Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cardinal descries "criminalising illegality."

There is a fair distinction between criminality and illegality. In America we have legitimate courts with codified law to sort that out. It's our legal system. It's not perfect, and it is evolving daily, wrongs being righted, injustices being committed, travesties being carried out that one expects will in time be corrected and perhaps in some ways compensated for. We live with legal wrongs and injustice simply because we have to accept that ours is a system of all rather than of the few, that our law is a system rather than the domain of the special and the privilged. Yes, there is injustice. We must at times willingly accept that we might suffer from it personally, and we will do so knowing that in so doing we will be concretely a part of the bettering of our laws in the future. No, I do not want to be part of the case. Yes, I would accept a wrong judgement against my person in the knowledge that I would be a case for later revision and correction, little good it doing me.

Not being a lawyer or a theologian I leave it to the reader to decide the case of what I call antinomianism on the part of the cardinal below. I see the man as a heretic and a criminal. My view is perhaps naive and uninformed.

Mahony: L.A. Church Won't Enforce Immigration Laws

News Report, Virginia Gaglianone,
Wave Newspapers, Mar 10, 2006

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Archdiocese will ignore a proposed federal law that would require churches to ask immigrants for residency documents before administering help, Cardinal Roger Mahony said last week.

"The church is not in a position of negotiating the spiritual and the corporal works of mercy," Mahony said during a Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels marking the start of the 40-day season of Lent.

"We must be able to minister to people regardless of how they got here," he said.

Mahony was addressing an immigration bill being debated this week in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

The House of Representatives passed the border security bill in December that requires all personnel of churches and nonprofit organizations to verify the legal immigration status of every person served.

"If the law passes in its current form, it would criminalize people who are here illegally," Mahony spokesman Tod Tamberg said. "Anybody who would knowingly assist [illegal immigrants] could be guilty of human trafficking. That's insulting to any charity, especially the church.

"This bill is saying 'here church, you fix [the immigration problem]. We'll criminalize these things and you are the ones who will have to figure out how to deal with them,'" Tamberg added. "This is not our problem, this problem was created by poor policy to begin with and we want to see that changed."

Mahony supports the Justice For Immigrants Campaign, a national Catholic public awareness effort that provides education on immigration reform and supports proposals for a guest worker program, legalization of undocumented immigrants and more visas for migrants' families and refugees in this country.

"The Catholic Church is not in favor of open borders," Tamberg said. "What we are simply saying is that any kind of immigration or border security policy should reflect the basic values of Americans. We are a generous and humane people and we are asking that our best qualities be present in any legislation."

The campaign, launched by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other church organizations, challenges the bill.

"Our job is to try to lay out the moral foundation for immigration reform, like we would for any other social policy proposal," Tamberg said.

Some of the critics of the cardinal's position said that there is a limit to being charitable.

"Jesus Christ is very clear in the gospel, including the parable of the Good Samaritan," Tamberg said in response. "Charity and generosity to the stranger is to be unlimited. That may annoy some people, including some Catholics, but the gospel had always been annoying at different times of history.

"It is staggering for the federal government to stifle our spiritual and pastoral outreach to the poor, and to impose penalties for doing what our faith demands of us," Mahony said in a letter he sent to President George W. Bush.

Mahony also wrote a letter to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Senate Judiciary Committee member. Feinstein had spoken against a worker's program that went beyond agricultural workers.

Mahony said the guest worker program should be expanded beyond agricultural workers and that there should be some opportunity for those workers to become citizens without having to go back to their own country and wait for a decade or more.

"The whole concept of punishing people who serve immigrants is un-American," Mahony said in earlier interviews. "If you take this to its logical, ludicrous extreme, every single person who comes up to receive Holy Communion, you have to ask them to show papers. It becomes absurd and the church is not about to get into that. The church is here to serve people. We're not about to become immigration agents."

"It all starts with the dignity of the human person for us," Tamberg said.

The Los Angeles Archdiocese is the largest archdiocese in the country with 288 parishes and five million members.

"The underlying basis for our service to others, especially the poor, is the example, words, and actions of Jesus Christ in the Gospels," Mahony said in his letter to the president. "St. Matthew's Gospel does not simply invite us to serve others in the name of Jesus, but offers such service as a requisite to belonging to the Kingdom of God."

Is there a law for Catholic cardinals that supercedes the law for me? Is our nation illegitimate? If so, then I should join the cardinal and take up arms to destroy it. If not, then I feel that the cardinal should pack his tooth-brush and vasoline and prepare himself for some penitential time with Rocco and Vinnie. But I might be naive and uninformed.


ReallyEvilCanine said...

Is there a law for Catholic cardinals that supercedes the law for me?
What is the First Amendment, Alex?

Look, I despise religion in general and each one for many specific reasons, but the fact is that they're protected. The concept of asylum has been around for more than 1400 years thanks to King Ethelbert and others. It's a concept that Western nations accept to this day. And considering that an invading force in Panama didn't simply walk into the church to grab Noriega but rather waited until he came out of his own accord (albeit with some encouragement) shows that the US still accepts the concept of sanctuary.

Of course, back then the US managed to hold the moral high ground when it came to the treatment of prisoners and torture, so it's possible a few priests will go to jail, but considering how much power the religious right appears to have, it's extremely unlikely that this administration or any other would dare trod on Church rights.

For the record, I don't agree with the blanket acceptance of illegal immigrants (being a legal immigrant myself). In this case the Church is remaing true to moral principles which I have trouble arguing in any situation when I consider it logically ad absurbium.

dag said...

Bill of Rights
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

OK, Vana. I still fail to see that there is an exemption for the Church to commit crimes of any kind, sanctuary being something I would guess is specific to threat rather than allowance for simple illegality.

As I wrote above, I am not informed on this topic. I welcome your input and hope we can come to some clearer understanding on this question. It goes beyond the Chruch stance and into the realm of the average citizen. At what point do we have a duty to disregard the laws we feel are immoral? The church might well be leading the way here. Do we follow, surpass them, or toss them in jail? I am open to informed discussion.

ReallyEvilCanine said...

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

And there you have it, dag. "The free exercise thereof" is a powerful statement. While Rastas still have trouble with their weed, AmerIndian cultures which have used peyote for hundreds of years are exempt from certain C-I laws.

Do we all have a duty to violate laws which violate our morals as long as such morals don't transgress against the rights of others? I expect so.

The laws of the US and, to a large extent the Western world, are based in history. The Church has, for more than 1400 years seen fit to allow for the protection of persons who have volated the laws of man but not the laws of morality as they see it. Again, I'm not a Christian; I'm an atheist. But the fact of the matter is that US federal and state law is based on Common English Law (save for Louisiana), and Common Law is the reason I can send you to jail for verbal threats upon my well-being. It allows me to take a wife without even State approval after a certain amount of time. Common Law also accepts Church Asylum.

The Constitution -- what's left of it anyway -- is worth protecting. And there's no better way of protecting it than by acting under its protections. I despise the Church but I'll back them in this just as every periodical backed Larry Flynt in front of the Supreme Court when he faced Jerry Falwell. I mentioned logic before; I always take arguments to their extremes because sooner or later, what we can't now conceive will sooner or later become the norm.

dag said...

I'm skeptical about the range of asylum arguments. It's a good point, and I'll try to look into it. I don't sufggest that we steam-roll the rights of religious people and institutions, though I too am, like you, and atheist. I feel strongly that the religious have as much right to lawful protection as anyone, it not being a question to me of import enough to mention otherwise. And I accept the tradition of the laws of sanctuary. I have to question at what point those laws are invalid even with protection of the Bill of Rights. Can I, for example, claim sanctuary from the police if I haven't paid my parking tickets? What if I shot the president? What if I decide I don't like any laws at all and demand sancuary from life in the world? What if I demand sancuary from my landlord and sleep on a church pew? It devolves into an agrgument reduction ad absurdum. And so, where do we stand when a cardinal claims he is above the common law as it applies only to those who might be his constituents?

I don';t know any canon law but I'm guessing that it requires of sancuary that it be given in cases of unjust persecution. If any lawbreaker whatsoever, whomsoever, can claim sanctuary and constitutionally so, then we have a set of laws for track stars and another for people who can run from the police so fast.

If we can find a settlement here I'll be better off. I have some real trouble with the idea that a cardinal can set himself above any law that he feels violates his principles. Is foregoing the postive laws valid in the case of giving sanctuary to illegal immigrants? I think it's trivial. I think it diminishes the responsibilty of the Church to provide sanctuary to those who are unjustly persecuted. I argue from my intuitioin that this is a case of one cardinal acting from ideology rather than law. It's my guess. I would like to know more.

Pastorius said...

You ask if there is a law for Catholics which supersedes the law for you.

Well, as far as Cardinal Mahnony is concerne, yes there is.

About a year back, a court subpoened (sp?) some Church records from Cardinal Mahony's office.

His response?

He declared that he was not a citizen of the United States, but instead, he is a citizen of the Vatican, so U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over him.

So, you see, he is treasonous, as well as a criminal, and yes, a heretic.

The verse he and Mr. Tamberg are forgetting, in all their bullshit pietism here, is Christ telling Pilate that we are to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

The United States has laws, and the Church is bound to follow them, according to the Law, and according to the Bible.

dag said...

This man is not some country bishop. He's a cardinal of the nation's largest diocese. In terms of power he is akin to the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. More than that. He is the Pope's direct representative in, to, and from America. He is not a simple nuncio. He is THE Catholic general in the U.S. And he is an ideologue, from what I gather. His ideology is not Vatican Council II. It is anti-Americanism.

Correct me if I'm wrong here.

dag said...

The painting is by El Greco of St. Sebastien. My mean sense of humor has something to do with my choice of illustration, St. Sebastien now being adopted by homosexuals as their patron.

eyesallaround said...

Hi Dag, I was just thinking about this the other day. They were showing an ER with a steady stream of patients, many w/o documentation. At times they got so busy they had to shut the doors. If someone dies, the value of the dead person is constant. Their value is no greater if legal or illegal. BUT, if the legal dies, it is because someone STOLE his place in the ER, they violated one of the 10 Commandments.

I think communism never worked because of the gross violation of "Thou Shalt Not Steal". When we were in Russia a few years ago I was struck by how evil communism was. They stole everything from the people, even the poor old widow who only owned a tiny flat.

If the Cardinal can pay for all the "keep" of the illegals, including their medical care, and pay their taxes, then maybe he should try to help them legally enter the country and he act as a sponsor. If he can't, then he is stealing from the rest of us, and he will never be blessed for it.

The "left" always makes this same mistake... They think they're helping, but they're not.

Why doesn't he help them emmigrate to Vatican City, since he's such a high and mighty member of their regime?

Pastorius said...

I think his motivation is Catholicism. I think he thinks that more illegal immigration into the U.S. means more hispanic Catholics in the U.S., where they will make more money, and thus, give more money to the Catholic Church.

So, I don't think his motivation is anti-Americanism, but it is the net effect of his motivations.

eyesallaround said...

Pastorius, Good point! I think that's the motivation of the "left" also:>)

dag said...

I sent one of my students to the library to pick up a copy of Georges Sorel, Reflections on Violence. He returned to say that that though he looked for a copy of Eric Fromm, Escape from Freedom, there is no title in the holdings but that he did get Sorel for me, there being 22 titles in the stacks. 22 titles on Sorel!

This is a small city on the west coast on North America, a minor place but still one of the bigger cities in Canada. There is a reasonable library here. No Fromm. Not a listing. Nothing. But 22 titles on Sorel.

Ask yourself why this city would stock so much on Sorel and nothing on Fromm. It is due to the Left/Labour alliance here, the trade unions movement that is crippling and destroying this nation. Who has even heard of Sorel other than me and Tech Central Station? (And TCS got their facts wrong because the esayist isn't really familiar with Sorel.) The Left know of and study Sorel. They CHOOSE to study Sorel. It is a determined and aggressive decision to read his work and come to terms with his thought. No Fromm.

The cardinal, in my opinion, is doing the same kind of choosing of ideology over reality and common decency. It's an attitude. Why do I read Jaroslav Pelikan? I'm not Catholic. I'm no Christian. I choose to learn about the world I live in and to know about the world of reality as others see it and live it and hold opinions and attitudes toward it. So does the cardinal, obviously a brighter guy than I, one far more accomplished than anyone I know or am likely to meet. And he is a fool. He chooses to do wrong in the face of right. He likely knows more about Sorel than he does about Pelikan. The cardinal is an ideologue. Can we tolerate such?

He chooses this as much as the Left choose to learn about Sorel. There is no Reason involved: it is attitude. To defeat this problem we must change our attitudes toward the ideologues. They cannot be acceptable to us any longer. We must shout in public that the Treason of the Intellectuals is a crime against Humanity. They choose treason, and we must choose Right. We have to say no. We have to say so publicly. The cardinal is a criminal abettor.

We are betrayed. Our attitude allows it. There is no excuse for us. We have a universal law or we have chaos and anarchy and privilge. The man is not above the law unless we abandon the law itself. If we continue to do so we deserve what we get.

If Sorel is popular but Fromm is unavailable in our libraries it shows our interests have devovled to anarchy. It shows that we have allowed ourselves to be hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists who pervert our good law for their own evil ends. It shows that our attitude sucks. It shows that we don't care about ourselves.

If there is impunity for him, there is no law for me. If too many feel Sorel is important and most don't care and don't even know, then we must learn. We must fight. We must say no to the elitists. They betray us. We must fight ourselves first to develop right attitudes.

We can demand of our intellectuals that they quit obsessing over Sorel and start reading Mill. Or we can read Mill and take over ourselves.