Comment, if You Please, re: Undocumented Persons

We reach out in love to the poor and the needy and most vulnerable. –New Bishop of Arlington, Virginia, Michael Burbidge, in his installation homily yesterday.

Dear Reader, I find myself stressed and distressed. I would like to explain this to you by way of a series of multiple choice questions.*

1. Which large group of people in the U.S. is more vulnerable?

a. The innocent and defenseless unborn
b. Undocumented immigrants

2. Who less deserve to have their survival put in jeopardy?

a. The innocent and defenseless unborn
b. Undocumented residents of the US who were brought here as infants or children

3. Whose basic human rights should the Church stand up for with more zeal?

a. Innocent and defenseless unborn children
b. Law-abiding undocumented immigrants facing the threat of deportation

Let me flesh out my distress some more by offering you the following subtle antitheses:

1. Undocumented immigrants have broken our U.S. laws de facto,


These include our neighbors, friends, and the school classmates of our children. And we whiteys can hardly claim to “own” these lands by divine right.

2. According to current rules, immigration-enforcement agents do not inquire at churches, schools, and hospitals to look for undocumented aliens,


The law-enforcement professionals I have spoken with do not foresee any significant change in procedure, even with a new presidential administration,


These rules could change rather suddenly,


Mr. Trump began his campaign with a a promise to deport all the undocumented (see above).

3. The Church has a spiritual role to play, never an overtly political role. She offers Herself as a mother to all people (including all ‘liberals’ and all ‘conservatives’),


Parishes have administrative assets–ie., data–just like all other human organizations, and I’m responsible for it all, at the pleasure of our bishop. So I feel obliged to say:

I, unworthy shepherd that I am, would prefer to go to jail myself rather than

a. co-operate in an abortion
b. me, or anyone on my staff, providing information leading to the deportation of any person under my spiritual care**

I welcome your comments, dear reader.


* questions intentionally posed to provoke reflection; the author acknowledges they cannot be answered

**investigations involving suspected terrorists or dangerous felons, who are also subject to deportation, are a separate matter

5 thoughts on “Comment, if You Please, re: Undocumented Persons

  1. I am in complete agreement with you, Father Mark! We indigenous people of this land and those who are here because of desperate circumstances seem to be completely ignored and disrespected in favor of those who place profit above people. We appeal to Jesus and our Dear Mother Mary for a just and compassionate resolution to the Godless state our country!

  2. Undoubtedly the unborn are completely helpless and should be our first focus and concern. But I do have empathy for the children that were brought into our nation along with their parents illegally. I feel that they should be allowed to stay in our great nation as long as they haven’t committed any crimes. However the adults that knowingly broke the law and snuck across our borders into our country should be deported (especially those that are criminals). The United States has laws pertaining to immigration and our borders, without these laws and the subsequent following of them we could not have a sovereign nation. We as Christians are told in Romans 13:1-7 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”.

    All are welcome in this great country and there are many millions that desire to come to here. The majority of immigrants go through the proper procedures and at times have to wait a long time before they are granted citizenship. My wife is one of these people. She left the Philippines as a toddler, went through the naturalization process and even joined the US Navy but did not become a United States citizen until she was in her twenties. The fact that many people believe that those who broke our laws and snuck into our nation should be granted rights and even citizenship is a slap in the face to the many millions of law-abiding immigrants that waited years and spent thousands to gain their citizenship legally. Plain and simple it comes down to this: if you commit a crime you have to suffer the consequences and the consequence of illegal immigration is deportation.

    I do not believe that clergy or any church staff should be forced to divulge any information about it’s Parishioners and I do not ever foresee that happening, if it did I would expect nothing less than a denial from the clergy and staff. The President-Elect has recently softened his stance on illegal immigrants, especially children (to the dismay of many of his supporters). I believe the media has stoked an unwarranted fear into immigrant communities and even clergy (as stated here). There’s so much speculation, false narrative and rhetoric. Why not wait until Mr. Trump is actually President and witness the facts and fruits of his actions….we may be pleasantly surprised?!

    One final item. While I have only attended mass at Saint Andrew’s as a visitor three times (I live in Virginia Beach and I am a Parishioner of Sacred Heart in Norfolk), if I were a Parishioner at Saint Andrews I would have a problem with my Pastor referring to people of European descent as “whiteys”. Is that not the equivalent to referring to people of African descent as “blackies”? While it is has become recently acceptable to insult, criticize and make fun of “white” Americans, it saddens me to see that term used by a Catholic Priest.

    I appreciate the insight and knowledge in your blog. Please follow my Facebook group “Catholic Daily Qoutes” and if you find any of my memes worthy I would be honored if you shared them on your page as well. I hope to meet you on my next visit to Roanoke. Stay righteous Father Mark and God Bless You.

  3. Fallacy of the questions in * category notwithstanding, the answers must be 1a, 2a and 3a for at least two obvious reasons:
    1) alive “undocumented” immigrant has still choices to make and to shape his (her) future, while aborted unborn is “simply” erased
    2) “undocumented” immigrant has many ardent advocates, while unborn is mostly abandoned and “allowed” to be supported by quiet prayer only, and once a year peaceful March for Life

    As for the rest of the immigrant questions I’d like to re-post paragraph 2241 from Catechism of the Catholic Church

    “2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.
    Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.”

    Is it noble to support “sanctuary cities” in defiance of the law and at the same time allow unrestricted abortion to continue because it is “the law of the land”?

  4. Real good Sablik! If I came home from work and found a stranger / strange family in my home uninvited , expecting my wife to feed them, me to let them stay giving them financial help before seeing to my familial need because “we are desperate”, have NO interest in adopting let alone co-operating with our home culture, I assure you an Exodus would quickly take place, even if one of them was fresh born on the kitchen floor. But! Knock on my door, present yourself in need, willing to pitch in and participate in the fabric of my family life, that you are of sound character, then a welcome may well be extended.

  5. Stress not, the Holy Spirit is in control, if you allow her to be.
    It seems to me that no one not even Mr. Trump is asking anyone to be without compassion (nor is he without compassion). Rather the concern is that there are those who enter our nation with the precise intent to do harm not only to the host but also to however many the compassionate host has offered sanctuary. You know that within any given crowd, sans the gift of reading hearts, no one can identify a person with evil intent. Ergo, some means of reducing the potential harm. How would you propose to protect the compassionate host?

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