On Immigration, Fr. James Martin Wants to Shame Catholics with Bad Arguments

By John Zmirak Published on January 28, 2017

When I got my Ph.D., my mailman dad knew what he thought of it. “So you got certified at knowing how to Pile it Higher and Deeper.” Having watched English departments like the one where I studied spiral into nasty, politicized dreamworlds, I now know what he meant.

But you needn’t go to a faculty lounge of some leftist secular university to see that happen. You could drop by the Manhattan office of Rev. James Martin, S.J., a celebrity priest who knocks around with Martin Scorsese and appears on MSM news shows, who spends lots of time on Twitter accusing Catholics loyal to the Church’s perennial teachings on sex and marriage of lacking Christian charity.

Forget Unborn Americans. Welcome These (Possibly Dangerous) Strangers.

Fr. Martin’s latest project is de facto open borders and limitless welcome of Muslim “refugees.” In a new article in America magazine, he greets the astonishing support shown by the Trump administration for the March for Life with the back of his hand. Like a skilled magician, he tries to misdirect our attention elsewhere with a long, illogical rant on Trump’s immigration policies. It’s a standard tactic on the Catholic left.

Remember how Chicago Cardinal Blaise Cupich responded to the gut-churning exposé of Planned Parenthood’s profitable business selling the butchered parts of aborted babies: he admitted that this cannibalistic practice was wrong, but insisted that it was no more wrong than … deporting illegal immigrants, allowing citizens handguns, or paring back Obamacare. Seriously — go read the cardinal’s op-ed on the subject. He couldn’t allow Planned Parenthood’s tiny victims even a single news cycle, one short day of commemoration for their crassly profit-driven destruction, without launching into the rest of his Seamless Garment laundry list of reasons-why-we-need-to-grow-the-federal-government.

Do illegal immigrants who use stolen Social Security numbers “obey” American law? Were the refugees who burned a synagogue in Germany honoring the “spiritual” heritage of Europe?

Martin has responded to America’s rejection of pro-choice, leftist, Jesuit-anointed politicians like Tim Kaine and Joseph Biden by accusing the Trump administration of being “un-Christian” in its new immigration policies. Martin must have a Ph.D. in something, because his argumentative technique in this article is indeed to “pile it higher and deeper.” He offers one weak, shrill argument after another, hoping that by the time we begin to see the errors in the first one, we will already be too distracted by the fallacies in the next; and by the end we will simply surrender, exhausted, to his moral dudgeon, his priestly collar, and his piled-up, tottering righteousness.

The Church’s Real Teaching, Forgotten

Now, what does the Catholic church really teach on immigration? There is just one official source for such teaching: the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Approved by Pope John Paul II, it offers clear and principled criteria for public policy. So of course Fr. Martin never mentions it. Here’s the official teaching which binds him as it does every other Catholic:

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. (2241)

That’s it — the whole shebang. We could argue for days about how that set of abstract principles should be most wisely applied in today’s United States. I have argued that the GOP’s 2016 platform, which Donald Trump is now putting into practice, is a prudent and honest attempt to respect both the claims of foreign residents and the common good of Americans.

President Trump’s recent decision to stop preferring members of persecuting Muslim majorities over the religious minorities they persecuted certainly follows Catholic principles. So does his temporary hiatus on accepting refugee claims from people in faraway countries, riven with terrorism and virtually impossible to vet.

Why should the U.S. spend millions of dollars flying pro-Sharia Sunni Muslims past other Sunni Muslim nations that refuse to accept refugees, like Saudi Arabia, and resettle them at great expense on U.S. welfare programs? Wouldn’t it be more humane, cost-effective, and safer to pressure the Turks, the Saudis, the other fabulously wealthy Gulf states, to take in their co-religionists — instead of turning them away and building them mosques in Munich and London?

Remember how the Arab states refused to resettle Palestinians after 1948, instead keeping them in refugee camps as political catspaws against Israel. The sheiks in Riyadh and imams in Cairo are cynically using displaced Muslims from Syria in much the same way now, to colonize Western nations and conquer them for Islam.

As the Catechism itself says, for immigrants to keep the right to enter a country, they owe certain duties. Do illegal immigrants who use stolen Social Security numbers “obey” American law? Do politicized Muslims who demand sharia or practice polygamy in Europe “respect” the heritage of the countries which recklessly accepted them? Were the refugees who burned a synagogue in Germany honoring the “spiritual” heritage of Europe?

Such serious, real-world questions would ignite all the hot air in Fr. Martin’s Hindenburg. So he forbids us to ask them. He misuses scripture quotes, ignores almost 2,000 years of Christians “rendering unto Caesar” the right to secure national borders in defense of the common good, and flouts the very teachings of his own church’s Catechism. He must have thought it pretty important to make us forget the March for Life. It included none of the Jesuit-trained Democratic politicians whom real Catholics have learned to reject.

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