“Bannon’s comments gave Cardinal [Dolan] heartburn because Bannon’s right,” Dr. Christopher Manion, a Catholic writer and Knight of Malta with over 50 years experience in Latin American issues tells me.
Eyebrows — mostly those of Charlie Rose — were raised when the Breitbart News Executive Chairman was heard to utter criticisms of Catholic leaders on the subject of immigration and the Deferred Action on Childhood Migrants.
Dr. Manion expands: “The Catholic Catechism (N. 2241.2) says that immigration policy belongs with ‘political authorities’, not bishops. Good Catholics can disagree with bishops on immigration, and Bannon does.
“Cardinal Dolan says he’s insulted because Bannon mentions money. Well, the bishops get a billion dollars a year from the federal government. That’s real money, even in D.C., and if the bishops think they’re getting it because they’re such good guys – well, they’re the only folks in Washington who are.”
The issue hasn’t escaped the attention of one of the major players in the immigration debate which also happens to be a majority Catholic nation: Poland.
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz — a Polish-American historian who served a 5-year term on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council — appears to concur with Dr. Manion.
“The Catholic leaders lead no more, except to repeat the mantras of their counterparts elsewhere in the West. Meanwhile, the grassroots see clearly where koombaya theories, e.g. open borders, lead to,” Chodakiewicz tells Breitbart London.
Poland is perhaps one of the most relevant countries in this debate, as Scott Greer at the Daily Caller elucidated in the immediate aftermath of Bannon’s comments.
The Christian nation has robustly and roundly rejected the European Union’s demands for the country to take tens of thousands of migrants — Muslim migrants.
This is where the difference between the argument in the U.S. and the Poles comes in. Could the approach be as simple as a realization that immigrants could fill the pews of U.S. Catholic Churches in decline?
“Today the bishops’ number one issue is not abortion – it’s amnesty for illegal aliens,” says Dr. Manion. “Here again, Bannon embarrasses them.
“The Pew Trust says that thirty million Catholics have left the pews. Who’s going to fill them? Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles, the bishops’ point man on amnesty, is blunt: Hispanics should fill them. Most are Catholic and hold “deep conservative values,” he says. Apparently the Americans who oppose amnesty are selfish racists. One bishop actually calls them ‘Pharisees and hypocrites’.”
“America’s Catholic bishops want what Gómez calls ‘the Next America’ – a Hispanic one”.
It’s likely this is another — including the monetary elements mentioned earlier — constituent factor behind the bishops’ support for DACA, and the opposition to the economic nationalism and strong border policies espoused by Bannon.
But there’s another part of this not-so-holy trinity. Politics, of course.
“Look, the bishops expected Hillary to win,” explains Dr. Manion. “Obama gave them hundreds of millions a year to care for immigrants and illegals and refugees, and Hillary would have kept the party going. With Trump, a drop in illegals and refugees means a drop in funding, it’s that simple”.
Chodakiewicz sheds light on how these issues play out not just in the United States, but in Europe too.
“The Church globally is in disarray; let your communications be yeah, yeah, nay, nay seems no longer to apply. That is a global trend.
“[The] good news is that in Poland at the grass roots, the parish clergy stays true to the mission. It believes in One, Holy, Catholic Church. And so do its followers. Therefore there is no way they will agree to what they see as the primacy of relativistic liberalism [and] a Muslim invasion to dominate Christendom.
“So in their churches they continue to preach the Truth. The priests, nuns, and their spiritual cares comment widely upon the pathologies afflicting the West, including Marxism-Lesbianism and, yes, Muslim migrants. Most Poles want neither.”
He’s right. Even Polish Muslims (Tatars) who have been in the country since the 14th century roundly reject the idea of mass migration.
According to the Public Religion Research Institute, while 77 percent of Hispanic Catholics favor a route to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a lower 55 percent of white Catholics believe the same.
Add this to the news that 64 per cent of white Catholics believe “American culture and way of life has changed for the worse since 1950s, while 62 per cent of Latino Catholics say American culture has changed for the better since the 1950s,” and you start to see the Church’s problem.
They are dealing with a congregation that is fundamentally fissured, and it’s almost like they’re having to choose which group to side with, and which group to lecture and/or alienate.
As Dr. Manion says: “…Cardinal Dolan’s remark… carefully does not deny what Bannon said. In fact, Dolan admitted the silence to the Wall Street Journal – he said bishops had “laryngitis” on the magisterial teaching.
“Bannon is exactly right,” he says. “The immigration crusade is not ‘magisterial’ – and the bishops don’t preach what is magisterial”.
Raheem Kassam is the editor in chief of Breitbart London and author of No Go Zones: How Shariah Law is Coming to a Neighborhood Near You