They say that success has 1000 fathers, while failure is an orphan. In the case of José Ines García Zarate, failure has a thousand fathers.
García Zarate is an illegal alien who was deported to Mexico five times. He had already been convicted of seven felonies when he killed Kate Steinle. His reentry into the United States was undoubtedly facilitated by “Coyotes” who spirited him across the border without detection from law enforcement. And when he got to San Francisco, law enforcement screwed up at every level, no doubt about it.
But it is important to focus on García Zarate’s motives for being in San Francisco in the first place – and he made his motives clear: San Francisco is a “sanctuary city.” That’s why he went there.
So the sanctuary city policy is a linchpin in the chain of causation that ended with Kate Steinle’s death. No sanctuary, no José, no killing.
San Francisco’s radical politicians, agitators, left-wing fanatics, and snotty liberals who played a role in declaring San Francisco sanctuary city status all share the blame for Kate Steinle’s death. The simple law of cause and effect cannot be denied. Inviting criminals like García Zarate to enjoy untouched the city’s hospitality inevitably invites the crimes they commit as well.
So there’s a crowd of usual suspects, no surprise. But what does surprise is the role in Kate Steinle’s killing played by what can only be called a strange bedfellow of San Francisco’s chic radical left: California’s Catholic bishops, and specifically San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.
A Pattern Of Politicized Prelates
To explain this, we turn to the backstory – an all too familiar pattern of politicized bishops toning down Church teachings and turning up the volume on the Left’s welfare-state agenda.
For many reasons, America’s Catholic bishops are among the most radical supporters of open borders, massive immigration (illegal and illegal), and ignoring the rule of law when it comes to laws they don’t like. Many of them take a dim view of America and Americans who are here legally.
The politicized wing of America’s Catholic bishops (a sizable group, alas) loves to demean its critics among the laity with epithets – xenophobes, bigots, greedy individualists, stingy ingrates. At times a desperate shepherd will strain to invoke the authority of Jesus to brand fellow Catholics as “Pharisees” and “hypocrites” if they oppose amnesty.
These are the bishops who dominate the “peace and justice” floors of the USCCB’s Washington political headquarters. Since the election of Donald Trump, they have struggled to avoid at every turn expressing any appreciation of the most pro-life president in recent history, instead haranguing his supporters while they flood Congress with demands that Obama’s policies be perpetuated, raiding their rapidly depleting reservoir of moral authority to stamp every welfare-state initiative with the “Catholic” label.
When it comes to immigration, these demands include demands for full funding of the bishops’ countless programs to harbor refugees and aliens, legal and illegal, so they can collect the federal funding that supports their bureaucracies all the way down to the diocesan and parish level.
Why do Catholic prelates need all this federal money? Well, when the abuse-and-cover-up scandals exploded into public view fifteen years ago, it was revealed that well over half of America’s bishops – that’s over a hundred bishops nationwide – had enabled or covered up for the abusers, many of them for years.
In the meantime, many of those bishops who were guilty spent billions of the faithful’s donations to keep themselves out of jail.
Not one guilty bishop quit. Talk about cause and effect! Contributions from the faithful tanked, and millions simply left the pews in disgust. Ever since, the bishops have lobbied vigorously for more federal taxpayer funding – “mandatory charity” – to replace those disappearing voluntary donations.
Desperate to recover their shredded credibility, bishops have unfortunately chosen the path of radical left-wing politics as the engine of their rehabilitation. Apparently, they perceive their greatest need to be pleasing the secular elites, not the faithful.
Reality Comes Home To Roost
Which brings us back to San Francisco. Oblivious to Kate Steinle’s murder, California’s Catholic bishops this past August officially declared their support for sanctuary cities. Although Catholic doctrine rests on rational thinking, the bishops apparently ignored the fundamental law of cause and effect: when illegal felons are given sanctuary in San Francisco, more illegal felons will be attracted to San Francisco.
Are the bishops willing to “man up” and share the blame for Kate Steinle’s killing? Far from it. Archbishop Cordileone laments her death but quickly demands that other criminal illegals not be the victims of “guilt by association.”
Might that be a case of “projection”? Is it perhaps the bishops of California themselves who are guilty of “guilt by association” for joining the radical pro-sanctuary forces in their defiance of the rule of law?
The bishops are in a delicate situation. When it comes to the unborn, the Church teaches that abortion is tantamount to murder of an unborn child. Yet the bishops’ strongest allies in their campaign for amnesty are pro-abortion left-wing Democrats who want to fill the country with more illegals. The sweetener? They will give the bishops’ secular welfare agencies hundreds of millions in taxpayer funding to “care for” the aliens.
America’s Catholic bishops were once recognized as the last bastion of defense for American morals. Today, they advocate breaking laws that they don’t like as a matter of routine.
And they brag about it. Ardent amnesty advocate Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, likens himself to the Minutemen of the American War of Independence fighting King George. But Abp. Wenski doesn’t mind taking King George’s coin, as he condemns those who disagree with him as resentful “legalists.”
Cause and effect. Cause and effect. The Steinle case brings home the sad fact that, for all their theological authority and their moral posturing, America’s Catholic bishops cannot escape the law of cause and effect. They cannot, with Prufrock, merely wring their hands and say “that’s not what I meant at all. That’s not it, at all.”
No, when they go outside the area of their consecrated authority (violating Church law in doing so) and play politics, they have to confront reality like the rest of us. Ideas have consequences, and their very bad ideas have had very bad consequences.
An unusually gifted pastor in New York once predicted that, at the Last Judgment, a giant thunderclap will be heard – when bishops are reconnected with their spines.
Until then, it’s likely that the bad consequences will continue.
[This is the eighth in a series on the role of the Catholic Church in the decline and fall of the Republic Here are the first, the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh. Follow these issues on Twitter @realchrismanion]