What if the Vatican Followed Its Own Immigration Rhetoric?

By John Zmirak Published on December 18, 2018

Today a long list of countries signed the Global Pact for Migration. (Thankfully, the U.S. was not among them, thanks to President Trump.) As I wrote last week, it aims to strip from the hands of voters and their elected officials the power to regulate who comes and goes into countries. That is, which people, how many, and of what religion or ideology, will soon attain citizenship and the power to vote. Which people will immediately go on the gravy trains of welfare states, on programs intended for taxpayers going through tough times to rely on in emergencies. Which people will rally in the streets for radical new policies, maybe for “blasphemy” laws protecting the religions they brought in with them by jailing those who critique them.

We’re not yet at the point of hanging critics of Islam in Europe. Soon, though. At the rate we’re going, give us 30 years. In fact, I will die a happy man if the sharia authorities in Brussels or Nuremburg aren’t already hanging Christians for blaspheming Islam, as the government of Pakistan does. I don’t expect to die a happy man.

Really, the Vatican amounts in one sense to a museum, gift shop, and loudmouthed left-wing NGO. Italy totally insulates it from the impact of all the pope’s unsolicited advice and destructive politics. As safe as the kingdom of Narnia, hiding on the other side of a magic wardrobe.

I also wrote last week that Pope Francis’ Vatican strongly endorsed the Global Pact, despite its pro-abortion language. Despite the Church’s official teaching on immigration, which sounds like the GOP 2016 platform.

Keep in mind that the same Vatican cooperates with the totalitarian Chinese government in suppressing churches that don’t obey the Party. That Pope Francis’ official spokesman on social sciences has praised China as a model of Catholic social teaching, compared to the wicked U.S. This despite, you know, the million or so Chinese Uighurs in internment camps, its long-time one-child policy, and and its countless forced abortions.

But Francis and company have taken a strong, principled, Utopian stance against Western countries limiting immigration from poor, Muslim countries.

The Magical Kingdom in Rome

Instead of rehearsing my arguments against this pact, I’ve decided to turn things around. I want the Vatican to sign the Global Compact. And I want the Vatican held to it. In fact I want its churches around the world held to the same standards as its holding countries. At least for a while — maybe long enough to teach the pope some prudence.

In the good old days of the Papal States, you didn’t have popes shoehorning and bowdlerizing Christian doctrine to fit a globalist, Kantian, humanitarian gospel. Right up through the 1850s, the popes ran their own small country, in central Italy. They had to beat down revolutionaries, punish bandits, and guard their borders. In fact, the Vatican had its own executioner right up to 1870 and kept capital punishment for attempts to kill the pope on its law books till 1969.

And guess what you never heard out of the Vatican? Utopian falsifications of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Condemnations of the death penalty. Calls for massive welfare programs as the “right” of every citizen on earth. Demands for open borders.

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When the popes had skin in the game, they didn’t pretend that politics was a game of Chutes and Ladders played by slow-witted Muppets in the magical kingdom of Equestria. But the Vatican City-State today really is such a magical kingdom. It’s a postage stamp statelet, less than 200 acres, stuffed with some of the greatest art on earth. It’s governed as an absolute monarchy, with the pope as its tsar. He isn’t even bound by Canon Law, which he can change at the stroke of a pen.

The pope cannot be removed from office by anything short of a divinely-commissioned meteorite. Nobody votes, except for a new pope. Vatican City grants citizenship more stingily than any place on earth. Kids born in it don’t get birthright citizenship, but cardinals like McCarrick do. Sometimes cardinals like Bernard Law take advantage of that citizenship, to avoid prosecution. The Vatican’s “sovereign immunity” as a country is the only thing preventing massive lawsuits by sex abuse victims from bankrupting the Church. For now.

Really, the Vatican amounts in one sense to a museum, gift shop, and loudmouthed left-wing NGO. Italy totally insulates it from the impact of all the pope’s unsolicited advice and destructive politics. As safe as the kingdom of Narnia, hiding on the other side of a magic wardrobe.

If the Vatican Lived by its Words

What if the Vatican actually walked its talk? What would it mean if the Vatican as a territory were to act as Pope Francis demands that Western nations act?

  • Vatican City would accept as many Islamic refugees as could fit on its territory. It wouldn’t get to decide that. The United Nations would.
  • Those refugees would have to be eligible for citizenship, eventually.
  • Vatican City would have to change its constitution to grant them democratic representation. When refugees became a majority of Vatican citizens, they’d have the right to dispose of its property— to sell off its art collection, for instance, or turn churches into mosques. They could also replace Canon law with sharia, or legalize abortion. That’s what happens when new citizens with different values flood into your country. They change its nature.

Now I’d be heartsick if that happened. The Vatican is a special place with a unique mission. For it to disappear in a sea of grabby Salafi hands, and that art made for the glory of God to vanish into the parlors of Saudi princes … I’d consider that an historic tragedy.

Nations Are Special Too

You know what else is a special place? The United States, to Americans. No other place instantiates our political tradition and culture. It would also be tragic, in a different way, for our nation to vanish.

Another special place? Poland, at least to the Poles. And Hungary to the Hungarians. And Israel to the Jews. Pope John Paul II wrote eloquently in his last book, Memory and Identity, that cultures have a right to exist and be protected. That nations should not be wiped from the map, as Poland once was. Or colonized and dominated by foreigners, as Hitler tried to do to half of Europe. As Muslims did to half of the Mediterranean, and much of India.

For the Vatican to claim that only its sovereignty has meaning and is worth defending would be the height of hypocrisy. It also would be a lie. Nations play their role in God’s Providence, as the mode by which we protect our rights and exist as political animals. What’s true in the sacred arena is true by analogy in the secular. If the U.S. has no right to guard its borders, then neither does the Vatican.

Imagine Treating the Church as Shabbily as Churchmen Treat Our Countries

Now, the humanitarian impact of tiny Vatican City would be minimal. For Francis to really witness to his stance on immigration, he’d have to do much, much more.

  • Use Catholic churches around the world to permanently house immigrants. They could sleep in the pews. There’s lots of space that’s empty for most of the week. On Sundays we could ask them (nicely) to please clear out. But of course we couldn’t force them. That would be using violence against the vulnerable. Fill rectories and convents with military age young men from the Arab world, as Francis wants to go on filling Western cities. (What could go wrong, right?)
  • Eventually, those migrants living in church buildings would gain squatters’ rights. You know, the way migrants gain citizenship in countries. These people would earn some ownership over the church buildings themselves, and at some point could vote to sell them, demolish them, or turn them into mosques. They could also vote to tax the churches’ weekly collections, as migrants-turned-voters can impose taxes on the natives.

For the Vatican to claim that only its sovereignty has meaning and is worth defending would be the height of hypocrisy. It also would be a lie. Nations play their role in God’s Providence, as the mode by which we protect our rights and exist as political animals.

Pope to Asia Bibi: Hang in There!

But don’t despair. Pope Francis has not completely abandoned the principle of national sovereignty. He recently ordered two bishops from the faithful, underground Catholic Church in China to resign. And turn over their dioceses to two Communist apparatchiks appointed by China’s Communist government.

And the Vatican just issued a ringing endorsement of the sovereign decisions of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Asia Bibi, a Catholic mother threatened with hanging even after acquittal on fake “blasphemy” charges, is now being hunted from house to house by vicious, murderous mobs. She’s seeking refuge for religious persecution. And the Vatican just turned her down. As Church Militant reports:

[Cardinal] Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, has said that the Vatican is not working to offer asylum to the family. He reportedly explained in November that the Vatican is not engaging in diplomatic activity to try to save Bibi, adding, “It’s an issue inside Pakistan, I hope it can be resolved in the best way.”

Where is the thundering moralism that Pope Francis managed when Donald Trump wanted to build a wall to control human trafficking from Mexico? Where the outrage that drove a Vatican priest at an official Mass to compare the border-hawk Italian Interior Minister to the Antichrist? It’s almost as if immigration were just a weapon to destroy the West, liquidate “bourgeois” society, and avenge the wretched, self-imposed failures of the pope’s native Argentina on countries that made wiser choices.

But that would be to take a cynical view.

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