Sor Juana de la Cruz, Prostitution, and Immigration

First off, flying out for an on-campus interview tomorrow, so keep me in your prayers.

More interestingly, and importantly, I heard a wonderful homily last night at the Paulist Center by Fr. Rubén Patiño. The Gospel for the day was the story of the woman caught in adultery, when Christ asks the one without sin to cast the first stone. Now, I've heard many sermons about this that have simply repeated the normal bourgie ethos of "live and let live", of a privatizing tolerance that talks about the need not to judge other people. And, to some extent, that's all well and good. But Rubén brought this to a whole new level by connecting the story with the recent immigration raids in New Bedford, and the need for the church to speak as church for the dignity of immigrants, legal and illegal.

He quoted a poem about prostitution by the 17th century Mexican poet and mystic Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz:

Quién será más de culpar

aunque cualquiera mal haga:
La que peca por la paga,
o el que paga por pecar

Roughly, who is more to blame, the one who sins for pay, or the one who pays for sin? Without denying the fact that illegal immigration is a problem, Rubén talked about how those who we, as a nation, are expelling and punishing, are here because of the poverty in their own countries, and also to maintain us in our cheap clothing, services, and other goods. It reminds me of the words of a confession of sin used in the episcopal church: "We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf." As an article in the Boston Globe points out today, the evil done on our behalf against immigrants and their families is part of a Homeland Security plan that will grow in strength and impact in the coming years. May God forgive us, and give us the strength to welcome the stranger and speak for her rights.


bill bannon said...

And what of those who are here and are sending money back to Mexico while they use our hospitals free of charge.

Christ was honest also with the poor...confronting the Samaritan woman with her plethora of husbands and the man he cured of paralysis in John...."sin no more lest something worse befall thee".

But Catholicism in the 21st century thinks it sufficient to side with the poor and that's it...we're saints for having done so.

BaptizedPagan said...

I agree with you that the legal issues around immigration are important, and that simply rewarding people for breaking the law isn't the best way to respond to the situation. But at the same time, if our taxpayer money is going to help people who are breaking their backs working on our farms and in our service industries, isn't that a good use of our resources? The money people are sending back to their families in Mexico and Central America isn't going to buy SUVs and trips to Disneyworld, it's supporting their survival, and I don't have any problem with that.

bill bannon said...

Then we differ. I've done years of personal charity work in various non white communities but sin is sin whether done by the rich or poor.

And there are ecumenical issues which understandably cause suspicion with some Protestants: our Bishops appear to want more largely nominal Catholic heads to count as to the clout of a swing vote group if the largely Mexicans can be legalized. Then the Bishops can push for things like an amendment to end the death penalty which c. 1600 years of Catholic tradition supported (and Vatican City law until 1969)excluding the pacifism of the very early Fathers who wrote prior to Romans 13:4 being canonical.