Brian Kilmeade and Rachel Campos-Duffy of Fox & Friends are upset that Catholic Charities is providing support to illegal immigrants at the southern border. Kilmeade, who is Catholic, is under the assumption that American Catholics are interested in only helping Americans with their donations to Catholic Charities. Kilmeade, in what he clearly regarded was a rhetorical question, asked, “If you’re a Catholic and giving money to Catholic Charities in America, weren’t you hoping it was going to help Americans, not other people from other countries to come to America illegally? Are you happy about that? Think about that for a second.” Kilmeade then wondered openly if Catholic Charities was “ethically challenged.” What? Ethically challenged for providing Christian charity to human beings in need, simply because those human beings are illegal immigrants? What Gospel is Kilmeade reading?
Rachel Campos-Duffy, also Catholic, then commenced to slander Catholic Charities by claiming that their ministries to immigrants represents a money-making scheme because they accept government funding, and that such is designed to overcome the loss of donations resulting from fewer people attending church because Pope Francis isn’t inspiring them to do so. Now, I actually have some admiration for Campos-Duffy. She is open about the importance of her Catholic faith. She and her husband have nine children, and the youngest has Down Syndrome. It’s very difficult to raise any kind of family in this day and age, but to have the confidence in God’s providence to raise nine and to appreciate the blessing that is a child with special needs is almost heroic in this day and age. So, how is it that she is so uninformed about what Catholic Charities does and how Catholic Charities partners with the federal government in meeting the human needs of people in distress, regardless of their status as illegal immigrants, and is actually losing money in the effort rather than making money? Does she not realize that the Church’s mission does not stop at any particular border and does not consider the status of those they assist? As for Kilmeade, is he serious in his contention that American Catholics only want their donations to Catholic Charities helping Americans? How clueless and myopic can a person be? Do neither of these two Catholics have any idea of how the Church works, or how the Church at her best responds to the gospel?
Steve Doocy, also Catholic, was helpful in explaining that the Church has been providing assistance to immigrants for decades, a fact of which Kilmeade claims to be unaware. How can a practicing, informed Catholic not realize that the Catholic Church in his country is actively involved in providing care to immigrants? What rock does he live under? In all likelihood, the Church helped the members of Kilmeade and Campos-Duffy’s families when they arrived in the U. S. decades ago from the old country.
Wanting to secure the border with reasonable measures and being available to provide Christian charity to illegal immigrants are not mutually exclusive endeavors. It is possible to support a secure border, to manage the numbers entering the country, to insist that all do so legally, to demand reforms for a more just and equitable border policy and recognize that those crossing the border for whatever reason and by whatever means are human beings in need of basic human assistance and that it is the duty of Catholics and their organized ministries to provide for those basic human needs. It’s a shame that Kilmeade and Campos-Duffy cannot see beyond their political worldviews to recognize their higher duty as Catholics and to appreciate what the Church is doing in the name of the gospel.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.