Another Dispatch from Near “the Border”

One thing that the cities of Phoenix and Roanoke have in common is:  Breathtaking mountain vistas can sneak up on you in any nook or cranny of town.  Like when you’re ambling through South Mountain Park…


Another thing:  This place is a bona fide desert.  I cannot get used to the dry air and all the dust.

How the eastern boys in the Confederate Arizona company must have suffered.  Chapped hands, chapped lips, sneezing constantly.  We Easterners need more ambient moisture.

Yesterday I got to assist at Holy Mass at the Mission of San Xavier del Bac, on the road south of Tucson towards Nogales.

San Xavier del Bac

(Just about 300 miles due west, in fact, from where our Holy Father will make his final stop, during his visit to Mexico next week.)

Fr. Eusebio Kino founded the mission.  He came from Germany to evangelize in territory held by the Spanish crown.  He made a map of all the little hamlets on all the woebegone waterways of the Sonoran desert.

Eusebio Kino map

A certain borderline does not, of course, appear on this map.  The land itself offers no natural feature here that would divide one nation from another.

We Catholics stand for law and order, of course.  But we have to reflect on this question, when we consider all the election-year issues:  Is it morally incumbent on a Mexican person to respect the border between the states of Arizona and Sonora, or Texas and Chihuahua?

I’m not going to comment right now on whether the Civil War constituted a “war of northern aggression.”  But there was certainly a war of northern aggression fifteen years earlier.  The Mexican-American War.

The saints who evangelized New Spain never knew an “Arizona” border, or a Texas border.  The sacred deposit of the Catholic faith does not include the American doctrine of Manifest Destiny.

I myself refuse to use the term “illegal.” Not because of dainty political correctness.  But because the term is, in and of itself, fundamentally unsound.

The whole business could have gone the other way in 1847.  Then the whiteys in this desert would be the “illegals.”

The humane thing now is:  path to citizenship.  Our neighbors who have to live a shadow existence without “papers” deserve all the rights the rest of us have.  And we owe them our thoughts when we vote, right alongside the innocent and defenseless unborn, who likewise do not have the legal protections they should have.

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