Subsidiarity and Solidarity

A couple of months ago, the bishops of the state of New York enjoyed a working luncheon with our new governor.  It was a productive and enlightening visit.

At the conclusion, Governor Andrew Cuomo made an observation that has stuck with me.  He commented:  “Most people who come to see me lobby on behalf of their own needs, their own group, or their own cause.  You bishops have just spent an hour talking to me about the needs of inner-city school kids, prisoners, immigrants, the uninsured sick, the elderly, moms and their babies, and nursing homes.”  [We had also spoken about the unborn and the defense of marriage.]

The governor thoughtfully concluded, “I am moved by your agenda, because it’s not your own, but for others, especially those in need.”

Okay, flattery will get you everywhere, but we bishops, in spite of some serious differences we may have with our governor, appreciated his observation, and sure hope it is deserved.

We bishops are not politicians, but pastors.  So we preach principles — not our own, but those rooted in the Bible, especially the teachings of Jesus, Natural Law, and the tradition of our Church.  We then trust such principles will enlighten those who look to us for guidance.

As Blessed Pope John Paul II remarked, “The Church does not impose; she only proposes.”

And a fundamental proposition is that care for those struggling, the poor, sick, and abandoned, the vulnerable and defenseless, has a priority in our attention to what we call the common good.

This was the theme of a letter I sent — written in my capacity as president of the bishops’ conference last January — to each member of Congress as they got back to work, as well as a letter on the budget sent last month by my brothers, Bishop Stephen Blaire, chair of the bishops’ committee on domestic policy, and Bishop Howard Hubbard, chair of our committee on international policy sent recently to the House and Senate.  This was the theme again in my recent correspondence with Congressman Paul Ryan, which built on those two earlier letters.

When we bishops propose moral principles — most often allied, by the way, with the basic philosophy of our beloved country, as enshrined in our normative documents like the Declaration of Independence — we get both blessed and cursed.

One side usually blesses us when we preach the virtue of fiscal responsibility, the civil rights of the unborn, the danger of government-tampering with the definition of marriage, and the principle of subsidiarity — that is, that the smaller units in our society, such as family, neighborhood, Church, and volunteer organizations, are usually preferable to big government in solving social ills.

Yet this same side then often cringes when we defend workers, speak on behalf of the rights of the undocumented immigrant, and remind government of the moral imperative to protect the poor.

The other side enjoys quoting us when we extol universal health care, question the death penalty, demand that every budget and program be assessed on whether it will help or hurt those in need, encourage international aid, and promote the principle of solidarity, namely, society’s shared duties to one another, especially the poor and struggling . . .

. . . and then these same folks bristle when we defend the rights of parents in education, those of the baby in the womb and grandma on her death bed, insist that America is at her best when people of faith have a respected voice in the public square, defend traditional marriage, and remind government that it has no right to intrude in Church affairs, but does have the obligation to protect the rights of conscience.

So, we bishops get both blessed and blasted, a friend or foe of bloggers, pundits, and politicians, depending on what the issue is.

But, once again, we’re used to it.  We try our best to be pastors, not politicians, teachers, not tacticians, shepherds, not strategists; we do not need to run for re-election (good thing, since most of us would probably lose!); and the only platform we have is God’s Word, as hardwired into the human heart and handed on by His Church, especially as taught by Jesus, who reminded us that, “As long as you did it to one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it to me.”

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26 Responses to “Subsidiarity and Solidarity”

  1. Thomas J. Trotter 3rd says:

    I emailed the good Bishop Howard Hubbard and never received nor did I expect
    to, a reply. I told him what a disgrace it was to allow a pro abortion Gov. of New York to receive the Holy Eucharist publicaly in a Catholic Church filled with reporters. Never mind everyone is aware of his live in girl friend. Some Bishops
    whom I have a great deal of respect for stand up for what they believe. Who cares he was impressed. Bishops in my view who look the other way are no
    different than politicians who claim to be prolife and then vote for funding of planned parenthood.

  2. Dan says:

    Archbishop Dolan, thank you for weighing in. What was your reaction to the claims that you spoke in support Rep. Ryan’s budget?

  3. e.d. says:

    Thank you for this reasonable response Bishop Dolan. It’s true that both sides often use religious leaders to “spin” for their own positions.

    Given that reality, I think it would be helpful to clarify your position even more. The press is reporting your letter as an endorsement of Ryan’s budget proposal, not the principles of subsidiarity, etc.

    Politico even said your letter, “clearly disputes one of the chief rallying cries against the budget: That it would hurt the poor to benefit the rich.”

    If true, this seems to contradict your brother Bishops when they expressed grave concern about the budgets’ likely impact on the poor. If this is not the case, and your words are being spun inappropriately, it seems a clarification is in order and your office should ask Politico for a correction.

    Thank you for your leadership.

  4. Ted Seeber says:

    God bless you and the bishops who are pastors and not politicians. I think I’d rather you be in office than most politicians.

    And I’ll continue to vote for politicians who align themselves with you, rather than with the major parties.

  5. Mary says:

    Archbishop Dolan, I wanted to thank you for speaking supportively of Representative Ryan’s budget proposal. It has bothered me that so many who criticize it, show by their comments that they haven’t read it, as they frequently propose as an alternative, policies that are actually in Ryan’s budget plan. Those who do so, treat the subject and those suffering in the US, with contempt, and that is unacceptable.

    I wanted to address something you briefly touched on in your blog article. The subject of illegal aliens, which you incorrectly refer to as, ‘immigrants’. Immigrants are those who come to a country in accordance with it’s laws. Illegal aliens, are foreign nationals, “aliens’ is the correct legal term, who are in a country in violation of the laws of the land. Now, I feel compassion for the poor the world over, but that doesn’t mean I or anyone should ignore or discount the poor in the US, of which there are far too many. The citizenry of the US are good and decent people, who have done more for people in other countries, than any other. So it is insulting and cruel, on so many levels, when anyone, but most especially a member of the clergy ignores or pays selective attention to poverty, ignoring that of US citizens in favor of illegal aliens. For too long, the Catholic church has ignored the poverty of US citizens. It sat in silence, when foul policies, starting with the Clinton administration, corruptly violated the constitution, to push through the NAFTA treaty, when it didn’t get the votes the constitution requires of treaties. Bill Clinton signed it any way, and wasn’t challenged. Untold millions of jobs as a result went to Mexico, leaving the citizens who had held those jobs, without a job, and increasingly less likely to find a new one, as Clinton followed NAFTA up with Most Favored Trading Status, with China.

    I’m sure priests and ministers across the US learned about the hardships their parishioners faced as a result, but one would never know it, because the church, whether at the parish or diocesan level, nor at the national level said one word reflecting an understanding of this terrible suffering and the displacement, homelessness and hunger that arose as a result.

    Over the years, Mexico has risen to where it is now, the 11th wealthiest countries in the world, with many millionaires and billionaires, a large, thriving middle class and many industries and businesses. It has a tax base, upon which it can raise revenue to help it’s own poor, yet refuses to do so, and still the Catholic church, whether here, or in Mexico sits in silence. Mexico brags in the international press that it is a wealthy, vibrant economy, a much better investment than the US, yet to our face, Mexico cries poverty and demands endless hand outs, displaying contempt and greedy lust for whatever it can finagle from the US taxpayer. Yet, despite this being very apparent, the church sits in silence, whether here, or in Mexico.

    Greedy, lusting, corrupt, wealthy Mexico encourages it’s people to enter the US illegaly, based on lies, it whispers more lies to them, that the US belongs to them, and they can steal it from the US citizenry, and still the Catholic church sits in silence. US citizens who had their jobs taken from them through outsourcing, are deprived of what little jobs remain, by ever increasing waves of illegals, and those brought in to the US through the exploitation of our visa programs. Citizens being discriminated against, by corrupt politicians and greedy employers who want to pay lower wages. Then, the same corrupt politicians and greedy employers, and the illegal alien lobby, motivated by their own racist hatred of US citizens, and a greedy lust for money and power, demand welfare and other subsidies to make up the difference between what illegals and visa workers make in wages, which encourages other crimes and fraud. Citizens identities stolen, and left holding the bag, the wreckage of their credit and massive tax and bill obligations for purchases and tax bills they didn’t incur. This is theft, a crime and a sin, but still the Catholic church sits in silence. What does that say about the clergy’s commitment to the tenets of the church? What does that tell the illegal aliens you make excuses for? That they are entitled to hate, and harm, that they are exempt from obligations to avoid sin?

    Catholic priests and bishops falsely accuse innocent citizens, for daring to speak out, to speak the truth of their experience, what the constitution affords them the right to do. Yet when these citizens speak out, that they need their jobs, that it is a lie, to claim that they as workers, do not exist, or do not want to do the jobs they have always done. That they are indeed hard working, and desperately need their jobs, because without them, they, and their children are destitute, homeless, hungry, they are abused by the clergy and bishops. They are called liars, “racist”, “xenophobes” accusing them of being afraid of ‘change’, really.. ? Who wouldn’t be afraid of being condemned to dire poverty, oppression, abuse? What would Christ say or do on this subject? I do not believe that I am wrong, when I consider that Christ would decry the corrupt politicians, greedy employers, the greedy, corrupt government of Mexico, and the faithless, indifferent and false teachers that are passing themselves off as Christian priests, ministers, bishops.

    We have the admonition to ‘welcome the stranger’, espoused by priests and bishops who are in all candor, made strangers of the citizens in their parishes and dioceses. Christ spoke about the wealthy man who came to him and asked him what he could do, to achieve salvation. Christ did NOT tell him, to steal the job, the house, the food from his poor neighbor, and to give it to a poor foreigner, who he could then hire and give all his poor neighbors goods to, so he could hire the poor foreigner, and pay him less, and become richer. You know that as well as I do. Christ told the wealthy man, to give away his own wealth. Christ would not have told poor, suffering US citizens that they had to be shoved down between the cracks, so the wealthy could enrich themselves at their expense, and then suffer more. Christ would NOT have endorsed priests, and bishops who live like princes, to abuse their poor fellow citizens. Christ also would have reminded those indifferent priests and bishops that when they falsely accuse and slander their poor fellow citizens, they are violating the 10 commandments, and are guilty of sinning.

    The Catholic church is conducting a campaign, claiming that it wants Catholics to return to the church, yet I have to ask, what do you think the Catholic priests and bishops cruel words, their indifference to the suffering of poor US citizens, their helping to enrich corrupt politicians and greedy corporations and in fact themselves, says to Catholic children? Children especially have a strong sense of right and wrong, they pick up on lies and hypocrisy and feel the wrong of such things, most strongly. What do you think it tells Catholic children, when they see their parish priest, or their bishop, deliberately lying. What do you think it tells the Catholic child, whose parents, or their friends parents, or their aunts and uncles, are long term unemployed, who despite desperately searching for work, are denied jobs, and yet their priest, or a bishop on the news claims that US citizens who need those jobs don’t exist, or are ‘racist’ for wanting our immigration laws enforced, because it’s unfair to refuse to enforce those laws, when not to enforce them harms citizens. What it tells that Catholic child, is that their priest, or the bishop doesn’t really believe in Christ’s teachings. It tells that Catholic child, that these priests and bishops are cold, and unkind, and are false. It causes that Catholic child to lose their faith in the church, so why would they want to go to church, or pray, when the priests and bishops show themselves not to believe in the church, themselves.

  6. AMEN, AMEN , AMEN

  7. I propose that we all meditate on two scripture verses.

    First verse: (John 6:61-68)
    Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
    Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?
    What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
    It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
    But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
    And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
    As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
    Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
    Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? (John 6:61-68)

    What can we vet from this passage?
    Jesus was not selling anything. He spoke the truth, He said it plainly, and He said it with love – period. Just as Jesus was not selling anything, nor should the Church. The servant is no better then the master (John 15:20).

    Archbishop – Do not worry about pleasing anyone – except God! As Mother Teresa said, “We are called to be faithful not successful”.

    Second verse:
    (John 15:5) I am the vine, you are the branches.
    Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
    because without me you can do nothing.

    What can we vet from this passage?
    If we veer from the teachings of Christ and His Church, we may be “popular” but we will not be “successful”. This requires sacrifice and suffering – no way around it, but if we embrace “our cross”, to use the words of Mother Teresa again – “We will do something beautiful for God”.

    We should all pray over these verses and quotes

    “We are who we are in the eyes of God alone.” (St Francis)

    Your brother in Christ

    Joe

  8. Beau says:

    Other commenters are right. This is a helpful statement that should be read and consumed by all who are following the budget debate. But you must take the next step and state that Rep. Ryan misused your letter. Otherwise the conclusion to be drawn is that you were fine with his characterization of your persuasion as supportive of the Ryan budget.

  9. Aaron says:

    The Archbishop makes some good points, but I think he gives himself and his fellow bishops, and particularly the bishops conference, a little too much credit. The reason they get critiqued so often is because there is a lack of coherence in their message. Sure, they talk about subsidiarity, but when it comes to helping the poor or solving some other social issue the first place they run is the federal government. They talk about the rights of workers and the duties of management/capital, but they don’t talk about the rights of capital and the duties of workers. They speak out on behalf of illegal immigrants, but they don’t address the social or economic problems caused by illegal immigration, nor do they talk about the rights of the people who receive illegal immigrants. There is a lack of coherence in the message.

  10. Mary says:

    Paul Ryan is a Catholic with a capital C. I cannot say the same for most other elected catholics. That is why I have much more confidence that the policies Paul Ryan proposes are faithful to Church teaching.

    I was reminded what we had a year ago when House Speaker Pelosi a radically pro-choice catholic politician, offered this at a press conference. She was asked all the time….what’s your favorite this, what’s your favorite that. And one time she was asked what is your favorite word? And she said her favorite word is \the Word. the Word. And that is everything. It says it all for us…and you know the Biblical reference and the Gospel reference to the Word…and [she has] a duty to pursue policy consistent with the Word…. of course, we know it means the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…\

    Following up at a later press conference a young woman reporter (maybe Catholic?) was not afraid to ask a tough question about those comments. She asked: when was the Word made flesh? Was it at the Annunciation by the power of the Holy Spirit…or when Mary gave birth. When in keeping with the values of the Word, did Jesus get the right to life?

    Pelosi answered: \We bow our heads when we talk about it at Church, and that’s where I’d like to talk about it.\

    Paul Ryan is one politician it’s easy to pray for.

  11. Your Excellency,

    It is perhaps one of the greatest joys I’ve received in some time to read what you have carefully, thoughtfully, and with great fidelity, carved out in this post. Indeed, you are calling for Catholics to think with the mind of the Church and dispose of the unfortunate influences that have become a stumbling block to many Catholics, both on the Left and the Right. It is by subordinating ourselves to the majesty of the Church’s social teachings, particularly subsidiarity and solidarity, that we may – as encouraged by Pius XII – influence the political, social, and economic spheres of our nation.

    For those of us studying the Distributist thesis, myself a layman in your Archdiocese, we applaud the directness and clarity of your post. I will pray this may be the seed that triggers a revival of the social doctrine of the Church across America, for which my intentions are laid at the hands of our holy Mother.

    May God bless His Eminence!

  12. You grace, this is a very timely message and all of us need to hear it and to be reminded that the Faith transcends politics, and while working in the world is not of the world. Thank you! You make me and my fellow St. Louisans proud we sent you to New York!

  13. CARSON LAUFFER says:

    If by universal health care one means single payer care as Mr. Obama proposed how does that square with subsidiarity?

  14. Joseph d'Hippolito says:

    Yet this same side then often cringes when we defend workers, speak on behalf of the rights of the undocumented immigrant, and remind government of the moral imperative to protect the poor.

    Perhaps that’s because the bishops pay no attention to the illegality of the undocumented immigrant, and the bishops say a lot more about protecting the poor than actually do something. Both come into clear focus in my state, California. Many hospital emergency rooms have had to close because of the overwhelming demand from immigrants, many of them undocumented. As a result, severely ill people who need emergency care are denied it. Is this what you want? Or are you so infatuated with your “rhetorical morality” that you refuse to see the consequences of your rhetoric?

  15. JohnMcG says:

    Abp. Dolan,

    For whatever it’s worth, you and your brother bishops have my prayers and support regardless of which political side is rebuffed when you remind us of the Church’s teachings.

  16. Frank Tomi says:

    Nice to be back again, I was reading some of the posts here. Good fellowship about the things of the world. It’s is true that both sides use religious leaders to “spin” for their own positions. Thats why my sites or network, BibleStudySpace has the ( Prosperity Gospel Boycott Campaign) boycott Ken Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, TBN, Daystar) Together with a friend of mine, Pastor Justin Peters and his video ( A Call for Discernment ) A Biblical Critique of the Word of Faith Movement. Pastor Justin Peters ( Back Ground) Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, Justin studied at great depth the Word of Faith movement. The thesis he wrote for his Master’s of Theology. We also belong to the FB Group ( We Support Fr. John Corapi ). Prosperity Gospel Boycott Campaign is exposing the religious leaders who use the Gospel for money and power. The right wing religious leaders and the lift wing religious leader. Thats why many of us vote for Ron Paul, we don’t want any religious leaders in the white house. We still have the ” Jesus for Bush 700 club TBN cults out there in 2012. But things are different these days, because we will expost both sides who try to pervert the Gospel, and they know it. Keep us in your prayers, God Bless everyone.

  17. I love to read your posts. I am encouraged by the fearlessness in which you discuss the inner workings of the office that you are faithfully fulfilling. While I read your story about the way our government twists the church’s message, I was reminded of today’s gospel reading where we are told that since Jesus chose us out of this world, the world will hate us. I guess if the message you were sending was universally accepted by the world, it would not be His message. God bless you and all that you do…Keep up the good work!

  18. Mary says:

    It’s pretty disturbing to hear that Gov. Cuomo is surprised that the Catholic Church isn’t thinking about itself when it calls on government. Is the Governor really that uninformed about the Church? I think you’ll accomplish more by giving him a copy of the Catechism and some serious pastoral intervention.

  19. Theophilus says:

    Government has the power of the sword. If you disobey them, they can take away your money, your property, your freedom, and even your life. So taxes are never voluntary.

    Charity must be voluntary. Charity is gift. Gifts must be given; they cannot be taken by force. Charity must be freely given, or it is not charity.

    These two facts together mean that all governments are incapable of doing charity. The only money that government has is money which has come from some form of taxation. This money, having not been freely given, cannot be used to do charity. So governments are incapable of doing charity.

    We should never desire that governments engage in any form of charity. When we do, we are only deluding ourselves. We are asking government to forcefully take assets away from one group of people in order to provide benefits to another group. It is not much different than asking a street mugger to pull another job, and then donate the money to some worthy cause. It results in theft, and redistribution of stolen goods; it is not charity.

    The end never justifies the means. The end of providing health care and helping the poor is laudable. But such help must be truly charitable, and therefore it must be truly voluntary. The means of government force and taxation cannot be justified by the good end of providing charity to those who need it.

    The good bishop ought to lobby for government to completely get out of the social services business, so that groups like Catholic Charities can do the job even better. Not only would the poor be helped more by removing the inefficiency of civil government, but the help and charity would be true charity, and therefore morally good.

    I am open to logical arguments to convince me that I am wrong, but in the absence of good logical arguments, I believe the bishop is making a mistake.

    Jesus didn’t call for Caesar to care for the sick and poor. He called for us as individuals to do so. And that difference makes all the difference.

  20. Phillip Hughes says:

    I will pray for Archbishop Dolan that the Holy Spirit gives him Wisdom.
    Bishop Fulton Sheen had answers to the questions of what a government should do for its people. I would suggest Archbishop Dolan watch his videos and read his writings. Bishop Fulton Sheen was truly given Wisdom to see how governments (Socialist and Communist) are man’s creations. They destroy man. The United States is embracing socialism and trying to wipe out Holiness. When our Church leaders embrace socialism over true freedom they embrace an unholy answer to the problem of feeding the poor. The poor suffer more. Bishop Fulton Sheen saw this very clearly. Our political leaders “ease the sufferings of the poor” so they can coast right into hell. Welfare with no behavior modification attached. Satan couldn’t do better himself.

  21. Slobyskya Rotchikokov says:

    Joseph D’Hippolito speaks the truth – when Bishops contradict the Catechism, why do they think we should listen? The Catechism states plainly that immigrants MUST obey the laws of the host country; if the y deliberately violate the immigration laws, then why should they receive special treatment? If the Bishops are concerned for the plight of these illegal, why do the Bishops not begin working IN Mexico, to improve the lives of the poor? And how many of the Bishops are letting illegals live in their homes, paying taxes tp provide free housing, medical care and schooling for them? Are those same Bishops doing anything to help the poor who are native born?
    We all know the answer.

  22. Daith de Paore says:

    A question for the archbishop.Is the lord Jesus interchangeable with Natural Law and the tradition of the Church?

  23. Irene says:

    I am a Roman Catholic and a member of the Archdiocese of NY. I support your efforts and those of Bishops Hubbard & Blaire. I e-mailed the governor and my federal elected officials letting them know that I endorse the priorities you identified in your letters. In addition to generally supporting your priorities, I let my elected officials know that I specifically support your efforts on behalf of immigrants. The Gospels tell us over and over again about our special obligations to the poor and vulnerable; I think Jesus would approve of what you’re doing. Good luck.

  24. Erika Marie says:

    I cringe when Church leaders “defend workers, speak on behalf of the rights of the undocumented immigrant, and remind government of the moral imperative to protect the poor.” For myself, I cringe not because it makes me mad or disagree or think the Church is opposed to my political ideas. It is mostly b/c I am confused and want more explanation. The topics you listed that polarize people are, in my opinion, too vague. We need specific answers to the specifcs surrounding these topics. I do not ask these questions in anger but in sincerity. I am a lamb that needs some guidance. I have been reading the Comp. of Social Doctrine and other similar Church docs but still can’t wrap my mind around it and keep running into what seem like contradictory statements.

    For example, can you answer the question of the above commenter about what you mean by universal health care? And if you don’t answer here, where can I get an answer?
    Do you mean government-mandated and government-provided universal health care or just that everyone should have a way to get health care?

    If the Church supports gov’t mandated/provided health care, this seems to go contrary to your definition of subsidiarity: “that is, that the smaller units in our society, such as family, neighborhood, Church, and volunteer organizations, are usually preferable to big government in solving social ills.”
    This seems, to me, to contradict what you wrote later…”principle of solidarity, namely, society’s shared duties to one another, especially the poor and struggling . . .” Is this calling for more government to take care of this or on people to do this through their own individual efforts?
    Hoping for a response as I seek the Way, the Truth, and the Life

  25. Robert Fox says:

    So called \universal healthcare\ is clearly socialism. And anyone who has ready any encyclicals written before the Second Vatican Council KNOWS that \one can not be a Catholic and a Socialist at the same time\. The advice and reference to good bishop Sheen is excellent council!

    Choosing to not call universal healthcare socialism will not change what it really is.

    It is a good thing to see Catholic bishops say that they are not adhering to any particular party line. I have come to calling the 2 major parties in our country the \Demicans\ and the \Republocrats\. I use the terms to identify their eventual philosophical convergence toward Free Masonic values: Materialism, universalism, and ecumenism which ends up at syncretism!

    Alas, I have found that I have lost all trust in the US Bishops (with the exception of a courageous few). If they can not bring themselves to call predatory homosexuality what it is (and are willing to pay $2 million of our dollars to be told so), then they are likely to hire some \economic experts\ in order to tell them that \universal healthcare\ is not socialism… and that good and valid (though unenforced) immigration laws are some how \anti Catholic\.

    And so this is why I tithe not to any diocese, but to religious orders who work for an authentic reform. I vet carefully where my money goes… this is the responsibility of every Catholic. Blind giving is not a truly Catholic response.

    The best thing that any bishop can do for his flock is to read the encyclicals himself instead of trusting \experts\ to interpret them for him. Neither party holds the key. And until the bishops get past their myopic view of the last council and look at ALL the magisterial teaching and all the previous councils… no serious Catholic will take them seriously.

  26. Bruce says:

    Your Excellency,
    Thank you for this post. I find it quite disheartening to read my fellow Catholics referring to immigrants as illegal. To me, the state exists to serve all the people, not just those who arrived earlier or according to some rule which the state wrote. God gave us a body and placed us on this earth; only He can circumscribe the location we choose to occupy.