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Theology professor discusses immigration

Meghan Price | Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Father Daniel Groody, Professor of theology at Notre Dame, discussed the theological dimensions of immigration during a lecture on “Crossing the Divide: Foundations of a Theology of Migrations” Wednesday hosted by the Saint Mary’s Department of Social Work.

“The issue of immigration is often though of in terms of anthropology, sociology, economy and political science,” Groody said. “But it also has to do with theology, which is the one we are least aware of.”

Groody has experience working with immigrants through the parishes where he has conducted research in such places as Morocco, Slovakia, Ukraine and Mexico.
Groody shared the stories of immigrants he has known. He stressed the need to view the experiences of these people through a theological lens and to treat them according to Christian values.

Groody said he did not deny the need for border restrictionsand regulations, but he did condemn the treatment of immigrants as less then human.

 “After all, if we look back at our own origins, we all have immigrant roots,” he said.

In his research, Groody has worked with people on each side of the debate. He explained one side is concerned about order and the security of citizens and the other side worried about the humanitarian plight of immigrants. He said both sides have valid arguments.

“It helps to understand and see the positives in other people’s viewpoints, even those you most disagree with,” Groody said.

Groody discussed the idea that immigration is a natural part of life for human beings. He said it is embedded in the Christian faith and gave evidence for this from the Bible. He discussed immigration in the time of Abraham, Moses, and even in the life of Jesus.

“The talk was very informative” Alexis Sontag, a Saint Mary’s junior, said. “I thought it was a very interesting — a new idea, the connection between something as political as immigration and theology.”

Groody’s research can be found in various books and articles in numerous languages. He has also produced several films including “Dying to Live: An Immigrant’s Journey.”