On Immigration, Winning Cheap Grace

By Jason Scott Jones Published on February 7, 2017

The great theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote scathingly of “cheap grace,” which is the warm fuzzy feeling we give ourselves, and the praise we win from others, by making little virtue-signals that cost us almost nothing — and might well impose suffering on innocent third parties. Jesus Himself denounced it when He saw it among the Pharisees, but Christians are not immune.

In Bonhoeffer’s time, German pastors won cheap grace by safely denouncing Communist atrocities, while pretending that the same crimes weren’t happening just down the train tracks from their churches, at the hands of their own Nazi government. Catholic philosopher Rene Girard spoke of a similar psychological trick, which he called “victimism,” or the cynical use of weaker people’s suffering to aggrandize yourself and win power.

Speak Soothingly to Power

Cheap grace can always be gained by signing on with the sins that are popular with the powerful, and denouncing some evil that is distant or widely despised. Hence pastors in the segregated South could safely denounce the crimes of Josef Stalin, while ignoring the “strange fruit” that hung in their own towns’ trees after brutal lynchings of black men. How many pastors piled up cheap grace aplenty in the 1980s by fighting apartheid in faraway South Africa, and ignoring the abortion clinics that killed black babies by the thousands right down the street?

Now open borders Christians, such as the media-savvy Fr. James Martin, SJ, are gathering cheap grace in bushel baskets on the subject of immigration. In a shrill, moralistic screed that The Stream already analyzed as contrary to Catholic doctrine, Fr. Martin told Americans that it is simply and blankly un-Christian to secure our country’s borders, enforce its labor laws, or carefully vet refugees to keep out those committed to terrorism or sharia.

That is meant to end the argument, to threaten us with eternal damnation if we don’t accept Fr. Martin’s political program — one which no Christian government has enacted anywhere for almost 2,000 years. As a leader in the movement to really implement Christianity for the first time, ever, on immigration issues, Fr. Martin claims his place as one of the best Christians in history. Or so he would like us to see him.

We Learn, 2,000 Years Late, that Borders are Un-Christian

Does Fr. Martin, or any of the bishops who echo him, really believe that no Christian may vote to secure his country’s borders? Is it sinful for Mexico to police its border with Central America? For Latvia to guard its frontier with Putin’s Russia? For Israel to police the crossing into Jordan? I’ve never read any such statements, and I think I know the reason: It’s perfectly obvious that international borders require the rule of law, that sovereign countries deciding who comes and goes is part of what we must “render unto Caesar.”

It doesn’t harm Fr. Martin, in his cozy Manhattan office, that drug cartels and people smugglers control the U.S.-Mexico border, honeycombing it with tunnels and planting it with “rape trees,” with the clothes ripped off young women. Nor does he find himself exploited in an underground economy, where greedy employers turn away poor American workers with enforceable legal rights, then fill their factories or fields with docile, frightened foreign people whom they can threaten with deportation.

Fr. Martin doesn’t have children whose public school is in chaos, overburdened with the hopeless task of trying to assimilate and educate kids in a dozen different languages. Fr. Martin’s health insurance is covered by the wealthy Jesuit order, so he never needs to worry about what it will cost him to use an emergency ward — at a hospital which treats long lines of undocumented and uninsured workers, and so has to soak its few paying customers to avoid going bankrupt. Fr. Martin will never lose his job at America magazine to a lower-paid foreign priest who came in on an H1-B visa, whom he is forced to train.

It’s easy for Fr. Martin and others like him to call for utopian policies, wave Jesus around to silence our reality-based objections, and refuse to examine their real-world impact on the poor and the vulnerable.

The Cheapest Grace in the History of the Church

There is a long list of people, both foreign and American, who pay a heavy price for our blithe acceptance of immigration chaos. Few such people have columns in prestigious magazines, or get hired as faith consultants by Martin Scorcese — which Fr. Martin was, for the movie Silence. (As you’ll read here at The Stream, that movie’s ending was an icy apologia for priests who renounce Jesus, betray the Faith, and make a comfortable living helping pagans to persecute the church.)

Those people exist, from the villages emptied of men in rural Mexico, to the ghettos of America where black and Latino teens cannot find entry-level jobs. But it’s easy to ignore them.

Likewise it’s easy for Fr. Martin and others like him to call for utopian policies, wave Jesus around to silence our reality-based objections, and refuse to examine their real-world impact on the poor and the vulnerable. Better still, they can wield their “high-minded” demands to blunt the force of the growing pro-life movement, by insisting that all of us swallow their Seamless Garment poison pill, before we’re allowed to stop killing a million children each year. That wins them points with their powerful friends like Joseph Biden and Tim Kaine, both Jesuit allies and pro-choice Democrats. So men like Fr. Martin coast through life on a cushion of unearned praise and cultural privilege, while sneering at their weaker fellow citizens as “un-Christian,” cruel, and selfish.

I’ll give this to open borders Christians: They have found the source of the cheapest grace in the history of the church. Simon Magus would be proud.

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  • Howard Rosenbaum

    Right. “Cheap Grace” like any other commodity compromised for expediency , winds up not being cheap at all. It is a common adage that what you compromise to keep you lose. So it is w/ the misplaced emphasis upon personal gain & security at the expense of ethics & morality. History is replete w/characters who have mistakenly or otherwise forfeited
    the true characteristics of this demonstration of Gods goodness towards those who claim Him as their own. Thankfully
    God has never left Himself dependent upon the purveyors of disputable theological disciplines to further His higher &
    more excellent way ….

  • Tom W

    well written

  • Mary McCurry

    Excellent post!! Right on!!

  • Pat Hershwitzky

    WOW!

  • John

    Thanks for Standing up for the Truth, Life Matters!

  • Randal Agostini

    Regrettably the article exposes religious hypocrisy, a liability all too human, especially when part of an agenda. Throughout history Churches and temples, sanctuaries in themselves, were used to provide succor to those being hunted by the State. They lose this status every time they become overtly virtuous, especially in an effort to countermand common sense law – specifically the right of a country to maintain it’s established borders. There are far more important and virtuous endeavors to pursue that could illuminate the Light of Christ.

  • WilliamKernan

    Spot on Jason! Religious in positions such as Martin’s are in a whole separate league of clerical privilege, It would be good for him to heed the admonition of the first S.J. pope and get into the trenches long enough to “smell like the sheep”.

  • Kevin Donohue

    Scathing! Well done. Way to to stand up to the self-righteous bullies who have grown comfortable.

  • SovereignAmerican

    See St. Thomas Aquinas on immigration; one thought left out here is that the immigrant MUST assimilate. Personally, I would like immigration policy rolled back to pre- Ted Kennedy rules. As it was before, so shall it be again. Sovereignty!

  • Gary

    Catholics are not Christians. Many people are confused and think they are, but they are not.

    • Rachel Schaeffer Lang

      LOL. Know your history. Catholics are the FIRST Christians. There would be no Christianity, no Bible, without Catholicism, which was initially called “The Way”.

      • Deborah Horvath Rowden

        Ummm…. No.
        you need to do a little fact based study on the origins of Catholicism.
        Christianity happened in Jerusalem with the disciples. If the Catholics are responsible for us having the Bible, why did they forbid the common folk from reading it?
        And before you start spouting back, I was raised in an Old World Catholic community and attended Catholic school for 9 years. I did my homework when there was no internet and still found enough credible research on its history and roots that made me run, not walk to the nearest exit, never looking back. The Jesuits are the killing arm of the Vatican and have done heinous, dark things for Popes and Rome.

        • Rachel Schaeffer Lang

          You remember when Jesus said to Peter, “… on this rock I build my church…” – that is when he instituted the Catholic Church with Peter as the head (the first Pope).

          Just because they didn’t want others walking away with their not so numerous copies of the scripture does not mean they are not the ones who put the Bible together after holding councils of Hippo and Carthage. You need to remember that back then they did not have printing presses like they do now. Given, one reason is because they did not really trust lay people to interpret correctly, yes, that is true.

          I have no idea how catechized you are based on what you told me, just as you don’t know how catechized I am, so that doesn’t mean much to me – I can still dispute.

          Also, Jesuits are not the only sect – there are Paulists, Franciscans, etc.

          • Dean Bruckner

            Peter = petros, noun, masculine gender, “little rock”
            Rock (in “upon this rock”) = petra, noun, feminine gender, “large mass or wall of rock.”

            Correct exegesis identifies the bedrock (petra) as Peter’s declaration, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

            This is why tradition must always bow and submit to the written word of God, taught by the Spirit of God.

          • Mark Chance

            Jesus called Peter “Kephas”. That’s Hebrew for “rock”. Since it’s obvious you don’t understand how inflected languages like Greek work, it’s best to not comment as if you do.

      • Charles Burge

        What we know as Roman Catholicism didn’t really arise until the fifth century or so, when several heresies began to creep into the church, such as belief in purgatory, veneration of Mary, prayers to saints, division of priests and laity, etc. These doctrines have no basis in the Bible. I’m not saying that Catholics can’t be Christians – certainly many of them understand and accept Christ’s sacrifice for their sins. So I accept them as my brothers and sisters, while at the same time grieving over their acceptance of so many false teachings.
        But to say that Christian church was Roman Catholic from the get-go is flat out false.

        • Rachel Schaeffer Lang

          I didn’t say Roman Catholic, I said Catholic. So you believe in solo scriptura? How do you think scriptures came to be? It did not fall down from the sky. Do you think the full faith is wrapped up in just the pages of the Bible? That is why tradition holds so much weight as well – it came before the written scriptures and much of the faith is still passed down from one generation to the next.

          • Charles Burge

            And what is the difference, exactly? I’m aware of the usage of “catholic” with a small “c”, which simply means universal. But to use that term in reference to the apostolic church doesn’t mean anything, since the first-century church couldn’t have been anything *but* universal.

          • Rachel Schaeffer Lang

            Charles, that’s true, it couldn’t have been, and then as time went by, sects broke off from the one true Church. Little c would be “pertaining to the whole Christian body or church”. Big C is used for the name of the one, true Catholic Church (which “claims to possess exclusively the notes or characteristics of the one, only, true, and universal church having unity, visibility, indefectibility, apostolic succession, universality, and sanctity”), applicable to those who adhere to the faith. So, those which follow the truths of apostolic succession (the Catholic Church has documented a line of succession of bishops all the way back to the apostles), the sacrifice of the mass (following for 2000 years what Jesus told them to do at the Last Supper, using His same words (taken from scripture word for word; “do this in remembrance of me”), forgiveness of sins (note in the Bible that Jesus gave the apostles the authority to cleanse lepers, forgive sins, etc. through the Holy Spirit (see John 20:23)), communion of saints in heaven, etc., would be Catholic.

      • Nels

        Orthodox have an equally plausible claim to “first Christians.” Fast-forward a thousand years or so to today, and Orthodox look far more Christian than the bishop of Rome.

        • Rachel Schaeffer Lang

          Yes, you are right. They were all one at one point in time, split into Eastern and Western Churches. Both still hold on to the fullness of faith, both believe in the sacrifice of the mass, the fundamentals are essentially the same.

    • Marianne Gage

      Oh please, spare us….

  • Gil Bailie

    If Europe (with the other outposts of Western civilization not far behind) continues on the path of recent years, its descendants will not know the privilege of living in a culture founded – however imperfectly – on Christianity. Even more tragically, these heirs to the culture that produced the greatest works of art, music, literature, and architecture in history and the greatest discoveries in the hard sciences and the most successful experiments in political science will not even realize how otherwise blessed their cramped spiritual and cultural circumstances might have been. They will be the victims of their own predecessors, who betrayed them not with a bang but a whimper, passing their lassitude off as a concern for victims, rumored or real. These ate twenty-first century inhabitants of lands once the home of the Bible, Homer, Virgil, Sophocles, Dante, Shakespeare, Mozart, and Haydn will be reduced to answering the great questions of life by recourse to the Qur’an, the Sira, and the Hadith, each of which solemnly declares a polygamous seventh century Arab Warlord to be the perfect human being. These millions – and who can doubt that they will be counted in the millions? – will be the victims of those who, proclaiming their solicitude for victims, failed to fulfill their custodial responsibilities for the culture whose blessings they themselves squandered.

    • On the contrary, about the only way an increasingly radicalized atheist Europe can continue to be Christian is by admitting immigrants and refugees — including Muslims, who, as the churches over there are telling us, are converting to Christianity in large numbers as soon as they reach European shores. Let’s hope many Christians from the homeland of Jesus soon join them, for they are Christian Europe’s only hope.

  • Mel Livatino

    The Catholic Church is filled to overflowing with cheap grace these days. The only way the church can find real grace is by opening every church, rectory, convent, and monastery to the homeless each night, and to as many immigrants as possible. The walls of those buildings are the church’s borders — and I guarantee you that virtually none of these buildings are open to the homeless each night. I have personally witnessed a homeless woman evicted from church property at 11 at night in the dead of winter. She slept on the frozen grass outside. Why? Rules, I was told, rules. If Fr. Martin (and the millions of marchers for open borders) want to change their cheap grace to the real thing, tear down those church walls. Until you do, you’re only gliding along on your comfortable cloud of vain self-righteousness merely in order to be better than thou, to be morally superior. You are nothing more than pharisees wagging your fingers. Until you practice what you preach, don’t tell this country that it cannot have borders that it can enforce, for when you do so, you are a hypocrite. Mel Livatino

  • Utahlady

    If the Church would wake up to this, many may return! Very well explained.

  • Jonk

    Some might call me “open-borders,” but I’m in favor of open immigration in a “hard grace” way: I want each parish to be responsible for one refugee (or refugee family), with its members helping the refugee find a home, find work, and, in the end, find they have a new community in the parish family. (Then, ideally, they eventually convert. We’re building an army here.)

    It’s a plan that takes away initiative from the government, and so, unfortunately, a lot of folks like Fr. Martin probably aren’t fans of it.

    • CbinJ

      Pretending that there aren’t progressive congregations who have no desire to convert anyone…if that plan were instituted, I guarantee there would be no Muslim “refugees” to house because they would not accept the offer. Muslims only invade weak countries. If the people of our country had strong faith built on Christian orthodoxy, the Muslim invasion of the West would not be the issue that it is.

      • Jonk

        If you think it’s a bluff, what’s the harm in calling it?

    • Nels

      Why would we allow any refugees into our country? We have no obligation and no reason. Remember the Good Samaritan? He left the victim in the victim’s own country. Your plan is still stuck on virtue signaling.

      • Jonk

        Why? Because this is a multi-generational struggle. Not only does the work of Catholics working together to help others strengthen to faith community, and make it better prepared to fight that struggle in the long term, but converting their people into our people also wins the zero-sum game, too.

        • Nels

          Help them over there. Do your team-building exercises over there. Convert them over there, if God wills. Don’t bring them here – this isn’t your country to destroy. If you can’t see that, you need to go back.

          • Rafael

            Isn’t it interesting that Muslim countries don’t want these refugees? Why? Because they are afaid of them…

          • Phil

            You know where almost all the refugees are? Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. All Muslim-majority countries. And although they’re not thrilled to be hosting millions of refugees (on their already bad infrastructure), they are not afraid of them (I know, I live here and work with them). Also, I don’t believe that matters. We should not look to these countries for moral guidance.

          • Phil, thank you so much for your work. It’s not something I can physically do with my health problems, but I admire those who do. I will be praying for you and your work.

          • Phil

            Thank you so much, Lori! And I’ll pray for your health!

          • Phil

            Why do you presume the most vulnerable of refugees (the ones that America takes) will destroy America? These people are in need, and you’re afraid of them. Team-building exercises are not needed; safety for political activists and U.S. military cooperators is needed, medical care (that’s not available in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan) for sick people is needed, refuge for abused single women is needed. And it’s not being met in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. Also how does “Don’t bring them here – this isn’t your country to destroy. If you can’t see that, you need to go back.” show any Christian love? For it is love truly expressed and received that transforms the world for Christ, not fear and “Convert them over there, if God wills” attitudes.

          • Nels

            These people are in need, as are roughly 7 billion others. We are not called to bring all the world here to make disciples of them – we are called to go and make disciples over there. Have you no faith in God? God’s holy spirit can call them to Him anywhere, and salvation matters far more than physical healing. God can heal them anywhere, if that’s His will, no medical care required.

            Your fake compassion is exactly the sort of virtue signalling cheap grace that the article decrys. This is not your country – liberals don’t belong here. You are not welcome in this country, and neither are your precious refugees. You have to go back.

          • Phil

            The fact that billions are in need cannot be used to turn our back on the refugee orphan, the refugee who needs dialysis (but cannot get it in Turkey), or the refugee who fled Syria but is still being hunted by Hezbollah in Lebanon. You’re right, our call is not to “bring all the world” to America, but who is asking that? Resettlement is only an option for the most vulnerable refugees, who are in grave danger in their country of first refuge. America, being on the other side of the world, can (and has) cherry-pick the most vulnerable refugees; this is not the same situation that Europe is facing, where people arrive on foot or by boat.

            I do have faith in God. My faith in God is what strengthens me after a day of working with refugees here in Lebanon, then reading my fellow Americans write about how refugees are too dangerous to help. My faith in God is what makes me try to exercise spiritual & corporal works of mercy to those in need, whether it’s the unborn child in America who is in danger of abortion, or the vulnerable refugee in Beirut who is in danger of being kidnapped by Hezbollah.

            You’re right that the Holy Spirit can call them anywhere, but I believe the Holy Spirit calls us into the wounds of the Mystical Body of Christ. So typing on message boards cannot be the extent of my love. The love God has for the world must overflow from me in all of my actions.

            Lastly, why do you believe my compassion fake? and me a liberal?

          • Nels

            Stay in Lebanon. You and your refugees aren’t welcome here.

          • Phil

            Why not? What is so unappealing about me or refugees?

          • Nels

            “… why do you believe my compassion fake? and me a liberal?”

            Why do you believe I can swim? asked the fish, as he swam.

            When you act as a liberal, you are a liberal. The foolish emotionalism of liberalism is a cause and a sign of fake compassion. You probably have a very high opinion of yourself. I don’t – I despise you. The god you are following is not Jesus, and your efforts to import evil into my country are despicable.

            You are not welcome in this country, and neither are your precious refugees. Stay there.

          • Phil

            So Nels, the criterion for a liberal is: disagreement with a perpetual ban on the most vulnerable refugees from a country (Syria) that has yielded 0 attacks in America this millennium in the name of safety while allowing in anyone from terrorist-hotbed countries like Saudi Arabia. I think you have an unusual understanding of politics.

          • Phil

            Also, I believe you are a plant. I think you’re someone who is trying to make Christians and conservatives look bad, by calling yourself one and spewing vile nonsense in public. If I followed Saul Alinsky’s playbook, I would go on public fora, claim to be someone from an opposing group, and then act like an utter fool and jerk, just to make that group look foolish and divided. So please, Nels, leave us alone and go do something productive instead of being a Christian strawman. No one is buying it.

          • Dean Bruckner

            Islam is a deadly ideology.

          • Phil

            Do you support deporting every adherent of it currently residing in America?

      • Phil

        Do you not understand how the refugee process works? Only the most vulnerable refugees get referred for resettlement. These are people with medical needs that cannot be met in their country of first refuge (e.g., Turkey. Lebanon, Jordan), people still being hunted in their country of first refuge (e.g., by Hezbollah in Lebanon), and people being chronically abused in their country of first refuge (e.g., single women). The vast, vast majority of refugees will never be resettled. We’re talking about those in crisis. This is not immigration, this is refugee/asylum work we’re talking about. I do remember the Good Samaritan: he helped out the needy, while we are not helping out by banning vulnerable Syrian refugees in perpetuity.

        • Nels

          So what? We don’t care. Take care of them over there, if you are called to take care of them. You, and your precious refugees, are not welcome in this country. You have to go back.

          • Phil

            I am taking care of them “over there”. I haven’t been back stateside in a year. But how can Christians say “I don’t care” about the suffering of others? How does “Love thy neighbor as thyself” get translated to “only help those you want to help” or “only help those it is convenient to help”?

      • Maybe that’s because the man in question was not a refugee or in the position of a refugee. Refugees are those who cannot continue to live in their own country because of political violence or genocidal forces. It’s a bad analogy

  • Bad1212

    Have we not been taught that the family is a basic cell in the body of society as a whole? That being the case, if a stranger came to your front door and asked to come in, wouldn’t you like to find out what his intentions are before you let him in. Is he there to kill you or does he need help. I’m not sure why this logic is not employed by Martin or many of our bishop’s when it comes to immigration . Do you think I could walk into a bishop’s residence (or Martins) and be welcomed no questions asked? No way.

  • Kate K. Mahn

    Great reference to Simon Magus. Thanks for the good article.

  • I am very disappointed in you, Mr. Jones. Did you honestly even read Fr. Martin’s article? Your intemperate screed is based on a total distortion of his words. Nowhere did he propose open borders. Nowhere did he say you’re not pro-life unless you support open borders. He did oppose Trump’s useless wall (useless because we already have barriers and policing of our borders), he opposed slashing the numbers of legal immigrants. He did say that immigration, like abortion, is a life issue – so did John Paul II, so does Pope Francis, so do our bishops. I am not at all a fan of Fr. Martin, who is often very superficial. But he said nothing wrong here. You are not helping the Church at all by your lies and distortions of other people’s words.

    • Rafael

      Well, let’s be clear, Lori: technically speaking, immigration is not a life issue. Abortion is a life issues because it’s always wrong – no exceptions. Immigration, on the other hand, is an area of prudential judgment, meaning that sometimes it’s necessary to ban immigration. So, they are not morally equivalent.

      • Rafael, you don’t understand at all what is meant by a “life issue.” What I was referring to and what Fr. Martin was referring to, was the Church’s teaching that all issues involving human life and dignity are interconnected. Not all morally equivalent, but interconnected. Understanding the nature of human life and its dignity leads us as Catholics to be concerned about all of them. Anyone who demeans human dignity at any point hurts the pro-life cause. That’s why JPII talked about so many of these issues, not just abortion, in Evangelium Vitae. This is what he said:

        “Cain does not wish to think about his brother and refuses to accept the
        responsibility which every person has towards others. We cannot but
        think of today’s tendency for people to refuse to accept responsibility
        for their brothers and sisters. Symptoms of this trend include the lack
        of solidarity towards society’s weakest members-such as the elderly, the
        infirm, immigrants, children- and the indifference frequently found in
        relations between the world’s peoples even when basic values such as
        survival, freedom and peace are involved.”

        • (EV, no. 8).

          Making all sorts of false equivalencies such as “always intrinsically evil” vs. “prudential judgment,” when what is required is just a tiny bit of prudence and judgment, or yelling “we can’t have open borders!” when no one has even suggested it, obscures what is actually going on – over-reaction out of fear, and the consequent refusal to open our hearts. Overreaction is what I would call this incoherent attack on a multitude of straw men by Mr. Jones.

          • Dean Bruckner

            Au contraire. Open borders is EXACTLY what the Progressives want, both inside and outside the church of Jesus Christ. What is the name of one of George Soros’ funding vehicles? The Open Border Foundation.

            Your comments remind me of the pro Muslim useful idiots who, when they hear Muslim jihadists say, “We will destroy the West through immigration, civilization jihad and terror,” they reply, “See, they are nice people who have been oppressed. They just want economic opportunity.”

          • Sorry, but neither I nor anyone else I know is supporting “open borders.” George Soros can do what he likes, but he doesn’t control more or most Americans. You’re just talking conspiracy theories. certainly would never say that Muslim jihadists are nice people or their only problem is that they are oppressed. However, the large majority of Muslim people, who are peaceful and not jihadists, are often oppressed, both by ISIS and by U.S. foolishness abroad.

          • Wayne Cook

            Oh yes they are, Ms Pieper…thousands of them! They protest protecting the border right here in Texas! Across the US, dems are protesting any protection of the border, ANY!

            And your reference to “a large majority” of Muslims, really ignores that more than 60% of ALL Muslims support Sharia law, which is the very basis for jihad. Sorry…you know not of that which you speak.

            In fact, I bet you don’t know more than five Muslims personally. Eh?

        • Rafael

          I agree that they are interconnected. But, we have to distinguish between the issues.

          ALL moral issues are life issues, which is why the Church values humanity and the issues that impact people. But, at the same time, there are certain issues that have more weight than others. Not all “life issues” are the same. In fact, they’re not the same BECAUSE of human dignity. For example, it is not in the interest of human dignity to tell a woman to have an abortion – as some pro-choice Catholics would have us believe. It’s also not human dignity to allow others to utilize contraception. Pro-aborts tell us that it’s a respect to the “dignity” of women to force Catholic organizations to pay for their contraception. Also, we’re told that people with Same-Sex Attraction have the “right” to marry – in respect of their dignity. Yet, these are in complete contrast to human dignity as defined by God.

          Let’s take a look at some other examples.

          The death penalty is not an intrinsic evil because there are certain times where it is necessary to have the death penalty. Also, the just war theory teaches that sometimes it is necessary to go to war because it is meant TO PROTECT LIFE. Also, too, the word “kill” in the Hebrew (from “though shall not kill”) means deliberate murder. And yet, there is another Hebrew word that gets translated “to kill” which means the defense of oneself. Basically, there is a time when it is acceptable to kill and another time where it is not. In other words, there are legitimate times when it is necessary to take a life – especially in the defense of innocent life, which is different from murder.

          Also, too, what about the dignity the US citizens? Their lives are as valuable as the lives of the immigrants. All you need to see is what’s going on in Chicago, New York, Baltimore. US citizens are being killed left and right. And we a moral obligation to protect their dignity.

          So, while I do agree with you every life has a dignity given to us by God, we must also understand that there are certain issues that are really not “life issues.” For example, you can’t take JPII’s words out of context because there are plenty of other things he’s written that justify what I’m saying. The best example of this is detailed in a talk by Tim Staples called “The 5 Non-negotiables.” He clearly outlines the difference between the issues utilizing numerous Papal Encyclicals, the Catechism, the Bible, etc… That’s why I know you are taking JPII’s words out of context.

          • Excuse me, but you’re saying “all moral issues are life issues,” then you turn around and say that “certain issues are not really life issues?’ That’s sheer nonsense. I’d also appreciate you telling me exactly where I took Pope John Paul II’s words out of context, instead of just saying that I did without explanation. By the way I do agree with everything else you said about distinctions between issues.

      • Phil

        Rafael, refugee and asylum needs can be life-threatening. There’s a huge difference between an economic immigrant and a refugee who needs dialysis but cannot get it in the country of first refuge (e.g. Turkey). Since only the most vulnerable refugees are considered for resettlement, these refugees are the second type of case. So while abortion leads to death *every* time, turning our backs on these most vulnerable refugees *often* leads to death.

        • Wayne Cook

          Refugees who come for medical reasons are required to have a sponsor. Refugess who come for political safety from other governments are required a burden of proof…or they used to.

          We are neither the world’s policeman, nor the world’s safety net. If that were true, we have a far greater responsibility to our own homeless and veterans.

    • Wayne Cook

      Unless you live in a border states, you cannot begin to understand either the source, nor the depth of the problem. More than 5000 illegal aliens are arrested each and every month for VIOLENT crimes in just Texas alone. That means for every crime, there has been at LEAST one scarred and many times, MURDERED victim!

      We’ve not had a single Catholic leader visit the border in Texas, NOT ONE.

      • Neither Fr. Martin nor I said a word about illegal immigration as such. So why are you yelling at me?

  • Little Rose

    Nice truth bombing of Father Martin and his merry band of attention-seeking Jesuit bag of tricksters. They are fine purveyors of False Mercy, calling neither harlot nor tax-collector to repentance. Instead, they harass and demean faithful Catholics, the only ones lining the pews and confessionals these days. And the Church wonders why for every 1 convert, 6 Catholics are filing out the door!

    • Dean Bruckner

      Liberals regulate the compliant but flee from the violent.

  • Fishcicle

    Jesus was reportedly a refugee.

    • Dean Bruckner

      Yes, he was a refugee, from the Democrats of his day.

      But he also said that straight is the gate, and narrow the way, that leads to life, and only a few find it. You can’t have a gate without a wall.

      Methinks you need to reread the gospels perhaps.

      • Fishcicle

        Is the parallel exact? And did Jesus say anything against refugees? I think that’s debatable.

        • Wayne Cook

          He did come out against hypocrites. Strongly, calling them whitewashed tombs. Be very careful where you tread using the Lord as your reference.

          • Fishcicle

            I am hypocritical to some degree. It’s difficult for most of us not to be. The remark about hypocrisy cuts both ways.

  • gabrielle jones

    Wow..some sense in this discussion at last! The ‘open borders’ espoused by many in Catholic Hierarchy is completely untenable. It is rather surprising,as well,since one of the avowed purposes of ISIS is to destroy the Catholic Church,and fly their flag over the Vatican.

  • ctmom

    Finally! Thank you.

  • Brian O’Rourke

    Do y’all even worship the same Jesus and the same God that Dietrich Bonhoeffer worshipped? To compare the current atrocities to cheap grace is an abomination to the Lord. What so ever you do to the least of these you do to me. Go ahead and build a wall against these least and see if a wall is not built against you in heaven. Your simplistic understanding of life issues is demeaning to the understanding of what it means to be human at all. Unfortunately, you and your ilk of bad theology will lead to worse and worse abominations against the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    • Dean Bruckner

      How many refugees have you housed in your own home? Do you have locks on your home and car? Do you call anything “mine?” How many refugee resettlements have you paid for out of your own pocket?

      It seems that hypocrites are cruising for a harsher judgment than those who follow the wisdom of Solomon: “Like a city that is broken down and without walls, so is a man who has no control over his own spirit.” Proverbs 25:28

      To deny the necessity of walls is to deny the reality of evil. To deny the necessity of gates is to deny to reality of love. Love always protects (1 Cor 13). No amount of sloppy and mushy thinking or rebellious denial of the truth of human depravity will ever change that.

      • Brian O’Rourke

        I have two refugees living in my house. I do this out of my own funds with no hand-out from the government or church. I have a very small house in a small town. Your need for security is what you will never have. You can only obtain security from trusting 100% in God.

        • Dean Bruckner

          Good for you, and thanks for your reply. Keep up the good work, and the good example!

          • winslow

            If he’s telling the truth. There’s that angle, too.

          • Brian O’Rourke

            Jesus probably had an angle too in your world view.

        • God bless you, sir!

    • winslow

      You may as well say Jesus taught us to commit suicide for the care of our brothers. How many illegal aliens have you invited to live with you?? Or is that just for others while you pontificate?

      • Brian O’Rourke

        As many as I can. I run a highly secret underground railroad for illegal aliens. As for your contention that I would say that Jesus would have us commit suicide for the care of our brothers: do you even read the bible? And Jesus did say if your eye causes you to sin or your hand causes you to sin to do what with it? I pontificate because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free. Unfortunately, you are a false prophet confusing those that seek the Lord and you will spend eternity with all others who have turned others from the one true God.

  • gvedepo

    Wow. How to the point of hypocrisy is this? Article speaks the truth.

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