Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

For the Love of Immigrants: Migration Writings and Letters of Bishop John Baptist Scalabrini (1839-1905)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

For the Love of Immigrants: Migration Writings and Letters of Bishop John Baptist Scalabrini (1839-1905)

Article excerpt

For the Love of Immigrants: Migration Writings and Letters of Bishop John Baptist Scalabrini (1839-1905). Edited by Silvano M. Tomasi, C.S. (New York: Center for Migration Studies. 2000. Pp. xxxi, 359. $19.95.)

For the Love of Immigrants is the first collection of Blessed (beatified in 1997) John Baptist Scalabrini's writing conceived as an English-language book, not a translation of a previous publication. Although Bishop Scalabrini wrote on many issues facing the Church in his day, this volume focuses on migration. It would probably be useful to English-language readers interested in nineteenthcentury Italy, the Holy See, migration, or the history of several cities in the United States.

The book has two parts. The first contains eight of Bishop Scalabrini's published pamphlets on migration. These are important documents in the development of Catholic social teaching and might be useful for high-school or adult Christian education. The pamphlets identify migration as a human right. In his day opportunities for migration were also a providential gift, as Italy had no way to employ all its people, and no colonies to send them to. (And Scalabrini advised against acquiring colonies by force.) Through migration, Italians and other European Christians could take their religion to places not yet settled (which was how Bishop Scalabrini envisioned the Americas), effectively winning the world for Christ. However, the same laissez-faire government that permitted migration left migrants vulnerable to exploitation. Bishop Scalabrini described how even with the separation of Church and State, the government and the Church could co-operate for the migrants' benefit. He organized three institutions to provide comprehensive migrant pastoral care. …

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