It’s safe to say Breitbart chief Steve Bannon is blunt in disagreeing with the Catholic Church over illegal immigration.
Interviewed by Charlie Rose for “60 Minutes” this week, Bannon was pressed on how he could be a good Catholic and oppose legalizing illegal immigrants.
“The bishops have been terrible about this,” the former White House strategist told his interviewer. “By the way, you know why? You know why? Because [they’re] unable to really come to grips with the problems in the Church, they need illegal aliens, they need illegal aliens to fill the churches.”
Bannon added, “They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration.”
That brought anguish from secular liberals who otherwise don’t take the church’s teachings seriously. Some conservative Catholics were also upset about Bannon’s comments. And Church bishops were naturally not happy with the criticism.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the man named in Rose’s question to Bannon, called the remarks “so insulting and ridiculous that it doesn’t merit a comment.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also refuted the Breitbart exec’s claim, saying that their “pro-immigration stance is based on fidelity to God’s word and honors the American dream.”
The main contention of Dolan and others is that it is preposterous to suggest Catholic bishops cater to immigrants out of the primary interest of wanting more folks in the pews.
However, Bannon has a point. Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic in America and within the American Catholic Church. At the same time, whites are dwindling in the pews of Catholic churches. One of the major factors in Hispanic population growth in America is immigration — both legal and illegal.
This predominately Catholic demographic is seen as the future of the church in America, and they’re not inclined to look kindly upon immigration restriction.
By vocally opposing the ending of DACA and supporting amnesty for all illegal immigrants, the Catholic Church is serving the interests of those who attend mass and ensures more will come to service as the white faces disappear.
Obviously, there is some scripture there to give the policy the appearance of amounting to Church doctrine. But the attempt by the Church to claim it is only trying to live out its teaching in opposing the enforcement of immigration would be more believable if there wasn’t the example of Eastern Europe.
In Poland, Catholic bishops have formed a close alliance with the conservative nationalist Law and Justice Party. The Law and Justice Party is staunchly pro-life, pro-traditional values and very adamant about emphasizing the Catholic character of Poland. The party is also strongly opposed to accepting refugees to the country and has no interest in embracing open borders anytime soon.
But those stances on immigration hasn’t dissuaded Polish bishops from ending its alliance with the party. In fact, some church leaders have issued statements supporting the refusal to accept Muslim migrants.
Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga said that newly-arrived Muslim migrants would create “ghettoes which give birth to violence and terrorism.” A retired Polish bishop said “masked jihadists waiting to strike” hide within the migrant surge, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
In other Catholic Eastern Europe nations, such as Hungary and Slovakia, bishops have also remained quiet about their governments securing their borders and warning of Muslim invasion.
Who sits in the pews is the likely reason for this major difference with the American church. Support for these strong measures against immigration receive widespread approval in Poland and other Eastern European countries.
Additionally, the new arrivals are not likely to be Catholic, but Muslims. Instead of adding new members to a parish, the Muslim migrants contribute to the rise of a rival religion that many Eastern Europeans see as a threat to their culture and faith.
Not wanting to risk alienating their flocks, bishops and priests appear to eschew the immigration boosterism of their American colleagues.
The main goal of the Catholic Church, like all Christian denominations, is to save souls. If politics is going to get in the way of that mission, then it’s smart for bishops to keep those views to themselves. In Poland and Hungary, they would pay a price for speaking out against immigration restriction. In the United States, not so much.
Catholic leaders are of course not going to come out and say “why yes, we fight for immigration because it is in our interest of increasing church attendance to do so,” but the media shouldn’t just accept their claims at face value.
That brings up the other interesting element to the Bannon interview: a big-time journalist questioning someone on the Right about living up to the Catholic faith. The gist of Rose’s question is that a good Catholic must support unrestricted immigration.
Immigration magically turns liberals into Bible-thumping doctrinaires, demanding that open borders is what Jesus would want. This is a marked contrast to what happens when liberals discuss abortion or LGBT issues. Then progressives would like the Church to mind their own business and not tell them what Jesus would want.
This hypocrisy was shown to the whole country this week during the confirmation hearing of appeals court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. A devout Catholic who bases many of her legal judgments on her faith, Barrett was grilled by Democrats to find out if she had some secret Papist agenda. (RELATED: Nominee’s Religious Faith Dominates Senate Judicial Confirmation Hearing)
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein was particularly strong in her determination that Barrett’s faith posed a problem on the bench, mockingly stating, “the dogma lives loudly within you.”
Apparently liberals only want the dogma to live loudly if it means open borders, not closed abortion centers.
The separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of this nation, and liberals seem to be big fans of it — unless it comes to immigration.
But unless liberal journalists are going to interrogate Democrats on abortion like they do Republicans on immigration, maybe they should ditch the hypocrisy and keep the debate secular.