Last week a leftist Honduran thug named Alfonso Guerrero Ulloa barged into the U.S. consulate in Tijuana and demanded the United States pay $50,000 to each member of the “caravan” so they could return to Honduras and start a business. Sen. Marco Rubio called the shakedown a “joke” but others were taking it seriously.
Rush Limbaugh recalled the Pope’s August 2017 statement that “solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience — from departure through journey to arrival and return,” which might be taken for an endorsement of the $50,000 demand, and anything else Ulloa wanted. Limbaugh said “this is one of those areas where I will back off what I really think about some of this.” Rush gets a lot of things right, but this is no time to back off about papal pronouncements on migration.
Pope Francis is a throwback to the days when the pope was a primarily a political leader. For a record of that see Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In similar style, the Roman Catholic Church was a major force in Spanish colonialism of the Americas.
That took place at the time of the Counter-Reformation, a reaction against the Protestant Reformation, which empowered the individual in many ways. The Spanish colonies in the Americas never encouraged individual enterprise, entrepreneurship and commerce, and the colonialists remained hostile to non-Catholics.
In 1478 Spain established the Inquisition and began persecutions of “conversos,” those who secretly practiced Judaism. In 1492 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella issued the Alhambra decree which ordered the Sephardim to convert or leave within 90 days. Some departed for the new world but the Inquisition pursued them there.
“After the Alhambra Decree is issued, it was illegal to be Jewish anywhere in the Spanish world, on pain of death,” explained Frances Levine of the New Mexico History Museum, where the decree itself has been displayed. “If you were Jewish, you were quite clandestine anywhere in the Spanish Empire.”
Victims of the Inquisition included Don Luis de Carvajal, a colonial governor of New Mexico, and his family. He confessed, “I was Jewish, I was holding Shabbat services,” and his whole family was burned at the stake. If that atrocity disturbed Pope Gregory XIV, he gave no indication. The hatreds of the Inquisition backed the essentially feudal arrangements of the Spanish colonies, which never became engines of economic growth.
The former British colonies, on the other hand, prospered through property rights, individual enterprise, and a market economy based on free exchange. Pope Francis has a problem with that. As Rich Lowry noted, “The pope’s capitalism is parody seemingly drawn from the pages of Noam Chomsky.” The Pope visited Communist Cuba, “built entirely on economic theft and political oppression, and yet he couldn’t bring himself to say a peep about it.”
Pope Francis has also kept quiet about the corrupt, repressive governments of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. And he didn’t say a peep on October 2, the 50th anniversary of the day the Mexican government massacred hundreds of students. Yet the pontiff is vocal about the rights of “migrants,” with whom the United States must show “solidarity” and who override any U.S. security concerns about thousands of unknowns pouring into the country.
Likewise, Pope Francis shows little if any moral outrage over parents who place their children in the hands of criminal smugglers. That makes sense given his inattention to massive sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
A recent Pennsylvania grand jury report flagged 1,000 underaged youths sexually assaulted by priests in the Pittsburgh area, and the list is also growing in San Diego and Sacramento. His recent trip to Ireland, Tanya Sweeney wrote in the Irish Times, was “an affront, given the Catholic Church’s cover-up of child sexual abuse, both here and around the world, over decades.” Yet, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich claims Pope Francis’ critics “don’t like him because he’s a Latino.” There’s a bit more to it.
The Vatican is surrounded by a massive wall, but the Pope dislikes President Trump’s plans for a wall on the Mexican border. Pope Francis shows fathomless ignorance about the principles that create wealth. He chides the United States and its allies while keeping silent on Communist repressions. He ignores criminal human traffickers such as Alfonso Guerrero Ulloa and presumes to dictate U.S. immigration policy. As Terry Jones said of King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “who does he think he is?”
The Pope seems unaware that an elected president and elected representatives determine immigration policy, and that the United States maintains separation of church and state. The Catholic Church, as Jay Leno once quipped, needs to do more about the separation of priest and altar boy. The supreme head of the Catholic Church should devote full attention to that problem.
In the meantime, U.S. officials have no reason to take seriously any statement from Pope Francis. Better to speak out against “the adorable mascot of the American left,” as Rich Lowry called him. Better to push back against the neo-colonial policies that defy American sovereignty, harm American prosperity and threaten American security.