A Modest Proposal on Immigration
By Fr. Tom Collins
In a similar vein, it could be helpful to examine current Church disciplines in light of the advisability of the agenda consistently promoted by members of the Church's hierarchy concerning those who disregard and violate our nation's immigration laws. These bishops seem to be asserting that such persons have a legal right to violate the protocols of our immigration laws and to come into our nations on their own terms, without even basic medical screening or a criminal background check.
Instead, these bishops urge us to emulate the "heroic" actions of such persons and to capitulate to their demands to immediate and full access to all the rights of citizens, including full and immediate access to the social services provided by taxpayers through federal, state and local governmental programs. They also assert that such persons be granted unhampered access to full citizenship ahead of those who have been careful to respect and follow our immigration laws.
This being the case, it would seem that the Church should also lead by example. First of all, the Vatican City State should eliminate all legal obstacles to those who want to become its citizens. All such persons should be permitted to merely indicate that they wish to emigrate to the Vatican City State, and thus be granted full and immediate citizenship as soon as they apply.
It would also be prophetic for the Church to promote open immigration by the elimination of the whole cumbersome Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Indeed, people should be free to migrate from one faith tradition to another without having to go through such awkward processes as the marriage tribunal, formation classes that do not fit their schedules, paperwork to be submitted for sacramental records and rituals of initiation. After all, who are we to judge their consciences or spiritual condition? Did not Cornelius and his household receive the Holy Spirit before they were baptized (Acts 10:44-49)?
Such an open immigration policy would also break down a serious barrier to Church unity - the current prohibition against intercommunion. Since each person could be given the freedom to decide on his own whether or not to respect the Church's canon law and sacramental discipline, he would be able to receive Holy Communion while attending a Catholic Mass merely on the basis of that act being meaningful to him at the moment.
All the above is quite consistent with the apparent stand of the USCCB concerning those who assert a right both to ignore and to violate the immigration protocols of our nation. Even more so, since their membership in the Catholic Church is more important for their eternal salvation than their residency in the United States of America.
By following such renewed "immigration policies" in our Church, we could make it more apparent to the world that, indeed, all are welcome in this Church. And we would no longer have a need for a New Evangelization, since, through a new capitulation to a liberating lawlessness, all people would be somehow connected with the Church - each on his own terms and in his own way. Furthermore, the proclamation of such a "grace without boundaries" could eventually lead to the phasing out of the
pesky problems raised by trying to incarnate such grace in the canon law and sacramental disciplines
of the Church.
I do wonder, though, whether the Church could survive without accountability to definitive dogmas,
doctrines and disciplines.