Spanish archbishop raises thorny topics in country’s immigration debate — By: Catholic News Agency

Luis Argüello, archbishop of Valladolid and general secretary of the Spanish Episcopal Conference. / Credit: CEE

ACI Prensa Staff, Apr 8, 2024 / 16:25 pm (CNA).

The president of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference and archbishop of Valladolid, Luis Argüello, is encouraging reflection on the issue of migration in view of the upcoming debate in the country’s Congress of Deputies (lower house) on a citizen initiative to grant legal residency to an estimated 390,00 to 470,000 illegal immigrants with residence in Spain prior to November 2021.

In a post on X, the prelate shared the issues that in his view are on the table as lawmakers take into consideration a People’s Legislative Initiative (ILP, by its Spanish acronym) on the migration issue, which has garnered more than 700,000 signatures.

Promoted since 2021 by institutions inside and outside the Catholic Church, the ILP was admitted for possible consideration by the Congress of Deputies last December. Now the legislators must decide whether to actually consider the proposal in order for parliamentary debate on the issue to begin.

In an April 5 joint statement, the Spanish Conference of Religious, Spanish Caritas, the Migration Department of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, and the Network of Entities for Solidarity Development expressed their fear that the majority of political parties represented in the lower house will refuse to address the citizen initiative.

The consideration of the ILP is scheduled to be debated Tuesday.

Four issues to debate

The prelate believes that, first of all, accepting this ILP for debate would mean support for the “regeneration of our democracy,” even more so since it is an “ethical issue based on the sacred dignity of all human life.”

The archbishop of Valladolid emphasized that the acceptance of this type of citizen initiative is “essential so that the state is not reduced to a ‘gang of thieves.’”

Secondly, Argüello believes that “regularizing” the situation of nearly half a million people who “are already living, hardly living, working, and participating in our society” is about “normalizing in the state what is already normal, although with the limitations of illegal status in our society.”

Address the immigration issue as a whole

In his third point, the president of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference elaborated on several key issues to address regarding migration as part of a global phenomenon.

The archbishop pointed out the need for analyzing the political and economic causes of migration as well as the role of organized crime in facilitating illegal immigration. He emphasized that “it must be denounced and fought and, from there, question the involuntary collaboration of many of the ‘compassionate’ organizations, including the Church’s, with their criminal objectives.”

Argüello also pointed to the need to regulate the flow of migrants since “a society cannot take in, accompany, promote, and integrate all those who arrive.” However, he noted that each society “must in fact promote an international response for all.”

The archbishop noted in light of the demographic crisis in the Old World how, with “contempt for human dignity,” Europe “rejects immigrants and approves abortion” in such a way that “our demographic winter is fueled while people complain about migrants and reject them.”

The prelate also encouraged “questioning the cultural and political currents that dominate today’s globalism that uses the influx of migrants and reproductive health policies at the service of a moralistic and uniform capitalism that plays with population replacement as a savage form of biopolitics.”

As a fourth and final point of analysis, Argüello said that “it’s time to overcome polarization caused by political interests and jointly address core issues for the common good.”

This task, he explained, must be carried out “by listening to everyone, dialogue, and a pact that ensures respect for human dignity and that works toward the national and global common good.”

What the catechism says about migration

The Catechism of the Catholic Church specifies in No. 2241 the guidelines to be taken into account on the issue of migration.

The first guideline is that ”the more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of a livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin.” In addition, “public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.”

The obligation to take in migrants must be met by the civil authorities who, “for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption.”

The Catholic Church teaches that “immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws, and to assist in carrying civic burdens.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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