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The Catholic Historical Review 87.2 (2001) 342-343
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For the Love of Immigrants:
Migration Writings and Letters of Bishop John Baptist Scalabrini (1839-1905)
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 nineteenth-century Italy, the Holy See, migration, or the history of several cities in the United States. [End Page 342]
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. An order of priests (which has since taken the name Society of Saint Charles--Scalabrinians) would care for migrants in transit and in their new homes. The Sisters of Saint Charles would assist in pastoral care. Bishop Scalabrini followed Peter Paul Cahensly's work, and strove, less successfully, for an Italian Saint Raphael Society in which laity and clergy collaborated in migrant care.
The volume's second part translates Bishop Scalabrini's correspondence with Popes Leo XIII and Pius X, Cardinals Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro and Raffaele Merry del Val, and prelates of the sees of Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Harrisburg, Hartford, Kansas City (Missouri), Saint Paul, New Orleans, New York, and Portland (Maine) between 1888 and 1905. The correspondence with Pius X and Merry del Val envisioned the present-day Vatican office for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people. Most of the correspondence concerns the provision of pastoral care for Italian immigrants. Some correspondence augments material in print, as that on New York does for Archbishop Tomasi's own Piety and Power, and Stephen Michael Di Giovanni's Archbishop Corrigan and the Italian Immigrants.
The volume has all the usual features of scholarly work. It includes an unsigned foreword, a complete list of Bishop Scalabrini's writings, an introduction by Archbishop Tomasi, an archival-and-bibliographical note, and an index. Illustrations are limited to an image of Bishop Scalabrini on the front cover, and the book is a handy size for easy reference. And the price is right!
Mary Elizabeth Brown
Marymount Manhattan College