Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who appears still to be running for president, is making headlines in Iowa for flouting the teachings of the Catholic Church on immigration despite his very public professions of faith. From the Des Moines Register:

The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops are wrong by calling for comprehensive immigration reform that includes an earned path to legalization, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said today.

The Pennsylvania Republican, who is seeking his party’s nomination for president, said in an interview with Des Moines Register political columnist Kathie Obradovich that the United States is a country of laws and it must enforce those laws.

“If we develop the program like the Catholic bishops suggested we would be creating a huge magnet for people to come in and break the law some more, we’d be inviting people to cross this border, come into this country and with the expectation that they will be able to stay here permanently,” said Santorum, who usually attends Latin Mass with his family at a Catholic church in suburban Washington, D.C.

Read the full article here, and learn more about what the church in the US teaches about immigration here.

Santorum's views on immigration may clash with his church, but they are in line with the Republican party. The GOP's apparent frontrunner, fellow Catholic Newt Gingrich, may hold views on immigration that are closer in line with the church. He has been criticized by some for being too soft on immigration: he once said that mass deporation of nearly 11 million men, women, and children would not be "humane." Read more here

Comments

mary parks | 12/14/2011 - 2:38pm
Which is not to say that there aren't good ways to help immigrants regularize their status.  The bishops' road, however, is not one of them.
Gabriel Marcella | 12/14/2011 - 10:41am
Michael,
One of my best students in a college course is the child of Mexicans "amnestied" by President Reagan. Thousands like her are enriching our nation with their talents and creativity. Apparently you can serve honorably and make the ultimate sacrifice in the military but cannot enjoy the rights of citizenship. Something is amiss. We should be grateful and find an humane way to solve the problem.
David Pasinski | 12/14/2011 - 10:24am
''Cafeteria Catholicism'' is alive and well among Republican ''right to life'' candidates as much as it may be for any Democrats! Gingrich's personal history and politics about this are most interesting- especially given his conversion to Catholicism and whatever his take is on episcopal and papal teaching and the recent documente on world economic issues. His private life is just that, but I can't help wondering about any annulment or validation of his second marriage as some felt free to speculate about Ted Kennedy's apparently non-canonically approved union. 
Marie Rehbein | 12/15/2011 - 2:09pm
Common sense applied to the Immigration Issue would dictate that governments have the authority to set immigration policy.  It would also dictate that if that policy is widely not observed, then the situation needs to be analyzed and the policy needs to be redesigned.

The simple fact of the matter is that people coming into this country illegally do not hurt this country.  In fact, they are largely helpful to the economy.  That among them are found individuals who engage in crimes beyond entering the country illegally does not mean that all are scofflaws who degrade the moral climate of this nation.

In Pennsylvania, illegal immigrants are a theoretical problem.  In New Mexico, they are essential to the economy and they are our neighbors, friends, fellow parishioners, and relatives.  This is true of Texas as well, and when the governor of that state does anything but defend them, he is a hypocrite caving in to bigotry.

Mr. Santorum is a bigot due to his having no first hand experience pertaining to illegal immigrants.  One would hope that he would simply stay away from this issue and defer to the insights of those who govern and live in border states.  Had policymakers deferred to former governor of Texas and President of the US George W. Bush on this matter, there would be no illegal immigrants, only documented guest workers instead. 
JIM MCCREA | 12/14/2011 - 5:48pm
Rick Santorum:  CINO.
mary parks | 12/14/2011 - 2:38pm
Just as their health care plan was not one of the ways to fix health care.
mary parks | 12/14/2011 - 2:36pm
ACtually, Santorum is not disagreeing with Church teaching as presented in the Catechism, but with the pastoral opinions of many US bishops, opinions with which Catholics have the right to disagree.  Every illegal here is using someone else's identity or social security number, or is evading taxes while using the benefits provided by taxes.  The position of many US bishops is extreme, appears to ignore the Catechism's statement that nations have the right and duty to regulate immigration and that migrants also have a duty to reform their own nation. 

The teachings of the US bishops fall into the area of prudential judgment.  They can and should teach authentically about moral principles and the rules for applying them,  but they are not the authority to judge about the situations in which these principles are applied, nor the prudential application of those principles.  This is the responsibility of the laity.  The bishops can have opinions, and good ones, and can give shepherding advice, but it does not carry doctrinal weight and Catholics may differ.  When the bishops talk politics, one not only suspects their motives (cozying up to the party that subsidizes them) but not-well-catechized (read "nearly all" - again thanks to the bishops) Catholics begin to doubt their teaching authority itself, which is sad.  In other words, they lose moral authority.