Church is a mother without borders, welcoming migrants, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Catholic Church “is a mother without limits and without borders,” welcoming and assisting all of God’s children, particularly those fleeing violence, oppression and poverty, Pope Francis said.

Addressing the 300 participants in the Vatican-sponsored World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, the pope said the church’s concern for the whole person motivates its material aid to immigrants and refugees, its offer of legal assistance and, especially, its pastoral outreach and offer of the sacraments.

In the Christian community, he said, “no one is a stranger and, therefore, everyone is worthy of being welcomed and supported.”

For those who have been uprooted from their homelands and face the daunting task of integration into a new society, the pope said, the church is called to be “a source of hope: She develops programs of education and orientation; she raises her voice in defense of migrants’ rights; she offers assistance, including material assistance, to everyone, without exception, so that all may be treated as children of God.”

Migration, he said, benefits migrants and the receiving country, and it stimulates the human conscience by being “a reminder of the need to eradicate inequality, injustice and abuses.”

Acknowledging the “painful and even tragic” travels of migrants toward a new land, Pope Francis said the desperate still see migration as a “journey of hope.”

“Especially in underdeveloped areas of the world, where the lack of work prevents individuals and their families from achieving a dignified life, there is a strong drive to seek a better future wherever that may be, even at the risk of disappointment and failure,” he said. “This is caused in great part by the economic crisis which, to different degrees, is affecting every country in the world.”

Pope Francis said people must recognize the advantages of migration: Host countries get new workers to meet production needs, “not infrequently filling gaps created by the demographic crisis.” The sending country experiences an easing of unemployment and benefit from the economic stimulation of remittances sent home to help their families.

This is true. There are a lot of benefits for the USA to open up its borders and allow more migration into the country. As the Holy Father has said here we must recognize the advantages of migration.

I hope the people of Mexico listen to the Holy Father, they certainly turn illegal immigrants away. Ask Central Americans.

Well then, perhaps we can send a few thousand illegals to the Vatican and let him take care of them. Turn the square into a camp. Talk is cheap.

Indeed the Church is a mother without borders - but America is not the Church.

If HH chooses to welcome all of Europe’s illegal immigrants to pitch camp in Vatican City, that is his prerogative and God bless him!

(Methinks there would be physical issues though…:()

Otherwise, this issue would seem to be a textbook case of “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.”


Yup. I think it’s a felony in Mexico and can result in four years in prison.

Mexican Prison.

:dancing: … with my new free apartment in Vatican City factored in – my little pension should be JUST enough for me to retire and take the rest of my days off! :slight_smile:

:ehh: - or was Pope Francis speaking more generally … and about how it should work in OTHER countries?

I wonder how much room there’d be there … before mother’s arms would be FULL?! :hmmm:

Oh, it’s probably just the “I was a stranger and you welcomed me …” scripture reading for this Sunday that’s fueling this sentiment more than the President’s “amnesty” talk. :shrug:

I haven’t visited Vatican City. Do you know how the borders are managed?

A fifty-foot wall surrounds the boundary of the SCV. The gates are watched by the Swiss Guard, but no-one is normally questioned or stopped going through in either direction.


Question is - has Francis just one-upped Obama? (Open borders at the Vatican now?).

Or backed his play to the hilt (given which DAY this announcement is made)?

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me …” is still the sublime teaching on the matter.

OTOH those who don’t come through the gate but try to enter another way are called thieves and robbers! :hmmm:

Im going to vatican city with my wife and four kids. Were going to sneak in and then ask for jobs in english. Shouldnt be any problems with that. :shrug:

Im going to write back to all my Muslim friends and tell them how to sneak in too. :slight_smile: once in, we’ll all demand amnesty.

:dancing: Ha ha! Amnesty! That’d imply that they’d ever have stopped welcoming you.

Why sneak in? Bring your bedroll and migrate on in. It might get crowded though. And the “sooners” will likely take the best spots … like sleeping in the arms of the Pieta.

What I can’t figure out is whether there are enough taxpayers living in the Vatican now to fund our healthcare, schooling, welfare and job training. And if there ARE no taxpayers (just income from freewill offerings and trinket sales?) … wouldn’t we be better off just migratin’ to our local Catholic Church for the free rent and bennies?

:smiley: - I DO plan to be nice to any migrants I see actually. Some of them DO pick food for me in the fields … and all I do for them is … substitute teach (some of) their kids? :blushing:

What this is really is another example of how savvy Benedict was. OR how much better his Communications office was. Francis has a media problem in that … he communicates a LOT … and about every fourth story gets spun in a sensational way that implies he’s just led the Church into (another!) U-turn.

THEN those stories are “backtracked” and explained a bit better.

I can’t speak for TEPO, but for me, my humorous jabs at the absurdity of “what if opportunistic people took this nice counsel at face value , mined something self-serving out of it and ran with it …” weren’t meant to oppose charity and love to our fellow neighbors who are migrating. I was making a point though, because this seems to be getting spun into a "nations with borders (and laws per immigration) are baaad … the Pope “says so”. :ouch:

Not so long ago a high ranking California Church official made a speech on immigration that seemed to me to be QUITE more political than charitable, doctrinal or sensible. I remarked to a friend that should we put his words on a poster, distribute in Tijuana with a map to the Cathedral he’d just built (implying but not really saying* “Free rent, food, schooling …”* – that official might possibly backtrack too.

Or maybe the vagrants would be shooed from sleeping on the pews. :shrug:

Many Catholic Churches are even locking their doors during daylight hours … and many more at night. (I was raised with the value that one should make “visits” to the Holy Eucharist when one could. NOW there are doormen that won’t letcha. Or locks.)

That said, I DO like the “welcoming mother” image on a personal level. Coming as it did on the same day the POTUS is playing fast and loose with America’s longstanding laws (however loosely enforced they’d been) – the message does seem political … with the targets being … well, you draw your own conclusions. Coincidences like these aren’t always accidental happenstance.

The Vatican DOES have borders. And Swiss guards (who even have guns for some reason). I think there is even a jail somewhere (replete with cobwebs one might guess, still …). If there’sa “No Trespassing” sign anywhere in the Vatican now … h-WHY?" :confused:

Under the treaty of 1929, the Vatican uses the Italian legal system.

While the Castle Sant Angelo has a dungeon, it, like the Papal States’ guillotine, has not been used since at least 1871.


Hey - I am sort of hard up right now. Can I migrate to Vatican City and move into the vacant Papal apartment?

You might be able to pitch camp in the SCV, but you’d be charged the going Roman housing rate for the apartment.

The Holy Church has not survived for 95 generations in Europe without being very financially savvy :slight_smile:


Having read this very good article … about MUCH more a spiritually encouraging document – than a political one … (however it might be spun later) … I almost feel bad about my previous post. Almost - because though I made some good points about some false issues … those issues were not part of this story.

It’s about the Church (and not, once I read it, a vague slap at those who favor enforcement of existing U.S. immigration laws).

Pope Francis recounts why some legitimately migrate

The Pope spoke of migrants fleeing poverty, political oppression, or merely seeking a better place in which to simply live. I’ve been rooting for such when they fled across the Iron Curtain, crossed borders to flee enemy armies, fled for asylum, or merely got on a boat bound for Ellis Island (first) and “America” following the screenings. My Irish ancestors may have been driven by a famine or religious persecution - but some came just for a better opportunity.

The Church is very right to encourage us to “love our neighbors” particularly this week when NOT doing so is (according to Jesus in Sunday’s Gospel) what gets the goats sent away to eternal punishment!

***If this message actually IS a veiled counsel warning *** those wishing to strengthen the US borders, curb immigration, or enact more stringent laws (than those that are in place but currently unenforced) – it is a gentle one, and not a direct political callout. Its timing is a bit curious coming when it does – but its message is on a much higher plane than my humorous post.

"Other reasons" people illegally cross borders

Nowhere in it do I see the slightest justification for immigrants to cross borders to in any way “covet another’s goods” or, say, justify anything like a “reconquista” movement that also errs in forgetting to love one’s neighbor (first). IMO some will try to spin this anyway, allying the Pope with some political advocacy or other.

And “migrants” as defined in the Pope’s message are also nowhere depicted as drug or gun running criminals. He generally depicts them as workers and contributors, not such as would cross a border illegally and attempt to live a life of crime or retire on as many government benefits as one could acquire and get away with.

The issue in the US is complicated, but even the opponents agree on some things

I was surprised to find (in my research) that one high churchman I was irked with for involving himself so directly with politics … said so much that I actually agreed with. And was further surprised that his positions were much closer to the Minutemen group that it looked like he was so adamantly opposed to when it came right down to it.

Cardinal MAHONY (2006) : Well, of all the things we’ve seen so far, what was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday has most of the elements in it that we are looking for. The provisions of this judiciary committee bill, this Specter Bill, does allow for people who are, who came here before 2004, a whole series of steps–

six years, they have to pay a $1,000 fine,

they have to learn English, a number of things they have to do.

They earn their citizenship, and I think that’s really key for us,

because that’s what we’re looking for, too.

… Our whole immigration system is completely out of control. And the church is not for open borders, everybody come. No, we are for a system that has elements that are just, fair, and that give people the opportunity to earn citizenship in this country.

and Minuteman organizer Jim Gilchrist’s personal experience with an illegal alien when he (as part of his volunteer border monitoring group) actually met one …

By April 10, 2005, only 10 days into the scheduled month-long operation, the multi-ethnic Minuteman Project completely shut down the illegal alien invasion and drug smuggling activities along the entire 23-mile stretch of the U.S./Mexico border in Arizona’s San Pedro River Valley.

By maintaining a 24-hour physical presence at three dozen outposts along the border, the Project effectively deterred illegal entry into the United States. Under no circumstances, except in the interest of health and safety, were the minutemen volunteers permitted to confront or converse with anyone entering the country illegally.

Only in one instance did I make physical contact with an illegal alien.

Minutemen Nurse Ailing Guatemalan Back To Health - Before Turning Him Over

A 25-year-old Guatemalan hobbled into our camp suffering from hypothermia, dehydration, and starvation. He had gotten separated from the group that escorted him over the border and had wandered aimlessly through the desert for four days. I aided another minuteman in providing nourishing power bars and water to the ailing immigrant, as well as wrapping him with two blankets to raise his body heat. A border patrol medical evacuation was requested via HAM radio, and minutes later the young man was picked up by a U.S. Border Patrol van.

Re: Actual Legislation (and “Church involvement”) on immigration (or illegal immigration), Mahony weighed in on Arizona’s (SB 1070, subsequently moderated by Arizona HB 2162)

a move praised by some

and criticized by others < Gov. Brewer: Clergy Don’t Understand the Bill

By all means, let Vatican City take in these people. After all they are their own sovereign state. Practice what you preach.

An open borders policy would mean the rapid disintegration of social programs to the lowest common denominator.

It works out well for keeping wages low, increasing the supply of workers and thereby decreasing the demand to pay them as much as otherwise would be the case.

These are a few of the kinds of social consequences that would ensue out of making countries mothers without borders.

The US has always been very welcoming, it is a part of what this country is, but what we cannot welcome is an invasion by drug runners, gangs, and terrorism. That is a big problem with our borders right now. That is unfortunately what is happening with unfettered access to the borders by anyone that cares to cross. If you spend any time around the southern border, you will see the high crime and violence coming into America from other countries through our open “welcoming” borders. It’s time to demand that people come in with permission and with the proper background checks and procedures. If you want to come with good intentions and ready to be a law-abiding citizen, a system can surely be enacted through bi-partisan reform to make that happen for those that are here to do the right things while keeping out many of the people that are here to commit crimes. We have plenty of homegrown criminals so we can’t be taking on the rest of the world’s criminals. Our prison systems are full enough as it is. To not secure our borders and to give sweeping amnesty to millions that have ignored our laws is to just act as sitting ducks for any gang or terrorist organization that wants to come in and cause harm.

It seems to me that many of the bishops hailing this executive action are trying to portray the dissenting opinion as “racist” or “unwelcoming”. I’m not racist, and I am fine with welcoming immigrants that are here to be normal members of society. What I am not fine with are the many that abuse our current policies to take advantage of the country rather than to be a member of it.

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