Thank God for The Wall Street Journal editorial board. Now that's a phrase I never imagined uttering. Then again, who would have thought they'd be the institution to jump so eloquently to the defense of the pope from the likes of Lou Dobbs and Tom Tancredo?
During his visit last week, Pope Benedict XVI gave a consistent and prophetic call to U.S. Catholics:
I want to encourage you and your communities to continue to welcome the immigrants who join your ranks today, to share their joys and hopes, to support them in their sorrow and trials, and to help them flourish in their new home. This, indeed, is what your fellow countrymen have done for generations. From the beginning, they have opened their doors to the tired, the poor, the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free." These are the people whom America has made her own.
Somehow this beautiful pastoral call prompted Lou Dobbs to claim the pope was "insulting our country," and Tom Tancredo to accuse him of "faith-based marketing." As if a global spiritual leader shouldn't have the right to offer guidance on how we view and treat our fellow human beings? It's not as if he was laying out policy prescriptions. If anything, the pope's words were a simple and powerful reminder of precisely the pastoral role Jesus calls us to. Not to mention our past as a nation of immigrants.
Today's WSJ said it better than I ever could have:
The pope welcomes immigrants because he's Catholic, not because they are. He isn't "marketing" his faith. He's practicing it.
Patty Kupfer is the Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform campaign coordinator at Sojourners.