A Catholic Answer to the Refugee Crisis

Refugees, courtesy Associated Press

 

IT is one of the most volatile topics in the world right now—and one of the least balanced discussions at that: refugees, and what do with the overwhelming exodus. St. John Paul II called the issue “perhaps the greatest tragedy of all the human tragedies of our time.” [1]Address to Refugees in Exile at Morong, Philippines, Feb. 21st, 1981 For some, the answer is simple: take them in, whenever, however many they are, and whomever they may be. For others, it is more complex, thereby demanding a more measured and restrained response; at stake, they say, is not only the safety and wellbeing of individuals fleeing violence and persecution, but the safety and stability of nations. If that is the case, what is the middle road, one that safeguards the dignity and lives of genuine refugees while at the same time safeguarding the common good? What is our response as Catholics to be?

 

THE CRISIS

Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions…. we must not be taken aback by the numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to this situation; to respond in a way which is always human, just, and fraternal… let us remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. —POPE FRANCIS, address to U.S. Congress, September 24th, 2015; usatoday.com

Probably one of the greatest obstacles to a civil and reasoned discussion on the current refugee crisis is the lack of understanding in the general population of exactly why the crisis exists in the first place, for “a world where human rights are violated with impunity will never stop producing refugees of all kinds.”[2]Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, “Refugees: A Challenge to Solidarity”, Intro.; vatican.va

The answer, in one word, is war. War between peoples, war between Muslim sects, war between nations, war over oil, and in truth, war for world domination. In his speech to Congress, Pope Francis acknowledged the “complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges.” [3]cf. address to U.S. Congress, September 24th, 2015; straitstimes.com One cannot adequately address just solutions to the present refugee crisis without examining its varied and startling roots. So I will briefly highlight three significant issues fueling the mass migration of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.

 

I. Fighting Between the Muslim Sects

While Christians are at the brunt of Islamic persecution in many countries around the world, so too are fellow Muslims. The two major sects of Islam are the Sunnis and the Shiites. The division between them goes back 1400 years to a dispute over who should succeed the Prophet Mohammad. Today, their differences continue to manifest in a power struggle over who is to rule 
regions or entire countries.

Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, and Boko Haram are Sunni Muslim groups who use terrorism to threaten and expel their enemies often, as we know, in the most barbaric ways. Then there is Abu Sayyef in the Philippines, Lashkar e Taiba in Kashmir, and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Hezbollah out of Lebanon is the military arm of some Shiites. All of these organizations are responsible to one degree or another for the displacement of millions of people fleeing the brutal enforcement of Islamic doctrine known as Sharia law (note: the fight between Islamic sects often comes down to the view that the other party is an “apostate” for his or her erroneous interpretation or application of Islamic teaching).

 

II. Western Intervention

Here, the situation becomes even more complex. It is a known fact that foreign countries, most especially the United States, have supplied weapons, resources, and training to some of the aforementioned terrorist groups in order to shift power in the Middle East to their own “national interests.” Why? It might be overly simplifying things to say “oil”, but that’s a large part it. Another less known but related reason has its ties to Freemasonry and the spread of “enlightened democracies”: [4]see Mystery Babylon

America would be used to lead the world into the philosophic empire. You understand that America was founded by Christians as a Christian nation. However, there were always those people on the other side who wanted to use America, abuse our military power and our financial power, to establish enlightened democracies throughout the world and restore the lost Atlantis [a utopian system based on humanism alone]. —Dr. Stanley Monteith, The New Atlantis: Secret Mysteries of America’s Beginnings (video); interview Dr. Stanley Monteith

Three devastating aspects of Western intervention have been, first, the war in Iraq, which killed hundreds of thousands based on controversial claims of “weapons of mass destruction.” [5]cf. To My American Friends Second, as already mentioned, the U.S. has enabled terrorist groups.

What has been omitted from mainstream circles though is the intimate relationship between US intelligence agencies and ISIS, as they have trained, armed and funded the group for years. —Steve MacMillan, August 19th, 2014; global research.ca

Third, with the withdrawal of the American led coalition from the region primarily under Obama’s watch, the vacuum has created tremendous instability and a violent power-struggle between the Muslim sects, which has led, in part, to the current refugee crisis.

 

III. Islamic Ideology

Just as many Westerners understand little about the muddled politics of the Middle East, even fewer understand that Islam is not like Christianity, or most other religions for that matter. The “separation between Church and State” prevalent in the West [6]Poland is a rare exception in how this is integrated in practice. is not a concept Islam embraces. In an ideal Islamic world, the economy, politics, law and religion all breathe from the same lungs of Islamic tradition. Sharia law is essentially the enforcement of Islamic doctrine and is a predominant rule and desire in many Muslim-controlled countries where Sunnis make up between 85-89% of the Islamic world population.

Central to Islamic doctrine is the spread of a “global caliphate” to bring the entire world under Islamic domination. As it says in the Koran:

It is he (Allah) who has sent his Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth (i.e. Islam), in order for it to be dominant over all other religions, even though the Mushrikoon (unbelievers) hate it. —EMQ at-Tawbah, 9:33 & as Saff 61:4-9, 13

Mawlana Sayid Abul Ala Mawdudi (born 1905) was an Islamic scholar from the Indian subcontinent and is considered one of Islam’s greatest scholars. He said:

Islam is not a normal religion like the other religions in the world, and Muslim nations are not like normal nations. Muslim nations are very special because they have a command from Allah to rule the entire world and to be over every nation in the world…. In order to fulfill that goal, Islam can use every power available every way it can be used to bring worldwide revolution. This is Jihad.Islam and Terrorism, Mark A. Gabriel, (Lake Mary Florida, Charisma House 2001) p.81

One of the ways in which this Global Caliphate can be spread, according to Mohammad, is through migration or “Hijrah.”

…the concept of Hijrah—Immigration—as a means of supplanting the native population and reaching the position of power became a well-developed doctrine in Islam… The main principle for a Muslim community in a non-Muslim country is that it must be separate and distinct. Already in the Charter of Medina, Muhammad outlined the basic rule for Muslims who emigrate to non-Muslim land, i.e., they must form a separate body, keeping their own laws and making the host country comply with them. — Y.K. Cherson, “The Goal of Muslim Immigration According to Muhammad’s Teachings”, Oct. 2nd, 2014

While it is uncertain to what degree the precept of Hijrah is playing a role in the current migration of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, Steve Bannon, controversial chief strategist of the new U.S. President, is on record regarding his concerns over the Islamic Caliphate.

It’s a very unpleasant topic, but we are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism. And this war is, I think, metastasizing far quicker than governments can handle it… a war that’s already global.  —from a conference at the Vatican in 2014; BuzzFeedNews, November 15th, 2016

Those concerns are not merely the view of “radicals.” Austrian Cardinal Schönborn, who is close to Pope Francis and who initially supported the huge influx of migrants, also asked:

Will there be a third Islamic attempt to conquer Europe? Many Muslims think this and wish this and say that Europe is at its end.Catholicism.org, December 27th, 2016

The leader of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, also warned that Europe risks losing its Christian identity entirely as a result of the West’s widespread use of contraception and abortion. 

Muslims in Europe have many more children than Christian families; that is why demographers have been trying to come up with a time when Europe will become Muslim. Europe will pay dearly for having left its spiritual foundations… Unless the Christians wake up, life may be Islamized and Christianity will not have the strength to imprint its character on the life of people, not to say society.World TribuneJanuary 29th, 2017

Some suggest it is too late, as the birth rate in most European countries has fallen well below replacement levels. [7]cf. Muslim Demographics Perhaps this is what Pope Benedict XVI eluded to in a sobering homily to the world’s bishops:

The threat of judgment also concerns us, the Church in Europe, Europe and the West in general… the Lord is also crying out to our ears… “If you do not repent I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” —Pope Benedict XVI, Opening Homily, Synod of Bishops, October 2nd, 2005, Rome

Cardinal Raymond Burke also raised the issue of Islamization in an interview with Italian newspaper Il Giornale.

Islam is a threat in the sense that for the true Muslim, Allah must rule the world. Christ said in the Gospel: ‘Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s’. By contrast, the Islamic religion, which is based on the law of the Koran, aims to govern all countries where there are Muslims. While they are the minority they cannot insist, but when they become the majority they must apply the Sharia. —March 4th, 2016, Il GiornaleEnglish translation at brietbart.com

These are not politically correct statements, but are they true? Here is a compilation someone put forward on YouTube of Muslims from every walk of life—politicians, Imams, analysts, and jihadists—and what they have to say:

 

REALITY CHECK

In his speech to Congress on the refugee crisis, Pope Francis called all parties to avoid a “simple reductionism, which sees only good or evil, righteous and sinners.” [8]cf. address to U.S. Congress, September 24th, 2015; straitstimes.com The wholesale branding of all self-described Muslims as a threat, or conversely, ignoring the prevalent ideology of Islam, as if it doesn’t exist, is counter-productive. On the one hand, there are thousands of families, like yours and mine, fleeing for their lives. On the other hand, the “open border” mass influx of migrants is destabilizing regions, thus fomenting fears and populist movements throughout the West, such as in America’s recent election or the Austrian Freedom Party. This too has the potential to breed other forms of extremism if not placing the world on the doorstep of a “global conflict.” 

Balance lies in facing the truth, in facing the multi-dimensional aspects of the crisis, and finding humane but prudent solutions rooted in reality.

Any quest for solutions has to acknowledge what is the predominant Muslim ideology, namely, that Sharia Law should prevail. [9]cf. The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority  For instance, those who insist that American Muslims are “moderates” who don’t subscribe to what the mainstream media has termed “radical Islam” is simply not true.

A Pew Research survey of Muslim-Americans under thirty revealed that sixty percent of them felt more loyalty to Islam than to America…. A nationwide survey conducted by The Polling Company for the Center for Security Policy reveals that 51 percent of Muslims agreed that “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Sharia.” In addition, 51 percent of those polled believed that they should have the choice of American or Sharia courts. —William Kilpatrick, “Know-Nothing Catholics on Muslim Immigration”, January 30th, 2017; Crisis Magazine

In contrast to the previous video, this short clip is not the hysteria of angry mobs we’re used to seeing on television, but is a cool, detached reality check that echoes the findings of those polls. Again, from the mouths of Muslims themselves:

It helps, also, to consider all that the Holy Father has said on the issue. For instance, it’s not correct that Pope Francis has ignored the present dangers, though admittedly, he rarely emphasizes them as he did in this interview:

The truth is that just [250 miles] from Sicily there is an incredibly cruel terrorist group. So there is a danger of infiltration, this is true… Yes, nobody said Rome would be immune to this threat. But you can take precautions. —POPE FRANCIS, interview with Radio Renascenca, Sept. 14th, 2015; New York Post

Indeed, politicians from several continents—not just America’s Donald Trump—have called for “precautions” in order to ensure the safety of their respective countries, including the well-respected Premier of Saskatchewan in Canada: [10]see The Crisis of the Refugee Crisis

I am asking you [Prime Minister Trudeau] to suspend your current plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year and to re-evaluate this goal and the processes in place to achieve it… Surely we do not want to be date-driven or numbers-driven in an endeavour that may affect the safety of our citizens and the security of our country. Huffington Post, November 16th, 2015; note: since President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, Mr. Wall has offered to process Syrian refugees, however, he maintains that the process should not be rushed or “date-driven”.

Are these calls for precaution warranted or are they merely xenophobia [11]xenophobia: irrational dislike or fear of other nationalities in disguise? In the recent terrorist attacks in Nice, Brussels, Paris and Germany, the majority of those who carried them out entered those countries ‘posing as migrants.’ [12]cf. “Majority of Paris attackers used migration routes to enter Europe, reveals Hungarian counter-terror chief “, The Telegraph, October 2nd, 2016 An ISIS operative has allegedly admitted that they have been smuggling Jihadists into the West as “refugees.” [13]cf. Express, Nov. 18th, 2015 And in Germany, the Gatestone Institute reports that, “During the first six months of 2016, migrants committed 142,500 crimes… equivalent to 780 crimes committed by migrants every day, an increase of nearly 40% over 2015.” [14]cf. www.gatestoneinstitute.org

So how does one balance the obligation of the State to protect the vulnerable, both within her borders, and those knocking on her doors in dire need?

 

WELCOMING THE STRANGER

In a blunt address to a meeting of Catholics and Lutherans in Germany, Pope Francis decried “the contradiction of those who want to defend Christianity in the West, and, on the other hand, are against refugees and other religions.”

It’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help… You cannot be a Christian without doing what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 25. Catholic Herald, October 13th, 2016

‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (Matt 25:37-40)

The “stranger” is anyone in need. Jesus does not say the “Catholic” stranger or the starving “Christian” or the “Catholic” prisoner. The reason is that every human being is made in the image of God, and therefore, their inherent worth demands that we uphold and preserve their dignity.

This was one of the most beautiful and controversial facets of Jesus’ life: He looked past the religion of the Samaritan, the nationality of the Roman, and above all, the weakness, corruption, and sin of the human person to that image of God in which they were created. He healed, delivered, and preached to all. As a result, Jesus scandalized the teachers of the Law—those who used religion as a pretense to power and worldly comfort, but who were devoid of compassion and mercy. [15]cf. The Scandal of Mercy

The first thing we need to see in the refugee who seeks refuge is not the face of a Muslim, an African, or a Syrian… but the face of Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor.

The international community as a whole has the moral obligation to intervene on behalf of those groups whose very survival is threatened or whose basic human rights are seriously violated. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 506

Nothing precludes giving food, water and basic shelter to someone who may even be an enemy.

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you… Rather, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good. (Luke 6:27-28, Rom 12:20-21)

 

PROTECTING ONE’S OWN

The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People stated that, “The Christian community must overcome fear and suspicion toward refugees, and be able to see in them the Savior’s face.” [16]Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, “Refugees: A Challenge to Solidarity”, n.27; vatican.va Sadly, it is not always the “Savior’s face” occupying the streets and neighbourhoods of European towns and cities. [17]cf. The Crisis of the Refugee Crisis As mentioned, many have had to cope with dramatic upticks in violence, rape, and vandalism that also migrated into Europe. The Catholic archbishop of Berlin, Heiner Koch (who was appointed by Pope Francis) proposes a reality check:

Perhaps we focused too much on the radiant image of humanity, on the good. Now in the last year, or perhaps also in recent years, we have seen: No, there is also evil.World Tribune, January 29th, 2017

It was a Tunisian national, who arrived among a wave of Arab migrants, and murdered 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin by driving a truck into the crowd. 

So the State also has an obligation to safeguard the peace and security of those within its borders (even if that requires “armed forces”).

Those who defend the security and freedom of a country, in such a spirit, make an authentic contribution to peace… there exists, therefore, a right to defend oneself from terrorism. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 502, 514 (cf. Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 79; POPE JOHN PAUL II, Message for the 2002 World Youth Day for Peace, 5

It is moral and licit for those endowed with the responsibility to protect their citizens to take every precaution against admitting terrorists into their countries, while always remembering that “the human person is the foundation and purpose of political life.” [18]Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 384 For one, not only are they protecting their own inhabitants but also those seeking refuge in their nations. It would be a tragic irony for refugees to migrate to the West—only to find that the very terrorists whom they were fleeing have walked right in with them.

It must also be said, though, that in targeting terrorists…

…the guilty party must be duly proven, because criminal responsibility is always personal, and therefore cannot be extended to the religions, nations or ethnic groups to which the terrorists belong. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 514

How countries implement safeguards on their immigration policies is not for the Church to dictate, but rather, she is there providing a guiding voice in her social teaching. 

 

SOLUTIONS TO THE IMMEDIATE NEED

Still, the question remains: what about those genuine refugees needing immediate asylum, food and water (many of them victims of the fallout from American foreign policy from the Bush and Obama administrations—policy that has destabilized the Middle East and aided and abetted terrorist organizations like ISIS, who have now driven them from the homes….)? The Church’s social Magisterium teaches:

…a courageous and lucid analysis of the reasons behind terrorist attacks [is essential]… The fight against terrorism presupposes the moral duty to help create those conditions that will prevent it from arising or developing.Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 514

One solution—the most obvious one—is to put an end to the conditions which are generating refugees in the first place. For…

It is not only a case of binding up wounds: commitment is also necessary in order to act on the causes that are the source of the streams of refugees. —Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, “Refugees: A Challenge to Solidarity”, n.20; vatican.va

However, since the battle in the Middle East is mostly over oil reserves and control—not injustice—one wonders what will transform the greed of the ruling elite and military-industrial complex beyond an intervention from God? [19]cf. Cosmic Surgery 

A second humane solution (already in place in some countries) is to create dignified “safe zones” organized and defended by the international community until refugees are relocated—or safely returned home. But “given their overcrowding, the insecurity of national frontiers, and a policy of deterrence which transforms certain camps into virtual prisons… even when humanely treated, the refugee still feels humiliated [and is]… at the mercy of others.” [20]cf. Ibid. n. 2

Third, is to continue to relocate refugees into Western nations, but with a caveat: that the laws and culture of the lands to which they are coming must be respected; that Sharia Law—which is incompatible with Western principles of law, freedom, the dignity of women, etc.—cannot be implemented; and that a mutual respect of customs be upheld insofar as they are within the existing framework of the law.

Unfortunately, the predominant tide of political correctness in Western society not only opposes any notion of prudent assimilation, but subtly persecutes its own cultural roots to the point where Christianity is often rejected, while other religions are not only tolerated, but celebrated. In what is becoming a tragic irony, dominant Islamic thought does not celebrate the prevailing Western “ideals” of democracy, feminism, and relativism. In yet another twist of irony, militant atheist, Richard Dawkins, seemed to come to the defence of Christianity:

There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse. —from The Times (remarks from 2010); republished on Brietbart.com, January 12th, 2016

 

CALIPHATE, AND THE CATHOLIC RESPONSE

We are left with the question of how to respond to those intent on spreading the Islamic Caliphate to your neighbourhood and mine. What happens when ‘those conditions’ that create violent aggression are not the fruit of social injustices, but rather, the ideology of a large sect of people, in this case, Islam?

Pope Benedict XVI attempted to address this in a famous speech given at the University of Regensburg, Germany. [21]cf. On the Mark He called Muslims and all religions to “faith and reason” in order to avoid the kind of religious fanaticism that is beginning to tear the world apart. [22]cf. The Black Ship – Part II Benedict quoted an emperor who once stated that what Muhammad had brought was “evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” [23]cf. Regensburg, Germany, Sept. 12, 2006; Zenit.org This set off a firestorm of, ironically, violent protests.

The violent reactions in many parts of the Islamic world justified one of Pope Benedict’s main fears… They show the link for many Islamists between religion and violence, their refusal to respond to criticism with rational arguments, but only with demonstrations, threats, and actual violence. —Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney; www.timesonline.co.uk, September 19, 2006

It is certainly possible for Catholics and Muslims to live in mutual peace; many are doing so already, and we should indeed strive for this. After all, in one of Mohammad’s earlier sayings, he taught:

There is no compulsion in religion.Surah 2, 256

Obviously, some Muslims live by that—but many don’t. For those who don’t convert to Islam in some of the world’s largest Muslim nations, a tax, confiscation of one’s home, or worse—death—can be imposed under Sharia Law. Still, many Muslims choose to abide by Mohammad’s more peaceful precepts, and thus, Pope St. John XXIII wrote:

There is reason to hope… that by meeting and negotiating, men may come to discover better the bonds that unite them together, deriving from the human nature which they have in common… it is not fear which should reign but love…Pacem in Teris, Encyclical Letter, n. 291

Many question whether or not the Caliphate can be met with peace, and state that a military conflict is inevitable, as it was in defeating the ideology of Nazism. If so, the rules of engagement must continue to follow the paths of justice, what the Church’s social Magisterium has outlined concerning “just war” (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2302-2330). Here, we must be reminded that prayer is more powerful than weapons and that war often “creates new and still more complicated conflicts.” [24]POPE PAUL VI, Address to Cardinals, June 24th, 1965 

War is an adventure without return…. No to war! War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, from “John Paul II: In His Own Words”, cbc.ca

 

THE ULTIMATE RESPONSE

Yet, in all of the discussion, debates, and demands to show tolerance and compassion, to be welcoming and to open borders to refugees (who are mostly Muslim), we cannot forget the greatest obligation of  every Christian: to make visible and known the message of salvation. As St. John Paul II said, “we will reach justice through evangelization.” [25]Opening Address at the Puebla Conference at Seminario Palafoxiano, Puebla de los Angeles, Mexico, January 28th,  1979; III-4; vatican.va The reason is that Christianity is not just another philosophical option, another religious path among many. It is the revelation of the Father’s love to all of humanity and the path to eternal life. It is also the deepest realization of one’s existence, for “Christ… fully reveals man to man himself.” [26]Gaudium et Spes, Vatican II, n. 22; vatican.va

[The Church] exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection. —POPE PAUL VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 14; vatican.va

However, there is a false and dangerous current flowing through the Church at this hour—one that ties into the general apostasy of our times—and that is the notion that our aim is essentially to live peacefully, tolerantly, and comfortably with one another. [27]cf. The Black Ship – Part II Well, that is our hope… but it is not our goal. Our commission from Christ Himself is to…

…make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matt 28:19-20)

Thus, said John Paul II, “If the Church gets involved in defending or promoting human dignity, it does so in accordance with its mission,” [28]cf. Opening Address at the Puebla Conference at Seminario Palafoxiano, Puebla de los Angeles, Mexico, January 28th, 1979; III-2; ewtn.com which is a consideration of the “whole being.” [29]Ibid. III-2 The Christian mission involves the “fuller liberation” of the person, “liberation from everything that oppresses man but which is above all liberation from sin and the Evil One, in the joy of knowing God and being known by Him, of seeing Him, and of being given over to Him.” [30]POPE PAUL VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 9; vatican.va As Christians, we are called to not only be instruments of peace—“blessed are the peacemakers”—but to point others to the Prince of Peace. 

There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, are not proclaimed. —POPE PAUL VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 22; vatican.va

But Jesus warned, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you… You will be hated by all because of my name.” [31]cf. John 15:20, Luke 21:17 The Church’s history is traced by the bloody footsteps of the martyrs—men and women who gave their lives to bring the Good News to Jews, Gentiles, pagans, and yes, Muslims.

Working for peace can never be separated from announcing the Gospel, which is in fact the “good news of peace” (Acts 10:36; cf. Eph 6:15)…. The peace of Christ is in the first place reconciliation with the Father, which is brought about by the ministry Jesus entrusted to his disciples…Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 493, 492

…and entrusted to you and I. Perhaps another good that can come from this refugee crisis is that, for some of them, this may be their only opportunity to see and hear the Gospel.

But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? (Romans 10:14)

But as St. James reminds us, the Gospel has no credibility if we ignore the real needs of “the least brothers” of ours. [32]cf. Matt 25:40

If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:15-17)

Refugees, by virtue of their inherent human dignity, deserve to be cared for regardless of whether or not the opportunity arises to share the message of the Gospel (though unconditional love that looks beyond color, race, and creed is a powerful witness). 

The Church, however, deplores all forms of proselytism among refugees that take advantage of their vulnerable situation, and upholds the freedom of conscience even in the difficulties of exile. —Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, “Refugees: A Challenge to Solidarity”, n.28; vatican.va

Nonetheless, extending the message of salvation means that we may confront at times, not a grateful refugee, but a hostile opponent. We must continue to preach the Gospel through service—and words which find their credibility in our love for the other, even if that love demands the giving of our very lives. That, in fact, is the most credible witness there is. [33]see Where Heaven Touches Earth – Part IV

 

LAST WORD… OUR LADY WILL TRIUMPH!

I think it’s clear that we cannot reduce the current crisis to merely human or political terms. It’s worth repeating the admonition of St. Paul:

Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12)

Behind the wars, behind the greed of those “anonymous financial interests which turn men into slaves”, [34]POPE BENEDICT XVI, Reflection after the reading of the office for the Third Hour this morning in the Synod Aula, Vatican City, October 11, 2010 are demonic spirits operating against the Divine order and the plan of Redemption. So too, we must courageously recognize that behind Islam, or any religion which does not recognize Jesus Christ as Lord, there is a deception at work.

This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world. (I John 4:2-3)

As such, we can only confront the spirit of deception in a spirit of power and might—that is, God’s Spirit.  In that regard, we would do well to tap into the “divine program” underway which, once again, places Our Lady in a central role.

On this universal level, if victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her because He wants the Church’s victories now and in the future to be linked to her… —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p. 221

And again,

The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to [the Rosary]… the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 40

If you have not read Our Lady of the Cab Ride, well, you’ve just got to. It will put a smile on your face. Because I believe it is a hint at how Our Lady is going to play a key role in the conversion of Islam to Jesus Christ. And I say this with joy because no Muslim should ever find Christians to be a threat. What we offer (in trembling hands) is the fulfillment of all desires: Jesus “the way, the truth, and the life.” This is what He said! [35]see John 14:6 While respecting the genuine truths that Islam, Buddhism, Protestantism, and many other “isms” hold, we can say with joy: but there is more! The Catholic Church, bruised and battered as she is, safeguards a treasury of grace for every human being. She is not for the elite: she is a gateway for the entire world to the Heart of Christ, and thus, eternal life. May none of us Catholics stand in the way of this joyful, precious, and urgent message. May God forgive us for our cowardice in keeping it hidden!

Imploring the Blessed Mother’s help, then, let us go out into the hearts of men with courage and faith in the power of the Gospel which “is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword.” [36]Hebrews 4:12 Let us embrace our enemies, refugees, and those far away with the power of love. For “God is love”, and therefore, we cannot fail, even if we lose our lives.

On this Memorial of the martyrs of Japan, may Saint Paul Miki and his Companions pray for us.

 

RELATED READING

Our Lady of the Cab Ride

The Crisis of the Refugee Crisis

Madness!

The Nigerian Gift

 

  
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1. Address to Refugees in Exile at Morong, Philippines, Feb. 21st, 1981
2. Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, “Refugees: A Challenge to Solidarity”, Intro.; vatican.va
3, 8. cf. address to U.S. Congress, September 24th, 2015; straitstimes.com
4. see Mystery Babylon
5. cf. To My American Friends
6. Poland is a rare exception in how this is integrated in practice.
7. cf. Muslim Demographics
9. cf. The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority
10. see The Crisis of the Refugee Crisis
11. xenophobia: irrational dislike or fear of other nationalities
12. cf. “Majority of Paris attackers used migration routes to enter Europe, reveals Hungarian counter-terror chief “, The Telegraph, October 2nd, 2016
13. cf. Express, Nov. 18th, 2015
14. cf. www.gatestoneinstitute.org
15. cf. The Scandal of Mercy
16. Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, “Refugees: A Challenge to Solidarity”, n.27; vatican.va
17. cf. The Crisis of the Refugee Crisis
18. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 384
19. cf. Cosmic Surgery
20. cf. Ibid. n. 2
21. cf. On the Mark
22, 27. cf. The Black Ship – Part II
23. cf. Regensburg, Germany, Sept. 12, 2006; Zenit.org
24. POPE PAUL VI, Address to Cardinals, June 24th, 1965
25. Opening Address at the Puebla Conference at Seminario Palafoxiano, Puebla de los Angeles, Mexico, January 28th,  1979; III-4; vatican.va
26. Gaudium et Spes, Vatican II, n. 22; vatican.va
28. cf. Opening Address at the Puebla Conference at Seminario Palafoxiano, Puebla de los Angeles, Mexico, January 28th, 1979; III-2; ewtn.com
29. Ibid. III-2
30. POPE PAUL VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 9; vatican.va
31. cf. John 15:20, Luke 21:17
32. cf. Matt 25:40
33. see Where Heaven Touches Earth – Part IV
34. POPE BENEDICT XVI, Reflection after the reading of the office for the Third Hour this morning in the Synod Aula, Vatican City, October 11, 2010
35. see John 14:6
36. Hebrews 4:12
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