Module 4: Assessing the Complex Realities of Migration

Fall 2017 - Spring 2018

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 to Thursday, May 31, 2018

How does one judge when the realities are so complex? In Chapter 5 “Developing an Evaluative, Ethical Framework,” students will explore migration in terms of Catholic Social Teaching and four key concepts – human dignity, stewardship, common good and preferential option for the poor.  With the benefit of a brief history of CST on migration, students will focus on the efforts of US and Mexican bishops to author their pivotal statement, “Strangers No Longer” and lay out the five rights that all migrants should have.    

Read more

Get started today: Sign in to access Resources

Course materials

Module Materials

Apply four of the key concepts underlying Catholic Social Teaching to an evaluation of the complexities of and the debate about immigration.  

Understand the issues of justice that are raised by the global economic order’s impact on migration. 

Develop an ethical framework informed by stewardship from which to view migration.


PDF icon Term Sheet .pdf

PDF icon Module 4 Internet Links to Chapter References.pdf provides a sequential list of the web-based links referenced in the footnotes from Chapter 5 to Global Migration: What’s Happening, Why, and a Just Response.  These same links are included below under Primary Resources and also cross-referenced with the page number of the e-book.

Access E-Book Global Migration: What's Happening, Why, and a Just Response.  Course instructors considering a book for adoption will be provided a complimentary copy.

PDF icon Migration Book Handout.pdf provides a brief overview of FLC’s 5 academic modules on Global Migration.  Bring real-life migration stories to your students.


Primary Resources


for the Celebration of the 51st World Day of Peace

1 January 2018.

Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace

Strangers No Longer Together on the Journey of Hope // Juntos En El Camino de la Esperanza Ya No Somos Extranjeros

Strangers No Longer Together on the Journey of Hope//Juntos En El Camino De La Esperanza Ya No Somos Extranjeros. Issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and and Conferencia del Espicopado Mexicano. Published: January 22, 2003.  (Page 75)

Dignity: Scriptures and Quotations


Life and Dignity of the Human Person.  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) quotes paragraph 11 of St. John Paul II’s Centesimus annus.  Published: May 1, 1991.  (Page 68)


Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota reflects on dignity and quotes paragraph 27 of Vatican Council II, Gaudium et spes.  Published: 1965.  (Page 69 and 72)

The Spiritual Dimension - Guiding Principles


The Ten Principles of the Common Good.  Source: Center of Concern, University of Notre Dame.  Published: 2008.  9 pages.  (Page 70)


The Principles of the Common Good, as found in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.  (Page 71)


Guiding Principles of Catholic Relief Services.   (Page 74)


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching.  (Page 68 and 75)


“If the term alien is to be used at all, it has little to do with one who lacks political documentation, but more with those who have so disconnected themselves from their neighbor in need that they fail to see in the eyes of the stranger a mirror of themselves, the image of Christ and the call to human solidarity,” concludes author, Daniel G. Groody, in “Theology in the Age of Migration.”  Source: National Catholic Reporter.   Published: September 14, 2009. 


“We often ask, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ Why does the answer always surprise us?” When readers consider “Why are we asking this question?” author Cecilia González-Andrieu points to an answer found in a passage from the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. Then, she asks readers to wrestle more by considering Spanish interpretations - vecino, prójimo, and semejante - for the English word neighbor. Author: Cecilia González-Andrieu. Source: America: The Jesuit Review. Published: October 17, 2016.

The Human Dimension and Dilemma


In an Immigration Court that Nearly Always Says No, a Lawyer’s Spirit Is Broken.” The surge in immigrants from Central America is making the variations already present across the 58 immigration court venues more stark.  This “reflect(s) the backgrounds of immigrants seeking reprieve, the availability of lawyers to help, and the views of local judges.”  Author: Chico Harlan.  Source: Washington Post, Business Section.  Published: October 11, 2016.  (Page 66)


Why Don't Unauthorized Migrants Come Here Legally?  Issue Briefing Series #1, issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Migration and Refugee Services.  Prepared by Cynthia M. Smith, Esq., Policy Advisor, Office of Migration Policy & Public Affairs. 


11 Things You May Not Know About Refugees.  Author:  Megan Gilbert.  Source: Catholic Relief Services.  Published February 1, 2017.  


Many are the Faces of Migration and many are their stories.  Meet some of those who have taken the journey but still live in fear.  Source: Justice for Immigrants. 



Messages from the Catholic Church Concerning Migration


Read the Message of the Holy Father Pope Francis (2014) ‘Migrants and Refugees: Towards a Better World in celebration of 2014 World Day of Migrants and Refugees.  From the Vatican, September 24, 2013.  Pages 5 – 7.  Provided by Catholic Legal Immigration Network.  (Page 69)


In his homily, Pope Francis spoke of the "globalized indifference ... (which) makes us all 'unnamed,' responsible, yet nameless and faceless" during his visit to Lampedusa, Italy on July 8, 1973.  (Page 73)


Europe’s Bishops Echo Pope Francis on the ‘Human Tragedy’ of Migrants.”  Author: Ines San Martin.  Source: Crux.  Published: August 20, 2015.  (Page 74) 


Cardinal O’Malley argues why the pastoral visit of Pope Francis to Juarez, on the US-Mexican borders “will be seen in a broader perspective than the United States and Mexico alone. … (Further,) US immigration policy must combine compassion and safety.”  Source: Crux.  Published: February 18, 2016.  (Page 69)


CRS Calls for Refugee Ban to Be Suspended; More Humane Approach Needed.  Author: Nikki Gamer.  Posted: January 31, 2017.  (Page 70)


CRS Rejects New Executive Order on Refugees.  Author English version: Kim Pozniak.  Author Spanish version: Jossie Flo Sapunar.  Posted: March 6, 2017  

Catholic Social Teaching and Migration


The Holy See’s Perspective on Catholic Social Teaching and Migration.  Author:  Michael A. Blume, SVD, Undersecretary, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.  Source: USCCB website.  


In his commentary, Omar Gutiérrez guides Catholics to Pope St. John XXIII and his “three steps for living the social teaching: ‘Look, judge, act (Mater et Magistra, 236)” in evaluating President Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees, issued late January 2017.  Source: National Catholic Register.  Published: February 3, 2017.


Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration and the Movement of Peoples  


In the video The Biblical Roots of Catholic Social Teaching, Meghan J. Clark of St. John's University reflects on the Old and New Testament roots of Catholic social teaching.   Published on July 6, 2015.  7:51 minutes.


In A Catholic Response to Exclusionary Nationalism, the Global Crisis in Refugee Protection, and Recent Developments in US Immigration Policy, Donald Kerwin, Executive Director for the Center for Migration Studies, discusses the Biblical touchstones of Catholic teaching on migrant and refugees, key principals that guide the Church’s analysis of this timeless issue, recent developments in US immigration policy and refugee protection, and how the Catholic community views and can respond to them.  53:21 minutes.  Date of Webinar: December 12, 2017.


Craig Mousin on Mercy and Discretion in our Immigration Laws - Interview Series

“Where is the mercy and discretion, that Christianity talks about, in our immigration law today?” Craig Mousin, a lawyer and United Church of Christ minister, asks this question and shares how he has explored the meaning of “Welcoming the Stranger” throughout his life.  He reflects on his heritage (“immigration is a good thing”), his legal training, his demonstrated faith in God, establishment of a pro bono law service for refugees, and work with refugees in Greece during the summer of 2016.  Introduction:  Charles Strain.  Interview:  August 2017.  19:22 minutes.

Fostering a Culture of Peace

In “Fostering a Culture of Peace: Embracing the “Us” Meghan J. Clark, Ph.D. reflects on “the deep theology of solidarity and its importance for fostering a culture of peace.”  Additional resources include a Prayer, Discussion Questions, Faith in Action, recommended videos for reflection and discussion, and a playlist.  Source: Education for Justice, a project of Center of Concern.  Published: 2017.  (15 pages)

Secondary Resources

Additional Readings

Brazal, Agnes M. and Maria Teresa Davila, ed. Living With(Out) Borders: A Christian Ethic of Immigration. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016.

Groody, Daniel G. Border of Death Valley of Life: An Immigrant Journey of Heart and Spirit. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002.

Groody, Daniel G. and Giocchino Campese, ed. A Promised Land a Perilous Journey: Theological Perspectives on Migration. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008.

Heyer, Kristin E. Kinship across Borders: A Christian Ethic of Immigration. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2012

O’Brien, David J. and Thomas A. Shannon. Catholic Social Thought: The Documentary Heritage. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1992


i am migration

Lead The Way

Sign up to learn more.