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Catholic Social Teaching

CLINIC reflects the Church’s own tradition of exile, flight and migration. Catholic social teaching identifies the Holy Family, in their flight to Egypt, as the “archetype of every refugee family.” Jesus identified with newcomers (“I was a stranger and you welcomed me”), so that in the Catholic tradition, newcomers “image” God. It identifies the Church itself as a “pilgrim” Church. Catholic teaching views migration not as a divisive phenomenon, but as an occasion to build the human family. It recognizes a range of human rights for newcomers, based on their God-given dignity that extends far beyond those recognized by individual nations or international bodies. Finally, it teaches that civil authority draws its legitimacy from protecting and defending human rights and the “common good of the entire human family.” In this context, service to newcomers constitutes an obligation to persons of faith, not an option.

Catholic social teaching’s emphasis on the rights and dignity of all persons explains, in part, why CLINIC and its diocesan partners represent needy newcomers from all countries, religions, social groups, creeds, and ethnic backgrounds. CLINIC and its partners serve non-Catholics precisely because of their Catholic identity.

CLINIC constitutes one expression of the Catholic Church’s commitment to welcome and defend newcomers in the United States. CLINIC draws upon a rich tradition of Scripture and Catholic social teaching, which serve as the foundation for its Guiding Principles.


How Does Catholic Social Teaching Fit Into Immigration?

In advocating on behalf of migrants, immigrants, and refugees, it is important to understand that the Catholic position is based on Catholic social teaching, which is derived from the Gospels and the words of Christ; statements and encyclicals of the Popes; and statements and pastoral letters of bishops around the world, including the bishops of the United States.

Toolkit cover - image of cross in the desert

The Justice for Immigrants campaign, of which CLINIC is a part, has put together this Lenten toolkit (also available in Spanish) for parishes and communities to use during Lent. It offers weekly resources to accompany you through your Lenten journey. The resources are designed to help you reflect on the biblical call for immigration reform, and act to impact our current political reality.

The Feast of Pentecost is upon us! This is a time to celebrate the missionary outburst to share the evangelii gaudium, the joy of the Gospel, with all people. And, it is at this wondrous time that we join Catholics in prayerful action to repair our disjointed immigration system.