The mandate to welcome the stranger predates Christianity and has been both a moral obligation and a sacred trust in many cultures in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and beyond. Hebrew scripture depicts righteous men such as Abraham welcoming and caring for strangers from afar. It also tells how God punishes those in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah who seek to do violence to guests and strangers. Similarly, in ancient Greek and Roman stories, anyone harming a guest was in danger of provoking the wrath of the gods.
Today, conversations about immigration have become more complicated. Modern nation-states have borders and laws about who can cross those borders. And with geopolitical violence and climate disasters, people are migrating in greater numbers, fleeing war or famine. The Catholic Church is clear in its teaching about our obligation to welcome immigrants and refugees and about the right to immigrate. But the church also teaches that nations have an obligation to secure the common good, which can sometimes mean protecting and securing its borders.
So how should a faithful Catholic approach the question of immigration that is so central to both national and global political debates? In today’s episode of Glad You Asked, guest Alice Camille goes back to the source to discuss what Jesus thought and taught about immigration and how this should guide Christians today.
Camille is an award-winning writer as well as an educator and retreat leader. She has worked on developing catechetical materials and written extensively about scripture.
You can read more of her writing and learn more about this subject in the following links:
- “What did Jesus think of immigration?” by Alice Camille
- “The lies are killing us: The need for immigration reform” by Msgr. Arturo Bañuelas
- Catholic Church’s Position on Immigration Reform
- Immigration Reform and the Catholic Church
- About Alice Camille
Glad You Asked is sponsored by the Claretian Missionaries.