"Most High, glorious God, cast Your Light into the darkness of my heart, and grant me a right faith, certain hope and perfect charity, sense and understanding, Lord, so that I may know and do Your holy and true command."
- St. Francis of Assisi: Prayer before the Crucifix
Thursday, May 6, 2010
The Crisis of Immigration: "Harden Not Your Hearts"
This is an excellent article by Archbishop O'Brien. Please read:
Archbishop Edwin F. O’BrienThe Catholic Review
“If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.”
It is a psalm sung in Catholic churches the world over, and a charge – our charge as Christians and followers of Christ for how we should treat others.
Too often, however, we fail to heed this simple command. This is especially true when we find ourselves in the midst of conflict and debate.
The passions ignited by the recent passage of Arizona’s new immigration law reflect how hard our hearts have become toward those human beings most directly affected by this legislation. They also reflect how deeply this issue touches the core understanding of who we are as a nation.
The law, which our U.S. bishops have rightly labeled “draconian,” gives local authorities broad powers to arrest individuals suspected of being in the country illegally. Serious questions have been raised about its constitutionality, and the Arizona bishops and others are concerned that the new statute will make communities less safe by creating an unnecessary barrier between law enforcement officials and the immigrant community.
And yet, despite these serious concerns, supporters around the country, including here in Maryland, have hailed the legislation as a model to follow in their own states.
Why don’t illegal immigrants just enter the country legally – like our ancestors did?” many ask. Unfortunately, our current immigration system too often hinders families instead of helping them. For example, wait times for visas can last many years, a frightening prospect for parents simply seeking to provide for and protect their children. As a result, individuals from nations like Mexico may have little or no opportunity to immigrate legally. This has created conditions that lead many to choose illegal immigration in an effort to provide for their families. Before we condemn them, it may be useful to ask ourselves what we would do were we faced with that situation.