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What Can Saint Augustine Teach Us About Immigration?

Augustine lived in a society with many similarities to our own. Among these similarities was a diverse population of people. This diversity included both people who were born in North Africa and people who had migrated there. Further, Augustine recognized that the goods of the earth are belong to all people and responsible distribution of those goods in order to meet the needs of the poor were two themes that appear prominently throughout his writings.

“The present condition of the human race is symbolized by that man described in Scripture who was robbed by bandits and left lying half-dead in a ditch. He was ignored by the passing crowd until a passing Samaritan stopped and took care of him. His rescuer was a Samaritan, a foreigner far removed from him in nationality who became a neighbor by showing mercy. Our Lord Jesus wants us to understand that the Good Samaritan in the story represents himself.”

Saint Augustine (Sermon 171, 2)

These same themes are echoed over 1,600 years later in our modern day Catholic Social Teaching. We are invited today to reflect on how these principles apply to the challenges associated with immigration today.

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