On the Jennifer Fulwiler Show on Sirius XM’s Channel 129 Thursday, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan falsely characterized Breitbart Executive Chairman Steve Bannon’s comments to CBS’s Charlie Rose about why Catholic bishops “have been terrible” in their support of the unconstitutional Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals [DACA] program President Obama enacted by fiat in 2012.
“I didn’t hear Steve Bannon’s comments this morning. Joe was kind enough to give me the transcript of it. You might imagine I was rather befuddled to see it,” the New York Cardinal told Fulwiler on Thursday (beginning at the 1:33 mark of the interview, which can be heard here).
“I don’t really care to go into what I think is a preposterous and rather insulting statement that the only reason we bishops care for immigrants is for the economic, because we want to fill our churches and get more money. That’s insulting and that’s just so ridiculous that it doesn’t merit a comment,” Dolan continued (emphasis added).
But Dolan mischaracterized Bannon’s actual comments, as a look at the transcript of Bannon’s interview with CBS’s Charlie Rose on that topic clearly shows.
Bannon did not say “the only reason [Catholic] bishops care for immigrants is for the economic, because we want to fill our churches and get more money,” as Dolan incorrectly asserted.
Bannon’s actual words were: “The [Catholic] bishops have been terrible about this [DACA]. You know why? Because unable to really . . . come to grips with the problems in the church, they need illegal aliens, they need illegal aliens to fill the churches. . . They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration.”
The statement that the Catholic Church has “an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration” is factually correct as it pertains to both unlimited immigration and unlimited illegal immigration.
As for the Catholic Church’s economic interest in unlimited legal immigration, one need look no further than the hundreds of millions of dollars paid each year by the federal government to Catholic Charities, one of the nine leading voluntary agencies (VOLAGs) who resettle the tens of thousands of refugees who arrive in the country each year under the Refugee Admissions Program.
“In FY 2015, the State Department, through the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and the Office of Refugee Resettlement, spent more than $1 billion on these programs, which settled international refugees ‘vetted’ by the United Nations High Commission on International Refugees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” Breitbart News reported:
Much of this $1 billion in annual revenue goes to voluntary agencies (VOLAGs), several of which are Christian non-profits, such as Catholic Charities, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, World Relief Corporation, Church World Service, and Domestic and Foreign Missionary Service of the Episcopal Church of the USA. (also referred to as Episcopal Migration Ministries), who are contracted on behalf of the government to help these refugees get settled in their new homes in America.
Immigration from Mexico and Latin America–both legal and illegal–has provided a needed boost in the membership of the Catholic Church, though not enough to offset the departure of native born Americans and legal immigrants from other countries.
“Catholics appear to be declining both as a percentage of the population and in absolute numbers. The new survey indicates there are about 51 million Catholic adults in the U.S. today, roughly 3 million fewer than in 2007,” Pew Research reported in 2015.
The Catholic Church’s economic interest in unlimited illegal immigration arises from the fact that the majority of the estimated 11 million illegal aliens currently living in the United States are from Mexico and other Latin American countries, which are largely Catholic, though an increasing number have left the Catholic Church for a variety of Evangelical Christian churches.
“Nearly 790,000 young unauthorized immigrants have received work permits and deportation relief through the federal government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program since it was created five years ago by President Barack Obama, according to the latest data released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,” Jens Manuel Krogstad wrote at Pew Research last week.
“Unauthorized immigrants from Mexico make up more than three-quarters of all DACA recipients. Since the program started, 78% of approved applications – both initial (618,342) and renewals (622,170) – have come from Mexicans,” Krogstad noted.
“In 2014, 5.8 million unauthorized immigrants from Mexico lived in the U.S. . . about half of the nation’s 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants (52% in 2014),” Pew Research reported in March.
“There were 11.7 million immigrants from Mexico living in the U.S. in 2014, and about half of them were in the country illegally, according to Pew Research Center estimates. Mexico is the country’s largest source of immigrants, making up 28% of all U.S. immigrants,” Pew Research added.
“The face of Catholic America is changing. Today, immigrants make up a considerable share of Catholics, and many are Hispanic. At the same time, there has been a regional shift, from the Northeast (long home to a large percentage of the Catholic faithful) and Midwest to the Western and Southern parts of the U.S,” Michael Lipka wrote at Pew Research in 2014, noting that “Our research also has documented the decline of Catholics as a share of the U.S. population.”
Catholics are more likely than other Americans to be immigrants or children of immigrants. Indeed, more than a quarter of U.S. Catholic adults (27%) were born outside the country, compared with 15% of U.S. adults overall; most of these Catholic immigrants (22% of all U.S. Catholics) are from elsewhere in the Americas.
As of 2014, an additional 15% of Catholic Americans have at least one foreign-born parent. That leaves 57% of Catholics who were born in the U.S. to two native-born parents. By comparison, nearly three-quarters (74%) of American adults overall were born in the country to two U.S.-born parents.
The share of U.S. Catholics who are Hispanic has grown by 5 percentage points since 2007 (from 29% to 34%), while the percentage of all U.S. adults who are Hispanic has grown by 3 points (from 12% to 15%). And the share of Catholics who are Hispanic is likely to continue to grow; among Catholic millennials, as many are Hispanic (46%) as are white (43%).
In a report issued this week by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) titled “America’s Changing Religous Identity: Findings from the 2016 American Values Atlas,” researchers Robert P. Jones and Daniel Cox found that “The Catholic Church is experiencing an ethnic transformation. Twenty-five years ago, nearly nine in ten (87%) Catholics were white, non-Hispanic, compared to 55% today. Fewer than four in ten (36%) Catholics under the age of 30 are white, non-Hispanic; 52% are Hispanic.”
For most of the past 25 years, American Catholics have been overwhelmingly white. In 1991, more than eight in ten (87%) U.S. Catholics were white, non-Hispanic.16 Today, 55% of Catholics identify as white, non-Hispanic, and more than one-third (36%) are Hispanic. Notably, much of the shift in the ethnic composition of the American Catholic community occurred over just the last couple of decades.
Generational differences in the ethnic and racial make-up of American Catholics also suggest that a substantial cultural shift is underway. Fewer than four in ten (36%) Catholics under the age of 30 are white, non-Hispanic, compared to a majority (52%) who are Hispanic. In contrast, more than three-quarters (76%) of Catholic seniors (age 65 or older) are white, while only 17% are Hispanic.
Demographic differences between Hispanic and white Catholics also suggest that the Hispanic Catholic community is poised to make further gains. First, Hispanic Catholics are nearly twice as likely as white Catholics to be parents of children under the age of 18 (30% vs. 16%, respectively). The discrepancy in parental status is driven largely by age differences between Hispanic Catholics and white Catholics. Second, Hispanic Catholics are more likely to have larger families: Close to three in ten (28%) Hispanic Catholic parents have at least three children under the age of 18 living at home, while 21% of white Catholic families report the same.
In his interview with CBS’s Charlie Rose, Bannon then followed up with this:
As much as I respect Cardinal Dolan and the bishops on doctrine, this is not doctrine. This is not doctrine at all. I totally respect the pope and I totally respect the Catholic bishops and cardinals on doctrine. This is not about doctrine. This is about the sovereignty of a nation. And in that regard, they’re just another guy with an opinion.
Dolan conceded that Bannon was probably correct when he stated the position of the Catholic bishops supporting the continuation of the unconstitutional DACA program was “probably not Catholic doctrine.”
However, rather than accepting the Constitution of the United States as the ultimate authority of law in this country, Dolan offered his particular interpretation of several phrases in the Bible as the ultimate source of jurisprudence in America.
“I do appreciate the attempt to clarify his [Bannon’s] statement this is not an issue of Catholic doctrine and that the bishops are only giving opinion here,” Dolan said.
“As a matter of fact he may be right. It’s not an issue of Catholic doctrine because it comes from the Bible itself. We Catholics are people of the book,” he continued in his interview with Fulwiler:
The Bible is so clear, so clear, to treat the immigrant with dignity and respect.
To make sure that society is just in its treatment of the immigrant is Biblical mandate.
It’s clear in the Old Testamentmy Jewish neighbors remind me of that all the time.
And it’s clear from the lips of Jesus when he said “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me . . . When I was a stranger–meaning an immigrant or a refugee– you welcomed me.”
As a matter of fact that’s one of the questions he’s going to ask us when we stand before him in final judgment.
So,there’s a moral imperative to treat the immigrant with dignity and respect that we have a sacred duty to preach.
During his entire 17 minute interview with Fulwiler, Cardinal Dolan never mentioned the Constitution. Nor did he acknowledge that the United States of America is a sovereign country governed under a constitutional republic established in 1789 when the Constitution was ratified by two-thirds of the thirteen states.
But legal experts agree that President Obama’s establishment of the DACA program was unconstitutional.
“Defenders of DACA are ignoring the fact that it violated two federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution. President Donald Trump was legally required to end it, and doing so helps restore the rule of law on the vitally important issue of immigration policy,” Breitbart’s Legal Editor Ken Klukowski noted on Tuesday:
Virtually everyone who met those minimal standards [of the DACA program] was granted this deferred status, which could be renewed every two years, and received work permits to have an American job. Many of the affected individuals are now adults—the average age of a so-called “DREAMer” is 25—seeking work reauthorization to stay in this country indefinitely.
Pundits can argue about the politics of DACA, and they can argue about the policy. President Trump made clear that he empathized with those who were brought here as children, and that on humanitarian and equitable grounds what to do about DACA was a difficult challenge for him.
But no one should debate whether DACA is legal. The bottom line is that only Congress can make immigration law. Because DACA was a purely executive action, the program violates two federal statutes—the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)—as well as the Take Care Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Many Christians also disagree with Cardinal Dolan and the Catholic bishops when it comes to their interpretation of Biblical scriptures as they relate to illegal immigrants and the DACA program.
“We agree that immigration reform and DACA are difficult subjects,” Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration wrote in a September 4 letter addressed to President Trump and Speaker of the House Ryan and signed by Kelly Kulburg of the American Association of Christian Evangelicals, best selling Christian author and radio host Eric Metaxas, David Barton, Founder of Wall Buildersand several other Christian leaders.
“God loves the foreigner. Indeed, God loves us all. It takes time to discern the balance of mercy and justice by which a nation survives,” the letter continues:
The Church is called to serve all people, and our Government leaders are elected to defend and uphold the Constitution and the rule of law. Though there are tragic stories on every side of illegal migration, for our elected officials, responsibilty to oaths must prevail. Law and order sustain stability and peace. A nation of wise rule grows strong enough to sustain care for the vulnerable in our midst.
While some faith groups use selective Bible words for open borders and amnesty, we consider the whole counsel of Scripture. We find that the Bible does not teach open borders, but wise welcome. We are to welcome the lawful foreigner, who, like a convert, comes as a blessing (eg.s Ruth and Rahab). We also find Nehemiah building walls to protect citizens from harm. In Isaih 1, we see God condemning the destruction of borders and indigenous culture.
“In policy decisions ahead, while treating undocumented people kindly, we ask that you would first and foremost honor often forgotten American citizens whose families have served our nation for many generations, and the patient people who have applied lawfully to come here and to become citizens of the United States. These lives also matter. These people also dream,” (emphasis added), the letter concluded.