Two More Questions About Immigration and Our Church’s Thoughts23 Apr

Click on Postcard to Send a Message to Congress

Does the Church have the right to speak out on immigration reform, which is largely a political issue?

All public policy issues—abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, poverty reduction, marriage and family, and immigration reform—have both political and moral aspects to them. The Church is well within her rights to speak out on public policy issues of moral consequence and often does. In fact, the Church has a moral obligation to speak out on issues which impact human dignity and human life.

In the immigration area, the Church brings special expertise to the table because we are an immigrant church and we have helped assist immigrants assimilate into the nation for years. Moreover, many immigrant families who attend Catholic parishes would be positively impacted by immigration reform and a legalization program.

Would providing legal status and possible citizenship to undocumented immigrants be considered an “amnesty?”

First, “amnesty” is not a dirty word from the Catholic perspective. Forgiveness and compassion are values that Catholics, as well as Americans, promote and cherish.

Nevertheless, current proposals regarding how to deal with the undocumented population cannot properly be understood as an amnesty because they require undocumented immigrants to pay their debt to society for breaking the law by paying their back taxes, paying a fine, continuing to work, learning English, and waiting their turn in the line.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said in a press conference April 22 that “now is the time” to fix the nation’s broken immigration system. Cardinal Dolan was joined at the press conference by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the USCCB Communications Committee.

Let me say that now is the time to address this issue. As we speak, persons are being deported and an untold number of families are being divided. Human beings continue to die in the American desert. This suffering must end.

Pastoral leaders and others in parish ministry have an opportunity to learn how to end the suffering by attending one of the two advocacy training sessions planned in May. For more information and to register for the WE ARE ALL GOD’S CHILDREN advocacy training please click here.

To send a message to members of Congress urging support for a comprehensive reform based on our faith tradition’s beliefs click on the postcard at the top of this page.

Photo: Facebook page, Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Rev. Patrick Delahanty – April 23, 2013

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