An immigration enforcement advocacy organization says the pope is pushing an immigration policy that advocates being charitable with other people's resources.
During his address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church urged the members of Congress and the United States as a whole not to be afraid of immigrants but to welcome them as fellow human beings. Pope Francis says people are not things that can be discarded just because they are troublesome. The pontiff's admonition comes amidst the problem of illegal immigration from Mexico and Latin America and the U.S. weighing how many Islamic migrants to accept from wars in the Middle East.
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), says the pope clearly views immigration as an act of charity on the part of wealthier countries. The problem with that approach, says Mehlman, is that the pope is "advocating charity with other people's resources."
"There is no moral or ethical doctrine that allows anybody to be charitable with other people's resources," the FAIR spokesman continues. "You can't be charitable with your neighbor's job; you can't be charitable with your neighbor's children's educational opportunities. And yet this is the real-world impact on people in the receiving countries when you have mass immigration.
"Simply to say that the solution is to bring everybody to countries like the United States inflicts great harm on a lot of people," he concludes.
Mehlman doesn't believe the pope's comments will sway members of Congress who want strong border enforcement.
Did the pontiff ignore abortion?
Some Americans are critical of Pope Francis' speech before Congress for his comments on social issues, or lack thereof. But not all agree with that criticism.
One criticism is that the pope never used the "A-word" – abortion – in his address. But Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council points out the pope stated is it is "our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of development." Ruse says "this is clearly, clearly a reference to abortion."
"Anytime you speak of 'every stage of development' you're speaking of a developing child," she adds. "So I think it's just silly for people to say that he ignored the issue of abortion."
As for the issue of homosexuality, Ruse says he did address that when he said he can't hide his concern for the family, which is threatened perhaps as never before.
"He said 'fundamental relationships are being called into question as is the very basis of marriage and the family,'" she notes. "It's a shame we have to read between the tea leaves a little bit, but it is what it is. But anytime you're talking about the fundamental nature and the very basis of marriage, I don't think that proponents of same-sex marriage can count that in their favor, frankly."
Ruse says other comments indicate Pope Francis clearly understands challenges presented to young people by the modern culture.
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A survey of Protestant pastors in America reveals that their view of the pope is vastly different from that of their Protestant forerunners in centuries past.
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