The government shutdown continues as Congress and the White House remain at an impasse regarding the appropriation of funds for a U.S. – Mexico border wall. Disagreements about immigration and the border wall are not only confined to Washington D.C. – across the country Americans remain divided on this controversial topic.
But what is the Catholic perspective on a border wall? Monsignor Charles Pope, a writer and pastor in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., wrote an article last week at The National Catholic Register about this topic. He recently stopped by The Drew Mariani Show™ to explain how Catholics should approach this issue based on the teachings of the Church.
“My basic bottom line is: no, there is not a Catholic position on the wall,” Msgr. Pope told Drew. “And I don’t think there should be, as it’s a prudential judgement, and walls can be used for good or bad purposes.”
However, that doesn’t mean that the Church has no guidance to give on these issues. Msgr. Pope explained, “As Catholics … whether you want the wall or don’t want the wall, there are principles that are spelled out for us in the Catechism about immigration, immigrants, and what Catholics should do.”
“The first principle,” he began, “which is most often the quoted part, is that prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigners here to secure their livelihood. And there is a certain natural right to migrate that we should respect.”
Offering his own perspective, Msgr. Pope said, “Especially in a prosperous nation like ours, we should be generous. And I am personally very upbeat about our immigrants. I’m happy with almost all of them that I meet. They are hard workers, they have family values, most of the them are Catholic, I might add.”
So as Catholics we should recognize the right to migrate and the responsibility of prosperous nations. But that doesn’t mean it’s a cut and dry issue.
“There is a second principle, and it is meant to balance the first a bit,” Msgr. Pope explained. “It says that the political authorities, for the sake of the common good that they are responsible for, can make the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions. It reminds the immigrants of their duties toward their countries of adoption and asking them to obey our good laws and to share in the carrying of civic burdens.”
“These need to both be balanced,” Msgr. Pope emphasized. “And I’m afraid sometimes what I find in the immigration debate in general is that people will pick one or the other. Where what the Church is trying to do is hold them both in a kind of tension or balance where both are being balanced.”
Listen to the full conversation with Msgr. Charles Pope below: