Mexico, Mass Migration and the Example of Moses, Part III: Rome and the Enormous Lies of Exsul Familia
Writing in his essay The Trinity Manifesto - A Program for our Time, John Robbins made the important point that, "The trouble with the professing church is not primarily in its practice, but in its theory. Christians do not know, and many do not even care to know, the doctrines of Scripture. Doctrine is intellectual, and Christians are generally anti-intellectual. Doctrine is ivory tower philosophy, and they score ivory towers. The ivory tower, however, is the control tower of a civilization. It is a fundamental, theoretical mistake of the practical men to think that they can be merely practical, for practice is always the practice of some theory. The relationship between theory and practice is the relationship between cause and effect. If a person believes correct theory, his practice will tend to be correct. The practice of contemporary Christians is immoral because it is the practice of erroneous theory. It is a major theoretical mistake of the practice men to think they can ignore the ivory towers of the philosophers and theologians as irrelevant to their lives. Every action that the practical men take is governed by the thinking that has occurred in some ivory tower - whether that tower be the British Museum, the Academy, a home in Basel, Switzerland, or a tent in Israel."
In last week's post I began my critique of Exsul Familia, Pope Pius XII's 1952 apostolic constitution on migration. This week is a continuation of that post, so you may be wondering why I've elected to preface this week's post with an extended quotation from John Robbins about the relationship between theory and practice. After all, Robbins said nothing about immigration this quote. Why, then, is it relevant?
It is relevant for this reson, as Robbins points out in his essay, practice is always the practice of some prior theory. Theory comes first, then practice. Always. If we begin with correct theory, our practice will tend to be correct. But if our theory is wrong, so too will be our practice.
In the first post in this series I quoted then Mexican presidential candidate, and now president elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) as saying he would defend the right of migrants from all the world to settle in the United States. This is an extraordinary statement and seems obviously wrong on the surface. By what possible right does the presidential candidate of a foreign country dare to claim that he will defend the rights of migrants to settle in a foreign country? What business is this of his? The short answers are, he doesn't (have the right), and it isn't (his business).
Nevertheless, AMLO thinks otherwise. So what is the intellectual theory behind his promise to defend the right of migrant in the world, regardless of the wishes of the American people, to move to America and to make material demands the citizens of that nation? It is my contention that, knowingly or not, AMLO is simply echoing the immigration, migration, and refugee theory of the Roman Church-State, which theory is set forth most clearly in Pope Pius XII's apostolic constitution Exsul Familia.
As I mentioned last week, Exsul Familia is a tissue of enormous lies. Refuting the pope's arguments in Exsul Familia necessarily means that all claims built on that document, including those of AMLO, also are refuted.
With this in mind, let us begin the task of exposing the many, enormous lies of Exsul Familia.
Rome's Misuse of Matthew Chapter 2
Pius XII begins his apostolic constitution with these words, "The émigré Holy Family of Nazareth, fleeing into Egypt is the archetype of every refugee family. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, living in exile in Egypt to escape the fury of an evil king, are, for all times and all places, the models and protectors of every migrant, alien and refugee of whatever kind who, whether compelled by fear of persecution or by want, is forced to leave his native land, his beloved parents and relatives, his close friends, and to seek a foreign soil."
These are not idle words, but the words of a pope of Rome speaking in an apostolic constitution. As was mentioned last week, many Roman Catholic sources consider apostolic constitutions to be the most authoritative of all papal documents, ranking them above even encyclical letters in importance. To give you a sense of the importance Rome places on Exsul Familia, consider that Rome's official commentary on it refers to the constitution as "The Church's Magna Charta on Migrants." The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Migration & Refugee Service subtly references Exsul Familia in it's logo, which depicts the flight to Egypt of Joseph and his family. You can see the logo here on the organization's homepage. In short, Exsul Familia is a big deal among the movers and shakers of the Roman Church-State.
It's also a big lie.
Today, we shall examine the opening statement of Exsul Familia to show how the pope, as does his father the devil, uses Scripture to lie.
So in what ways is the opening statement of Exsul Familia a lie? It seems to me that there are at least three ways the pope deceives his readers. First, Rome's claims for this passage go well what it actually says, second, second, Pope Pius omits other passages in Scripture relevant to the issues of immigration, migration and refugee resettlement, and third, Pope Pius makes no attempt to integrate this claim with Rome's social teaching or political theory so prominent later on in the constitution
Regarding the first item, that Rome's claims go beyond the scope of the passage, it's worth pointing out that there is some truth in Pius' argument. It's important to say this, because Rome is very subtle. The problem with Rome is not that it is wrong in every single statement put forth by the Vatican, but that it mixes truth with error. When it comes to the popes of Rome, they always mix spiritual cyanide in their Kool-Aid.
So what is right about Rome's claim? This passage does say something about refugees. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services webpage gives a definition of a refugee. That definition says in part that a refugee is someone who, "Demonstrates that they were persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group." Did Jesus family fit that definition? Certainly they did. Joseph was warned by an angel in a dream that Herod would seek the child to kill him. Further the angel told Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape the persecution.
So how does Rome go beyond what the passage says? For one, it's hard to see how this passage speaks about, "every migrant, alien and refugee of whatever kind." There are numerous reasons why people leave their homeland to go to a foreign country. But this passage is about refugees undergoing persecution, not those seeking to find a better job, to attend school, to find a more comfortable place to retire, or to find more generous welfare benefits.
A second way Pius goes beyond the scope of the passage is that he fails to mention that Joseph and his family eventually went home. They stayed in Egypt for a season. But once the threat of Herod had passed, they left Egypt and settled in Galilee. When one reads through Exsul Familia, he quickly gets the impression that the pope isn't talking about temporary emergency situations at all, but permanent resettlement.
A third way Exsul Familia goes beyond the scope of Matthew Chapter 2 is that, while the passage makes no mention about how Joseph and his family were supported while in Egypt, Pope Pius implies that taxpayers have an obligation to foot the bill for, "migrant[s], alien[s] and refugee[s] of whatever sort," but the Bible rejects the welfare state. The Bible encourages Christians to take care of those of their own household and to be generous in particular toward fellow believers. But there is no suggestion that Christians are obligated to adopt the principle of altruism, the notion that giving itself is good. And there is certainly no suggestion that governments have the right to take money from their citizens and give it to others, including migrants. That is to say, the Bible does not support the welfare state. Socialists of whatever stripe will find no comfort in the words of Scripture. The Bible everywhere defends private property and limited government. The distributivist socialism of the pope's of Rome - whether the beneficiaries of that socialism are actual citizens or foreigners, it matters not - is an enormous lie.
Not only is Pope Pius guilty of reading more into Matthew Chapter 2 than is there, he also commits a lie of omission by not mentioning other relevant passages in Scripture that would help clarify the Bible's teaching on immigration, migration and refugee resettlement. One of the chief tenants of systematic theology is that you don't build a doctrine on a single passage, but seek to see what all of Scripture has to say about a particular topic. But this the pope does not do. Instead, he rests his case solely on the flight of Joseph and his family to Egypt.
As was mentioned earlier, Exsul Familia was written in 1952, in the years immediately following World War II. Due to the destruction of the war and to the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe, millions of people found themselves uprooted from their homes. Rather than rest one's case on one refugee family as does the pope, would it not make sense to see if one could find an example in Scripture of a mass exodus, something on a scale similar to what occurred in the years following World War II? It seems to me that the answer is obviously, yes. And surprisingly enough, there is quite a good example of a mass exodus in Scripture, which is found, oddly enough, in the Book of Exodus.
I'll save the exegesis of this passage until later, but for now let's just say that the account of Exodus and Israel's subsequent wanderings in the wilderness quite clearly amounts to a defense of private property and a rejection of the pope's assertion that one's subjectively felt need gives one rightful claim to another's property.
The final lie I wanted to discuss about Exsul Familia is the Pope's failure to integrate Matthew Chapter 2 with the rest of his teaching in the document. Pope Pius is quick to tell us that the flight to Egypt is archetypical of all migrants of whatever sort, but quickly drops the reference. Pius never once even tries to show how this passage of Scripture supports his later application of Rome's collectivist economics and globalist politics to the issues of migration, immigration and refugee resettlement. Given the lack of any mention of Matthew Chapter 2 in Exsul Familia beyond the introduction, it is hard for this writer to escape the conclusion that the Pope's citing of the flight to Egypt is anything other than an intellectual fig leaf, which the he cynically uses to advance the evil, globalist agenda of Rome under the aegis of the Bible.
(To be continued...)