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Just to clarify #192625 04/23/06 01:14 AM
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Deacon John Montalvo Offline OP
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Christ is Risen!

In the now closed thread, "Religious groups rally for immigrants," I overlooked a comment made by the Administrator in repose to my comment.

My comment:

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When a Christian chooses to disregard a fundamental teaching of the Faith, he or she can always rely upon the notion that "the teaching is not binding."
to which the Administrator replied:

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The belief that sovereign nations do not have the right to police their own borders and control immigration into and out of their country is not a fundamental teaching of the Faith.
I never posted anything by the Holy Father or any bishop which stated that our sovereign Republic does not have the right to control immigration. The fundamental teaching to which I referred had nothing to do with border security or controlling immigration. The teaching to which I referred may be found in the Gospel of Matthew 25:31-46, and to which the Catholic Bishops of Arizona made as the title of their Pastoral Letter on Migration, You Welcomed Me.

Interestingly enough, the Byzantine Churches read this Gospel Lesson as a preperation for the Great Fast on the Sunday of Meatfare.

The second part of the Administrator's reply states:

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Father Deacon John’s accusation that I am somehow rejecting the teaching authority of the Church is off base.
My accusation is not off base, the Administrator posted:

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Thank the Lord that the Holy Fathers teaching here is not binding. (emphasis added) At best, what he and the bishops have spoken here is incomplete. Hospitality and fidelity to Christ do not require rejecting the right of a country to secure its own borders and to control immigration.
In this context the Administrator's use of the term "not binding" can only mean that the teaching of the Holy Father and the bishops on how that Gospel Lesson is manifested in the world may be rejected. WHY??? Because the words of the Holy Father and the bishops are somehow "incomplete" (at least in the mind of the Administrator).

Incomplete or not, the Holy Father and the bishops in communion with him have the charism of teaching and have the duty to teach, to which the faithful adhere:

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Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place. For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old, making it bear fruit and vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock. Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.

Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held. This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith. (Lumen Gentium, n. 25)
So do we faithful reject teachings of the faith because they are "incomplete"? Somehow that belief does not square with the teaching of the Council Fathers.

Re: Just to clarify #192626 04/23/06 01:33 AM
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LaFamiliaFelix Offline
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I think that one of the worst things we do as Christians is to try to justify a belief we have that doesn't agree with church teaching.

Re: Just to clarify #192627 04/23/06 02:33 AM
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djs Offline
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Some good sense from Joe Sobran here.

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I find it hard to see how any Christian can get indignant about poor men who leave home to take tough, low-paying jobs in order to feed their families. I can't imagine Jesus standing on the border to turn them back.
And impossible to imagine orders to "shoot on sight".
I don't say this to be disagreeable. Rather I hope that people will re-read what our clergy and saints have written and reconsider what they have posted.

Re: Just to clarify #192628 04/23/06 05:20 PM
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Dear Father Deacon John,

Thank you for your post.

You wrote: “In this context the Administrator's use of the term "not binding" can only mean that the teaching of the Holy Father and the bishops on how that Gospel Lesson is manifested in the world may be rejected. WHY??? Because the words of the Holy Father and the bishops are somehow "incomplete" (at least in the mind of the Administrator).”

What you offered was a partial presentation of the Holy Father’s teaching on the issue. As a partial presentation of Catholic Teaching it is not binding. It is only binding when presented in whole and within context. But even here there are questions of application. The Holy Father clearly also stated: “Illegal immigration should be prevented.” You (and it seems some of the Catholic bishops) for some reason chose to ignore this. Had I (or anyone else) simply stated that “the Holy Father teaches that ‘illegal immigration should be prevented’” such a comment would be only a partial portion of a total teaching. As such it would not be binding on the Catholic faithful. Everything must be understood in context of the entire Teaching of the Catholic Church on the matter.

The Pastoral Letter of the Bishops of Arizona is not an infallible document. It is a pastoral letter. It is an attempt by the Bishops of Arizona to minister to the faithful of Arizona. As a faithful Catholic I am very well within my right to say that this letter contains some very good guidance while also being very incomplete (but, then, of course, pastoral letters are not always meant to be comprehensive). On the whole, however, it is far better then the very political comments being made on this topic by the Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles. One need not support amnesty for illegals as part of embracing a fundamental teaching of the faith.

Your original posts mostly focused on the need for humane treatment of illegals (which I clearly supported and stated in most of my posts). Your original posts were silent on the need to respect the legitimate right of a sovereign nation to control both its borders and immigration (which is what made your presentation incomplete).

There is nothing in my post that rejects any fundamental teaching of the Catholic Faith. The third sentence after that which you quoted back to accuse me of rejecting Catholic Teaching was clear: “Hospitality and fidelity to Christ do not require rejecting the right of a country to secure its own borders and to control immigration.” Given my clear statement supporting hospitality and fidelity to Christ and my calls in other posts for human treatment of illegals there is no way you can legitimately accuse me of rejecting Matthew 25:31-46.

If you would like I would be happy to reword my post for better accuracy, changing it from:

“Thank the Lord that the Holy Fathers teaching here is not binding. At best, what he and the bishops have spoken here is incomplete. Hospitality and fidelity to Christ do not require rejecting the right of a country to secure its own borders and to control immigration.”

to:

”The Holy Father’s teaching here is not presented here with enough clarity and context to be considered binding. At best, the quotes used by Father Deacon John give an incomplete understanding of Catholic Teaching. Hospitality and fidelity to Christ do not require rejecting the right of a country to secure its own borders and to control immigration.”

Admin biggrin

Re: Just to clarify #192629 04/23/06 05:52 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by djs:
Some good sense from Joe Sobran here.

Quote
I find it hard to see how any Christian can get indignant about poor men who leave home to take tough, low-paying jobs in order to feed their families. I can't imagine Jesus standing on the border to turn them back.
And impossible to imagine orders to "shoot on sight".
I don't say this to be disagreeable. Rather I hope that people will re-read what our clergy and saints have written and reconsider what they have posted.
djs,

I’m sorry but it I can only see this as being disagreeable.

Through out this discussion I have called for humane treatment of those who come here illegally while also calling for respect of our border security laws.

I have also called for immigration reform which doubles or triples the number of immigrants legally welcomed into this country.

I have also called for some sort of permanent residency for those 12 million illegal aliens who are already here (one that doe not offer them citizenship or in any way put them ahead of those who are patiently waiting to enter this country legally and also prevents their being exploited in the workforce).

I have further called for the use of American clout to encourage poor countries to engage in political and economic reform that would raise their people from poverty so that they don’t have to emigrate to have a decent life.

So when you quote accusingly that I am somehow “indignant about poor men who leave home to take tough, low-paying jobs in order to feed their families” and suggesting that I am claiming that “Jesus [is] standing on the border to turn them back” I find it very offensive. Clearly you had to ignore most of what I posted and take some of what I posted out of context to come up with such an accusation.

Welcoming immigrants who come here legally while also protecting the security of our nation are neither mutually exclusive nor against the fundamental teachings of the Gospel. There is legitimate application for the Holy Father’s teaching that “illegal immigration should be prevented” when presented completely with the teaching to show hospitality to the least of our brethren. Christian hospitality does not require that we surrender the security of our borders to those who would harm us.

Admin

Re: Just to clarify #192630 04/23/06 05:58 PM
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It is important to remember that individual bishops (and groups of bishops), can, and often do, present Catholic teaching in an incomplete way, but that they can also be in error on a particular issue. This is even true of the Pope, who is only infallible when he intends, through a specific act, to teach a particular doctrine as de fide. Thus, a homily or letter issued by a bishop of a particular region (and even a homily or letter of the Pope) is not an exercise of the charism of infallibility, and Catholics are free to accept or reject the ideas presented in a document of that kind, based of course on the sense of the faith, which all possess through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

That being said, we should all be respectful of our bishop (and of all the bishops), but if in good conscience one thinks that a particular action or teaching has been presented either poorly or incorrectly, it follows they are not obliged to submit to it, and in fact, depending upon the case, they may be obliged to dissent from it in charity.

Re: Just to clarify #192631 04/24/06 03:24 PM
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Memo Rodriguez Offline
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Hi,

There is, of course: "You shall not kill".

But maybe this is a partial and incomplete rendition of the Ten Commandments and, therefore, it can be disobeyed at our convenience.

Right?

Shalom,
Memo

Re: Just to clarify #192632 04/24/06 05:13 PM
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Apotheoun Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Memo Rodriguez:
Hi,

There is, of course: "You shall not kill".

But maybe this is a partial and incomplete rendition of the Ten Commandments and, therefore, it can be disobeyed at our convenience.

Right?

Shalom,
Memo
Actually, a better translation of the Hebrew text of the commandment is: "You shall not murder." Killing may sometimes be necessary, but murder is never legitimate.

Re: Just to clarify #192633 04/24/06 05:37 PM
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Dear Friends,

As you know, I never get involved in controversial topics . . . wink

There is one aspect to the whole issue of illegal immigrants that needs to be addressed - that is, how the North American economy has somehow found an exploitative niche for them.

Many companies, including, I daresay, those involved in the Katrina rebuilding projects, use illegal immigrants and are happy to do so since they can pay them low wages and no benefits.

This has been going on for years.

The number one roadblock to the whole "let's keep the immigrants legal" position is the U.S. companies that love to exploit illegal immigrants and find them a very lucrative source of cheap labour.

O.K., that's breaking the law etc. etc.

But how is the government going to get around the corporate exploitation of this labour pool?

Are not all the politicians against illegal immigrants simply posturing for their constituents (I used to work for politicians, you know)?

I think the number one friend of illegal immigrants from the standpoint of corporate America will be . . . President Bush.

He's not going to upset American business interests . . .

Alex

Re: Just to clarify #192634 04/24/06 07:55 PM
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Dear Friends,

Another thing about his whole illegal immigrant thing . . .

Let's remember that the U.S. legally turned back Jews fleeing Nazism, did it not? I believe they desired to enter North America legally.

And that various cultural/national groups arriving in North America, although legally, were treated rather shabbily once they got here - again, everything was "legal" and above board at the time.

Legality was behind a number of discriminatory and abusive policies toward immigrants to North America over the last century.

What is "illegal" is not always what is written down on paper - nor is what is "legal."

Happily, we are past those years.

But I think it should make everyone pause to ponder the less than "black and white" contexts of illegal immigrants today.

Alex


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