I expect this will occur the day the pope throws open the gates of Vatican City to all who wish to live there.
Invoking Martin Luther King Jr. and his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Francis made an impassioned plea for the refugees fleeing Syria, saying the crisis is “of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.”
Noting his own status as “the son of immigrants,” the pope pivoted to a more sensitive subject: The flow of illegal immigrants across the United States’s southern border.
He urged compassion for immigrants, warning not to repeat “the sins and the errors of the past” by turning them away.
“On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation,” Francis said, according to his prepared remarks.
“Let us remember the golden rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ ” he added.
“This rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves.”
Several Democrats applauded as Francis declared, “We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.”
Most Republicans did not join in the applause, with GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a son of Cuban immigrants, among the exceptions.
The old Cheech and Chong joke about the papal stance on sex — “He no playa the game, he no makea the rules” — applies here. Vatican City is a self-governing enclave of Italy, and yet, you need a pass to get into the area and a permit to live there.
Perhaps the pope could allow 100,000 Syrians to set up camp in St. Peter’s Square? Nothing like showing “compassion” for the immigrants. Of course, the idea is ridiculous but so is telling us to open our border to allow millions to come in. Will the Vatican send cash to help us take care of them?
The pope doesn’t get it. The world is full of countries that murder their own people, oppress their personal and political aspirations, or are at war with one or several of their neighbors. There are also dozens of civil wars. Nations like the U.S. and those in western Europe are the exception to the rule. Most of the rest of the planet is a dark, miserable, dangerous place for humans to live.
The west has spent a thousand years carefully, even painfully, building up institutions, traditions, and habits of thought that have allowed us to construct societies that, for most, answer the basic human yearning for freedom and security. The addition of millions of people unfamiliar with these institutions and traditions — and unwilling to learn them — would fundamentally alter and undermine the societies in which they settled.
To those who built those societies and those trying to maintain them, this would be radically unfair and, dare I say, immoral. The pope is cashing checks with his heart that the rest of us can’t afford. I would suggest he change his definition of “compassion” when it comes to the mass migration of people.