Monday, May 13, 2002
Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D.
Bishop of Camden
It is my pleasure to have been invited to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center to speak on the issue of migration as found in the teaching of John Paul II. This great institute dedicated to the preserving thought of John Paul II and to plumbing its depths certainly will have work for many years to come, since the vastness of John Paul II's writings and the complexity of his thought will take many successive generations of scholars to study and apply.
I was asked by Father Gus DiNoia to present this paper following a discussion we had on the Holy Father's thought in the Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis on which I had done a paper when I was here in Washington as director of Migration and Refugees Services, at a time in my life when I had more time than I do now. The paper was entitled "A Commentary on Sollicitudo Rei Socialis from the Perspective of Migration Concerns." I remember distinctly presenting this paper to a staff member of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace who was charged with developing background for the Encyclical. After a careful reading, I was told that it was truly amazing that I had found what was not contained in the Encyclical regarding migration. His comment obviously was meant to clarify that the issue of migration was not a subject of Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, but rather it was development and other issues. However, one of the major causes and factors influencing migration is development itself. So, I make the point to set the stage for my treatment of the Holy Father's thought on migration, which is implicit in many of his teachings, but which is also explicit in many of his discourses.
I have called the Holy Father the migrant pope, not because of his many travels, but rather since he has described himself as such in his First Greeting to the Faithful from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. "Praise be Jesus Christ!" he said. "Now their eminences the cardinals have summoned a new bishop of Rome. They have summoned him from a distant land -- distant, yet always so close in the communion of faith and in Christian tradition." John Paul gave this spontaneous address in somewhat halting Italian. He went on to joke, "I do not know whether I can express myself properly in your/our Italian tongue. If I make mistakes, you will correct me." (He already had made two errors)1 With that initial greeting, it is clear that John Paul realized that he, too, was a migrant, the first migrant pope in 400 years who has become the defender of human dignity and human rights of migrants. There is no pope before him that was ever able to accomplish as much as he has in this area. In his homily at his first radio message Urbi et Orbi, his famous words ring out, "Do not be afraid, open wide the doors to Christ, to a saving power. Open the boundaries of states, economic and political systems, the vast field of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid."2 It is clear that the issues of human freedom very much form the core of his teaching. Some who really understand his teaching have called him the "Freedom Pope."
Migration Theory and The Person
From his various encyclicals and other writings, we can deduce a Christian anthropology. It forms the basis from which we can understand his teaching on migration. In preparing for this talk, I had to give some serious consideration to the presentation framework. A mere recitation of statements on migration from the Holy Father would not do justice to the real issues at hand. Just how could we understand the human person, as the Pope does, who is the subject of migration and not its object in a world that has often forgotten human dignity. The Holy Father understands the human person as subject and not object. This theological and philosophical understanding comes from the elaboration of the experience of faith, as described in Fides et Ratio, Veritatis Splendor and his earlier works before becoming pope. The basic groundwork is faith, as anthropological act, and experience which he then describes phenemenologically and assigns to it being, giving it value and weight. Man is subject as he images God by the obedience of faith. For example, the migration of Abraham illustrates the obedience of faith. The human person emerges into self-consciousness from the act of believing in the revealing person of Jesus Christ. This Christian anthropology builds on the foundation of Gadium et Spes, Paragraph 24, in which the likeness of the human person to the Trinity concludes in the statement: "This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for Himself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of self."3
The human person has been treated as an object in the last century in more ways than one. And nowhere is it clearer than in the migration phenomenon. Be they refugees, migrant workers, immigrants or undocumented migrants, all are seen as objects not persons who are the real subjects of human activity. But John Paul asserts that the human person is never an object or a concept. The human person is a subject with a conscientiousness that allows him to act in full responsibility.
The theories of migration are wide and varied. I remember that I knew something about them, thinking back to the days when I wrote my doctoral dissertation. But I had forgotten what I had written. In fact, sometimes I tell myself that I have forgotten more about migration than most people know and this I hope is not a self-serving statement. I did eventually find my dissertation which was lost in a box in my basement. My life's blood had been poured out only to be lost. [I was almost tempted to call my mother because I was sure she had a copy somewhere, but I did find it.] I opened to the section on migration theory, which included 60 pages of a 400-page doctoral dissertation, entitled, "Profiling Undocumented Aliens in the New York Metropolitan Area, Social Welfare and Labor Market Implications." In order to do the necessary field research, a large part of the study was directed to understanding the theoretical models of migration, with their implications for international migration theory. Without a theory of migration, how can we explain, in particular, as was the subject of the dissertation, "Undocumented Migration," which seems to defy theoretical constructs and categorization. As I paged through the matrix that I had developed from the writings of over 60 migration theorists categorized in various perspectives, I did find what I had written about anthropology as being a discipline that held some hope in understanding migration. Allow me to read to you what I wrote about 18 years ago.
"Anthropology perhaps holds the best hope for a theory of migration by giving proper attention to the human consequences of migration. The main change of migration is, in fact, cultural by the migrant transfer from one place to another. The problems of cultural change and shock need greater attention, as does the whole area of migration consequences. A migrant is a person and those disciplines which respect the human quality of this phenomenon offer a better means of analysis than those which exclude the personal consequences."4
This is what I find interesting about John Paul II's thought on migration and on many subjects. He has in effect developed a Christian anthropology which allows us to reconcile many difficulties of the past by developing an adequate anthropology of the believing self. It is this Christian anthropology, with all of its facets, that forms the framework in which we can understand the Pope's teaching on the human person as migrant.
To continue the discussion of the person, not merely in the reductive terms of being as an object, but rather as a subject, we have to enter into the topics of freedom and therefore self-determination. If faith is the most determinant act of the person as person because of a complete handing over of the self to the revealing Self of Christ, then we have to consider how the self is able to be handed over, such that it can be gift. And how could there a gift that is not free? Freedom now takes on the meaning of having the use and possession of oneself, which is manifested in the experience of responsibility. And responsibility implies the exercise of a freedom that is dependent on truth. As Pope John Paul says "It is through this dependence on the recognized and admitted truth that I am really `independent' – with regard to others and to things. I am dependent on myself. Responsibility is born with the knowledge of the truth: the truth of being, the truth of values, the truth of my relations to being and to values, the truth of the actions which I undertake. So in man liberty is a faculty of responsible self-determination. It lies at the very center of the transcendence peculiar to man as a person. It also lies at the basis of morality, where it appears as a capacity for choice…"5
Self-determination is such an important aspect of understanding migration, since migrants determine their action. Some theories of migration see migrants as magnets in push and pull theories as if they have no say in what they do. Other theories, especially those in the conflict school, describe migration as a phenomena of post modern capitalism seen in a Marxist perspective. Others would concentrate their attention on socio-economic models. However, of the over 60 theorists and 6 major divisions of migration theory under the equilibrium and conflict models that I carefully studied, only the anthropological theories came close to describing the true human perspective of migration, because it is persons as both subject and object who migrate.
The other major concept in John Paul II's thought is the issue of human dignity. Human dignity derives from the freedom to obey the divine commands and proceeds from all that was said above about self- determination. The "structure" of the human person is taken from the Godhead itself and its dignity derives from the dynamic of self-determination to become relational as the trinity of Persons is relational. The meaning of the "Father" is the act of engendering the Son. He is not Father and then engenders the Son, but is the very act of engendering. Hence, "person" in God means relation. And in the dynamic of fatherhood and filiation, this relation is a gift. I know that is a mouthful, but it is the core of the Holy Father's teaching. Because man is made in the image and likeness of God, he has a masterful dignity which the Second Vatican Council, of which John Paul II was a father, clearly states in Gaudium et Spes,17 that we cannot forget that "man is the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake" meaning "God willed to leave man in the power of his own counsel, so that he would seek his Creator of his own accord and would freely arrive at full and blessed perfection by cleaving to God."
These words indicate the wonderful depth of the sharing of God's dominion to which man has been called. They indicate that man's dominion extends in a certain sense over himself. This we find reflected in Veritatis Spelendor, 39. "The exercise of dominion over the world represents 'a rightful autonomy which is due to every man….' Not only of the world, however, but also man himself has been entrusted to his own care and responsibility."
Theological underpinnings of John Paul's anthropology help us to understand that dominion and autonomy that have been translated into philosophical term of self-determination by Karol Wojtyla, himself, in his earlier works. We must remember that here he is defining the workings of human freedom, in a new way. This understanding is very important to migration concerns, as freedom to move and migrate is so critical.
John Paul's thought on the human person well pre-dated his election to the Pontificate. In an article entitled "The Personal Structure of Self-Determination" he says, "Only if one can determine oneself (…) can one also become a gift for others. The Council's statement that 'the human being…cannot fully find himself or herself except through a disinterested gift of himself or herself' allows us to conclude that it precisely when one becomes a gift for others that one most fully becomes oneself. This 'law of the gift,' if it may be so designated, is inscribed deep within the dynamic structure of the person. The text of Vatican II certainly draws its inspiration from revelation, in the light of which it paints this portrait of the human being as a person. One could say that his is a portrait in which the person is depicted as a being willed by God 'for itself' and, at the same time, as a being turned 'toward' others. This relational portrait of the person, however, necessarily presupposes the immanent (and indirectly 'substantial') portrait that unfolds before us from an analysis of the personal structure of self-determination."7
In my experience with immigrants, migrants and refugees, the reality of the disinterested gift of self is almost always found. If you ask one of the above-mentioned why he or she chose to migrate, rarely does someone answer for myself. Rather it was for my children's sake, my family and sometimes even to help my country. The concrete fact of the power of remittances is verification of the almost universal gift of self which migrants, immigrants and refugees make.
How important the notion of self-determination is to understanding the motivation for migrants to leave comfortable surroundings and to start out for the unfamiliar. Even the refugee, who is categorized as a forced migrant, self-determines for himself that he will make a decision and flee for his life or to protect his family. Human beings are persons, not inanimate objects, or pushed to and fro by external circumstances. This is key to understanding migrants and migration today. Our Holy Father, by giving us an insight to the human person, has given us a foundation upon which to base our thinking.
In his Encyclical Fides et Ratio, the Holy Father speaks clearly about the foundation of philosophical thought. In fact, his own Wojtylan method has been described as a phenomenological description of experience which is accompanied by philosophical and theological mediation. Most of his Encyclicals follow this pattern. The human experience is described but its philosophical foundations are extricated so that a theological reflection, especially from the scriptures, can be given. In Fides et Ratio he says, "We face a great challenge at the end of this millennium to move from phenomenon to foundation, a step as necessary as it is urgent. We cannot stop short at experience alone; even if experience does reveal the human being's interiority and spirituality, speculative thinking must penetrate to the spiritual core and the ground from which it rises. Therefore, a philosophy which shuns metaphysics would be radically unsuited to the task of mediation in the understanding of Revelation."8
Some might say what does this have to do with migration. But let me supply an example of this methodology to understand the first migrant couple, Adam and Eve. If we think about it, we can discover that Adam and Eve, having been expelled from Paradise, moved from one place to another and, perhaps, were the first refugee couple. John Paul II speaks about the state of anthropological innocence depicted in Genesis 1 and 2 when he states, "I have attempted to stress the very real need for a confrontation of the metaphysical view of the person that we find in St. Thomas and in the traditions of Thomistic philosophy with the comprehensive experience of the human being." What he really tries to do is to cross the threshold from original sin to the original innocence of man who was working with God in the Garden of Paradise in obedience. This, later on, would form the core of his understanding of human work. John Paul deploys the descriptive powers of phenomenology to disclose a biblical understanding of the 'original solitude' experienced as the result of self-determination in the work of tilling the garden and naming the animals that we find in Genesis. He unites it to a metaphysics of being where he asserts that "In a special way, the person constituted a privileged focus for the encounter with being and hence is capable of metaphysical enquiry. The extraordinary character of this anthropological proposal and of the understanding of man is a unique attempt to take the revelation of God and apply it to the ancient and modern tools of philosophic reasoning, so that we can understand the true nature of man before his reason was darkened and his world was weakened by sin. That is before the decomposition of his anthropological structure set in. Hence, we might deduce that migration, itself, has been described in many times by our Holy Father not as a good in itself, but rather as an evil that has resulted from the very weakening of human nature that was part of original sin.9
All human rights proceed from the anthropological understanding of self-determination with self-completion. This means that the human person cannot be used or exploited by anyone, not even God Himself. Karol Wojtyla asserts this in Love and Responsibility when he says, "We must never treat a person as the means to an end. This principle has a universal validity. Nobody can use a person as a means towards an end, no human being, not even God the Creator."10
In Crossing the Threshold of Hope, the Holy Father responds to certain questions posed to him. On the question of human rights, he continues to assert that human rights "were inscribed by the Creator in the order of Creation…they are not concessions on the part of human institutions, or on the part of states and international organizations. These institutions express no more than what God Himself inscribed in the order He created, what He Himself has inscribed in the moral conscience, or in the human heart, as Saint Paul explains in the Letter to the Romans where he says, 'Their conscience bears witness together with that law, their thoughts will accuse or defend them on the day when in accordance with the Gospel I preach, God will pass judgment on the secrets of men through Jesus Christ.' (Rom 2:15)"12 The Holy Father goes on to say, "The Gospel is the fullest confirmation of all of human rights."13
Human dignity has its source in the redemption itself. That is why in Redemptor Hominis, the Holy Father's first Encyclical, we see in Paragraph 17 a discussion of human rights as "letter or spirit." The Holy Father goes on for nine paragraphs to describe the basis of human rights as the human person who has been redeemed by Jesus Christ. He specifically mentions the declaration of human rights as the basis for the setting up of the United Nations organization. He says, "The declaration of human rights and the acceptance of their letter means everywhere also the actualization of their spirit."14
Again, in Crossing the Threshold of Hope in the response to the question on human rights, the Holy Father says, "The Redeemer confirms human rights simply by restoring the fullness of the dignity of man received when God created him in His image and likeness."15 He goes on to answer the question by asserting two important aspects of the human person, the person as a sincere gift of self and the person who was only realized through love. If the person can only realize himself / herself through love but when he/she cannot completely give of self, then he/she is truly deprived of human freedom which is the most basic human right, the right to self-determination. He goes on to say, "If we cannot accept the prospect of giving ourselves as a gift, then the danger of a selfish freedom will always be present."16 In this clear and simple response to the question of human rights and human dignity, the Holy Father joins together freedom with truth which is treated at length in his Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, while at the same time giving us a real understanding of freedom as conformity with the will of God, reflecting the wisdom of God which is truth. The Holy Father's teaching in this regard gives a firm foundation to human rights.
When speaking of migration as a human right, we can refer ourselves to the Charter of the Rights of the Family, presented by the Holy See to all persons, institutions of authorities concerned with the mission of the family in today's world. On October 22, 1983, Article 12 of this document states, "The families of migrants have the right to the same protection as that accorded other families. The families of immigrants have the right to respect for their own culture and to receive support and assistance towards their integration into the community to which they contribute. Emigrant workers have the right to see their family united as soon as possible. And refugees have the right to the assistance of public authorities and International Organizations in facilitating the reunion of their families.17 I believe that we can see the Holy Father's fingerprints in this clear declaration of the rights of families in migration.
In the Annual Migration Message of 1993, which marked the International Year of the Family, the Holy Father quotes his Apostolic Letter Familaris Consortio, saying, "The family of migrants, …, should be able to find a homeland everywhere in the Church."18 The Church must avoid the risk of marginalized pastoral care for the marginalized. The personal parish's mission for the cares of soul's integration is a desirable process not to be rushed. Human rights is not simply an amenity to be afforded families in society, but rather a right within the Church itself.
In Laborem Exercens, the Holy Father makes the clear statement joining work and the immigration question. He says, "Man has the right to leave his native land for various motives -- and also the right to return -- in order to seek better conditions of life in another country." This right to migrate, which is incumbent on both countries of origin and countries of destination, supports the basic human freedom and the dignity of the person. The entire Encyclical on human work enunciates the gospel of work which asserts the priority of labor over capital, the primacy of man over things. Again, we see the basic theme, the subject of work is man and work has man as its subject. Work can be misconstrued as an object, something which is produced by man which can degenerate into seeing human beings as tools of production. This can happen in both the capitalistic and Marxist system of labor. He concludes the section on work and emigration by saying that, "Capital should be at the service of labor and not labor at the service of capital."20 It is certainly clear that the sound anthropology in the Holy Father's teaching gives a foundation from which to judge the question of immigration as it relates to "man the worker."
Culture and Inculturation
It is almost impossible to speak about the phenomenon of migration without contemporaneously addressing oneself to the issue of culture. The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has devoted a significant amount of his teaching to the issue of culture and in particular there are many ways that this relates to his treatment of the migration issue. An in depth understanding of the teaching of our Holy Father can be found in the doctoral dissertation of His Eminence, Francis Cardinal George entitled, "Inculturation in Ecclesial Communion: Culture and Church in the Teaching of John Paul II." In trying to understand John Paul's teaching on culture, Cardinal George's analysis and study is excellent. (Perhaps some day he also could be invited to give a lecture on this important aspect of papal teaching.)
I wish to begin with a quote from his dissertation which makes the link between culture and migration clearer. Cardinal George says, "A person's right to freedom and identity is ontologically basic because the self-possession revealed in action is irreducible. Without self-possession, the person is less than human; his or her truth and dignity are destroyed at the root, even if a superficial array of choices remains open."21 There is nothing more basic to human identity than culture itself. Because of the freedom to self determine, that is the basis for all human rights that we spoke about before, the human person has a right to create his own culture. Karol Wojtyla asserted that "Culture is not simply manifested in objectivities such as language, dress, song, dance and other superficial or non-essential elements, but the cultivation of the subjectivity, that is the self as asserted in Gaudium et Spes 24, "The person becomes self by a praxis of self giving." This is the real heart of culture. Karol Wojtyla wrote regarding the constitution of culture through human praxis that "a person, in so far as he or she is a self-determining subject, allows culture to exist. Culture develops principally within this dimension, the dimension of self-determining subjects. Culture is basically oriented not so much toward the creation of human products, things or objects as towards the Creator of the human self, which then radiates into the world of products."22
The Pope's phenomenological analysis of culture, consistent with his understanding of the human person, gives us a basis upon which we can defend the inalienable right to culture that is part of every human person's heritage. The migrant himself is a person who moves from one culture to another in most instances. Even internal migrants change geography and culture in moving from one part of their own country to another. But the unity of the human person is expressed in culture which is not destroyed by diversity. Just as the Trinity is able to maintain unity and diversity, so, too, cultures can maintain an overall unity even within areas that might be open to conflict.
In the annual Migration Day Message of 2002, the Holy Father states, "On the day of Pentecost there was the Spirit of truth who completed the divine design of the unity of mankind in the diversity of culture and religions."23 The theme of the overall message was inter-religious dialogue which necessarily involves cultural differences. Migrants bring the question cultural identity to the world's attention. They are the prime movers in the world of diversity since they carry that diversity with them. They challenge the world to be open.
Cardinal George, in describing the relationship between culture and faith says this, "If culture is also to be related to faith, believers need a philosophical anthropology which restores to human persons their integrity in such a way that they remain certain of their own identity and yet always open to goals which transcend their own particular experience."24
Most migrants in the process of migration undergo an identity crisis, a challenge to their own identity, a challenge to take on a new culture, while at the same time they must defend their innate culture lest they loose something of who they are. Hence, the teaching of the Holy Father on migration issues comes down on the side of cultural preservation, as well as cultural pluralism.
The 1991 Migration Day message addresses this fact most directly. The Holy Father says, "Migration always has two aspects, diversity and universality. The former comes from the meeting between diverse individuals and groups of people and involves inevitable tension, latent rejection and open polemics. The later is constituted by the harmonious meeting of diverse social subjects who discover themselves in the patrimony that is common to every human being formed as it is by the values of humanity and fraternity. There is a mutual enrichment when diverse cultures come into contact."25 The message goes on to contrast the biblical images of the Tower of Babel and the Pentecost event. The ethnic and linguistic diversity and the issue of language and culture as seen in this context teaches that culture is at the very root of human existence. What Babel had destroyed, the Holy Father has said, "On Pentecost then the legitimacy and ethnic and cultural pluralism was restored…Every person must have his dignity recognized and his cultural identity respected. This principle finds its individual and specific application in the area of migration."26
The defense of cultural pluralism, especially in regard to migrant peoples, is always consistent with the Holy Father's understanding of the human person. To strip a person of his or her culture, to reduce a person to an object, when only a person can truly be human is to be able to have the freedom to create their own culture. The Holy Father's theory of culture is perhaps best expressed in a talk that he gave at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on June 2, 1980. This gave him the opportunity to speak in later discourses on the relationship of culture and faith. The theme of the talk was that the future of mankind depends on culture. In that historic talk he said, "It is through culture that man lives a truly human life. Human life is also culture in the sense that it is by culture that man is distinguished and differentiated from everything else that exists in the visible world; man cannot do without culture."27 If we were to apply this to the situation of migrants, a migrant person also cannot do without culture. He or she often straddles two cultures and not only must maintain his or her own, but also acquire all that a new culture entails; languages, customs, etc. Migrants become the purveyors of diversity which contributes to the ultimate unity of the human family.
Many times the conflict of cultures results in racism known in the relationship to migrants as xenophobia or the fear of strangers. In the 1984 Annual Migration Day message, written for the Holy Father but issued by Cardinal Casaroli the unbiblical term of xenophobia is translated into the newly coined word of philoxemia. Philoxemia is a sense of open and cordial hospitality of which St. Paul speaks in the Letter to the Romans, 12:13, "If anyone of the Saints is in need, you must share with them, you must make hospitality your special care." The statement goes on to say that the same concept is expressed in Peter 4:9 in a most lively and practical statement, "Welcome each other into your houses without grumbling,"In the letter to the Hebrews 13:2, it is underlined that a mysterious design may be hidden in this brotherly behavior, "And remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this some people have entertained angels without knowing it."
Another cardinal who understands John Paul II's mind and can explain his thought is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. In an address at Hong Kong in 1993 to the presidents of the Asian Bishops Conference, he addressed the specific issue of "Christ, Faith and the Challenge of Cultures." The issue of inculturation is closely related to the world of migrants and especially related to the understanding of the Church's missionology. It challenges us to understand, first what culture is and how the movement from one culture to another presents great challenges. Cardinal Ratzinger says that from the biblical perspective Israel's faith is based on the call of Abraham which in itself, (my interpretation) is a migration event. Abraham was called to leave his country and to find not only a new land, but also a new religion and all that the culture entailed. Ratzinger says that a cultural break is very necessary. A new beginning and a new healing is necessary as the basis of all religious faith. A new center calls a person to a different understanding of God. For example, Christ's cross was a break. It was a type of expulsion, an alienation from the earth. It was a new center that pulled and drew both things to Himself, as the Scripture tells us. In his talk, he describes how one cannot be a Christian without a certain exodus, a break from one's previous life in all aspects. How much does this apply to the migrant who is called to break from his previous culture to find a new culture. Cardinal Ratzinger goes on in his talk to coin a new phrase for inculturation, "For this reason, we should no longer speak of inculturation but of the meeting of cultures of "interculturality", to coin a new phrase. For inculturation presumes that a faith stripped of culture is transplanted into a religiously indifferent culture whereby two subjects, formally unknown to each other, meet and fuse. But such a notion is first of all artificial and unrealistic…Only if all cultures are potentially universal and open to each other can interculturality lead to flourishing new forms."28 As you see, those who know the thought and mind of the Holy Father well, as these two eminent cardinals, are able to explain what sometimes is difficult to decipher in the Holy Father's Christian anthropology.
Having taken this brief excursion into the area of culture and inculturation of migrants in the Holy Father's thought, it is now incumbent, that as the implicit teaching on migration has been put into context, that the explicit teaching be given some coverage in a summary fashion.
Sources of Migration Teaching: A Survey:
The main sources of Papal teaching most obviously are the Encyclicals and also in this case the annual Migration Day messages, as well as the four World Migration Congress messages and numerous other talks where he mentions migration. The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People states that there are 37 messages regarding refugees and 21 messages regarding migrants in various other places. Also, the most recent Apostolic Letters, As the Third Millennium Approaches and At the Beginning of the New Millennium, also offer some citations. And finally, the post-synodal exhortations, particularly Ecclesia in America, can be helpful in understanding the specific migration teaching of John Paul II.
I will deal with the Encyclicals in chronological order, the first being Redemptor Hominis, the Redeemer of Man, which certainly forms the basis of the Christian anthropology of John Paul II. The human person is, "… primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling Her mission. He is the primary and fundamental way for the Church, the way traced out by Christ Himself, the way that leads invariably through the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption.29 The Church looks to man in order to bring him the truth about God and himself. As previously noted, the Spirit versus the letter of the declaration of human rights is discussed in this Encyclical and primarily to treat the fact of redemption. But the redemption is not merely a theological fact, it is the basis of Christian anthropology and most fundamental is the citation of Gadium et Spes, paragraph 23, in which we see clearly annunciated that "Christ has united Himself to each man, therefore, each person has an innate ability to find Christ." The Church Herself is a traveler. If the way of the Church is man, the Church must travel and the depths of the mystery of the incarnation. And all the human activity, therefore, must be the concern of the Church. In this case, migration never falls far from the Church's concern.
In the next Encyclical, Dives in Misericordia, Rich in Mercy, we understand the intimate relationship between mercy and justice. Mercy, not merely justice, provides a solid foundation of a society which can truly meet human expectations. Divine mercy and human dignity are intrinsically combined. Social relations cannot only be based on justice that lacks mercy. True mercy, is so to speak, the most profound source of justice. In some of the Migration Day messages, this Encyclical is quoted, especially in regard to the issue of undocumented migrants.
Laborem Exercens addresses the human person as worker, in fact, human work is the key to the social question as we hear in Paragraph 20, "Work must not be seen as an object, as a result or product. But rather work must be seen through the subject who performs the work. Work has man as its subject."30 The enunciation of the Gospel of work and in particular to the question of immigration for work is covered in Paragraph 23, "Migrants are workers, but they must not become the object of our concern, but rather they are the subject."31
My analysis of the Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, was the cause of my being invited to give this talk. It deals primarily with international development concerns. Under the topic of authentic human development, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis discusses the necessary cooperation for development which must exist between nations and peoples if authentic human development is to occur. The moral character of development can never be forgotten; lest in the process of development the rights of nations and peoples, especially individuals, will be disregarded. There is a unique balance between solidarity and freedom, and that balance must characterize the relations between nations and peoples if authentic human development is to become a reality.
The migration right is implied in integral human development. Development has a unique connection to migration, and even if the exact relationship between these two social realities is not settled, the fundamental interconnection remains. It might be well here to describe this relationship.
In general, migration is a limited mechanism for development in the sending countries, although some immediate results of migration; namely the remittances of capital sent home by the migrants, can provide short-term assistance. Remittances are in a certain sense a double-edged sword in relation to development. Because remittances are individually sent by migrants and spent by the migrant's family, this capital is often used to purchase goods and land, to improve housing, and even to develop small business or agricultural projects. The multiple effects of these remittances are not capable of developing a society at large and in some ways micro-level remittances even contribute to inflation.
The characteristics of the migrants who leave developing countries also tend to influence long-term development. If it is skilled workers and professionals who leave, then development is hindered, but the emigration of low-skilled workers can in some ways contribute to development as described above. The eventual repatriation of migrants also contributes to development, if the return of migrants is sizeable and if the migrants were successful in the receiving countries, especially if they gained skills needed in the sending countries.
The structural problems associated with the causes of underdevelopment create the necessary conditions for emigration of surplus labor, yet these same conditions are not sufficient to induce labor to migrate. The influence of personal decision-making in the labor migration process must be considered. Not all labor migration is receiving-country induced."32
The Encyclical Centesimus Annus develops a Christian anthropology as the basis of Catholic social doctrine which begins with the correct view of the human person and his or her unique value. Human dignity and human rights must necessarily be supported by subsidiarity and participation. In Paragraph 28 we hear that "…The poor as individuals and as peoples…are not irksome intruders."33 This is a clear reference to migrants who often are poor and seen as intruders. In Paragraph 57, we see that "The social message of the Gospel must not be considered a theory, but above all else a basis and a motivation for action."34 Further on, concern for the marginalized refugees and migrants is expressed in this paragraph.
In Veritatis Splendor, there is a reference in Paragraph 53 to culture, "It must certainly be admitted that man always exists in a particular culture, but it must also be admitted that man is not exhaustively defined by that same culture."35 Man is not the prisoner of any culture; the human person's transcendent nature is the measure of all culture.
Veritatis Splendor, which describes the Gospel as the gift of the commandment of new life, is a reflection on the life which professes truth and love. It gives the anthropological concerns that underline the moral doctrine for a vision of man set forth by the Church.
The Gospel of Life contains a powerful dissertation on the moral foundation of civil law. In Paragraph 72 we hear that civil law should "mirror natural law." Paragraph 71 says that "Civil Law must insure all members of society enjoy respect and certain fundamental rights which innately belong to the person, rights which every positive law must recognize and guarantee." Further on in Paragraph 71, "Thus any government which refused to recognize human rights or acted in violation of them would not only fail in its duty; but its decrees would be wholly lacking in binding force. These citations provide a basis for the defense of asylum seekers and undocumented workers who sometimes challenge existing civil laws, but who exercise natural rights.36
These encyclicals provide much of the background for John Paul II's teaching on migration and for the annual Migration Day messages to be described below.
Annual Migration Messages
The annual Migration Day messages can be divided into two categories. From 1974 to 1983 inclusive, the messages were issued under the signature of the Secretary of State. Although approved by the Holy Father, they cannot be directly attributable to his own authorship, although he is quoted extensively. From 1985 to 2002, each message bears the signature of the Holy Father, therefore, can be interpreted as authentically his own authorship. Instead of characterizing each message, I have attempted to analyze and categorize the issues treated. A general division, I believe, can be made between the statements regarding anthropology and those which are more of a religious nature. I will attempt in just a few brief statements to enunciate some of the themes of these numerous messages, beginning from the most recent to the earlier statements.
The following issues have been treated within the last five years; the issue of inter-religious dialogue, evangelization, the unity of humankind and the diversity of culture, and globalization of solidarity. The right to migrate, relying heavily on Laborem Exercens is seen as enriching to both sending and receiving countries. The issue of human freedom and communion also are treated in separate messages. The development issue, relying heavily on Centesimus Annus and Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, is treated in one message. The issue of necessity of ecclesial integration and incultural pluralism is set in the biblical context of the Pentecost event which unites overturning the Babel event which has divided humankind. Human mobility in general is a constant theme, as well as the solidarity that is necessary between sending and receiving cultures. One message already cited in the talk about described racism as against migrants as xenophobia which must be replaced by philoxemia. The issue of discrimination against migrants is also treated from the perspective of family unity as a principle of migration rights. It is a subject that draws heavily from the Apostolic Letter Familaris Consortio. Interdependence and the structures of sin drawing from Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, are also treated in one of the letters. The issue of cultural acceptance, as cited above, is essential to ecclesial identity. Drawing heavily from Centesimus Annus, we hear that work is meant to unite the human race, not divide it. Human dignity and human rights are integral to the social message of gospel proclamation. It must reach out to the marginalized, especially refugees and migrants.
On the other hand, the religious statements would include a citation of the Gospel of Charity, a statement from both the Coming and The Beginning of the New Millennium letters.
Respect for conscience and the incarnation as a religious fact that extends the Gospel to all people. Christian service is treated as an obligation towards migrants.37 The unity of the trinity becomes a model for the integration of newcomers. Citing Lumen Gentium Paragraph 9, we see how the image of the Church is one of unity. Regarding the undocumented, the Holy Father calls them the man on the roadside in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Hospitality is a grave obligation on the Church. The civilization of love, the phrase coined by Pope Paul VI, becomes a reality when migrants are well received. There are several references to Mary as the "Pilgrim of Faith," as well as the mention of the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, citing the missionary nature of the Church which involved migration for its missionaries.
This extensive body of teaching augmented on an annual basis represents a veritable treasure trove of thought and development of the issue of migration.38
The Pontifical Council on Migration over the course of its almost 30 years of existence has called four world congresses on migration, three of which have taken place in John Paul II's pontificate. The most recent congress in 1998, delt with the pastoral care of migrants and refugees. As is customary, the Holy Father addresses the congress delegates and issues a statement. A particular concern of the 1998 statement was the issue of illegal migration which was explained in the context of the basic right to leave one's own country. Immigration is a complex matter which very much depends on public opinion. Public opinion needs to be shaped, so that solidarity with the poor will result. Denunciations of racism and xenophobia are not enough. The Church must be the good Samaritan of the world when it comes to the world's migrants and refugees. At the conclusion of the document, citing the coming of the third millennium and the Jubilee Year as well as its practices, such as debt cancellation, the Holy Father also called for an amnesty for illegal immigrants. At the third World Congress on Migration, he spoke regarding the increase of the migration phenomenon of the world and the caution of not seeing migrants merely as a labor force, but rather as human beings. The Holy Father says that in Matthew 25, we find the injunction to Welcome the Stranger which is the hallmark for the Church's work with migrants and refugees. Openness and cooperation must be the hallmarks of the Church's reception of migrants, as well as the defense of human rights and justice. In 1985, the second World Congress gave the Holy Father an opportunity to cite his Encyclical Laborem Exercens and underline the right to leave and return and seek better conditions of life. He describes immigration as a drama and a trial. It is a necessary evil, not a positive fact for all. For example, refugees experience a negative effect of migration. The right to migrate comes with duties. However, asylum is a strict right as is immigration for work and the right to settle should be protected by civil societies. The issue of integration was addressed. Immigrants must not be assimilated or absorbed, much less dissolved, they must maintain their own identity and culture. Ghettos are not conducive to integration, yet the migrants are urged to be faithful to their origins and faith. It sometimes happens in their own local communities. The Church is a sacrament of unity. It welcomes diversity and unity and is a reconciling force in the world, it must welcome all as brothers, even though they might be strangers. The Church must be the voice of the voiceless when it comes to immigration matters.
Post Synodal Document
Finally, in the post synodal document Ecclesia in America the question of immigrants is treated in Paragraph 65. "The future of migration in America, including North and South America, is obviously of great concern to all nations in the hemisphere."39 The first service that the Holy Father has given to the issue of migration is to call the Church in America as one Church. Economic globalization has already forged an uneasy unity between the nations of this hemisphere. The question of immigrants is treated both with attention to migrants rights, and non-legal immigration as well as seeking means for effective evangelization of those recent arrivals who do not yet know Christ.
In this talk, I was not able, perhaps, to do justice to the vast volume of information and teaching that our Holy Father has annunciated regarding the issue of migration implicitly and explicitly. Perhaps this address will serve as an incentive and foundation for others who will come to the center in the future and plumb the depths of our Holy Father's thought. The John Paul II Cultural Center, dedicated to preserving his thought and expounding it, has much work to do. I am happy to have contributed this in a small way to its mission.
1 John Paul II, First Greeting to the Faithful, October 16, 1978.
2 John Paul II, Homily, October 22, 1979, Observatory Romano 44 (79).
3 John Paul II, Gadium et Spes, no. 24.
4 Nicholas A. DiMarzio, Profiling Undocumented Aliens in the New York Metropolitan Area: Social Welfare and Labor Market Implications, Doctoral Thesis, Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work, May, 1985.
5 Andre Fossard and Pope John Paul II, Be Not Afraid: Pope John Paul II Speaks Out on His Life, His Beliefs, and His Inspiring Vision for Humanity, St. Martins Press, April 1984, p. 100-101.
6 Gadium et Spes, op. cit., no. 17.
7 Karol Wojtyla, "The Personal Structure of Self-Determination," in Person and Community, Lang (1993) 194.
8 John Paul II, Rides et Ratio, no. 83.
9 John Paul II, Laborem Exercens, no. 23.2.
10 Love and Responsibility, Ignatius Press (1981) 27.
11 Crossing the Threshold of Hope, His Holiness John Paul II, Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1994, P.196-197.
12 Romans, 2:15, New American Bible Version.
13 Crossing the Threshold of Hope, op. cit.
14 John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis, March 4, 1979, no. 17.5.
15 Crossing the Threshold of Hope, op. cit., P.197.
16 Ibid., P. 202.
17 Charter of the Rights of the Family, Holy See, October 22, 1983, Article 12.
18 John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, no. 77..
19 Laborem Exercens, op. cit., no. 23.1.
20 Ibid., 23.3.
21 Inculturation and Ecclesial Communion, Culture and Church in the Teaching of Pope John Paul II, Francis E. George, OMI, Urbaniana University Press, Rome, 1990, p. 37.
22 Gaudium et Spes, op. cit., no. 24.
23 John Paul II, Migration Day Message, 2002, no. 4.
24 Francis E. George, OMI, op. cit., p.31.
25 John Paul II, Migration Day Message, 1991, no. 3.
26 Ibid., no. 4.
27 John Paul II, presentation at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, June 2, 1980, "Paths to Peace: a Contribution" p. 30.
28 Christ, Faith and the Challenge of Cultures, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Origins 1993, p. 681.
29 Redemptor Hominis, op. cit., no. 14.
30 Laborem Exercens, op. cit., no. 20.
31 Ibid., no 23.
32 Profiling Undocumented Aliens, op. cit., p.17.
33 John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, May 1, 1991, no. 28.
34 Ibid., no.57.
35 John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, no. 53.
36 John Paul II, Gospel of Life, no. 71.
37 John Paul II, At the Beginning of the New Millennium, no. 49
38 For a more detailed analysis of the annual Migration Day Messages see published paper, "Themes of Messages of Pope John Paul II for World Migration Day," Reverend Michael Blume, Pontifical Council on Migration.
39 John Paul II, Ecclesia in America, no. 42.