JUST Gospel: Immigration in Our Everyday Experience

Paul Keggington

September 17, 2013

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy begins a series of JUST Gospel postings on the single issue of Immigration.

Welcome-Immigrants-photo-by-Fred-Graber-MadisonFor some time now you’ve been reading AdJUSTment articles. In the light of our recent Chapter and its theme, you will note that we have changed the title to JUST Gospel!  The word “just” isn’t diminutive. Rather, it suggests the idea of living the Gospel with a view to justice while also speaking to the primacy of the Gospel in our way of life.   This year we turn our focus to the single issue of immigration which is in the news, in our legislatures, in many Franciscan publications and resources and above all in our everyday experience.  Perhaps this year’s articles can shed a bit of light on what we might be thinking and praying about in regard to immigrants and their plight in our country.

Immigration-Pilgrimage-Photo-by-Fred-Graber-MadisonTo begin our consideration of the issue we will look at some excerpts are from Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, a statement issued jointly by the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States.  The following thoughts relate to the place of immigration under the umbrella of Catholic Social Teaching.

* All persons have the right to find in their own countries the economic, political, and social opportunities to live in dignity and achieve a full life through the use of their God-given gifts. In this context, work that provides a just, living wage is a basic human need.

*More powerful economic nations, which have the ability to protect and feed their residents, have a stronger obligation to accommodate migration flows.

* The Church recognizes that all goods of the earth belong to all people. When persons cannot find employment in their country of origin to support themselves and their families, they have a right to find work elsewhere in order to survive.

* Those who flee wars and persecution should be protected by the global community.

* Regardless of their legal status, migrants, like all persons, possess inherent human dignity which should be respected. Government policies that respect the basic human rights of the undocumented are necessary.

These brief statements set us on the path of understanding why we, as Catholics need to take a stand on immigration and are called to a deeper understanding of this issue.  As a faith family let us pray for justice and compassion for these our brothers and sisters.  Next month we will look further at what our Bishops are teaching.

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