The Rev. Daniel D. Groody, a University of Notre Dame theologian, has produced a new immigration documentary called “One Border, One Body: Immigration and the Eucharist” saying essentially that Jesus was a migrant so you have no right to enforce the border.
The film highlights a Mass held at the United States-Mexico border with half of the community in the United States and the other half in Mexico. The altar for the service is joined at the fence. The Mass was celebrated in memory of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have died while attempting to cross the border.
If that were all this was, I wouldn’t have any problem with this at all. Groody has been quoted saying, “Christ is the ultimate migrant,” he said. “Jesus’ family were refugees in Egypt.”
Groody produced the film “Dying to Live,” which detailed the struggle of migrants crossing the border into America.
In an article, he wrote
According to the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, immigration is not simply a sociological fact but also a theological event. God revealed his Covenant to his people as they were in the process of immigrating. This Covenant was a gift and a responsibility; it reflected God’s goodness to them but also called them to respond to newcomers in the same way Yahweh responded to them in their slavery: “So you too must befriend the alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:19).
Building on this same foundation, Catholic social teaching has reiterated that the true moral worth of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. John Paul II has consistently underscored the moral responsibility of richer nations to help poor nations, particularly with regard to more open immigration policies. While some in America claim these undocumented immigrants have no right to be here, the church believes that a person’s true homeland is that which provides a migrant with bread…
The Catholic church recognizes the right of a nation to control its borders, but it does not see this as an “absolute right,” nor does it see sovereign rights as having priority over basic human rights. While acknowledging the ideal of people finding work in their home country, the church teaches that if their country of birth does not afford the conditions necessary to lead a fully human life, persons have a right to emigrate.
More info about the film can be found at One Border One Body.
Christianity, I believe, calls us to love all but I don’t believe it means our country is not allowed to have borders, as Fr. Groody seems to believe. And I’m not sure that using the Eucharist as a way to advance a political agenda or stoke a media frenzy is the way to go.