Can someone explain to me why Raymond Arroyo still has a show on EWTN? Bad enough that whenever Arroyo hosts Kevin Appleby, from the Center for Migration Studies and a longtime staffer on the issue at the bishops’ conference, he’s paired with someone from the viciously anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform. This would be like hosting Cardinal Timothy Dolan, [former] chair of the bishops’ Pro-Life Activities Committee, and pairing him with Cecile Richards from Planned Parenthood. But, last week, Arroyo discussed the bishops’ spring meeting and their discussion of immigration with First Things’ Matthew Schmitz, and Arroyo did nothing but make apologies for Donald Trump’s willingness to separate children from their parents, and blame it on the Democrats.

— Michael Sean Winters

Michael Sean Winters takes the words out of my mouth. The quote above, from his links column yesterday, as well as his new column today demonstrate the lengths to which Arroyo will push his political views, even when those views directly contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The Catechism teaches:

2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

Make no mistake. In the teaching on immigration, the Catholic Church’s official catechism asserts the right to immigrate. Good people might differ in their prudential views of how nations might best assist people in asserting that right. Of course better and more humanitarian regulations are needed in this country. People are being exploited and abused by the current system, and the system needs an overhaul. But prosperous nations are obliged to welcome the foreigner. And what more prosperous nation is there than the United States?

I know that many of our readers consider themselves conservative, and are members of the Republican party. Most of our readers understand that our editorial position at Where Peter Is is non-partisan. We are not beholden to any political party or candidate in any country. We realize that we have a diverse reader base, and some readers may be unhappy with us for taking a position that is critical of a particular party. We simply strive to be faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, doctrinally orthodox, and committed to following the Magisterium.

This position frees us to respond to politics, news, and events without prejudice against a political figure or party. If a party or political leader holds a stance or enacts a policy that is contrary to the Catholic position, we will stand for the Truth without apology.

In the case of the current immigration crisis, and especially the controversy in recent weeks over the separation of children from their parents at the border, we defer to the wisdom of our bishops and the Holy See over that of the Republican leadership.

In Benjamin O’Hearn’s excellent essay this morning about the immediate humanitarian crisis at the US/Mexico border, he draws our attention to numerous statements by US bishops, including the USCCB President, Houston’s Cardinal DiNardo, who wrote:

“[We condemn] the continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the Administration’s zero tolerance policy. Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”

New York’s Cardinal Dolan added,

“I don’t think we should obey a law that goes against what God intends. That you would take a baby, a child from his or her mom. I mean, that’s just unjust, that’s unbiblical, that’s un-American. There could be no Bible passage that would justify that. […] I would say that if you claim to be Christian, you better read St. Matthew’s gospel when he said, “this is what Jesus is going to ask us when we stand before him on judgment day. ‘When I was a stranger, when I was an alien, when I was an immigrant, you welcomed me. Alright, so come into heaven.’ But to me, that means a lot more than any particular law that we’re debating about.”

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, excerpts of which were released earlier today, Francis endorsed the US Bishops’ stance.

“I am on the side of the bishops’ conference,” the pope said, referring to two statements from U.S. bishops this month.

“Let it be clear that in these things, I respect (the position of) the bishops conference.”

Fortunately, it appears that President Trump has finally bowed to the public outcry against the family separations that have been going on since May.

During these weeks, however, Raymond Arroyo has not been part of the outcry. He’s been a cheerleader for an unjust and un-Catholic policy. The week before his discussion with Matthew Schmitz, his guest was Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based think tank that advocates for lower levels of immigration. (The video is here.) The two discussed the justifications for the policy as if there was no other respectable choice. Arroyo suggested that the United States provides something akin to “foster care” for the separated children, citing the “sports training” and “education” they receive. Almost as if this is the desired outcome for these families.

Late in this conversation, Krikorian suggested that the levels of legal immigration need to be pared back significantly, while illegal immigration should be stopped completely. This was, of course, a friendly interview with someone who holds strongly anti-Catholic views.

Regarding the interview a week later with Schmitz, Michael Sean Winters had this to say:

Rather than confronting the immoral policy, Arroyo made excuses, repeating White House talking points about these separations being necessary because of “long-standing American law, connected to the Flores decision, which demands that children be separated from their parents.” Then, how come previous presidents, of both political parties, did not separate children from their parents as Trump is doing now?

Arroyo went on to blame the victim. He said, “that loophole is being exploited,” although it was not clear what loophole he meant if the law was as clear as he indicated. “There are a lot of people gaming the system….’just throw my kid over the border,’ ” Arroyo averred.

Arroyo’s guest, First Things’ senior editor Matthew Schmitz did not question Arroyo’s political spin. When asked about Cardinal Joe Tobin’s call for the bishops to go to the border to demonstrate their pastoral concern and their protest against these inhumane policies, Schmitz suggested the proposal was “grandstanding.”

This is not a Catholic voice. And the true  Catholic voice, in this instance, is unified. This is not left or right. Even Cardinal Burke has spoken against it. In an interview with EWTN News he said, “A solution to the situation has to be found which avoids this practice of separating small children from their parents, that’s clear.”

What damage is Arroyo’s dissent causing? Michael Sean Winters discusses his influence:

“Hundreds of thousands of Catholics think he speaks for the church. His show is a scandal in both the generic and theological sense of the word.”

I have family and friends who watch his show and allow him to influence them. It is doubtful that most of his viewers fact-check his assertions after watching the program.

It’s important that until he repents or is removed from his program, Catholic leaders must continue to speak out against the falsehoods he spreads. When he spreads misinformation or promotes dissent from Catholic teaching, he must be called to account for his words. As Katie Prejean-McGrady — a young Catholic mother and representative to the Vatican pre-synod meeting of young people — did at last week’s meeting of bishops in Ft. Lauderdale.

You may recall in my last article about Arroyo, I discussed how he and the “papal posse” attempted to discredit the meeting’s final document, even though it wasn’t entirely clear that they had either read it or were clear about the backgrounds of the young adults at the meeting. The three American delegates led a conversation with the assembled bishops last week, a discussion that Crux said bishops described as “electric” and “galvanizing.”

Prejean-McGrady, one of the three US delegates, had taken note of Arroyo’s derisive comments. After meeting with the bishops, she told Crux,

“I hope that as we addressed the bishops, we proved what Raymond Arroyo said to be wrong,” said Prejean-McGrady. “There are young people that have something to say, who are articulate, and we do have an experience of the Church, and we’re willing to share it, and that the bishops are willing to listen.”

“I think it maybe turned his criticism on its head,” she added. “So many bishops afterwards were asking further questions and wanted contact information, and even their separate conversation after we were done with our piece, showed that they have been thinking.”

Hopefully more Bishops and faithful Catholics are coming to their senses and realizing that Arroyo’s program is far from orthodox or faithful. Hopefully people are becoming more aware about the falsehoods and misrepresentations that are featured on this program.

My next piece on Arroyo will discuss how his program has been used as a platform to attack the Holy Father.

Stay tuned….


UPDATE 6/22/18:

Proving even further that this is not a liberal or conservative issue, conservative Archbishop Charles Chaput has written a column decrying the policy. He writes:

The administration’s most recent blunder — separating children from their parents caught illegally entering the country — was both stupid and destructive, and the storm of anger it sparked, warranted. … We’re better than this as a nation. And if we really want to “make America great again,” with a moral character that proves it, then the people who make and apply our laws need to act accordingly.

Mike Lewis is a writer and graphic designer from Maryland, having worked for many years in Catholic publishing. He’s a husband, father of four, and a lifelong Catholic. He’s active in his parish and community. He is a founding editor for Where Peter Is.

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14 Responses

  1. petey says:

    “What is important is that until he repents or is removed from his program, Catholic leaders continue to speak out against the falsehoods he spreads.”

    exactly eight.

  2. Patti says:

    “Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” [from the citation of #2241 of the Catechism above]

    I notice this section had no highlights. The part about obeying the laws of the country that receives them should be highlighted. The USCCB has that listed on its website as a serious point of Church teaching, right under the part about people having the right to emigrate.

    If you’re going to present Church teaching on this topic, please, present all of it. Otherwise, you risk doing what you accuse Arroyo of doing.

    • Mike Lewis says:

      I omitted nothing, or else you would not have copied and pasted that section. I posted the entire relevant passage of the Catechism. I chose to emphasize the parts that Arroyo has neglected, namely the right to immigrate and the obligation of prosperous nations to receive them.

      This passage that you highlight goes on explain the obligations of immigrants to obey the laws of the country that *receives* them. I agree 100%, but that is not relevant to my piece.

      Separating families at the border hardly constitutes “receiving” them. So this issue precludes the responsibilities of immigrants towards their new country. Of course they should be grateful, respectful, and law-abiding once they reside here.

  3. Kathy says:

    One can only hope and pray that Catholic watchers of EWTN will recognize the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  4. Chris says:

    I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. The fact you quote michael winters and the NCReporter, and trust them as a source for what is allegedly authentically Catholic speaks volumes. The NCR is all of a sudden the voice of Catholic orthodoxy?! Who knew? If there is anyone heterodox, partisan, prone to dishonesty, and incredibly vicious and nasty, it is Winters and the folks at NCR. (Do I need to provide examples of this from NCR pieces?); and for you and Winters to complain that Arroyo allegedly causes scandal, when the NCR and its heterodoxy specialize in leading people astray, and for you to put stock in that!! You have discredited yourself on this alone, and the claim that you are not partisan is hardly credible and the fact you have to come out and try to convince people of it means there is something fishy.

    We all know the reason for this supposed outrage is to attack Trump. The whole notion of Winter’s piece is a giveaway- “arroyo sides with Trump.” Oh, the horror! The fact it is only a problem at this point in time, when this same thing was in force under Obama, yet nothing was said until now, is one piece of evidence for this. That is where the siding with political parties and ideologies has really happened. In this, Winters and you also state a bold lie- that this has only been occurring with Trump, since this May. Talk about needing to check your facts. At the least, Winters or yourself could and should issue a correction about this false claim.

    As usual, progressives make the mistake of trying to equate prudential matters with doctrinal ones, and if you don’t agree with their support or objection of this or that political position, or opinion, you are “dissenting.” Winter’s really gripes about Arroyo’s legitimate criticism and observation about certain matters. I don’t see that arroyo gives any unqualified support of having families separated or anything close to it. Can you provide some direct quotation of such alleged support? His guest even says that “everyone wants to have a humane approach and want to avoid these situations where children are separated from their parents and the question is how to reduce that.” Arroyo also talks of supporting efforts to change the law. Winters thus seems to misrepresent Arroyo’s statements, and it’s interesting that he doesn’t actually quote arroyo except for 1-2 sentences. And likewise, instead of quoting any of Arroyo’s words yourself, you only quote Winters’ claims/paraphrase about them, which are also clearly politically charged, e,g., that arroyo is repeating white house talking points. That’s very odd and fishy, unless arroyo’s words don’t actually support what you and Winter’s claim.

    And you go on to equate even trivial matters with some sort of doctrinal status, e.g., saying that his mere observations about the youth synod- arguably true anyway- are signs of heterodoxy or infidelity. Are you kidding? You have failed to show exactly what doctrines, tenets of Faith, Arroyo has transgressed, rather than opinions you disagree with. The whole piece really backfires on you, as it is you folks who end up looking like partisan hacks, taking so much pain to demonize Arroyo and EWTN, and using some of the most petty examples, and arguably misrepresenting him, failing to provide arroyo’s own alleged words of the main claim. But in this, you are in good company with Winters and the NCReporter.

    • Mike Lewis says:

      Well, I think you’ve covered all the talking points. There’s no use in responding to it all, but two things I would like to point out:

      1. We address your concern about partisanship in the piece. We do not view this through a partisan lens, and to paint us as “progressives” is completely inaccurate. I have already pointed to prelates like Cardinals Burke, DiNardo, and Dolan (hardly progressives) who have spoken out against the practice. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island has been outspoken as well. This is not a partisan issue, it is a moral issue, and you apparently find yourself on the wrong side of it. We make clear in the piece that we are nonpartisan and we follow the Magisterium.

      If Michael Sean Winters is right, he is right. Yes, he tends towards the progressive side on many moral and prudential issues, but I have never known Mr. Winters to speak out against Catholic doctrine (He is a contributor to NCR, not the spokesperson for everything they publish). He is strongly pro-life and attends the Latin Mass. Of course he is calling out President Trump on this issue. This is not about taking Trump down but about pointing out where Trump has condoned a great moral evil.

      Winters even points out the irony when he says, “I admit the irony that someone who writes for the National Catholic Reporter calls on the bishops to do something about EWTN. Many conservative critics of NCR have thought we should be shut down because of our deviations from orthodoxy. But, so far as I know, no one at NCR has ever written an unorthodox opinion out of hatefulness.”

      2. You are confused in what the church means by prudence. The Church allows prudence in some aspects of the immigration process itself, “Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption.” As I wrote in the piece, “Make no mistake. In the teaching on immigration, the Catholic Church’s official catechism asserts the right to immigrate. Good people might differ in their prudential views of how nations might best assist people in asserting that right. Of course better and more humanitarian regulations are needed in this country. People are being exploited and abused by the current system, and the system needs an overhaul. But prosperous nations are obliged to welcome the foreigner. And what more prosperous nation is there than the United States?”

      Arroyo and his guests specifically advocated for two moral evils: the reduction of even LEGAL immigration to the United States, and the inhumane practice of separating children from parents that has been practiced since May. The first is a violation of the doctrinal teaching in CCC 2241, and the second is a violation of parental rights and the welfare of the children involved.

      • Chris says:

        Although this is a smaller point, it does reflect on your level of honesty: MSWinters is orthodox, has never advocated against Church teaching, e.g., homosexuality, women’s ordination, has not routinely attacked bishops & others who he deems to be too pro-life, homophobic?!? And he attends the latin mass? Is that why he has attacked it so much, calling it divisive, fringe, that the issuance of summorum pontificum was a mistake and bad for the Church? Then he is even more unhinged then previously thought.

        First, asking for a reduction of immigration to a country is not some intrinsic evil and the Church has not taught such. That contradicts the Catechism, which parts you gloss over, i.e., 2241: “to the extent they are able”, which clearly references the ability to welcome immigrants. How you can claim that it applies to a ‘process’ is baffling. And “Political authorities…. may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions.” (Other documents that explicitly mention nations having the ability to limit the reception of immigrants and control their influx include: John Paul II, Message for the 2001 World Day of Peace; Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Refugees: a Challenge to Solidarity; Compendium of the social doctrine of the Church.) There are some, even bishops, who want to advocate for such, but that does not make it valid. Can you provide any magisterial citations that the Church has taught a country never has the ability to limit, regulate the influx of immigrants? That defies even common sense. You have precisely taken a prudential call and falsely claimed it is doctrinal. It seems you don’t have any formal philosophical or theological training and perhaps that is another reason for the error. CCC#2241 is “doctrinal” in the loose sense it provides guiding principles, but is technically not, for by its very nature it invokes judgment calls to be made, which may legitimately differ according to time, place, etc. This is where we see what’s really happening- someone doesn’t like the judgment call made and it goes against their political leanings- so obvious in the case of Winters- so they claim it’s against doctrine. Arroyo is clearly within the realm of legitimate Catholic thought.

        As for the second claim, I ask you again, please provide arroyo’s actual words wherein he advocates for separating families or even voices some unqualified support for the current law or says it should not be changed. And please don’t say you need to read between the lines, etc. You also repeat the lie that the practice has only been happening since May. To summarize: you misrepresent/misinterpret church teaching on the ability to restrict immigration, and I welcome citations that the Church has ever taught that doing so is some intrinsic evil. And, please provide direct quotes from arroyo for the other claim. And while we are at it, some direct, government source for the claim that the practice has only been happening since May.

        • Mike Lewis says:

          Most of your questions are already answered in the piece and I assume you are simply trying to dodge the fact that you don’t assent to Church teaching on immigration. I am not going to write an entire blog post simply to satisfy your curiosity. Try using Google.

          Briefly, and this is my final response to you:

          1) You don’t know MSW, so you really have no context on whether or not to judge his sanity. Additionally it is rude and inappropriate to make such judgments. Finally, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate where he has defied Catholic teaching. You’d be surprised.

          2) If the United States does not qualify as a prosperous nation that can accept immigrants, then who does? I can understand if a poor third-world country can’t accept immigrants, but the argument that the US cannot is weak to say the least. I have no idea why you think my premise is baffling, once again you oppose the stance of the bishops and the pope. Feel free to hold firm to your stance, but your position is certainly not orthodox. I find it somewhat amusing that certain self-declared “orthodox” Catholics get so angry at the idea of someone accepting the entire Magisterium and not just the bits they like.

          3) It’s in the Krikorian interview. I am not going to transcribe it for you here.

  5. Chris says:

    I am not looking for a reply but I will submit this nonetheless, given your failure to still provide any evidence for your claims, and allow people to look at what the Church says about it, if you have the courage. There is your opinion of what you want the CCC to say. I even provided other magisterial references which contradict your claim. I guess you didn’t read them. (More specifically you could look at numbers 13, 6, and 298, respectively) Who is the one not accepting the magisterium? Even if this is a matter of interpretation, the CCC has clearly been interpreted to allow a nation to control the number of immigrants. This only confirms you are ideological and partisan in nature. And you dodge the second point by just saying it’s in the interview. In other words, there is no such statement you can point to. You can’t/won’t even provide a time reference for where any such alleged statement are in the interview.

    • Mike Lewis says:

      If you are going to defend the interview, then why don’t you watch it? I provided a link. I am not your personal Googling service.

      What ideology do I subscribe to?

      Where is the evidence that MSW is unorthodox?

  6. Chris says:

    You dodged the main points- the error about the claim Re: the evil of limiting immigration. Either refute the sources referenced, beginning with the CCC- but of course, that would be stupid- or show some source whereby the Church teaches a country never has the right to limit immigration. And it is up to you to provide the actual statements- especially after being challenged to do so- that arroyo said what he did about wanting families to be separated; and the fact Winters and you do not/cannot provide the actual statements he allegedly made but only claims and paraphrases of what he supposedly said- speaks for itself. It is an old trick to throw out an accusation, then ask the other person to disprove it. (I would also note Winter’s piece is based upon the June 14 show). So, the claims that arroyo is promoting faulty catholic teaching are not proven, and in one case, wrong. Otherwise, Winters and you largely disagree with mere opinions of arroyo, including ones which are legitimately within Catholic teaching; and as one example, that arroyo used the term illegal alien children, which is actually factually correct. This is the reason for the impression that you are only wanting to serve the bizarre penchant for attacking arroyo/ewtn and promoting your own opinion and politics as gospel.

  7. Pete Vere says:

    Mike, just a quick head’s up that I cited you in my latest piece on this topic at my Patheos blog. What I find interesting is that Russian Orthodox traditionalist and social media personality Sister Vassa has better captured the Christian spirit of Mother Angelica than has certain Catholic media.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/orthodoxyincommunionwithrome/2018/06/family-separation/

  1. June 28, 2018

    […] of families and incarceration of children, but if you look at, for instance, Mike Lewis’s ‘Raymond Arroyo: Party over Faith’ piece at wherepeteris.com, you’ll get a useful rundown on how such individuals are defying […]

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