Rorate Caeli

Vatican walls

A congressional hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives this week featured El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz discussing illegal immigration and border security.

A keen ear by a reporter at the Washington Examiner highlighted an exchange between the bishop and the ranking minority (Republican) member of the border security subcommittee: 

"Regarding the sovereignty of the church and as it relates and compares with the sovereignty of our nation, the church has been a light for the world for 2,000 years — a place of refuge, a place where a child of God could seek spiritual prosperity," said [Congressman Clay] Higgins, ranking member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations.

"But the sovereignty of the church has been protected by the security of the church. One of the most famous walls in history is the wall around the Vatican. I would ask you, bishop, in the area that you serve, do your churches lock their doors after hours?" he asked.

"Many of them do," replied Bishop Mark Seitz, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops representative for the Catholic Diocese in El Paso, Texas. "I would point out that that wall you refer to at the Vatican also has arms embracing and opening to the world, if you've been to the ... "

Higgins interjected.

"As we do. We have 328 ports of entry — legal entry — into the United States of America," the lawmaker said.

As this debate continues, including comments by Pope Francis, and some who will claim that a wall at the Vatican is not really a wall, we think it is important to present this testimony.