(28 May 10 - RV) - On Friday Pope Benedict XVI said that the future of the global community depends on the willingness of States and communities to take on their shared responsibilities when dealing with the phenomenon of migration.I believe the Pope understands that there are competing principles in this messy situation, as I have pointed out previously.
Speaking to participants at the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, on the theme "The Pastoral Care of Human Mobility today in the context of co-responsibility with States and International Organizations”, the Pope called for a system of norms to “to cover the rights and obligations of the foreigner, as well as those of host communities, taking into account, firstly, the dignity of every human person created by God in His image and likeness”.
He went on to say that “the acquisition of rights goes hand in hand with the acceptance of duties", adding that “everyone, in fact, has rights and duties which are not arbitrary, because they spring from human nature itself." These rights and responsibilities are he said “universal, inviolable and inalienable”.
Pope Benedict pointed out that the future of our societies rests on relations between peoples, seen as a “dialogue between cultures that respects the identity of legitimate differences”. In this light "diverse organizations of an international nature, in cooperation with each other and with States, can provide their particular contribution to reconciling, in various ways, the recognition of the rights of the person and the principle of national sovereignty, with specific reference to the demands of security, public order and border control".
The Pope said "the forced entry or removal of foreigners, the use of resources of nature, culture and art, science and technology, which should be accessible to all” call into question the responsibility of States and International organizations.
Pope Benedict said that unfortunately, we are witnessing “the resurgence of particularistic demands in some areas of the world”. But at the same time he said "it is also true that there is a reluctance to assume responsibilities that should be shared. Furthermore, there desire is still alive in many to break down walls and establish broad agreement, even through legislation and administrative practices that promote integration, mutual exchange and shared enrichment. Indeed, prospects for peaceful coexistence can be offered through concerted and prudent guidelines for reception and integration, allowing opportunities for legal entry, favouring the just right to family reunification, asylum and refuge, compensating necessary restrictive measures and combating scourge of human trafficking".
Concluding the Pope point to respect for fundamental as a starting point , "for shared responsibility of national and international institutions. Moreover it is closely related to openness to life, which is at the heart of true development”.
Archbishop Chaput sees this as well, and talks about them in a recent column, which I highly recommend. Here is a snip.
First, illegal immigration is wrong and dangerous for everyone involved. There’s nothing “good” about people risking their lives for the mere purpose of entering the United States. There’s nothing “good” about our nation not knowing who crosses our borders and why they’re here, especially in an age of terrorism, drugs and organized violent crime. There’s nothing “good” about people living in the shadows; or families being separated; or decent people being deported and having to start their lives all over again, sometimes in a country that they no longer—or never did—know....Tip o' the hat to CVA for the Chaput column.
Third, no credible immigration reform will occur if the effort becomes an exercise in partisan maneuvering. Both of our major political parties got our country into our current immigration mess. Both parties bear responsibility for fixing it. Neither will solve it alone. Unfortunately, the recent national health-care debate compromised public confidence in some of our key federal lawmakers. Having pushed through a deeply flawed national health-care bill in the face of serious concerns and widespread public displeasure, Congress now faces an equally hard task with an equally volatile issue. This will require a transparency, patience, spirit of compromise and bipartisanship rarely seen in Washington in the best of seasons, and too often completely missing in the recent health-care debate.
To put it another way: If the immigration debate divides along the lines of party advantage and slogans, or becomes entangled with very different and unnecessary issues like same-sex relationships—then real people will suffer. And nothing enduring will result.