Immigration: A Holy Week Reflection

At our last parish council meeting, we heard reports on what was happening in the different communities which make up Holy Family Parish. A number of our families have been affected by immigration raids. Often it is the father who is picked up and his wife and children left behind to fend as best they can. Recently I visited one of our parishioners who was being detained at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). He told me that the United States had been good to him, given him opportunities he would not have had in his own country. People had treated him well and he loved it here. He and his wife had worked quietly for five years and had not gotten into any trouble, even a traffic ticket. I asked if I could do anything for him. He said, "Please bring me a picture of my wife--to take with me. That's all I want."

As we enter Holy Week we see Our Lord being condemned under Roman and Jewish law. There is a great paradox here. Jesus always insisted on obedience to legitimate authority. Yet that same authority unjustly condemned him. Our Holy Father has reminded us that not all laws are just. For example we can never as Christians be at peace with laws which do not protect the most defenseless members of our society--the unborn (see Evangelium Vitae # 20).* Likewise the Church teaches that God created this world for all his children, not just the favored few, and that "more prosperous nations are obliged to welcome the foreigner in search of security and the means of liveliehood which he cannot find in his country of origin." (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2241, cf. Ex. 23:9)

Holy Family parish has always welcomed the immigrant and continues to do so. We instill obedience to law and submission to legitimate authority. At the same time we recognize that God's law is higher than any human law. Our observance of Holy Week teaches us to put God's law first. Only upon that law can we build a free and just society.


Further Reflection on Immigration

Catholic Teaching on Immigration

Letter to PI on Immigration.

The Abortion Issue