Summary: One little act of evil just leads to more evil, not good; if we are to help humans develop, we must fact the twin problems of education and immigration

Monday of Holy Week 2010

Caritas in Veritate

The notion that doing one “little act of evil” in order to fulfill a good purpose is the original sin. So Judas, one of the early disciples and probably the earliest treasurer, raked off some of the collection plate money for something he found necessary, and then got into the habit so deeply that he considered it his right. So whatever good he ever did is lost in the twin titles–traitor and thief. The same with the Jewish leaders. They refused to believe in this Messiah-from-noplace because they thought they were obeying the Law of Moses. After all, Jesus did stuff on Shabbat, and Moses said not to do any work on Shabbat. One thing led to another, and they ended up plotting to kill Jesus and even do in poor Lazarus a second time.

As Pope Benedict concludes his treatment of solidarity among the people of the world, he talks about greater access to education, which is at the same time “an essential precondition for effective international cooperation. But he never forgets that the Church’s mission to the world involves the development of the whole person. In fact, that’s why the encyclical is so long, and this homily series never seems to end. Education–with all due respect to the limits imposed by TEA–extends beyond and beneath the superficial needs of classroom instruction and vocational training to the complete formation of the person. “: in order to educate, it is necessary to know the nature of the human person, to know who he or she is. The increasing prominence of a relativistic understanding of that nature presents serious problems for education, especially moral education, jeopardizing its universal extension. Yielding to this kind of relativism makes everyone poorer and has a negative impact on the effectiveness of aid to the most needy populations, who lack not only economic and technical means, but also educational methods and resources to assist people in realizing their full human potential.” As long as we who teach most of the students in Texas are fearful of raising the moral issues surrounding biology, chemistry, economics, health, public safety, government, and the rest, our children will continue to graduate with technical proficiency and deficient humanity.

In this week in which we celebrate Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection, it is also fitting that the Pope reminds us of the suffering of migrant workers. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with Archbishop Gomez, in which he asked whether it is fair or even humane to make a poor man wait three years for a work visa, while a foreign national with a million dollars to deposit is fast-tracked and given permanent residency in a few days? Such situations must lead to a system in which three million human beings in this country–and now all over–are what we call “illegals.” Yes, they are mouths, but with each mouth comes a pair of hands. They are not a mere commodity or mere workforce, and may not be treated like any other factor of production. “Every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance. (Par 62)

If we don’t come to terms with this situation, we will end up like England, where the fastest growing party is the anti-immigration party. Instead of solidarity with the other peoples of the world, we will be in a situation envisioned just last Saturday by Jeff Kuhner, in which our own beloved country hovers on the brink of Civil War, which, I must remind myself, is never civil. As we pray, let’s pray that the Pope’s vision of human solidarity become a reality. We learned on the first Holy Week that the greatest evil can become the beginning of a real rebirth of the divine within human society.

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