Archbishop at US-Mexico border: we need to tear down walls [CWN]


The new archbishop of Tijuana, Mexico, visited the US-Mexican border on August 11, leaned on the border fence, and said, “We need to build bridges, and tear down walls.”



Start with helping the Mexican residents in Mexico so they don’t break laws to come here. If they truly want to work here, help them come LEGALLY. The usa needs to protect its borders from terrorists, not necessarily a man who wants a better life for his children.


This Lincoln gal totally agrees.


Good for the archbishop and I totally agree! It will be interesting to see how Trump supporter’s try to justify the exact opposite of what the Archbishop is saying and agree with Trump’s impossible and ridiculous idea to build a “wall.”



Little inconvenient truth on the side: 40 % of all illegal residents in the US have come to the country legally on a visa and overstayed it. How is a “wall” going to fix that?


Drunk driving is only responsible for 30% of all motor vehicle accidents. Should it be legal since it isn’t the majority cause?


The archbishop is entitled to have a political position. It is disappointing that, in expressing it, he implies that his opinion is the moral one while those who disagree with him hold an immoral view. That does nothing but poison the discussion, pitting the “good” against “the bad”.



No, but if terrorists can come here on a visa, or if they can grow up here *as many do), building a wall along the Mexican border will not keep them out. The terrorism justification for a “wall” doesn’t hold up.

I think the question of illegal immigration does not have a simple answer. We need to address the roots of the attraction. “Building bridges,” to borrow the archbishop’s phrase, acknowledges that we are in a relationship with our southern neighbors. To ensure orderly immigration we need to understand and address the needs and concerns of those who are otherwise willing to make a difficult and dangerous journey.

Building a tall hedgerow is not going to fix the problem.


If you make more money than me, do I have the right to move into your house while you keep paying the bills?


I’ve walked between the US and Mexico, but I never saw any type of fence. I guess you have to know where to look.


We are all expressing our opinions on what is fair and just for immigrants. Why should the archbishop not be entitled to express his opinion too? I know you have said in the past that when a member of the clergy expresses an opinion, laypersons might misinterpret his remarks as expressing official Church doctrine. To a certain extent, that is their problem, not the clergy person’s. Furthermore, if we muzzle our clergy and restrict them to reciting the catechism, we lose the human touch and turn our clergy into doctrine vending machines. I for one am appreciative of clergy who are passionate about the gospel and are not reluctant to shine a light on injustice.


I dont care if they build a 100 ft wall across the entire border and man it with armed guards every 10ft, they will just employ the worlds best tunnel designers and go deeper/ longer to get around it. They have unlimited financial resources and such a tunnel would be extremely lucrative to lots of people.


The analogy is faulty because your house is your private property. Immigrants are not asking to take your private property. They are only asking for a chance to live and work here and pay their way, the same as anyone else.


No. However, I do not think anyone is suggesting that.

Let’s say you are a wealthy business owner, and neighbors are sneaking into your warehouses and garages to sleep or to fish food out of the dumpsters. To curb this behavior, doesn’t it make sense that they can find adequate shelter and food in their own neighborhood? If you have job positions which you can not fill or retain workers, and your neighbors are eager to help, doesn’t it make sense to arrange for these workers to come to your business?

“Building bridges” is about recognizing that we are, like it or not, in this together. It is about finding a solution which will, in a sustainable manner, address the needs of all.


He If he is also referring to the fences on the Mexican southern border?


When you and I express an opinion no one mistakes it for a moral declaration. This not true when a bishop expresses his opinion.

I know you have said in the past that when a member of the clergy expresses an opinion, laypersons might misinterpret his remarks as expressing official Church doctrine. To a certain extent, that is their problem, not the clergy person’s.

It is assuredly their problem as well, and it makes a bad situation worse.*“By issuing policy statements on matters that lie beyond their specific competence, and that pertain rather to experts in secular disciplines, the bishops diminish their own credibility in speaking about matters with which they are specially charged as spiritual leaders of the church.” *(Cardinal Dulles)
Messing up by not speaking out when they should have (the clergy abuse crisis) is not redressed by them speaking out when they shouldn’t.

I for one am appreciative of clergy who are passionate about the gospel and are not reluctant to shine a light on injustice.

This exactly demonstrates why I oppose political involvement by the clergy. You have assumed precisely what I pointed out was untrue about statements by bishops: they are not moral expressions. You agree with the bishop’s position, and believe it “shines a light on injustice” when in fact all it does is shine a light on the bishop for expressing his political views.



Which raises the question: did Archbishop Moreno advocate a policy position, or did he provide spiritual guidance? He said that we need to build bridges and tear down walls. Do you think that is a political policy statement?


Given that he was leaning on the border fence when he said we needed to “tear down walls”, if he wasn’t suggesting that it was the wall at the border that needed to come down he was being intentionally obtuse. When one of the biggest questions regarding immigration is in fact whether we should build an impenetrable barrier, of course it’s a policy statement.



I think you are taking Archbishop Moreno’s words a little too literally. Do you think he also wants to undertake a construction project building bridges to carry people across the border?

The Archbishop is echoing the words of Pope Francis, who said: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel”

We have a Christian obligation to look after our neighbors. Building a wall, whether physical or metaphorical simply so we can ignore our neighbors and leave them to suffer is not acceptable.

If you do not mind, I will continue this thought in the next post. I will quote from John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe. I think he does a good job explaining the Church’s position.


[quote=Archbishop Wester]My hope is that people will listen to what the church is saying about immigration, thus advancing our cause of comprehensive immigration reform. We know many will not agree and yet it is so important that we continue to build bridges and not walls so we can sustain our nation’s welcome and integrate people into our society. We must bring people out of the shadows and live up to our reputation as a country that welcomes people from all shores.

What does the church teach and say about immigration? Pope Francis gives us our first point: put the human being first. He doesn’t deny realities. The law is important, we need the law. It defends us and supports us as it protects our human life, dignity and freedom. But it is important to know it is the law that serves us and not the other way around. As Jesus said, the Sabbath was made for us and not us for the Sabbath. Thus, the church’s priority is always the people, the children of God. The church puts the human face on the immigrant. The church speaks with respect and the church helps us in our dialog and debate in our country to make sure that respect is foremost; thus, avoiding using terms like illegals, swarms and waves, words that conjure up fear by denoting hardened criminals, health-destroying insects or devastating floods. The church reminds us if we lose sight of the immigrant’s humanity, we risk losing sight of our own humanity. Jesus Christ calls us to welcome the stranger in our midst. It is a Gospel mandate, not a suggestion.

It is important to note that an emphasis on the person does not in any way mean that the church disregards the law of the land. Pope Pius XII in his 1952 encyclical Exul Familia Nazarethena wrote to the bishops of the United States that national sovereignty must be respected. Throughout our church’s history, our teachings are clear. Sovereign nations have a right and obligation to protect their citizens and to defend their borders. However, Pope Pius XII also teaches that this right of states is not an absolute right. In other words, those countries that have the proper resources and capacities are morally obligated to help people who are fleeing a variety of ills in the hope of a better life.


How best to help those migrants is a question of prudential judgment, and a question of public policy. The important thing is that we can not ignore the needs of our neighbors or treat them as unworthy of respect.

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