspiration, reader says

The articles about the “Celebrate Life Dinner” in the Oct. 20 edition of The Criterion were really outstanding. It was inspiring to read about the people who received the awards for their participation in activities promoting respect for life.

It was especially heartening to read about keynote speaker Pam Stenzel’s mission in life, and to read about what she speaks of on the subject of extramarital sex. She said a lot of things that I have never heard of other people saying that are very sensible and could certainly influence people, especially young people who need guidance and good example.

I think these articles should be required reading for anyone—from a young person of appropriate age and maturity to parents and grandparents—including those who may not consider themselves “young people” any more, but aren’t yet married or parents.

It seems that almost anyone could derive wisdom and inspiration from these articles.

- Jane Pictor | Napoleon

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