Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Sandro Magister tells us by way of another great theologian, Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap. what Gnosticism actually is!

Gnosticism, an Ancient Heresy. But Here's How It's Reappearing Today

The language of Pope Francis has already been the object of numerous analyses, which converge in recognizing his great communicative efficacy. But there are two epithets that he often applies to his adversaries within the Church, and yet are incomprehensible to most: “Gnostic” and “Pelagian.”

Not only that. Even the few who understand the ordinary significance of these two epithets find that many times Jorge Mario Bergoglio uses them contrary to their meaning. (I have said that time and time again! And that's why I believe Cardinal-Elect Ladaria clarified it!)

It is breathtaking, for example, that he - in the book-length interview with the French sociologist Dominique Wolton - should apply the term “Pelagian” to none other than the mathematician, philosopher, and man of faith of the seventeenth century Blaise Pascal, who was the polar opposite of this and wrote that masterpiece which is “Les Provinciales” precisely in order to unmask the Pelagianism, the real thing, of many Jesuits of his time.

In the agenda-setting document of his pontificate, the exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” Francis dedicated an entire paragraph, 94, to what these two epithets mean to him.

But since then he has always used them in such an offhanded and interchangeable way as to induce even the congregation for the doctrine of the faith - in the recent letter to the bishops “Placuit Deo” - to bring a bit of order to the matter, stating in what really consist the two “deviations” now present in the Church “that resemble certain aspects of two ancient heresies, Pelagianism and Gnosticism.”

But once again without any appreciable effect on the elocution of Bergoglio, who never names the targets of his invective but lets everyone imagine who it may be, for example in the person of Cardinal Robert Sarah, he too covertly accused by the pope of “Gnosticism” and another time of “Pelagianism,” in the same way - entirely undeserved and improper - as a Pascal.

The following commentary is an attempt to bring clarity to the use of one of the two terms - “Gnosticism” - by an American theologian already known to the readers of Settimo Cielo, who had the opportunity to appreciate the open letter that he wrote to Pope Francis last summer: Thomas G. Weinandy, a member of the international theological commission consolidated into the Vatican congregation for the doctrine of the faith.

Fr. Weinandy shows how the dispute over “neo-Gnosticism” is not at all marginal, because it affects the transition underway in the Catholic Church, a transition set in motion by Pope Francis and feared and criticized by some, and by others eagerly pursued.

The commentary appeared on June 7 on the American website “The Catholic Thing” and is reproduced here in its entirety.


by Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.

There is much discussion today concerning the presence of a new Gnosticism within the Catholic Church.  Some of what has been written is helpful, but much of what has been described as a revival of this heresy has little to do with its ancient antecedent. Moreover, attributions of this ancient heresy to various factions within contemporary Catholicism are generally misdirected.  To bring some clarity to this discussion of neo-Gnosticism first demands a clear understanding of the old form.

Ancient Gnosticism came in various forms and expressions, often quite convoluted, but some essential principles are discernible:

-  First, Gnosticism holds a radical dualism: “matter” is the source of all evil, and “spirit” is the divine origin of all that is good.

- Second, human beings are composed of both matter (the body) and spirit (which provides access to the divine).

- Third, “salvation” consists in obtaining true knowledge ("gnosis"), an enlightenment that allows progress from the material world of evil to the spiritual realm, and ultimately communion with the immaterial supreme deity.

- Fourth,  diverse “Gnostic Redeemers” were proposed, each claiming to possess such knowledge, and to provide access to this “salvific” enlightenment.
In light of the above, human beings fall into three categories:

1) the "sarkic" or "fleshly" people, are so imprisoned in the material or bodily world of evil that they are incapable of receiving “salvific knowledge”;

2) the "psychic" or "soulish", are partially confined to the "fleshly" realm and partially initiated into the spiritual domain. (Within “Christian Gnosticism,” these are the ones who live by mere “faith,” for they do not possess the fullness of divine knowledge.  They are not fully enlightened and so must rely on what they “believe.”);

3) finally, there are people capable of full enlightenment, the "Gnostics", for they possess the fullness of divine knowledge.  By means of their saving knowledge, they can completely extricate themselves from the evil material world and ascend to the divine.

They live and are saved not by “faith” but by “knowledge.”

Compared to ancient Gnosticism, what is now being proposed as neo-Gnosticism within contemporary Catholicism appears confused and ambiguous, as well as misdirected. Some Catholics are accused of neo-Gnosticism because they allegedly believe that they are saved because they adhere to inflexible and lifeless “doctrines” and strictly observe a rigid and merciless “moral code.”  They claim to “know” the truth and, thus, demand that it must be held and, most importantly, obeyed.

These “neo-Gnostic Catholics” are supposedly not open to the fresh movement of the Spirit within the contemporary Church.  The latter is often referred to as “the new paradigm.”

Admittedly, we all know Catholics who act superior to others, who flaunt their fuller understanding of dogmatic or moral theology to accuse others of laxity.  There is nothing new about such righteous judgmentalism.  This sinful superiority, however, falls squarely under the category of pride and is not in itself a form of Gnosticism.

It would be right to call this neo-Gnosticism only if those so accused were proposing a “new salvific knowledge,” a new enlightenment that differs from Scripture as traditionally understood, and from what is authentically taught by the living magisterial tradition.

Such a claim cannot be made against “doctrines” that, far from being lifeless and abstract truths, are the marvelous expressions of the central realities of Catholic faith – the Trinity, Incarnation, the Holy Spirit, the real substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Jesus’ law of love for God and neighbor reflected in the Ten Commandments, etc.  These “doctrines” define what the Church was, is, and always will be.  They are the doctrines that make her one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

Moreover, these doctrines and commandments are not some esoteric way of life that enslaves one to irrational and merciless laws, imposed from without by a tyrannical authority.  Rather, these very “commandments” were given by God, in his merciful love, to humankind in order to ensure a holy god-like life.

Jesus, the Father’s incarnate Son, has further revealed to us the manner of life we are to live in expectation of his kingdom. When God tells us what we must never do, he is protecting us from evil, the evil that can destroy our human lives – lives he created in his image and likeness.

Jesus saved us from the devastation of sin through his passion, death, and resurrection, and he poured out his Holy Spirit precisely to empower us to live genuinely human lives.  To promote this way of life is not to propose a new salvific knowledge.  In ancient Gnosticism, people of faith – bishops, priests, theologians, and laity – would be called psychics. Gnostics would look down upon them precisely because they cannot claim any unique or esoteric “knowledge.” They are forced to live by faith in God’s revelation as understood and faithfully transmitted by the Church.

Those who mistakenly accuse others of neo-Gnosticism propose – when confronted with the nitty-gritty of real-life doctrinal and moral issues – the need to seek out what God would have them do, personally. People are encouraged to discern, on their own, the best course of action, given the moral dilemma they face in their own existential context – what they are capable of doing at this moment in time.  In this way, the individual’s own conscience, his or her personal communion with the divine, determines what the moral requirements are in the individual’s personal circumstances.  What Scripture teaches, what Jesus stated, what the Church conveys through her living magisterial tradition are superseded by a higher “knowledge,” an advanced “illumination.”

If there is any new Gnostic paradigm in the Church today, it would seem to be found here.  To propose this new paradigm is to claim to be truly “in-the-know,” to have special access to what God is saying to us as individuals here and now even if it goes beyond and may even contradict what He has revealed to everyone else in Scripture and tradition.

At the very least, no one claiming this knowledge should ridicule as neo-Gnostics those who live merely by “faith” in God’s revelation as brought forward by the Church’s tradition.

I hope that all this brings some clarity to the present ecclesial discussion over contemporary “Catholic” Gnosticism by placing it within the proper historical context. Gnosticism cannot be used as an epithet against those “unenlightened” faithful who merely seek to act, with the help of God’s grace, as the Church’s divinely inspired teaching calls them to act.


Victor said...

'They live and are saved not by “faith” but by “knowledge.”'

That in fact is the essence of Gnosticism in early Church times. On way the early Church distinguished inspired texts from fake Gnostic texts was to see if the idea of a secret knowledge was prominently found in texts' if so, alarm bells rang to warn of Gnostic origins. As an aside, Elaine Pagels has over the recent years resurrected ancient Gnostic texts that were rejected by the early Church, and which the New Age movement has taken up.

We can see here how Pelagius was in fact a sort of Gnostic, rejecting grace in favour of human effort and knowledge for salvation.

But the idea of secret knowledge through discernment is a serious accusation against our St Gallen Pope, because that would be outright Gnosticism as found in the early Church. Is there here a danger that his incompetence is leading the Church towards apostasy?

TJM said...

Here's an article which shows how out of touch with reality our American bishops are:

They can go to hell. Not one red cent for these evil, lefty loons. Where are the sanctions for abortion drooling "catholic" politicians Goodbye folks, it was nice knowing you.

Psrting comment. To paraphrase Madeline Albright "there is a special place in hell for a cleric who votes Democratic."

Anonymous said...

I would argue that Francis is the self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagian that he is always railing against. Can anyone remember a pope in our lifetime who has been more arrogant, self serving than this man. He is the only pope I know that extensively quotes himself to promote is own agenda. He thinks he has all the answers. He believes the Church has never shown mercy until he came along. I actually believe that he would rewrite the New Testament if he could get away with it. And given the state of the clergy and the laity, he probably could with little to no backlash. Francis can’t quote the scriptures or the fathers to back up his nonsence unless he totally misrepresents what they have said. It is clear to everyone that Francis believes that he is the font of all wisdom and knowledge and that he is a direct oracle to the Holy Spirit. It has never been the belief of the Catholic Church that special revelations or insights are directly given to a pope by the Holy Spirit, his words and actions are not divinely inspired, except to Mark Thomas. He is nothing more that a progressive individual who is hell bent on fundamentally changing the Catholic Faith into HIS vision. Again, it’s not rocket science. The cardinals need to get off their ....., including Burke and the rest, declare the man a heretic and elect a Catholic to the chair of Peter. Along with that that need to rename Pope Emeritus Benedict to what he really is which is Cardinals Ratzinger, make him dress in a black cassock and stop the madness.

Anonymous said...

"Can anyone remember a pope in our lifetime who has been more arrogant, self serving than this man."

He is none of the above, and you are in no position to pass such sweeping, baseless judgments.

"He is the only pope I know that extensively quotes himself to promote is own agenda."

Where on earth does he "quote himself"?

"He thinks he has all the answers."

No, he doesn't. He never said or suggested such. That you are unhappy with him is no basis for making such a scurrilous accusation.

"He believes the Church has never shown mercy until he came along."

No, he doesn't. Again, the accusation is baseless.

"I actually believe that he would rewrite the New Testament if he could get away with it."

There is NO reason to believe such a bizarre and silly thing. None.

rcg said...

So, did he just say the internal forum is neo-Gnosticism? Good thing this to read or PF might see it and reassign Fr Weinandy.

Marc said...

"Where on earth does he 'quote himself'?"

He cites to himself 82 times in Amoris Laetitia, by my count. Citations to himself make up 21% of the footnotes in that document.

Marc said...

"Where on earth does he 'quote himself'?"

Francis quoted himself at least 3 times TODAY in his message for the "World Day of the Poor."

Anonymous 2 said...


What upsets you more? Or perhaps, rather, what is it that_really_upsets you? What the Bishops did not say about abortion or what they did say about asylum and family separation policies at the border?

And why bring voting Democratic into these issues? Most fundamentally, for the Bishops (or indeed for any religious moral voice) these are not, or at least they should not be, partisan issues, any more than abortion is or should be a partisan issue. Nor should they be such for the faithful in the pews. These are moral issues transcending party politics. One suspects, then, that the Bishops would have been, and certainly should have been, just as critical had the relevant decisions been made by the Attorney General in a Democratic Administration.

Anonymous 2 said...

I remember reading this article from The Catholic Thing when it came out and I recall being struck by the following passage, which is perhaps worth all of us (myself included) keeping in mind:

“Admittedly, we all know Catholics who act superior to others, who flaunt their fuller understanding of dogmatic or moral theology to accuse others of laxity. There is nothing new about such righteous judgmentalism. This sinful superiority, however, falls squarely under the category of pride and is not in itself a form of Gnosticism.”

Marc said...

Accusing people of heresy is a great way to prove how non-superior and non-judgmental you are.

TJM said...

The “Catholic” Bishops are not cognizant of the fact that they are siding with criminals who are breaking the law. Why should American taxpayers be robbed to subsidize lawlessness? Let Mexico take care of their own or better yet ship them to the virtue signalers in Canada but now even the Canadians are back peddling. You are all out of your minds and lisrs

rcg said...

A2, I don’t know about you but I was flattered he noticed me.

rcg said...

If someone utters a heretical statement I suppose the person is not necessarily a heretic, but simply mistaken, miguided. Some people are reliable sources of heretical statements, if not the actual thought, so they are performing the function of a heretic, again without neccessarily being one. The concern is to not avoid the insult in favor of the more dangerous statement. If the person is traveling at an unsafe speed in a school zone any means of alerting him and everyone else is appropriate. It is also prudent to check if the person was driving like a maniac intentionally or even just unable to discern. The mentally fit and caring person would want to know he was driving dangerously and correct it.

One thought: it might be a good thing that Pope Francis uses these terms incorrectly. Since he gets some of these basics wrong It will allow for an easier disposition of his broader and more troublesome work when he is gone.

Anonymous 2 said...


It is difficult to know where to begin in listing all the misconceptions in your one paragraph. So, let’s begin with one basic fact. You say Mexico should take care of its own. But most of these immigrant families arriving at the border and seeking asylum, either at a port of entry or when they are apprehended, are not Mexican.

I do think it would produce more light and less heat if we all took the time to inform ourselves of the facts before launching into invective, although I do recognize what a challenge this is given the toxic (I would even say evil) environment now created on social media. It is turning us into a mobocracy.

Therefore, my advice to all of us is to turn off the TV, get off the tribal social media, and start educating ourselves. As I have said before, it is time to take our country, and ourselves, back from the manipulators, including (but by no means only) the mendacious and duplicitous Manipulator-in-Chief in the White House.

Anonymous 2 said...

Rcg: -:)

Anonymous 2 said...

I just read this passage from Bryan Stephenson’s book “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” 289-91 (2015) in one of the daily e-newsletters/meditations I get. It does not address immigration specifically but seems very much on point nevertheless:

My years of struggling against inequality, abusive power, poverty, oppression, and injustice had finally revealed something to me about myself. Being close to suffering, death, executions, and cruel punishments didn’t just illuminate the brokenness of others; in moments of anguish and heartbreak, it also exposed my own brokenness. You can’t effectively fight abusive power, poverty, inequality, illness, oppression, or injustice and not be broken by it. . . .

I guess I’d always known but never fully considered that being broken is what makes us human. We all have our reasons. Sometimes we’re fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we’re shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion.

We have a choice. We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing our broken natures and the compassion that remains our best hope for healing. Or we can deny our brokenness, forswear compassion, and, as a result, deny our own humanity. . . .

So many of us have become afraid and angry. We’ve become so fearful and vengeful that we’ve thrown away children, discarded the disabled, and sanctioned the imprisonment of the sick and the weak—not because they are a threat to public safety or beyond rehabilitation but because we think it makes us seem tough, less broken. I thought of the victims of violent crime and the survivors of murdered loved ones, and how we’ve pressured them to recycle their pain and anguish and give it back to the offenders we prosecute. I thought of the many ways we’ve legalized vengeful and cruel punishments, how we’ve allowed our victimization to justify the victimization of others. We’ve submitted to the harsh instinct to crush those among us whose brokenness is most visible.

But simply punishing the broken—walking away from them or hiding them from sight—only ensures that they remain broken and we do, too. There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity. . . .

Embracing our brokenness creates a need for mercy. . . . I began thinking about what would happen if we all just acknowledged our brokenness, if we owned up to our weaknesses, our deficits, our biases, our fears. Maybe if we did, we wouldn’t want to kill the broken among us who have killed others. Maybe we would look harder for solutions to caring for the disabled, the abused, the neglected, and the traumatized. . . . We could no longer take pride in mass incarceration, in executing people, in our deliberate indifference to the most vulnerable.

mous 2

Marc said...

You know what Bryan Stevenson is doing, though? Addressing issues within his own communities (or, at least, he was before moving to Manhattan). It’s not that people dislike immigrants — we dislike violations of the law, especially when it floods communities with poor people who will be a drain on everyone.

I fully support expending resources to help poor counties to make these people’s lives better there in their own countries. We aren’t going to be able to afford to do that after they import all their people to our country. That sort of remedy just makes two poor countries where there was only one.

Should people be separated from their children? Well, my clients are separated from their children for years too — after they’ve committed a crime. The same rule applies to migrants: they’re committing a crime. If they weren’t, they would be with their children. In short, it’s their own fault. I avoid being separated from my children by not committing crimes and by not dragging them illegally to another country.

In sum, everyone agrees with the idea of caring for the poor, etc. But not everyone agrees on the tactics. That we disagree with the idea of importing thousands of unskilled poor people to our country does not make us heartless.

TJM said...

Anonymous 2, I get you support the abortion party, so anything you say is suspect. Go to confession before you imperil your immortal soul. To paraphrase St. Thomas More “ it is not worth to sell one’s soul for the entire world but for the Abortion Party?”l

John Nolan said...

Anon 2

Thank you for posting this. It contains so much wisdom. Does your English background incline you to identify nuances which seem to escape many of your present countrymen? I'm only asking, not passing judgement.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Asylum seekers who are being separated from their children are not committing a crime.

"Everyone means everyone — including people seeking asylum from persecution (which anyone is legally entitled to do), and including parents who have entered the US with their children. And when adults are transferred to criminal custody, their children get treated as “unaccompanied minors,” as if they’d crossed the border alone, split from their parents and sent into the care of a totally separate government department."

“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,” USCCB's president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, announced at its biannual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, according to the Religion News Service. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral,” DiNardo added in opening remarks at the large conference.

Anonymous said...

Parents are separated from their children all the time (at least one parent). Marc's example of a person who is sent to prison, for one. There is also the parent who is in the military and is sent to war or some area where there is conflict going on. There are certain occupations that require a person to be away from the family for extended periods of time. Yes , it would be preferred if one parent(say, the mother)could stay with the children. I would prefer that option.

The government can't win either way though, since if both parents were allowed to stay, the media would resurrect the Japanese internment camps of WWII.

Anonymous said...


"I began thinking about what would happen if we all just acknowledged our brokenness, if we owned up to our weaknesses, our deficits, our biases, our fears. Maybe if we did, we wouldn’t want to kill the broken among us who have killed others. Maybe we would look harder for solutions to caring for the disabled, the abused, the neglected, and the traumatized. We could no longer take pride in mass incarceration, in executing people"

What about all the innocent lives taken away by abortion? Those numbers dwarf the lives taken by the use of capital punishment. In Georgia, for instance, since 1983 an average of 2.08 have been executed per year, yet thousands upon thousands of innocents have been executed during that time. And really, as it has been pointed out by others, this wholesale taking of innocent life intrudes into and contributes to so many other problems in our society today.

Marc said...

There’s a process for seeking asylum under our law. People who follow that legal process don’t get detained. That these people are detained means they didn’t follow the legal process.

If they didn’t want to be separated from their children, they should’ve followed the process, as do thousands of people every year.

Families are foundational to our society. If the USCCB is worried about families being separated, they should counsel people to follow the rules because one consequence of not following the rules is familial separation.

Again, perhaps we should be a little more worried about why people are coming here seeking asylum. Let’s help them fix their own countries instead of importing their dysfunction here.

Suffice it to say, I disagree with the USCCB on this topic. And I think their characterization of this as an inherently moral issue is backward: counseling people to come here in violation of our law is counseling immorality.

Anonymous 2 said...

I appreciate all the responses to my posting of the Bryan Stevenson extract. As John Nolan says, it contains so much wisdom. In reading the responses I did not detect any disagreement with anything Stevenson writes, which is very telling and heartening. I will now respond to specific comments individually.

John Nolan: Thank you for suggesting that I may have a distinct capacity to identify nuance. I do not know whether I do or, if I do, whether my English background is part of the explanation. Certainly my English upbringing affects most everything I do in life, and not infrequently I do notice several contrasts between my own reactions and those of those around me. I am not sure how it could be otherwise when one spends one’s formative years immersed in a particular culture. I also realized some years ago that, probably due to my own perceived lack of this quality, it should be part of our life’s task to try to grow in wisdom. So, when I read the extract, it spoke to me very powerfully—one of those “aha” moments that happen to us every so often—as it seems it also spoke to you.

TJM: Your reaction is predictable. It would have annoyed me before. But I cannot get upset at you any longer, not after reading the Stevenson extract

Anonymous (at 11:35 a.m.): I do not know Stevenson’s views on abortion. However, I would argue that the extract applies to abortion already, or can be extended by analogy to abortion. You could also cite to good effect the language in the extract that “We’ve become so fearful and vengeful that we’ve thrown away children.” On the immigration issue, doesn’t the USCCB opposition to abortion give them additional moral authority to pronounce on migrant family separation at the border?

Marc: I will now post my response to you separately.

Anonymous 2 said...


Yes, I understand what Bryan Stevenson is doing, and I do not know his position on the immigration issue under discussion (or immigration issues more generally). And I know what you are doing too. -:). You are arguing a disanalogy and distinguishing the present case. I am, of course, arguing an analogy and extending application of a general principle to the new case. And yes, technically anyone who enters not at a port of entry is committing a crime. I would make two points about this, however.

First, we need more facts. There are several reports of these separations occurring even when the family presents at the port of entry. We need to know how accurate these reports are and how frequently such separation is occurring, assuming that it is. If it is happening to any great extent, and even if it isn’t, if rumors to this effect have spread among the migrants, it is perhaps understandable why some would seek to evade detection.

Second, the government does not have to do this. As I understand the matter, the Obama administration did separate some families like this but nowhere to the same extent. As you know, the government has prosecutorial discretion. It has made a conscious choice to prosecute illegal entry to the maximum possible extent—in the exercise of its discretion—knowing full well what the consequences will be. I concede that disagreeing with the idea of importing thousands of unskilled poor people does not necessarily make us heartless. But unnecessarily separating parents and children—and if accounts are to be believed, doing so sometimes (often?) by trickery—does. The administration’s draconian harshness is further illustrated by Attorney General Session’s asylum decision in Matter of AB on Monday, overturning the BIA precedents on domestic violence and gang violence.

As to the analogy with your clients and Anonymous’ (at 11:13) analogy with the military, now it is my turn to argue some distinctions. In these other cases, do the parents know where their children are? Do they have an opportunity to say goodbye and comfort their children before separation? Can they contact them while separated? Need I say more?

Finally, I agree that we should try to help improve conditions in the countries of origin. I am currently trying to get a better understanding of our own complicity in creating these conditions and the feasibility of your suggested approach, and what bearing these points might have on which approach, or mix of approaches, is preferable.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

So, while one is "following the rules" and waiting for an the Border Patrol to allow an asylum seeker in to fill out form I-589, your family members are killed by war lords or drug lords, your daughter is repeatedly raped by out-of-control members of the military, or you are being targeted by the ruling regime for your political views.

Or the Border Patrol says, "There is no room in the inn" and refuses to allow you 1) to enter the country or 2) apply for asylum.

Yes, by all means, let's follow the rules. Don't come into the US illegally or children will be separated from parents. Rather, stay where you are and risk continued persecution or death.

Marc said...

A2, “I am currently trying to get a better understanding of our own complicity in creating these conditions...” I’m certain our contribution was major — I am not an Americanist. And I agree we need more facts. We are unlikely to be blessed with those, though.

Mike, similar to my thought above, I don’t know whether the situation you describe is true or not or in how many cases. I disagree that, even if things are terrible there, it means people are entitled to come here. Immigration isn’t a natural right. If things are as you describe, that means we could be justified in helping that situation, not importing those people here.

Again, we don’t disagree about the problem, we disagree about the proper solution.

Anonymous said...


“A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

Asylum Seeker - and/or Economic migrant:

"A person who has left their country of origin and formally applied for asylum in another country but whose application has not yet been concluded. Someone who has moved to another country to work. Very few of these migrants are refugees.(an overwheming number of migrants in the U.S fit this category}.

It is insane that a country such as the U.S. just allows people to walk into it. In such a case, you lose administative control and end up getting those carrying diseases , those who have committed serious crimes in their country of origin, criminal gangs such as such as MS-13 , and drug dealers in the employ of the cartels.
Accepting the arguments of some when it comes to immigration, it would be easy to conclude that a person on the Southside of Chicago ot inner city Baltimore would be eligible for asylum in say, Canada. I would like to see someone from those cities try that.

Anonymous 2 said...

It seems that President Trump has now admitted the obvious—that separating families is not just intended as a deterrence but also as a bargaining chip in negotiations in Congress to get the immigration bill he wants.

Anonymous 2 said...


“Accepting the arguments of some when it comes to immigration, it would be easy to conclude that a person on the Southside of Chicago or inner city Baltimore would be eligible for asylum in say, Canada.”

An excellent point! I have had similar thoughts myself. It does make one wonder about characterizing other countries as countries beginning with the “s” word, doesn’t it?

Actually, though, one possible ground for denying asylum relief under U.S. law is that the conditions of persecution are not country wide.

Anonymous 2 said...

I do not normally visit this particular website (indeed this may be the first time) but it comes up as the lead piece on my Google News feed—it seems that President Trump has succeeded in uniting all religious voices, including those of his staunchest religious allies, in opposition to the Administration’s family separation policy. Such unity speaks volumes I think:

Gene said...

It is a terrible thing to separate families like this. They should keep all the families together and send them back to Mexico as a unit.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been following this issue too closely. But isn't it true that the current administration is simply obeying laws passed under the previous administration? Under which the separated children were sometimes kept in wire cages, whereas now they are housed briefly--while their parents cases are adjudicated--in comfortable clean air-conditioned quarters resembling those at a rather plusher summer camp than many or most children's parents can afford? And surely plusher than anything these kids have ever seen?

Henry said...

"It is a terrible thing to separate families like this. They should keep all the families together and send them back to Mexico as a unit."

Surely you would be so cruel and heartless as to suggest jerking these fortunate kids abruptly out of the nicest health spa quarters they've ever enjoyed. Surely our compassionate country can afford to let them soak up this unaccustomed luxury for a reasonable period of time before hitting the road back after a pleasant sojourn at the expense of feeling and generous U.S. taxpayers.

Gene said...

Anon @ 9:54, Yes, you are correct. But, the libs will be whining and using the most emotive language possible in order to stir up the leftist rabble.

Anonymous said...

Anon. No, the Trumpistas are not "simply obeying laws." Trump himself has stated, as has Atty Gen Sessions, that this policy is directed at terrorizing people with the threat of having their children separated from them.

No matter how "plush" A jail or prison may be, it remains a tool of terror in the hands of this administration,

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage:

Anonymous 2 said...


As best I can tell from the reports, the material conditions under which the children are kept before being sent into foster care “or whatever” (to quote John Kelly) are not too bad, especially compared to the conditions during their journey to the border. This point is readily conceded in most of the media reports I have read or seen. The main concern seems to be with the psychological trauma inflicted upon the children, especially those under five, when they are separated from their parent(s), possibly for months, sometimes (often?) without a chance to say goodbye or to be comforted by them before separation, and usually with no opportunity to speak with their parents during separation (it seems that the parents frequently don’t even know where their children have been taken).

All the religious leaders who have condemned the policy, including the President's staunchest allies, and now also Laura Bush (and perhaps even Melania), cannot all be wrong in their judgment about the cruelty of this policy.

As for the policy implementing “laws passed by the previous administration,” this is totally bogus and yet another example of President Trump’s gaslighting, which is getting so bad and becoming so prevalent that the entire nation is being psychologically traumatized—and I mean that seriously,

Anonymous 2 said...


Again, I have to point out that most (all?) of these families are not Mexican but come from other countries in Central America such as Honduras and El Salvador. Also, rightly or wrongly, our law provides for an opportunity to apply for asylum. Until that changes (and Attorney General Sessions’ ruling in Matter of AB last Monday was just the first step in the courts working out the proper contours of asylum law as it applies to claims of domestic violence or gang violence), then respect for the rule of law means not only proper border control but also proper vindication of procedural and substantive rights granted by the law of asylum.

I have been as appalled as anyone by the dysfunctionality of our immigration system, including decades’ long disregard for the rule of law in failing to enforce proper border control under both Republican and Democratic Administration. We need a sensible, honest national conversation about immigration that is not corrupted by ideology, money, or political shenanigans. Unfortunately, we are not getting that from the Trump Administration. As I have said before—about this topic and more generally—it is time for us, the people, truly to take back our country from the elites (including the Trumpian elite—and let’s not pretend there isn’t one) and from our self-alienation and mutual alienation from one another. This must begin by our talking to one another face to face instead of on tribal social media.

Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. to my reply to Anonymous:

Having mentioned Trump’s gaslighting in my previous comment, I thought it might be useful to research any updates since last commenting on the topic during a discussion of gaslighting on this blog several months ago. It seems that a former Ted Cruz staffer has written a book dedicated to Trump’s gaslighting method, explaining the five steps in the method, and how Trump has used it, and continues to use it, to get us to question reality.

I have read the book extracts made available on the Amazon link and will purchase the book. I commend it to everyone here. Please, please get this book and read it. And, this time, TJM, you do not get to say that the author votes for the Abortion Party! No, readers of this Blog should regard her credentials as impeccable:

And why do we need to read this book? I will let the author reply in her own words [at page 16]:

“There it is, Trump’s gaslighting method, which he has used time and again. This is how he achieves the true goal of every megamanipulator: attaining complete control over his environment and the people in it. It’s enough to drive sane people mad if they don’t know how it works and why he uses it. But now that you have this book, you won’t be one of them.”

And if you read the book, you will be able to faithfully (and I use this word deliberately) answer the question asked of Winston Smith by his interrogator O’Brien in Orwell’s 1984, with which the author opens her book: “How much is two plus two?” You will say “four,” not “five” as Trump would have us do because, after all, winning is everything isn’t it?

Anonymous 2 said...

To anyone who fails to be moved by the audio of the distressed children crying for their mama or papa that have been playing this afternoon, and to anyone who feels inclined to become outraged at those who apparently fail to be moved by these audios, I would suggest that they re-read the Bryan Stevenson extract I posted earlier in this thread (see 5:21 p.m. on June 15). We need to remember that we are all broken and in need of mercy, compassion, and divine grace.