PopeWatch: Open Borders

I answer that, Man’s relations with foreigners are twofold: peaceful, and hostile: and in directing both kinds of relation the Law contained suitable precepts. For the Jews were offered three opportunities of peaceful relations with foreigners. First, when foreigners passed through their land as travelers. Secondly, when they came to dwell in their land as newcomers. And in both these respects the Law made kind provision in its precepts: for it is written (Exodus 22:21): “Thou shalt not molest a stranger [advenam]”; and again (Exodus 22:9): “Thou shalt not molest a stranger [peregrino].” Thirdly, when any foreigners wished to be admitted entirely to their fellowship and mode of worship. With regard to these a certain order was observed. For they were not at once admitted to citizenship: just as it was law with some nations that no one was deemed a citizen except after two or three generations, as the Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 1). The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst, many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people. Hence it was that the Law prescribed in respect of certain nations that had close relations with the Jews (viz., the Egyptians among whom they were born and educated, and the Idumeans, the children of Esau, Jacob’s brother), that they should be admitted to the fellowship of the people after the third generation; whereas others (with whom their relations had been hostile, such as the Ammonites and Moabites) were never to be admitted to citizenship; while the Amalekites, who were yet more hostile to them, and had no fellowship of kindred with them, were to be held as foes in perpetuity: for it is written (Exodus 17:16): “The war of the Lord shall be against Amalec from generation to generation.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Question 105, Article 3





The Pope is in favor of open borders as he made very clear in this statement issued yesterday:


Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43).  The Lord entrusts to the Church’s motherly love every person forced to leave their homeland in search of a better future.[1] This solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience – from departure through journey to arrival and return.  This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities.

In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that “our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”.[2]

Considering the current situation, welcoming means, above all, offering broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally.  This calls for a concrete commitment to increase and simplify the process for granting humanitarian visas and for reunifying families.  At the same time, I hope that a greater number of countries will adopt private and community sponsorship programmes, and open humanitarian corridors for particularly vulnerable refugees.  Furthermore, special temporary visas should be granted to people fleeing conflicts in neighbouring countries.  Collective and arbitrary expulsions of migrants and refugees are not suitable solutions, particularly where people are returned to countries which cannot guarantee respect for human dignity and fundamental rights.[3]  Once again, I want to emphasise the importance of offering migrants and refugees adequate and dignified initial accommodation.  “More widespread programmes of welcome, already initiated in different places, seem to favour a personal encounter and allow for greater quality of service and increased guarantees of success”.[4]  The principle of the centrality of the human person, firmly stated by my beloved Predecessor, Benedict XVI,[5] obliges us to always prioritise personal safety over national security.  It is necessary, therefore, to ensure that agents in charge of border control are properly trained.  The situation of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees requires that they be guaranteed personal safety and access to basic services.  For the sake of the fundamental dignity of every human person, we must strive to find alternative solutions to detention for those who enter a country without authorisation.[6]

The second verb – protecting – may be understood as a series of steps intended to defend the rights and dignity of migrants and refugees, independent of their legal status.[7]  Such protection begins in the country of origin, and consists in offering reliable and verified information before departure, and in providing safety from illegal recruitment practices.[8]  This must be ongoing, as far as possible, in the country of migration, guaranteeing them adequate consular assistance, the right to personally retain their documents of identification at all times, fair access to justice, the possibility of opening a personal bank account, and a minimum sufficient to live on.  When duly recognised and valued, the potential and skills of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees are a true resource for the communities that welcome them.[9]  This is why I hope that, in countries of arrival, migrants may be offered freedom of movement, work opportunities, and access to means of communication, out of respect for their dignity.  For those who decide to return to their homeland, I want to emphasise the need to develop social and professional reintegration programmes.  The International Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a universal legal basis for the protection of underage migrants.  They must be spared any form of detention related to migratory status, and must be guaranteed regular access to primary and secondary education.  Equally, when they come of age they must be guaranteed the right to remain and to enjoy the possibility of continuing their studies.  Temporary custody or foster programmes should be provided for unaccompanied minors and minors separated from their families.[10]  The universal right to a nationality should be recognised and duly certified for all children at birth.  The statelessness which migrants and refugees sometimes fall into can easily be avoided with the adoption of “nationality legislation that is in conformity with the fundamental principles of international law”.[11]  Migratory status should not limit access to national healthcare and pension plans, nor affect the transfer of their contributions if repatriated.

Promoting essentially means a determined effort to ensure that all migrants and refugees – as well as the communities which welcome them – are empowered to achieve their potential as human beings, in all the dimensions which constitute the humanity intended by the Creator.[12]  Among these, we must recognize the true value of the religious dimension, ensuring to all foreigners in any country the freedom of religious belief and practice.   Many migrants and refugees have abilities which must be appropriately recognised and valued.  Since “work, by its nature, is meant to unite peoples”,[13] I encourage a determined effort to promote the social and professional inclusion of migrants and refugees, guaranteeing for all – including those seeking asylum – the possibility of employment, language instruction and active citizenship, together with sufficient information provided in their mother tongue.  In the case of underage migrants, their involvement in labour must be regulated to prevent exploitation and risks to their normal growth and development.  In 2006, Benedict XVI highlighted how, in the context of migration, the family is “a place and resource of the culture of life and a factor for the integration of values”.[14]  The family’s integrity must always be promoted, supporting family reunifications – including grandparents, grandchildren and siblings – independent of financial requirements.  Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees with disabilities must be granted greater assistance and support.  While I recognize the praiseworthy efforts, thus far, of many countries, in terms of international cooperation and humanitarian aid, I hope that the offering of this assistance will take into account the needs (such as medical and social assistance, as well as education) of developing countries which receive a significant influx of migrants and refugees.  I also hope that local communities which are vulnerable and facing material hardship, will be included among aid beneficiaries.[15]

The final verb – integrating – concerns the opportunities for intercultural enrichment brought about by the presence of migrants and refugees.  Integration is not “an assimilation that leads migrants to suppress or to forget their own cultural identity. Rather, contact with others leads to discovering their ‘secret’, to being open to them in order to welcome their valid aspects and thus contribute to knowing each one better.  This is a lengthy process that aims to shape societies and cultures, making them more and more a reflection of the multi-faceted gifts of God to human beings”.[16]  This process can be accelerated by granting citizenship free of financial or linguistic requirements, and by offering the possibility of special legalisation to migrants who can claim a long period of residence in the country of arrival.  I reiterate the need to foster a culture of encounter in every way possible – by increasing opportunities for intercultural exchange, documenting and disseminating best practices of integration, and developing programmes to prepare local communities for integration processes.   I wish to stress the special case of people forced to abandon their country of arrival due to a humanitarian crisis.  These people must be ensured adequate assistance for repatriation and effective reintegration programmes in their home countries.

In line with her pastoral tradition, the Church is ready to commit herself to realising all the initiatives proposed above.  Yet in order to achieve the desired outcome, the contribution of political communities and civil societies is indispensable, each according to their own responsibilities.

Go here to read the rest.  Once upon a time the Church understood the importance of nations.  The Church in Poland and Ireland played a key role in allowing those nations to maintain their existence in the teeth of foreign invaders.  Now, foreign invasion, under the guise of illegal immigration. is celebrated by the Church.  What about the rights of the native inhabitants of a nation, at least in the West? They have two rights as far as PopeWatch can tell:

  1.  The right to pay for the immigrants whether they are legal or illegal;  and
  2. The right to shut up if they object to any of this.

The Church used to attempt to be on the side of the people in the pews in matters of public policy.  Now, the powers that be at the Vatican have only barely disguised contempt for their fellow Catholics if they are not on board with the leftist agenda of the worst Pope since Alexander VI.


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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. “The[y]have two rights as far as I can tell:

    The right to pay for the immigrants whether they are legal or illegal; and
    The right to shut up if they object to any of this.”

    And you will LIKE IT whether you like it or not!

  2. When Pope Francis has the walls around the Vatican destroyed, stops using a guarded car, and walks around both locally and foreign lands only with the weapon known as a Rosary (no Swiss guards or any other type of body guard), we can negotiate.

  3. Again, absolutely standard in refugee relief (remember those camps in Thailand full of Khmer) is to maintain the refugees proximate to their countries of origin with a view to eventual repatriation. We can likely improve the camps and can also indemnify the countries involved for the functional loss of territory. We aren’t obligated to import the refugees into our own country. The only refugee generators anywhere near the United States are Haiti and Cuba. The only European countries proximate to the trouble are Cyprus (a mini-country which should not be asked to host refugees), Malta (ditto), Greece (in distress for other reasons), and Italy. There’s plenty of open land in Egypt and Tunisia to build camps. You need to get the civil engineers in there to construct the sewers.

    Francis is notable in comparison with his 10 most recent predecessor in having no discernible skills. He never completed his theological training and his time as an ecclesiastical supervisor appears to have been one of those odd things you see in bureaucracies from time to time: a man failing upward. So, a man who doesn’t know his own book of business (and really cares nothing for what the Church teaches) presumes to instruct others (in this case public officials with real practical problems in order maintenance and refugee relief).

  4. The Deacon in his Sunday Homily again told us that those of us who aren’t welcoming the strangers by supporting the policy of open borders need to examine their hearts to find the bigotry there.
    I know legal immigrants from Brazil who loathe the line-jumpers and moochers. Are they bigots, too?

    I would just like to raise my children in an America where they are free to speak and do as their God-given conscience tells them. The flood of “strangers” with clearly incompatible goals makes this much less likely.
    What am I to do?

  5. “The worst pope since Alexander VI.” That phrase is three words too long. Alexander was simply personally venial, not programmatically evil. Oh, and by the way Francis doesn’t like Americans, he doesn’t like them a lot.
    As to the suggestion that he expose himself to physical harm, well, he may well do that. At 80 the chance to be declared a martyr must be enticing. I bet that the “Santo Subito” signs are already in storage.

  6. Because Thomas Aquinas said it first: “The idea of national sovereignty is indispensable to any coherent discussion of immigration policy.”

    After topics like abortion and same-sex marriage, few subjects fuel more division than migration. That’s partly because of concerns about subjects such as Islamist terrorism, failures to maintain border security, or some American and European political and religious leaders’ apparent reluctance to acknowledge such phenomena as real problems. But it’s also a result of genuine apprehensions about the possibility of governments breaking up intact families, not to mention the compassion that we should have for those fleeing war, persecution, terrorism, and bleak economic futures.
    Before, however, the specifics of these and other questions surrounding migration can be addressed, we need clarity about the origins, nature, and limits of national sovereignty. Some regard national sovereignty as a fading relic of a pre-globalized world. Yet the concept of national sovereignty provides an indispensable framework for any coherent response by legislators and citizens to the challenges—and opportunities—associated with the movement of individuals who, for many reasons, desire to reside permanently in countries of which they are not citizens.
    Common Bonds, Common Good
    On one level, the origins of national sovereignty are to be found in the fact that there exist groups of people who regard themselves as members of one national community rather than another. Thanks to factors such as a common culture, language, beliefs, shared memories, sense of a common patrimony, and association with a particular territory with recognized boundaries, Estonians, for example, understand themselves as belonging to the Estonian nation rather than the Dutch people.
    These shared bonds mean that members of that group not only consent to be governed by those charged with the responsibility of governing that nation; they are also prepared to make sacrifices for other members of the same nation. These range from defending their country from internal or external aggression to paying taxes in order to provide common services for the other citizens of their nation.
    Put another way, French citizens are committed to the common good of France in ways that they are not committed to Italy’s common good. This is despite the fact that many Italians live along France’s southern border and are geographically closer to French citizens who live in Marseilles than are Frenchmen who live in Paris. It isn’t that the French don’t have any duties in justice to Italians. Rather, it is that they have particular responsibilities to their fellow French citizens that they don’t have to Italians—and vice versa.
    There is, however, another dimension to national sovereignty that complements the existence of these common bonds and sympathies. This is illustrated by way of analogy—one made by thinkers ranging from John Rawls to Rocco Buttiglione and John Finnis—with some of the arguments for private property developed by figures such as Aristotle and Aquinas. As Buttiglione writes, “The public equivalent of private property is sovereignty.”
    National Boundaries and the Analogy of Property
    One argument for private property’s legitimacy is that experience shows that the resources with which all of humanity has been endowed are normally made more fruitful when divided and possessed by individuals rather than owned in common. The indisputable economic degradation associated with socialist regimes underscores the truth of this observation. Likewise, the international order is better organized when the world is divided into sovereign states made up of peoples who share those common bonds that facilitate order within a territory recognized as their own.
    There’s no indication at present or in the foreseeable future that the conditions exist that would allow some type of world authority to assume responsibility for maintaining order for humanity as a whole. Few Poles, Israelis, or Chinese would, for example, voluntarily risk their lives for the United Nations. Yet does anyone doubt that millions of Poles, Israelis, and Chinese would be willing to defend Poland, Israel, and China respectively?
    Similarly, serious threats to international order are invariably addressed by nation-states rather than international organizations. It was Britain, America, and other countries that had to end the danger posed to humanity by National Socialist Germany’s racist and expansionist policies. The League of Nations proved ineffectual at doing so. Similarly, it wasn’t the United Nations that defeated the threat to civilization created by the Soviet Union and its Marxist-Leninist ideology. A sovereign nation-state had to take the lead: the United States.
    Private property’s ability to achieve its end of ordering the use of the world’s resources by all is, however, heavily dependent on each owner’s (1) liberty to exclude others from using his property and (2) freedom to decide how he wants to use his property, subject to the restraints of just laws. Without these powers, private property is effectively nullified, and we are plunged into the tragedy of the commons.
    So too with national sovereignty. A nation of twenty million people may rightly decline to admit ten million migrants who suddenly appear at its borders on the reasonable grounds that admitting all these migrants would severely disturb the nation’s internal harmony. Likewise, if a country doesn’t possess the freedom to exclude those potential migrants whose beliefs and actions threaten the nation’s well-being—such as those with no intention of abiding by its just laws, or those who disdain, reject, or want to destroy that nation’s patrimony—then the order and stability that sovereignty protects is undermined. This is why a sovereign state may apply conditions of residence to non-citizens that are not applicable to citizens, refuse to admit non-citizens, or choose to expel non-citizens (subject to due process of law).
    It may well be that a sovereign state determines that its well-being may be enhanced, for example, by an increase in population occasioned by immigration, or the entry of migrants with particular skills, or the admission of large numbers of migrants who simply want to work and pursue economic opportunities less available to them in their native lands. In many cases, such policies have contributed to the prosperity and common good of nations.
    Recognizing a sovereign state’s authority to make such policies is, however, entirely different from claiming that a sovereign state must admit, as a matter of right, any non-citizen who presents himself at its borders and demands entry, no questions asked. No such right can be derived from the criteria listed above.
    And Immigration?
    So what are the implications of this conception of national sovereignty for migration? Again, the analogy with private property is helpful.
    In cases of extreme necessity—which, Aquinas specifies, means “a person is in some imminent danger, and there is no other possible remedy” (rather strict criteria)—private property becomes common to the extent that this will meet the immediate need. Applying this logic to the case of migration, we can say that those facing imminent danger because of conditions such as war, persecution, or famine in their country and who don’t possess any other remedy for their plight can rightly seek refuge in another nation.
    This indicates that a sovereign state’s power to exclude non-citizens isn’t absolute. But it doesn’t mean that a given sovereign state is duty-bound to admit any migrant who simply asserts he confronts imminent danger if he remains in his native land. Nor does it imply that genuine refugees can insist on asylum in whatever country they happen to choose. No one who migrates to escape imminent danger can claim that his or her need for refuge can only be fulfilled by, say, the United States and not by any other nation whatsoever.
    Fulfillment of their duties to (1) those who really do face imminent danger and (2) their own citizens means that sovereign states have the responsibility to determine whether such migrants would indeed be in imminent danger if they stayed in their native land. At the same time, a sovereign state has an obligation to its citizens to insist that those migrants identified as being in such danger will obey all its just laws and won’t constitute a threat to public order or undermine the nation’s common good.
    Clearly, it’s difficult to estimate accurately the number of genuine refugees or those seeking to migrate to another country in the world today. But what isn’t in doubt is that the ongoing difficulties associated with widespread population movements between sovereign nation-states aren’t resolvable in a just way through endless assertions of an unspecified right to migrate. Unless legislators and citizens come to a greater understanding of the order created by national sovereignty and its contribution to the common good of both individual nations and the international community, our present-day divisions about immigration will only intensify.
    Samuel Gregg is Research Director at the Acton Institute.

  7. “The principle of the centrality of the human person, firmly stated by my beloved Predecessor, Benedict XVI,[5] obliges us to always prioritise personal safety over national security. It is necessary, therefore, to ensure that agents in charge of border control are properly trained. The situation of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees requires that they be guaranteed personal safety and access to basic services. For the sake of the fundamental dignity of every human person, we must strive to find alternative solutions to detention for those who enter a country without authorisation.”

    It’s nice that he’s laying his cards on the table and trying not to temporize as an honest broker. Imagine how unchained he’ll be when Benedict passes on.

  8. The situation of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees requires that they be guaranteed personal safety and access to basic services. For the sake of the fundamental dignity of every human person, we must strive to find alternative solutions to detention for those who enter a country without authorisation.”

    The alternate solution is a set of small quonset huts in Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt, with proper sewerage, a water tower, a mess hall, and a public health staff.

    Imagine how unchained he’ll be when Benedict passes on

    My dear aunt survived my other dear aunt, though 11 years older. One was a shade older than Benedict and the other just Francis’ age. If we are fortunate, Benedict’s constitution will prove the hardier. I do wish he was living with his cousin in Australia rather than under Vatican lock-and-key.

  9. That phrase is three words too long. Alexander was simply personally venial, not programmatically evil.

    One of the more gruesome periods was the 10th century pornocracy, when the papacy was an agent of select factions of the Roman gentry. Not too up on Church history, but it’s not my impression that the Pope’s of that era made too many doctrinal or moral utterances.

  10. “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43).”
    (I don’t know how to change the script from this slanted type to regular type, so please forgive me as I proceed. I will put quote marks around copied statements from the footnote in my bible for Mt. 25; 31-45 from which Pope Francis quote above comes from.)

    Illegal aliens are not Christian missionaries coming to preach the gospel.

    Check other bible passages that give credibility to this footnote’s conclusion; remember the passage where Jesus sent out 72 disciples to preach and told them to take no food, etc? And the time he sent out the twelve to go preach and to not take food, etc. And then there is the time that Jesus’ mother and brothers were coming to see him at a house in which he was teaching, and someone told Jesus his mother and brothers were outside ‘asking ‘to talk to him and Jesus said, ” Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘ Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Mt 12; 46-50)

  11. “This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities.”
    “men and women of good will” When I first read the article I thought Pope Francis was talking about the invaders. So, “men and women of good will” is demanded of us but not the invaders, a rather one sided dictate.
    Will any one of us have a choice after the Vatican is turned into a mosque?

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