Welcome the Migrant

The treatment of immigrants in the United States violates the biblical and ethical norms that God requires of his people, according to speakers at a conference at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago on Nov. 2 about the ethics of immigration. Deportations, for example, often cause suffering for families and children. William O’Neill, S.J., an associate professor of social ethics at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, Berkeley, Calif., pointed out that throughout salvation history God reminds the people of Israel that they are to “love the stranger and the migrant” because they themselves were once exiles. The Gospels describe how Jesus, born away from home, was forced to flee and was brought back, mirroring the story of the Jewish people. “To oppress the alien is no less than a betrayal of faith,” said O’Neill. “It is apostasy. Hospitality is the measure of righteousness and justice.... Hospitality is the very heart of Christian discipleship. It is not offered to kith and kin, but to those whose only quality is vulnerability and need.”

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