Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

An Interpretation of Archbishop Lori’s DREAM

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Nov 13, 2012

Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream. My dream is that bishops will one day speak intelligently about the DREAM Act. Archbishop William Lori tried and failed at the USCCB’s Fall meeting.

Archbishop Lori wanted to show that (a) the DREAM Act represents “Gospel values taught to us by our Lord Jesus Christ”, just like the defense of marriage does; and (b) the Church’s support in Maryland of both the DREAM Act and marriage between one man and one woman—one a Democratic and the other a Republican cause—proves that the Church is wonderfully non-partisan because of her allegiance to “Gospel values taught to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Point A is dubious. And because Point A is dubious, Point B is harmfully incorrect.

Whatever one may think of the DREAM Act’s provision of in-state tuition rates at Maryland universities and colleges for undocumented immigrant students, the Act can hardly be classed as one of the “Gospel values taught to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.” Moreover, support for the Act by the Church fails to address (or addresses in exactly the wrong way) the perils of throwing immigrants into greater dependency on the State, which is increasingly hostile to faith and morals.

One would think—by now!—that the Archbishop of Baltimore would be able to see that the Church should be more concerned with educating people herself than with ensuring that the State educates them. Another opportunity has been lazily tossed and lost.

And since the DREAM Act, whatever its merits, is not what Archbishop Lori claims it to be, it follows that to compare it with the Church’s defense of marriage, which is certainly one of the “Gospel values taught to us by our Lord Jesus Christ”, is to perpetuate the enormous confusion among Catholics about Gospel values which has so weakened both Catholic virtue and Catholic politics over the past fifty years.

Catholics may disagree about the DREAM Act, because Our Lord did not teach it. They may not disagree about marriage, because Our Lord did teach it. Conclusion? Archbishop Lori's remarks are a nightmare.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: koinonia - Jul. 27, 2018 7:56 AM ET USA

    I think both Phil and Dr. Jeff are right on target- Conversion. The gospels speak of the vital link between grace and faith. Do we imagine it's possible men like McCarrick could do what they did while celebrating Mass daily consecrating daily? If they lacked faith, yes. How many of these men really believe? It's got to be asked. At the root has been a loss of faith and loss of grace. It begins with confession. It begins with sacraments. We need priests who know who they are and who die to self.

  • Posted by: bkmajer3729 - Jul. 25, 2018 7:56 PM ET USA

    Really Phil? Now, Bishop Barren has it wrong. Is this a bias because Pope Francis made the original suggestion? You know the solution is not as simple as just being in the Sacristy or in the confessional. If people are not coming into the church, such time is wasted and lost anyway. Duty of lay catholics-yes! Absolutely! But most have not been properly Catechized to know their duty-so now what. I guess we get the priests and the lay faithful to go out after them. Oh, what the Bishop said. Hmmm

  • Posted by: Pop - Jul. 21, 2018 3:23 PM ET USA

    My first thought: how do we get more of the faithful into the confessionals

  • Posted by: FredC - Jul. 21, 2018 2:30 PM ET USA

    When our parish was founded, nobody was going to Confession. Nevertheless, the founding pastor was in the Confessional at 6 pm every night for at least one hour. Confession was offered also on Saturday afternoon. Gradually, people starting coming to Confession. To this day, some 18 years later, many people come to Confession in our parish. When the priest's actions showed how important Confession is, people came.

  • Posted by: leticia.cadiz4543 - Jul. 21, 2018 5:06 AM ET USA

    Sir , You are absolutely right , priests should spend more time in the confessional. By doing so he is truly fulfilling his vocation w/c is to save souls

  • Posted by: - Jul. 20, 2018 9:08 PM ET USA

    Thank you for this article. It does sadden me the BP Barron has taken this stance. I appreciate what he has done for Evangelization, but he does seem soft when it comes to reconciliation. I agree, priests need to prioritize bringing the sacraments to the people.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jul. 20, 2018 6:33 PM ET USA

    Bravo. I was impressed that the parish we reside in (not my assigned ministry parish) had confessions between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. one Friday in the summer. Acknowledgement of sin is the first step toward healing, is it not? And so there needs to be someone who can absolve from the sin and encourage toward spiritual healing. That's the priest in the confessional.

  • Posted by: R. Spanier (Catholic Canadian) - Jul. 20, 2018 12:59 PM ET USA

    Hasn’t our Lord already taught, through Fr. (St.) Jean-Marie Vianney, how to successfully evangelize? “The day after his arrival he was almost alone as he made his way toward the altar to celebrate Mass. But a few days later, when some came to see...., the faithful found him on his knees in prayer before the Tabernacle, as though he truly saw Someone: they found him in the same position, morning, afternoon, evening and even at night.”

  • Posted by: MWCooney - Jul. 19, 2018 7:12 PM ET USA

    Since Bishop Barron has assured us several times that it is likely no one is in Hell, why do we need priests in the confessionals? But, since he is incorrect in this destructive belief, what we actually need is more, not fewer, good priests in the parishes, evangelizing those who show up so that they are convinced of the need for the sacraments. He is among the many in the hierarchy who are blind to the fact that is is their watering down of the Faith that is the cause of the problem.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Jul. 19, 2018 6:02 PM ET USA

    Phil, I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to read much of what you write. I heard a bishop say recently (between you and me it was in Dillwyn, VA) that the priest is not just an alter Christus. He IS Christ. He emphasized the work of the priest- the abandonment of self- in providing the sacraments and thus in facilitating the participation of the faithful though grace in the supernatural life of the Blessed Trinity. It is this identity that is in crisis today, and it is everything.

  • Posted by: Thomas429 - Nov. 14, 2012 9:35 PM ET USA

    I thank you very much for your comments on the dream act. It is past time that the church stands against the increase in governmental power by increasing the dependence of the populace on the welfare state. Catholic education would be a great help in the world's hour of need. A new generation must be reared that understands the fatality of dependence on anyone other than God.

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Nov. 14, 2012 3:47 PM ET USA

    It's simple really: many bishops have lost the Faith even if they might venhemently deny it and may even believe firmly that they still have it. Many have forgotten that the Church's number one concern is to bring people to supernatural life in Christ so that they can love Him in this life and be happy with him in the next. Bishop Lori among others seems to have lost sight of the supernatural dimension of the Faith they claim to profess. Pray for him and all bishops.

  • Posted by: Barbnet - Nov. 14, 2012 2:05 AM ET USA

    Paul, is excessive debt moral? Please write about this thorny topic. In modern life, stealing is often done without a mask and pillow case. It is done in plain sight, and the government helps. The US Treasury is borrowing an average of $100 billion a month. The repayment plan sounds like theft to me, because our newborn babes are effectively bond servants Did Jesus endorse this? Giving free stuff to foreigners sounds charitable, but debt bondage of the young sounds like an unjust price.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Nov. 13, 2012 7:45 PM ET USA

    Nightmare is right! When will these bishops get over being Socialists? Do they think the taxpayers have money trees growing in their basements?

  • Posted by: mgreen32234 - Nov. 13, 2012 7:19 PM ET USA

    Ugh! The Dream Act! Sinfully naive to call it a great achievement. Just a way to guarantee the conversion of large-family-loving people into Planned Parenthood customers.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 13, 2012 7:06 PM ET USA

    Amen, Amen, Amen!

  • Posted by: anne.adamczyk - Nov. 13, 2012 4:55 PM ET USA

    Does anybody else see repeated instances of bishops trying to find SOMETHING to agree with the Democrats about, or SOMETHING to disagree with the Republicans about, just so that they can show that they are nonpartisan? Like, "Biden is pro-abortion, but Ryan's budget doesn't care enough for the poor."