The common theme among liberal individuals seems to be a lack of any sense of external proportion or boundaries, like people who can't appreciate why the first gesture toward strangers shouldn't be to move within one foot of them. A person with no sense of limiting principle would be perplexed over why I might prefer my surplus wealth go toward people within my concentric rings of loyalties, instead of to strangers via a middleman in Washington D.C. Christ said to love others, right? God's love is infinite, and so should be ours.
Thus, it seems the most righteous thing in the world that, in the mind of this French Catholic bishop, restrictive immigration policy is nothing less than a betrayal of Christ:
It would be betraying Christ not to proclaim over and over again today his message of love for all, without discrimination of any sort. Remaining silent would be to renounce him. Is the Church like one of those luxury hotels rising arrogantly over shanty towns where everything is arranged so that tourists don't have to come into contact with the misery and poverty? And are the walls of our cathedrals too thick to be permeated by the voices of those who suffer? God speaks through immigrants also. And what if it were the face he takes on to make us rediscover that which is essential? While our indifference and our disdain do not grasp the full relevance for today of Christ's words: "They have eyes that don't see and ears that don't hear." (Via Oz Conservative, who provides his own critique.)But what's the limiting principle which keeps the Vatican from opening its gates as well? There are plenty of Africans who would be grateful just to pitch a tent in St. Peter's Square. And having brought them to St. Peter's Square, who could deny them the hospitality of the surrounding buildings. And having let them in the buildings, surely you can find some place for them to roll out their prayer rugs. And is it too much to ask that one of their elders be given some time to say a few inspirational words. Say, isn't that a pulpit over there?
The lack of limiting principle comes from casting immigration in terms of a categorical imperative ("betraying Christ"). Immigration becomes not just a "mere" matter of public policy, something to be weighed for its effect on the citizens to whom the State owes its first duty. Rather, immigration becomes the Eleventh Commandment. If France is good, and sharing is good, then goodness demands we share France. The fact that such a process can only end with no France left to share is not considered. Categorical imperative.
Presumably the bishop would argue that if the Vatican (or his own cathedral) let Muslim immigrants swamp the place, then it would no longer be the Vatican. So why is he calling for French Christians to extinguish their own culture? The bishop is a shepherd with no sense of boundaries. The entire planet is his flock: the sheep, the goats, the fleas on the sheep and the goats, the wolves that attack the sheep and the goats, and on and on. No boundaries, lest we betray Christ Himself.
This lack of any sense of proportion or boundary struck me while browsing another part of the Internet, where some are suggesting joint Catholic-Orthodox Forgiveness Vespers. For those who don't know, this is an Orthodox evening prayer service which culminates in the parishioners all walking the gauntlet of clergy and laity, greeting each other with the kiss of peace and asking each person's forgiveness. It is a moment of communal and sacred intimacy which marks the start of Lent. And to the liberal mind the thought springs, surely this moving and beautiful ceremony could be extended to our Roman Catholic brethren. What stingy soul could possibly think otherwise? And so the categorical imperative-snowball just keeps on rolling. Why stop there, as one commenter enthusiastically points out. Invite the Protestants too. Invite the whole town.
Intimacy is a tonic and surely, the generous spirit thinks, must needs be shared. But once you knock all the barriers down--if to use a crude and admittedly extreme example, I sleep with my wife, and then my sister-in-law whom I know and love, and then some other women I'd like to know and love--then it's no longer intimacy. Rather, it's a perverted simulacrum of intimacy. Even Lady Gaga has figured that out.