What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

2014_what_does_st_thomas_say_about_immigratio What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?In looking at the debate over immigration, it is almost automatically assumed that the Church’s position is one of unconditional charity toward those who enter the nation, legally or illegally.

However, is this the case? What does the Bible say about immigration? What do Church doctors and theologians say? Above all, what does the greatest of doctors, Saint Thomas Aquinas, say about immigration? Does his opinion offer some insights to the burning issues now shaking the nation and blurring the national borders?

Immigration is a modern problem and so some might think that the medieval Saint Thomas would have no opinion about the problem. And yet, he does. One has only to look in his masterpiece, the Summa Theologica, in the First part of the Second Part, question 105, article 3 (I-II, Q. 105, Art. 3). There one finds his analysis based on biblical insights that can add to the national debate. They are entirely applicable to the present.FREE_e-Book_Spanish_Mystic_45px What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

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Saint Thomas: “Man’s relations with foreigners are twofold: peaceful, and hostile: and in directing both kinds of relation the Law contained suitable precepts.”

Commentary: In making this affirmation, Saint Thomas affirms that not all immigrants are equal. Every nation has the right to decide which immigrants are beneficial, that is, “peaceful,” to the common good. As a matter of self-defense, the State can reject those criminal elements, traitors, enemies and others who it deems harmful or “hostile” to its citizens.

The second thing he affirms is that the manner of dealing with immigration is determined by law in the cases of both beneficial and “hostile” immigration. The State has the right and duty to apply its law.

Saint Thomas: “For the Jews were offered three opportunities of peaceful relations with foreigners. First, when foreigners passed through their land as travelers. Secondly, when they came to dwell in their land as newcomers. And in both these respects the Law made kind provision in its precepts: for it is written (Exodus 22:21): ‘Thou shalt not molest a stranger [advenam]’; and again (Exodus 22:9): ‘Thou shalt not molest a stranger [peregrino].’”

Commentary: Here Saint Thomas acknowledges the fact that others will want to come to visit or even stay in the land for some time. Such foreigners deserved to be treated with charity, respect and courtesy, which is due to any human of good will. In these cases, the law can and should protect foreigners from being badly treated or molested.

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Saint Thomas: “Thirdly, when any foreigners wished to be admitted entirely to their fellowship and mode of worship. With regard to these a certain order was observed. For they were not at once admitted to citizenship: just as it was law with some nations that no one was deemed a citizen except after two or three generations, as the Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 1).”

Commentary: Saint Thomas recognizes that there will be those who will want to stay and become citizens of the lands they visit. However, he sets as the first condition for acceptance a desire to integrate fully into what would today be considered the culture and life of the nation.

A second condition is that the granting of citizenship would not be immediate. The integration process takes time. People need to adapt themselves to the nation. He quotes the philosopher Aristotle as saying this process was once deemed to take two or three generations. Saint Thomas himself does not give a time frame for this integration, but he does admit that it can take a long time.

Saint Thomas: “The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst, many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people.”

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Commentary: The common sense of Saint Thomas is certainly not politically correct but it is logical. The theologian notes that living in a nation is a complex thing. It takes time to know the issues affecting the nation. Those familiar with the long history of their nation are in the best position to make the long-term decisions about its future. It is harmful and unjust to put the future of a place in the hands of those recently arrived, who, although through no fault of their own, have little idea of what is happening or has happened in the nation. Such a policy could lead to the destruction of the nation.

As an illustration of this point, Saint Thomas later notes that the Jewish people did not treat all nations equally since those nations closer to them were more quickly integrated into the population than those who were not as close. Some hostile peoples were not to be admitted at all into full fellowship due to their enmity toward the Jewish people.

Saint Thomas: “Nevertheless it was possible by dispensation for a man to be admitted to citizenship on account of some act of virtue: thus it is related (Judith 14:6) that Achior, the captain of the children of Ammon, ‘was joined to the people of Israel, with all the succession of his kindred.’”

Commentary: That is to say, the rules were not rigid. There were exceptions that were granted based on the circumstances. However, such exceptions were not arbitrary but always had in mind the common good. The example of Achior describes the citizenship bestowed upon the captain and his children for the good services rendered to the nation.

*          *          *

These are some of the thoughts of Saint Thomas Aquinas on the matter of immigration based on biblical principles. It is clear that immigration must have two things in mind: the first is the nation’s unity; and the second is the common good.

Immigration should have as its goal integration, not disintegration or segregation. The immigrant should not only desire to assume the benefits but the responsibilities of joining into the full fellowship of the nation. By becoming a citizen, a person becomes part of a broad family over the long term and not a shareholder in a joint stock company seeking only short-term self-interest.

Secondly, Saint Thomas teaches that immigration must have in mind the common good; it cannot destroy or overwhelm a nation.

This explains why so many Americans experience uneasiness caused by massive and disproportional immigration. Such policy artificially introduces a situation that destroys common points of unity and overwhelms the ability of a society to absorb new elements organically into a unified culture. The common good is no longer considered.

A proportional immigration has always been a healthy development in a society since it injects new life and qualities into a social body. But when it loses that proportion and undermines the purpose of the State, it threatens the well-being of the nation.

When this happens, the nation would do well to follow the advice of Saint Thomas Aquinas and biblical principles. The nation must practice justice and charity towards all, including foreigners, but it must above all safeguard the common good and its unity, without which no country can long endure.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?
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  • Camulod

    HOW DO WE EXPOSE THE TRUTH, WITHOUT PEOPLE WHINGING ABOUT SO-CALLED ANTI-SEMITISM OR
    ISLAMOPHOBIA?

    THE FOLLOWING WAS POSTED IN RESPONSE TO A PERSON STATING THAT TALK OF SUCH TRUTHS
    IS UNFAIR TO DECENT JEWS AND THAT MANY WESTERNERS ARE DESCENDED FROM ISRAELITE’S….

    The difficulty is finding the appropriate definition for those that are attacking the West and specifically Christians. The term ‘Zionists’ is not accurate enough, because there are many well meaning, peaceful people, including many Christians who identify with that Biblical term and see no harm in it. The term ‘Jews’ is very broad and it does reflect badly on the innocent Jews, particularly many Sephardic Jews, who have largely been disenfranchised from their homeland, just as the Muslim and Christian Palestinians have.

    There is no doubt that many Westerners are descended from Israelite’s, but the vast majority of them are now either Christians, agnostic or atheist. Whilst it is not fair to include all Jews, it is also unfair to include all Muslims into our definition of those who must no longer be allowed to live in our land, but very few people bother to make that distinction. On this point, some people argue that, “due to the terrorist activities, Muslims are a clear and present danger and we must expel them from our country”. Whilst many Muslims admit that they support terrorist organisations and that they want a worldwide Caliphate, many of those murders and bombings that are reported to have been committed by Muslims, have not been proven.

    Also, the available evidence on the major incidents, such as 9/11 and 7/7, would suggest that it’s more likely that at least some of them were carried out by agents of the Mossad. There have been lots of false flag operations, which have been reported as Arab or Muslim atrocities, but were subsequently proven to have been carried out by Jews. These facts can be verified in several books, but never in the mainstream media, which are all owned and controlled by Jews or their progeny. And, just like Jews, we can’t determine which Muslims are bad and which are decent people; so what do we do? Expel them all?

    In my mind, a more accurate definition can be ascribed to both Jews and Muslims, depending upon which ‘Book’ they follow. The vast majority of Muslims follow the Koran and, according to the Jewish Encyclopaedia and many other sources, 80% of modern day Jews and most Rabbi’s identify with the Talmud, rather than the (Old Testament) Torah. Both the Koran and the Talmud are vehemently anti-Christian, paedophilic and quite frankly, evil guidance books. And, several prominent people, who call themselves Jews, have openly admitted that THEIR god is Satan. Also, both of those books tell their followers that it’s perfectly acceptable to lie, mistreat and even kill, Christians.

    The 20% of Jews that still follow the Torah are probably the Sephardic Jews, as opposed to the Ashkenazi and Khazar Jews, as the percentages are similar; the vast majority being A&K Jews, who arguably have no Semitic blood. But, when asked to prove their Semitism, most Jews have refused to take a DNA test, but they still use the anti-Semitism regulations to stop us exposing the truth of the activities of people who identify as Jews, such as the media moguls, the pornographic purveyors of filth, the TV, film and music industry, radio stations. Most institutions, including the Bank of England, BBC, ITV, Channel 4 etc, the Football Association, local Authorities, Education, and the Houses of Parliament, are dominated and controlled by people who identify as Jews. Or they are the descendants of the same and describe themselves as agnostics or atheists, but are actually crypto-Jews, because they remain part of the anti-Christian cabal that is determined to destroy the Christian church.

    Also, they still follow the instructions of the controllers; the Rothschilds, Morgans, Bronfmans, Redstones, Gates, Zuckerbergs & Co.

    The Bolsjewik Revolution took place 100 years ago and over 60 million people, mostly Christians, were raped, mutilated and murdered, by Bolsjewiks.

    It was widely reported at the time, that the Revolution in Russia, was not a ‘Russian’ Revolution, but a Jewish Revolution, because immediately before the 1917 slaughter of Christians, 100,000 Bolsjewik Jews migrated to Russia from all parts of the world, including Great Britain, to take part in the massacre of the Russian people. In 1918, THE TIMES reporter, Robert Wilton, reported the following:

    ‘The 384 Commissars in the new Communist Russian government includes 2 Negroes; 13 Russians; 15 Chinamen; 22 Armenians; and more than 300 Jews. Of those Jews, 264 had come to Russia from the United States since the downfall of the Imperial Government.’

    In 1920, the 10th edition of The American Hebrew, a Jewish publication in the USA, stated:

    “The Bolsjewik revolution in Russia was the work of Jewish brains, of Jewish dissatisfaction, of Jewish planning, whose goal is to create a new order in the world. What was performed in so excellent a way, in Russia, thanks to Jewish Brains, and because of Jewish dissatisfaction, and by Jewish planning, shall also, through the same Jewish mental and physical forces, become a reality all over the world.”

    These are just a couple of examples of Jewish mistreatment of Christians and there are lots more, from very eminent people but, by exposing these truths, which were once openly discussed, we now risk being sent to prison. But evidently, it’s okay to accuse all Catholics as being ‘bomb-throwers and paedophiles’ and people often do so, with impunity. This is deemed to be acceptable, because of the IRA bombings and the exposure of some paedophile Catholic Priests – whilst some paedophile C of E Vicars, Muslim Imams, and Jewish Rabbi’s have been left alone to continue their filthy activities. The pattern is to destroy Christianity and predominantly, Catholicism.

    These truths must be exposed, otherwise history could repeat itself and conceivably,100,000 immigrant-invaders could massacre 60 million Britons. And, as we are no longer allowed to own weapons, to protect ourselves, and we take in at least 650,000 immigrant-invaders, every year; we are sitting ducks!

    One way to describe our enemies is ‘Koranists and Talmudists’, because both of those books seek the demise of Christians. If decent Jews and Muslims are offended by those terms, then let them speak out against the evil instructions which are contained within their so-called ‘holy’ books.

    As
    far as I am concerned neither of the followers of those books should be allowed
    to settle in Christian countries.

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  • Bob Roesser

    The current controversy is not about immigrants at all, rather it is about refugees. There is a major difference. It appears that St Thomas in this discussion was referring to immigrants.

    • mplawrence

      refugees who want to come here …can quickly become immigrants …illegally ….and try to change things. My grandmother was a refugee running away from a marriage….came here and was considered an immigrant…adapted- learned the language, worked and created jobs for money…sent the boys to war the girls to work…and paid her taxes…..she never wanted the law to be Polish law….or make the Catholic Church the state Church….she adapted.

  • annmc

    So then, why do the majority of Catholic Bishops speak out against controlled immigration? They can’t or won’t see the Islamic threat! All you have to do is look at Christians in Islamic Countries. They are terrorized: many are beheaded for the crime of not being Islamic, Christian churches are burned. Islam wants nothing but world domination!!
    Of course the stance of the USCCB for the past eight years has been to support Obama at any cost. The bishops have forgotten or tossed aside the principle of subsidiarity, where you take care of problems at the lowest level. The family takes care of it’s members. If the family can’t deal with a situation, then local community is asked to help the family. If the local community can’t manage, then the state is involved. Only when all other options are exhausted, is the Federal government involved. The US Catholic Bishops it seems don’t want to do their job they want to turn over all issues to the government. The Pope has also shown his support for national and international governments to take control of every aspect of our lives. what does freedom mean to the bishops? Is it Hilary’s definition? You can believe and go to the church of your choice, but your religious beliefs can’t enter into the public square. That’ is not what Christianity teaches! The left wants, freedom from religion.
    Has the USCCB closed their eyes to communism and it’s effects on the church: violent persecution!
    Recently the local bishop sent out a scathing letter against President Trump. Of course he took the far left’s view!! Not once in the past eight years has a local bishop spoken out against Obama. I wonder why that is? All actions against Obama were taken up by individuals writing letters to their non-representing representatives, without ANY support from the bishop. It has been the typical response by bishops. Only a handful of bishops spoke out against Obama and if you live in left leaning state, the bishop(s) were actively supportive or through their silence!!
    They are a disgrace to their vocation

    • Maria del Pilar Campos

      Perhaps it is better not to pay attention to what they say, as I do. Even the Pope, for every 10 confusing statements, he will throw us a little bone of moral or pious thought. No time for that; I told my adult children to hold onto the books they already have and fallow the teachings of the church ( not the recent books or changes.

      • Mike S Clifford

        He’s not the pope. Nor were his 5 “predecessors”. All 6 of them are among the heretics described by Pope Pius VI in his 1794 ex Cathedra bull, Auctorem Fidei, condemning the heresies of the 1786 false “Synod” of Pistoia.

    • Mike S Clifford

      The Vatican 2 Antichurch is not the Catholic Church.

    • Mike S Clifford

      The United States Conference of “Catholic” “Bishops” belongs to the Vatican 2 Antichurch, not the Catholic Church.

    • mplawrence

      some of them not all. Just because Bishop is attached to a name does not a spokesman for humanity make…I recently read Bishop Sheens Justice and Charity….excellent! As far as speaking out against OBAMA- it was bad enough that the ex President created such havoc, tore racial relations to shreds, and started putting ROUSSEAU/ Socialist- Communist ahead of God and Church ( remember he was raised in communism) but, he placed many in Christian based moral people in jeopardy and tried within a Democratic Party to infiltrate with a goal to destroy the Church…but he had the power to prevent military chaplains from saying Mass…and did so….Disgrace – no….weak men yes!