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."
I wish the bishop would think these things through. Not much can survive such a theology and certainly not the Church.
I'll begin with my minor criticism of his position. If Catholic France were to follow this policy, then Catholic France will abolish itself. If Catholics show their virtue by the degree to which they welcome the mass immigration of Muslim Africans into their country, then you might as well start taking down the cross and putting up the star and crescent.
Is it really the destiny of the Church to abolish itself?
My major criticism is that the bishop's theology dissolves the particular relationships that we are made for in favour of an abstract universalism - and this goes against the Old and New Testaments, the natural law and church tradition.
What the bishop is arguing is that it is wrong to have a particular love for your coethnics, as a particular love discriminates against those who aren't part of your ethny. We should have a love for all without discrimination is the key to the Bishop's theology.
But how then can our other particular loves be defended? Am I allowed to have a paternal love for my daughter as a father? Isn't this a particular love, a love that discriminates, rather than an abstract universal love for everyone equally? What about my wife? Don't I have a particular love for her that is designed to be to the exclusion of all others? How can this be, if there only exists a universal, non-discriminatory love? And is it moral for me to honour my own parents, rather than everyone's parents equally?
Isn't it true that secular moderns use very similar language to that of the bishop to argue against the traditional family? Don't secular moderns say that it doesn't matter what form the family takes, what matters is that we love without discrimination? Therefore, argue the secular moderns, it doesn't matter if a woman deliberately creates a fatherless family, or if we have families with two fathers and no mother. How can the bishop argue in principle against these secular moderns when he is so closely aligned to them?
The Bishop is leaving no place for fidelity: no place for the particular relationships that call us to a service that is selfless in one sense but that nonetheless fulfils important aspects of self and identity
His is a theology that is dissolving of true human relationships.
One final point. The bishop assumes that it is migrants who are the voice of suffering. That is a rash assumption. It is just as likely to be the native French who feel abandoned by those in power; who feel powerless; who feel intimidated; who are subject to violence.
Why is the bishop indifferent to their cause?
A Christian has a choice when it comes to relationships. He can interpret Christ's message the way that the bishop has, as dissolving particular loves and duties in favour of a non-discriminatory, universal love.
The choice made traditionally by the Church, and the one that fits more consistently with the Bible and with natural law, is to retain the particular loves and relationships we were made for, but to recognise that one of these particular relationships is with the stranger, who is made in God's image.
If you take the second option, the one held by the Church through most of its history, then you need to order the relationships in such a way that our duty to each can be upheld, so that one relationship doesn't rule out the others, and each is given its due weight.