On Sunday, Dec. 16, Pope Francis took note of the United Nation's Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), which aims to be a point of reference for the whole international community. He expressed his hope that, thanks to the pact, the international community "can work with responsibility, solidarity and compassion confronted with one who has, for various reasons, left his own country."
At the conference in Marrakesh — where representatives of 164 nations signed the pact — the Vatican secretary of state, Cdl. Pietro Parolin, dutifully pronounced the officious platitudes characteristic at such gatherings:
In this dialogue, dedicated to promoting action on the commitments of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the Holy See would like to focus above all on two of those commitments, which it considers among the most fundamental and indispensable if the international community is going to respond adequately to the challenges and opportunities we face in front of increased migration flows.
The first commitment is to peace and development. ... We must work together to create conditions that allow communities and individuals to live in safety and dignity in their own countries.
These solutions should not be considered the responsibility solely of the country of origin. ... Few would leave if they had access to jobs, education, health-care and other basic goods and services. ... Also essential to stability are the fundamental rights to be able to practice one's religion freely, without fear of persecution or discrimination, as well as the right to political participation and freedom of expression. ... These concerns form an integral part of "the right to remain."
Those who move on must be welcomed and treated with dignity. ... All migrants regardless of status should be guaranteed due process and receive individual assessment that will determine their status. ... Integration is neither merely assimilation nor incorporation. ... Those who arrive are as Pope Francis underlines, "duty bound not to close themselves from the culture and traditions of the receiving country." ... At the same time, integration "is not the superimposition of one culture over another. ... It is rather a mutual enrichment based on mutual and interpersonal respect.
We consider it necessary to widen the regular and sure channels of emigration through generous and responsible policies, inspired by solidarity and co-responsibility.
Cardinal Parolin's statement is, at best, a fine example of ostensibly well-intentioned confusion. The statement's references to rights and its assumption of good intentions appear highly questionable, given a world in which governments are still, by and large, products of a welter of wrongs and wicked purposes, mostly intended to secure power for a favored few, by any means necessary.
It would be somewhat less incongruous for the Vatican to show little regard for this reality if the administration of the Catholic Church's affairs were not in the midst of an ongoing crisis, much less a crisis deeply indicative of the Church's susceptibility to these un-godly motives. But people who appear to have forgotten how to effect moral discipline among themselves can hardly be given the benefit of the doubt if they fail to consider what effect ambition and self-indulgent passion inevitably have in human political and governmental affairs.
In the ages since God's Word "became flesh and dwelt amongst us," the teachings and sacrificial example of Christ and His Holy Church have been the main inspiration for ideas of good government that hold the willing observance of God-endowed justice (right) and rights to be of greater consequence to humanity than forceful accidents of material power.
Hearts capable of understanding Christ's crucifixion as the crux of victory in the decisive battle of humanity's life no longer confuse material conquest with right. Such hearts adhere to a standard of right upheld by the evidence of things unseen, but known with incalculable certainty to hearts inwardly informed by the presence of God-in-Christ.
People among whom such hearts predominate may establish and sustain a constitution of self-government that allows them to enact this standard of right. When they do, their willingness, on the whole, to observe the standard of God-endowed justice (right) and rights can produce an otherwise improbable result. Christ's hosts may, by God's grace, be moved to provide the initiative that eventually impels their whole society in the right direction. This happened at the very beginning of the American republic. It happened at critical junctures thereafter, in particular during the tough contests against chattel slavery and racial segregation.
For the past several decades, however, America's Christians have been reacting against initiatives that openly reject the premise of rights, endowed by our creator, and predicated on the standard of right with which God informs the tenets of human conscience. Abortion and the rejection of God's natural distinction between male and female have been foremost among these regressive initiatives. Both involve erasing lines of distinction and identity critical to our identity as human beings. Both involve discarding the will of God, made manifest in His creation. Both speciously assert the power of human will and self-idolizing re-creation.
Hidden in this refusal to accept God-informed delimitations is the denigration of human empirical science. Instead of power derived from knowledge of "the laws of nature," human forces seek to enshrine self-willed "natures" imposed by the abuse of power. Not unimportantly, this devaluation of God's will motivated the inventors and proselytizers of the ideologies presently warring against God and Christ. But even as they seek to dethrone God, they pay homage to the natural power His truth has over the human mind.
So they pretend to champion the rights of all peoples even as they seek to erase the determinations of God that prevision the distinct existence of different peoples. And they purport to value the prosperity of all people, even as they demand abrogation of the boundaries within which a people may, by voluntary means, establish laws that encourage individuals to know and accept their necessary and proper familial and communal obligations.
It is telling that, in recent years, the Vatican's self-conflicting words and policies have more and more aligned with the peculiar secular ideologies that combine passionate moral rhetoric with hopelessly materialistic agendas. Those agendas fueled by forceful power worship are a characteristic of contemporary ideologies, hostile to Christ and God. So we end up with:
What if the only human characters who can make sense of this juxtaposition of conflicting goals are those disposed to satisfy God's standard of right and justice for God's sake, rather than to serve their own ambitions, passions and vain self-images (identities)?
Then, the Vatican's priority would have to be restoring the God-respecting, Christ-like character of the Catholic Church, beginning with the Christ-centered character of the hierarchs who are supposed to set the example of Christ before other believers. For without the leaven of Christ's unselfish dedication to God's will, the secular agendas to which the Vatican now seems to give priority are doomed to fail.