When The Pope Speaks To The U.S. About Humanity, Is Mexico Listening?
The second dream, however, died hard.
As an example how deeply committed I once was to Catholicism, I
offer this slice of life story. After my family moved from
Puerto Rico, I was sent to a New Jersey
boy`s boarding school that had mandatory, non-denominational
But fearful of committing, as it was
then considered, a mortal sin by missing Mass, a small group
of other faithful boys and I waited, often in the dark and the
cold, for a public bus to take us up the 20 miles up the road
for a 7:00 A.M service. We returned to the school to fulfill our
chapel obligation on a 9:00 A.M. bus
So deep was my faith that I gladly sacrificed my precious free
Sunday hours—classes were held six days a week— to stay in the
Church`s good graces.
Yet during that exact same period, despite my unquestioning
compliance with the Church`s teachings, inside me grew
misgivings about the Catholicism.
Living in poverty stricken
Puerto Rico opened my eyes. Until then, I had seen
Catholicism from the perspective of
an altar boy serving Mass at
the Church of the Good Shepherd where
movie stars mingled and spoke kindly to me while slipping me
a couple of dollars after the service.
Why, I wondered, did so many suffer so much while others wanted
for nothing? How could there be so much pain if God is all
Soon, my general uneasiness about the Church`s teachings turned
more specific. When I traveled through downtown
San Juan, I saw penniless families with as many as six
children. The families I knew had no more than three children.
Yet the Church preached harshly against birth control.
Since I could never provide myself with satisfactory answers,
Catholicism gradually became less meaningful to me.
Now, I rarely think about the Church—except of course when it
preaches to patriots sanctimoniously and unrealistically about
In one of life`s interesting twists and turns, VDARE.COM has
provided me with a vehicle to write columns venting my
frustration and, yes, disgust with Roman Catholic immigration
Pope Benedict XVI trip to the United States brings angry
sentiments once again to my mind`s forefront.
But there is good news about Pope Benedict and his views on
- First, to date Benedict XVI is, despite his
de rigueur private comments to President Bush “to
promote humane solutions to illegal immigration” and his
public statement that "I want to encourage you and
your communities to continue to welcome the immigrants who
join your ranks today, to share their joys and hopes, to
support them in their sorrows and trials, and to help them
flourish in their new home." considerably more moderate
predecessor, John Paul II. [Pope
Hits Iraq Violence, Immigration and Sex Scandal, Jon
Ward and Julia Duin, Washington Times, April 17,
The two comments cited above were completely predictable and
could have been written by any of us well in advance of the
Pope`s trip. They are essentially meaningless.
More important is to compare Benedict to John Paul.
Kalb, in an e-mail exchange I had with him, pointed me to a
double-speak 2006 quote about immigration from Benedict that
leaves indicates he may be less strident.
Clementine Hall in Vatican City, thousands of miles away
from the political correctness of Washington, D.C. Benedict said
in tones more delicate than anything ever uttered by John Paul:
believers are called to open their arms and their hearts to
every person, from whatever nation they come,
allowing the authority responsible for public life to
enforce the relevant laws held to be appropriate for a healthy
Open your arms and hearts but enforce the law! (Read Benedict`s
Second, whatever Benedict may say now or in the future, here
or abroad about U.S. immigration policy, the pope has little
influence in American politics or among American Catholics.
And, carried further, over the last few decades, the Roman
Catholic Church`s American branch has been at odds with Rome
on a host of religious issues.
Despite his relative lack of sway in the U.S., it is
nevertheless it is possible for Pope Benedict to have an impact
on immigration and create the “humane solutions” he seeks
if he would turn his attention to Mexico where his views are