Settled in the middle of Rome, Vatican City serves as the Catholic Church’s headquarters and is also the Church’s very own 110-acre sovereign state. And while you are always welcome to enter St. Peter’s Square, that is as far as you are ever going to get.
The rest of the city, the remaining 99 percent, is literally surrounded by what President Trump might call “big, beautiful walls” — some as tall and mighty and imposing as 40 feet.
Is it nice to be allowed into St. Peter’s Square? Is it welcoming? Sure, about as welcoming as a neighbor who keeps you on their front porch.
Oh, and there are also guards and checkpoints, and what I am sure is a whole bunch of high-tech surveillance equipment that would stop a James Bond.
Nevertheless, because the Catholic Church doesn’t already have enough problems (I say this as a practicing Catholic), while working for and representing a religion headquartered in a Vatican City dedicated to keeping out the riff-raff, dedicated to retaining its own culture and preserving its history, dedicated to ensuring the safety of its citizens, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is hypocritically blasting away at Americans who wish to do the same for their own country.
From behind those mighty walls, Americans opposed to legalizing and incentivizing illegal immigration are attacked as “reprehensible,” as un-American, as betrayers of the Faith and Christ’s own teachings:
The cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible. … This decision is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as Americans. … As people of faith, we say to DACA youth – regardless of your immigration status, you are children of God and welcome in the Catholic Church.
Oddly enough, though, the USCCB is lobbying for a policy where OTHERS will suffer the consequences of its do-gooderism, where OTHERS will lose their jobs, have their wages lowered, and be forced to deal with the crime and the over-crowded schools.
Does this not seem to violate a rather important piece of scripture about “doing unto others?”
But the USCCB was not done.
In an upcoming 60 Minutes interview, former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon points out, correctly, that the USCCB’s position on illegal immigration is not Catholic doctrine but does benefit the Church greatly with additional worshippers:
The bishops have been terrible about this … Because [they’re] 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 – they have an economic interest. … As much as I respect Cardinal Dolan and the bishops on doctrine, this is not doctrine.
The USCCB responded with a swift statement that quoted all kinds of scripture before declaring Bannon’s comments “insulting and outrageous.” But what the Bishops failed to address is the redwood-sized log in the eye of a faith practiced behind mammoth walls and armed guards.
I am no biblical scholar, far from it, but I have read the Gospels and I simply don’t recall the part where Jesus said it was okay push for policies that only benefit myself while burdening “the least among us.”
And I certainly don’t recall Jesus hiding behind a locked door while demanding we open our homes to everyone else.
As I wrote back in 2015: You first, Pope Francis. Tear down these walls!