A few months ago I read that the growing and intractable problem of an ancient culture of thievery among Roma immigrants had induced a French politician to call for their expulsion. The Catholic Church had condemned the call as racist and inhumane.
"Okay," I thought. "But what about the thievery?" It bothered me that the Church would condemn a politician's proposed solution without proposing a practical alternative. Are French citizens supposed to just roll over and let themselves be robbed?
I had a similar response this morning to a post of Cardinal Dolan's condemning the citizens of a California town who turned back busloads of illegal immigrants. He called their actions shameful: "un-American," "un-Biblical," and "inhumane."
This strikes me as shockingly unjust of the Cardinal. Every human person deserves love and respect, this is true. But American citizens are people too, and a nation has both a right and a duty to secure its borders. Just as a home-owner has a right to lock his doors against intruders, the tax-payers of a given town have a right to refuse entry to illegal immigrants.
Furthermore, the Cardinal writes as if these poor immigrants were comparable to the victims of a natural disaster—as if they aren't in fact (we have every reason to believe) tools of cynical politicians whose aim is to force "fundamental transformation" on American life and culture.
Under the circumstances, it seems to me that the Cardinal's remarks make the situation worse not better. "Normal Americans," who are horrified at the federal government's dereliction of its duty to secure the border will be disgusted by the Catholic Church's apparent enabling of lawlessness. Their resentments and their resistance to her moral suasion will increase. And liberals who tend to think that all opposition to illegal immigration boils down to racism will feel confirmed and emboldened in their animus toward conservatives and any policy that aims at restoring order.
A more judicious moral leader, imo, would at the very least have made note of the valid concerns on both sides of the political divide, and helped propose practical solutions that take all of them into due account.