By DEXTER DUGGAN
PHOENIX — Being Pope is sort of like being the attentive guardian of more than one billion family members in faith. Which is part of a Pope’s job description.
When making observations broadly enough to apply to all the family, the Pope probably can’t get into details about this tribe or that nation or some historical grouping.
However, when it’s appropriate for him to focus a statement more narrowly, the details should be tailored to take into account the circumstances.
Is it wrong for the government to deprive a family of their father working to support it? Broadly, of course. Is it wrong for the government to imprison a family’s father who was properly convicted of murdering five people? Of course not.
The social rights of families may be properly treated in a general statement, but special considerations would apply when a family member is correctly incarcerated. The other family members haven’t lost their rights, but the lawbreaker has called into being additional considerations.
A general papal statement about families would remain as pertinent, but the imprisoned father couldn’t use the Pope’s words as permission to jump over the perimeter fence.
Pope Francis’ mid-July statement to the “Mexico Holy See colloquium on human migration and development” can be regarded in this light.
In part, the Pope drew attention to the numbers of Latino minors currently crossing the border into the United States. The answer “above all,” he said, is policies “that promote development in their countries of origin.”
This is consistent with the view of Francis’ Predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who deflected a reporter’s question in 2008 that attempted to draw Benedict into condemning, in the reporter’s words, “a growing ‘anti-immigrant’ movement in America” and into “invit[ing] the United States to welcome immigrants well, many of whom are Catholic.”
The “fundamental solution,” Benedict replied, would be “that there is no longer any need to immigrate, that there are sufficient opportunities for work and a sufficient social fabric that no one any longer feels the need to immigrate. We all have to work for this objective, that social development is sufficient so that citizens are able to contribute to their own future.”
To that, Francis apparently gives a hearty “Amen.”
An international social analyst wouldn’t be criticizing immigration if he simply noted that the majority of a nation’s people prefer to remain in their homeland, assuming conditions are more or less tolerable.
In his July statement, Pope Francis chose to avoid what many people could regard as pressing political facts. He attributed the minors’ current journey here to an escape from “poverty and violence.”
Many people in North America, however, have associated the sharp increase in the numbers of minors entering illegally with other such facts as Barack Obama’s government luring them here with arbitrary declarations, and Latino cartels promising that if people pay hefty fees to be smuggled in, they can stay here. There wasn’t a sudden explosion of “poverty and violence” that drastically expanded the numbers.
Francis noted the possible sufferings and death of those on the move, tragic facts which come as no surprise to those who actually live near the U.S. border, as here in Arizona.
But the statement didn’t make the distinction between legal and illegal immigration — a crucial difference as to whether one dies while crawling illegally through a blazing desert, or properly completes his paperwork and sets up a successful business without having to worry about being a lawbreaker.
A July 25 post at National Review Online by writer Ryan Lovelace said researcher Ana Quintana “says she has heard that the coyotes offer the Central Americans contraception for the journey because it’s expected that up to 70 percent of the female travelers will be sexually violated at some point along the journey.”
This might sound remarkable to those who’ve never read about it in news coverage that seeks to sanitize illegal immigration. However, “rape trees” are legendary in southern Arizona, where illegal-immigrant females’ undergarments hang as trophies of alien men’s conquests.
A woman who lives near the border told me that rape is regarded as “the price of admission” to the U.S.
Lovelace’s article was headlined, “‘Coyotes’ Lure Illegal Immigrants with Promises of Amnesty.”
In his mid-July statement, Pope Francis said he was repeating “what I have affirmed in this year’s Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees:
“A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization — all typical of a throwaway culture — toward attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world.”
A “more just and fraternal world” is a marvelous expression which, however, doesn’t seem to fully take into account the very real and valid fears of residents in border country — think Arizona and Texas — people living in reality who have every reason for concern and fear due to armed criminal gangs easily crossing the porous international line.
Conservative talk host Roger Hedgecock recently said that drug cartels are in jubilation on their social sites because they’ve used the Central American minors to crowbar an opening — to the extent the border wasn’t already open — to bring in whatever they want.
Talk host Glenn Beck made a recent visit to the Texas border then told of alien smugglers triggering 50-caliber machine-gun explosions as suppressing fire while they brought illegal immigrants into the U.S.
Beck told of smugglers tossing the weakest member of a boatload of illegal immigrants into the water so that U.S. Border Patrol agents would be diverted into trying to save him rather than stopping the boat.
To those who say the border is secure — or, one might add, to those who say there’s no border-enforcement problem of importance — Beck replied, “It is so far out of control, it’s incomprehensible.”
In his statement, Pope Francis said concerning the Latino minors, “This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected.” Beck surely would agree, having told radio listeners of confused children callously being separated and warehoused by the U.S. government. The government, however, is Obama’s, whose opportunism remained unspecified by the Pope.
Lessons From Solzhenitsyn
One of the 20th -century’s most famous “migrants” was author Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who exposed the atrocities of the Soviet Union’s Communist system and knew how deeply these were embedded, but he had to be exiled from the country because he had no intention of leaving it.
Solzhenitsyn was too famous for the regime to murder him, and after the USSR’s totalitarians finally were overthrown, he went back home. Just as Jesus, Mary, and Joseph returned home when the threat of Herod was gone, instead of demanding Egyptian citizenship.
There might be a lesson in Solzhenitsyn’s life for people who think their own nation is hopeless. And there’s probably a lesson for anyone who would attempt to write about Solzhenitsyn’s sufferings without mentioning evils caused by Communism.
Perhaps in the interest of sounding high-minded and impartial, the Vatican has produced an immigration statement that people in border territory may believe doesn’t fully address the circumstances.
Francis begins by saying, “Globalization is a phenomenon that challenges us, especially in one of its principal manifestations which is emigration.”
Does this suggest that globalization requires more critical questioning and attention, not simply a sort of acceptance? If one said that building a house on a foundation of sand would lead to its downfall, as our Lord did in a parable, that’s a warning not to do so. If globalization is building our lives on shifting sands, justice demands different real estate.
Both Latin Americans and U.S. citizens are treated as pawns by globalists like Obama who think they can manipulate populations to suit their fancy. To them, a “homeland” is as archaic as having personal freedom and a little place to live behind a white picket fence.
Perhaps next time Pope Francis, in addressing the specific topic of massive illegal immigration, will deal with the issue as it is seen up close and through others’ lived experiences. The kind of personal touch that Francis has become known for.