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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

What Pope Francis can teach us about how to respond to migrants

Wealthy conservative Catholics are the new US magisterium

In this commentary, former NCR editor Tom Roberts looks at extremely conservative Catholics who either control or have access to enormous sums of money.

One such Catholic is Sean Fieler, who counts among his circle Frank Hanna, Tim Busch and Leonard Leo.

"Fieler is not a household name in Catholic circles, but anyone interested in the future of the church in the United States should keep tabs on what he and his 'good network' are up to," writes Roberts. "… They are closely connected to right-wing intellectuals who provide them with useful language. They have used those considerable resources and connections to fund a host of think-tanks, agencies, media outlets and even a major university department that act as both alternatives to official church structures and as the network's megaphones."

"The outfits they fund reinforce Catholic identity as equivalent with a libertarian approach to economics and politics," Roberts continues. "They amplify a vision of church in which a narrow political approach to abortion and LGBTQ issues are the litmus test for what makes a good Catholic. It is a version of the Trump-leaning Republican Party wrapped in a highly modified Catholic apologetics."

You can read more of Roberts' commentary here.

More background:

  • NCR national correspondent Christopher White recently wrote about conservative Catholic philanthropists and pro-life leaders behind efforts that could obstruct the right to vote for economically marginalized populations and racial minorities for years to come.
     
  • NCR wrote in a 2019 editorial that the Catholic Church in the U.S. is for sale. "Money provides individuals and groups entrée to the highest levels of church leadership and affords others an inordinately large say in church affairs," we wrote.

What Pope Francis can teach us about how to respond to migrants

"Increased news media attention to the situation of minors in immigration detention centers highlights challenges brought on by new waves of people, many of them unaccompanied minors, seeking to escape profound violence and the ongoing impacts of natural disasters and the pandemic at home," writes M.T. Dávila in her latest column for Theology en la Plaza.  

Dávila reminds us that the vulnerability of migrants, and the responsibility of receiving nations to tend to them, are privileged in Pope Francis' most recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. Altogether, migrants and their plight are mentioned over 30 times throughout the document, equal in concern only to the poor.

"The document could also be considered a treatise on welcoming the stranger, a map for nations and societies to better understand how to respond to this most critical sign of the times," Dávila writes. "Francis' articulation of this phrase — welcome, protect, promote, integrate — is not new in the social teaching of the church, but follows over 100 years of the church's dedication to the special concern for the welfare of migrants and refugees."

You can read more of the column here.


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