The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Catholic morality and illegal immigration

Here in California, and in the United States in general, there has been a tendency to call undocumented immigrants "criminals". But how accurate is this in view of Catholic morality? How culpable are these people?

Basic Catholic moral doctrine states that necessity mitigates culpability. The classic example of this is theft. Theft is wrong in itself; we have the obligation to respect others' property. But if a man needs to feed his family, and they are dying of hunger, if he steals a loaf of bread so that his children might eat, he commits no sin (or at least not a serious one).

Take this example and apply it to undocumented workers: they are not stealing, they are WORKING. How can working a decent job be wrong in itself? Work is a good thing. To do it legitimately would be a better thing, but when survival is at stake, where does legitimacy fall? These people need to come here to feed their families. If the government wants to hunt them down and deport them, I suppose that's its perogative. But they are not criminals in the classic sense, nor do they merit the title.

Apparently the right-wing is proposing a measure saying that the children of undocumented workers do not automatically become citizens if they are born in this country. I suppose if this were the case fifty years ago, yours truly would be an "illegal alien" (though I was born here). Let us remember in this Chritmastide that Our Lord Himself was a "displaced person", first in a stable in Bethlehem, then in Egypt.

Crypto-fascist hate mongering against poor immigrants probably would have targeted Him as well.


At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree


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