“There are poisons that blind you, and poisons that open your eyes.” – August Strindberg
With the Pope’s visit to the United States comes the inevitable flood of positive coverage from the left, and the silence of Catholic conservatives who may starkly disagree with the Pope, but cannot publicly denounce anything he says. Well, I’m not Catholic, so here we go.
Pope Francis is a human being, who has no authority but that which he has been given by other men. His position is a man-made construct, with no biblical grounding.
As the leader of one of the world’s largest religions, the Pope has incredible influence. Even many who aren’t Catholic feel a sort of reverence toward Francis, as if he truly is the conduit through which Christ delivers his message. Given this, the weight of his words and actions can be hazardous.
During his speech to Congress, Francis discussed illegal immigration:
“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. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule…”
If I were a Catholic conservative, I suppose I would have to sit on my hands and refrain from analyzing the Pope’s asinine statement. Luckily, I’m a Christian of a different color, and am thus able to critique the Pope.
As Strindberg said, certain poisons blind you. Pope Francis is a caring individual, whose heart runs deep with compassion for his fellow man. That much is obvious. Francis truly cares for humanity. On the other hand, his compassion is poison.
Compassion cannot be unbridled; it must be tempered with practicality and logic. To have compassion without the ability to discern the way in which it must be utilized is like having a car without the understanding of how to drive it. It’s a nice thing to have, but it’s useless.
The way in which Pope Francis views the illegal immigration issue is skewed because all he sees is the possibility that the “needs” of a certain set of human beings may be met. To the rest of the issue, Francis is blind. He doesn’t perceive logistics, or the necessities of a functioning economy; he doesn’t appreciate the balance of compassion with practicality that must be met if we, as a nation, are to survive.
This is why I’m profoundly confused by the idea that the Pope would even address politicians in the first place. Why would he come here, and tell us what we should and should not be doing with regard to political issues, when he himself has no operational understanding of our politics?
To view illegal immigrants as people, and to listen to their stories, as Pope Francis admonishes us to do, is irrelevant in the face of the actual problem we face. Obviously they’re people, and they certainly have stories. No one is discounting the fact that many illegal immigrants are good people. But that’s not the point. At all.
The point of contention with regard to the abundance of illegal immigrants in the United States is that their illegal presence is a drain on our economy, on our social safety nets, on our medical facilities, and on our law enforcement. Not to mention they broke the laws of our nation simply by coming here.
To say these things does not show a lack of compassion for illegal immigrants as human beings, rather, it shows an understanding of how a nation survives.
Francis seems to believe we want to “discard” illegal immigrants, as if they’re not human. A desire to see a problem pragmatically resolved is not the same as indifference. Francis conflates conservative solutions to the illegal immigration problem with a lack of compassion and humanity. Either that, or his words betray him. If that’s the case, he needs greater precision, so that his remarks don’t continue to be viewed through peculiar lenses.
The Pope is out of his depth; he’s drowning in a subject about which he knows very little. His greatest strength is also the poison that blinds him. He should refrain from tackling issues about which he has little understanding.