I am Catholic—and I don’t know what I’m supposed to believe about immigration

America Magazine | 10/8/2016 | Staff
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I am a Roman Catholic, and I do not know what I am supposed to believe about immigration. I mean that in all sincerity. Do not worry: I have read my Bible. I have read the Catechism. I have read the encyclicals. I submit to the pope. But I honestly do not know what I am supposed to believe.

I live in France and closely follow U.S. political debates—and try to influence them through my position at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. For all the specifics, the issue of immigration is framed in surprisingly similar (and overheated) terms in both countries. And my fellow Catholics are split between two camps that seem intent on shouting at each other. I have friends on both sides whose intelligence, faith and mercy I deeply respect.

Heart - Breaks - Feel - Land - Life

My heart breaks for those who are, or feel, forced to leave their land, who want to make a better life, who suffer.

I do not know what I believe. I do not know what I believe because my heart breaks for those who are, or feel, forced to leave their land, who want to make a better life, who suffer. I do not know what I believe because there are genuine questions of both prudence and principle that remain unresolved. How many immigrants can any given society safely absorb? What are the empirical costs and benefits of immigration? (I have looked at a lot of social science, and the answer is murky.) Are Christians not supposed to believe in the legitimacy of civil authority and non-totalitarian states, which cannot exist without borders? Are we not supposed to be skeptical of the desires of the rich and of big business, who in the West overwhelmingly support and benefit from expanded immigration? I am not sure how to settle these matters.

So...
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