A Catholic Reader Defends His Church Against Some Immigration Reform Critics—And Bishops
by Tom Piatak:
But I was astonished by the
letter from an anonymous federal employee in
Massachusetts who seems to garner his meager
historical knowledge of the Church from
and his current knowledge from its journalistic cousin,
claiming that the Church is now, and always has been,
motivated solely by money, and arguing that the only
way this "bankrupt" institution can continue to
line its pockets is by importing gullible illegal
immigrants to replace the Americans who are abandoning
Letter: A Massachusetts Reader Says the Roman Catholic
Church Is Heartless, April 27, 2006]
let me offer a
All of my grandparents and both of my parents were
taught to read and write by selfless women who dedicated
their lives to helping others, living lives of poverty,
chastity, and obedience.
realize such women
aren`t as common as they used to be, and the
anonymous bureaucrat from Massachusetts has obviously
never heard of them. So I will let him know what they
are called: they are called nuns.
When my grandmother`s
Alzheimer`s became too severe for my parents to deal
with, they were
lucky enough to find a nursing home where she was
treated with dignity and respect until she went to meet
the Lord. Nuns, too, ran
this nursing home.
When my girlfriend`s father was dying of
cancer, he was fortunate enough to be admitted into
a home run by the
Hawthorne Dominicans, an order of nuns founded in
this country by the daughter of one of our greatest
writers, Nathaniel Hawthorne. These nuns dedicate
themselves to caring for those with incurable cancer,
and they refuse all payment for the loving care they
provide, either from the patients and their families or
even from Medicare and Medicaid.
The Massachusetts bureaucrat has obviously never heard
of these women either.
The finest teacher I have had at any level was my high
school history teacher, a Jesuit priest who taught me
Western Civilization and helped instill in me a love
for that civilization and a desire to defend it.
course, this civilization would not exist without the
Catholic Church, but that`s another story.
priest has also continued to instruct me as an
adult, offering valuable counsel during times of
difficulty. And he has been there for my family as well,
saying my grandmother`s funeral Mass and baptizing two
of my sister`s children. And, oddly enough, given the
Massachusetts bureaucrat`s obsession with money, he has
done all this gratis, as a friend. He lives a very
simple life, at least in terms of material possessions.
Throughout my adult life I had before me the example of
Pope John Paul II, a figure of great personal
holiness and exemplary courage whose leadership inspired
the brave people of Poland to defy the Communists and
ultimately help destroy the Soviet Empire.
recently watched a movie made in Poland to commemorate
the 25th anniversary of Solidarity, in which
Lech Walesa forthrightly gave credit to
John Paul for inspiring his union, and which
contained footage of one of the most remarkable events I
have witnessed: John Paul`s triumphal entry into Krakow
in 1979, culminating in his
Mass at the Blonie fields, before the largest
gathering in Polish history.
Perhaps the Massachusetts bureaucrat missed this but I
John Paul was hardly idiosyncratic: some four
million people came to his funeral. I guess they didn`t
realize, as the Massachusetts bureaucrat does, that the
only people left who believe in the Catholic Church in
America are illegal immigrants.
And, strangely enough, John Paul left behind virtually
no material possessions, even though the
Massachusetts bureaucrat assures us that all the
Church cares about, or has ever cared about, is money.
Nor is the Church shrinking in the United States. In
fact, the Catholic Church in the United States continues
to grow at a faster pace than most Protestant
denominations, both as a result of infant baptisms and
adult conversions—at least 80,000 in 2005.
According to the most recent
National Council of Churches Yearbook, the Catholic
Church in the United States has more members than the
top 19 Protestant denominations combined. The notion
that the Church needs to import illegal immigrants to
make up for Americans abandoning it simply is not
supported by the data.
be sure, some of the bishops have brought this great
outcry upon themselves, both as a result of their
mishandling of the clerical abuse scandal and as a
result of their idiotic comments against immigration
reform and for amnesty.
The antics of
Cardinal Mahony, for example, serve both to give
anti-Catholics and pause to
ordinary Americans who harbor no animus against the
Catholic Church, but who wonder why so many of our
bishops seem to prefer illegal immigrants to them.
After all, in areas of the country not inundated with
illegal immigrants, Americans do the
"jobs Americans won`t do" at higher wages and
under better conditions than in areas where the flood of
illegal immigrants has helped impoverish the
American working class.
Mahony is notorious for more than wanting to
deconstruct America through mass immigration. Among
orthodox Catholics, he is also infamous for tolerating
heterodox theology, presiding over
heterodox liturgies, and engaging in the petty and
vindictive persecution of another great nun, the
But immigration reformers need to keep some sense of
perspective about what the bishops are saying and doing.
Most Catholics seldom hear
political sermons. The political topic most often
addressed from the pulpit is abortion. The fact that
abortion is still enshrined in U.S. law shows just how
little weight the bishops` pronouncements is
given—even by Catholic politicians. In fact, most
Catholic Democratic politicians are
pro-abortion, despite the Church`s clear and
unequivocal opposition to abortion.
The reason amnesty is on the front burner now is because
that is what the
Bush Administration, the big corporations who
fund both parties, and the multiculturalist elite
want—not because of the Catholic bishops.
The only reason the media is
paying attention to the bishops in this area is
because, as in other areas where the bishops have
strayed, they are choosing to follow liberal piety
bishop of Charleston, South Carolina has noted,
correctly, the immigration policy of the United States
is a matter left for the prudential judgment of the
They would be waging a battle they shouldn`t fight and
This is a battle they shouldn`t fight because it is a
battle against the core beliefs of
millions of Americans, who might
otherwise join us
in supporting immigration reform.
For me, this belief has been reinforced by what I have
read, seen, and experienced, throughout my life.
And nothing I have read from the Massachusetts
bureaucrat, or the many other malcontents who rail
against the Church, has convinced me otherwise.
him) writes from Cleveland, Ohio.