Since Pope Francis is visiting Mexico I thought it useful to reprint this article previously posted on November 11, 2015.
Do Europeans or the United States have an immigration problem? One could conclude that much if one pays any attention to articles like this video, or to Mr. Trump’s rantings during the unusual Republican primary campaign now in progress. In my humble opinion the immigration crisis in Western countries is only the symptom of a grave condition. Let us use one more time the analogy of the Roman Empire. When the barbarians finally crossed the Rhine during the winter of 355/356 millions of people moved into Roman territory in what was going to be the first wave of many. Barbarians did not come from Mars but from the steppes of central Asia as they were being pushed westward by even more barbarous tribes that had already ransacked China, Mongolia, India, among others. Internally the Roman Empire was also experiencing a moral decline so steep that we can sense it when we read the history of those times. Tiberius, Nero, Claudius, Caligula, Domitian, Trajan were nothing but weak degenerates; the Roman populace was given to the most exotic vices, some of them state-financed like the blood-lust festivals at circuses all over the Roman world. Far were the days of virtuous Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus and the Roman Republic, this was the Roman Empire, a system imposed once by the force of arms that later became too weak to even guard its borders. Like a virus invades a body rendered defenseless by debauchery, those barbarians entered the Roman world and changed it forever. It was not the first and it was not going to be the last time a great internal collapse was followed by an external invasion.
To describe the moral, intellectual, and political decay of the West is no longer necessary. There is no need to tire the reader repeating what has been stated so many times in so many ways by so many voices. Since the early 16th century we can see a gradual abandonment of Christian doctrine followed by more and more religious and political fragmentation, and a dimming of the intellect of the West — there is a long distance from Aquinas to Nietzsche — combined with an ever increasing perfection of mere technology. It is only that brittle technological edge what gives the West its current strength but inside the shining empty armor there is no longer a knight. The moral backbone of what was once Christendom is gone. The ominous echo of the words of Christ still sounds: “Without me, you can do nothing.” In other words: without the impulse of the Christian wind, the West will be carried away by the blind forces of history just like the rest of the world. We are beginning to see that: the Soviet Union is no more, the European Union is very likely to follow, and the American Union — that once like Rome used to be a great republic — is following the path of European foolishness, and apparently very happy to do so.
In truth, the design of new immigration policies is like the proverbial rearranging of the deck chairs on a sinking ship. God and time always solve those problems. In time the barbarians became Romans, they rescued from the smoldering ashes of the Empire the precious indestructible jewel that is the Church. They were transformed by her and thus the grandson of Alixer the barbarian became Alighieri the poet. He went on to sing of Heaven and Hell in a new language born from the ancient Roman tongue. The blood of the barbarians invigorated the race and Rome, renamed as Christendom, went on to new conquests but her banner was no longer the warring eagle but the cross of Christ.
That will happen again in Europe and America. It is already happening in the territories of the old USSR where Christianity is coming back with unexpected force after spending a century in the desert. Meanwhile the illegal immigrants in the United States are crossing the Rio Grande carrying in their pockets tiny images of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Many will not like my predictions here but that does not concern me, I am simply stating the facts. God knows I am not an apologist for illegal immigration. All I am saying is that among those immigrating there are many that can understand oppression because they have experienced it — I include myself in their ranks. In time they will embrace the principles of the American Founding Fathers and they will make them live in their hearts and intellects under a different skin color because the original true inheritors of those lofty ideals foolishly traded their glorious traditions for trinkets and vice.
If the lesson of history is repeated, then the immigrants of today will rescue from the dying embers of a once great society, those precious stones that others were not virtuous enough to keep.
History is the only exact science, even when men fail to see how minutely precise it can be.