Skip to comments.Catholic Church Steps up Immigration Support, Preaching Message from Pews
Posted on 08/26/2013 8:28:53 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
The Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. is increasing pressure on lawmakers to adopt immigration reform and is taking that message to the pews, planning for a major coordinated event for Sunday Masses on Sept. 8.
"We want to try to pull out all the stops," said Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to The New York Times. "They have to hear the message that we want this done, and if you're not successful during the summer, you're not going to win by the end of the year."
Lawmakers have yet to decide on substantial changes to the path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, but a number of evangelical churches and groups, along with Catholics, have made it a prime focus in their mission this past year.
"How we treat the stranger is how we treat Christ himself. That message is converting evangelicals by the thousands, by the millions and we've seen now how that conversation is changing politics," said Jim Wallis, president and CEO of the Christian ministry Sojourners, part of the Evangelical Immigration Table leaders.
"We're praying that the dysfunction can be overcome for the sake of 11 million vulnerable undocumented people that Jesus calls us to welcome. Prayer is necessary in these final stages. We are going to pray without ceasing that they can put aside their interests and agendas and finally do something together for those people and for the common good," he added.
Some analysts have pointed out, however, that not all evangelicals are supportive of immigration reform and the Evangelical Immigration Table leaders do not speak for the entire denomination.
The Catholic Church is also trying to push immigration policy to the forefront by preaching a coordinated message during Sunday Masses on Sept. 8, which the Times says is a part of a broader effort to support President Barack Obama's call for new immigration laws.
Americans have been left left largely divided over a new bill proposing a 13-year pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, with a recent Gallup poll showing that 33 percent favor immigration reform, 28 percent oppose it, while 38 percent say they don't know what to think of the legislation.
Over 30 percent of Congress members are Catholics, however, including Speaker John. A. Boehner, which might bode well for such legislation.
"The connection between a pastor and their congregation is really like nothing else in society," said Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, highlighting the important role priests and bishops have in providing religious reasons to support immigration reform.
"It's pretty rare for the Catholics to take on an issue like this straight to the pews," added Cecilia Muñoz, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. "This is actually a much more across-the-church effort, and it shows."
The Catholic Church has clashed with the Obama administration over issues such as same-sex marriage and healthcare, which forces employers to provide birth control in insurance coverage for employees, but so far they have remained on the same page when it comes to addressing the problem that affects 11 million undocumented people in America.
....Some analysts have pointed out, however, that not all evangelicals are supportive of immigration reform and the Evangelical Immigration Table leaders do not speak for the entire denomination. The Catholic Church is also trying to push immigration policy to the forefront by preaching a coordinated message during Sunday Masses on Sept. 8, which the Times says is a part of a broader effort to support President Barack Obama's call for new immigration laws....The Catholic Church has clashed with the Obama administration over issues such as same-sex marriage and healthcare, which forces employers to provide birth control in insurance coverage for employees, but so far they have remained on the same page when it comes to addressing the problem that affects 11 million undocumented people in America.
Those who engage in politics should not get a tax exemption.
Why is it the churches’ business?
I wish the Church would stay out of politics. Take a strong stand against politicians who support abortion.
I disagree. Civil governments should not claim sovereignty over churches.
I don’t believe the church should get involved in secular politics.
BTW, isn’t there a Catholic Church in Mexico? If so, why aren’t they concerned about their people risking their lives to cross the border into the US. If these people (the priests) were truly concerned about the plight of the “migrants,” they would at least try lifting a finger to help those in their parish. How many Mexican families have been split up because the Catholic Church of Mexico hasn’t tried to help their flock.
I learned a long time ago that when it comes to the Catholic Church, you have to take the bad with the good. The Church is a strong, positive voice in the abortion debate. But it also is a strong voice in the immigration and social spending debates too. Personally, I don’t see how its “compassionate” to force the top 10% of income earners to pay for 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the country’s budget, and to continually pile unfunded spending obligations on the backs of our children and future generations, but that’s just me.
Who gets to decide / impose the definition of "secular politics" on both parties?
The Catholic Church in the USA is bleeding $$$ to pay to maintain its buildings.
Some churches cost 50,000/month to maintain.
Someone has told them that by supporting immigration, they will get more people and thus more $$$$.
Too bad that this will not solve their problem.
I say, fine. As soon as the Herod Regime stops trying to kill Baby Jesus, then we should help Mary and Joseph bring Jesus back to Nazareth. I'm sure that as honest and upright people, they don't want to just get stuck living on a EBT card in Egypt.
Hispanics in the USA (whether legally or illegally) are in dire spiritual danger of losing their faith and their family. Isn't there some way we (I mean we Catholics, the Church) could do something positive --- like set up a microcredit bank for entrepreneurs --- to help them achieve family reunification and financial independence in Mexico?
Oh, and by the way, Kevin Appleby doesn’t have a scrap of canonical authority. My Diocese (Knoxville) has not been pushing this immigration reform scam, and I’d be upset beyond all bounds if I were in a Diocese that did. (And All That Times 10 for L.A.)
” The Catholic Church in the USA is bleeding $$$ to pay to maintain its buildings.
Some churches cost 50,000/month to maintain.
Someone has told them that by supporting immigration, they will get more people and thus more $$$$.”
If we substituted 30 million chinese illegals for Mexican illegals, how much would the Catholic church help them? Would the church organize to legalize them? No.
” “How we treat the stranger is how we treat Christ himself.”
It doesn’t say reward criminal trespassers, or make them citizens.John 10:1
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
Interesting conundrum, as we're not being flooded with Chinese illegals. Is the Catholic Church doing this because the laws are wrong and need to be changed, or because they see opportunity in a political crisis?
The American Bishops could not be more transparent in their hypocrisy.
This makes their liberal political agenda transparent and it illuminates the evil that has festered in The Church’s hierarchy.
Did the American Bishops “pull out all of the stops” to deny the biggest Abortion supporter to ever run for the US Presidency?
Actions speak louder than words. And this clarifies that The Church’s American Bishops, through their official Conference, care more about illegal immigrants than they do the most defenseless and innocent babies who are routinely and systematically put to death on their watch.
At the same time they REFUSED to take to the pulpits and tell us we should NOT VOTE to re-elect a man who was forcing us to pay for the morning after pill.
I am thoroughly disgusted.
Collection Basket Uber Alles...
Its always suspect when Christians take one line of scripture and want to impose it on secular govt.
I’ve heard theologians say this line of scripture has been wrongly understood.
” Is the Catholic Church doing this because the laws are wrong and need to be changed,..”
No mass protest over Obama the Abortionist.
” or because they see opportunity in a political crisis?”
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) reacts to the Senates passage of immigration reform legislationJuly 3, 2013 Office of the General Assembly Melissa Davis Co-manager, Office of Immigration Issues Louisville The Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (SB 744) last week. It passed with 68 votes after the Corker-Hoeven Amendment (or border surge) was put forth as the substitute bill. This surge altered the legislation by substantially changing the legalization program and added a massive buildup at our borders. The bills passage in the Senate has resulted in mixed emotions for immigrants, border communities, and advocates, including many Presbyterians.
The Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated that, We are are deeply concerned about what this further militarization of our borders will mean for border communities and migrants. While we are pleased that a pathway to citizenship, though narrow and conditional, was included in the final bill, we are concerned about the impact the buildup will have on the number of deaths at our southern border. Presbyterians have a lot of work to do to ensure the final legislation comports with our values as people of faith and the guidelines set forth by the General Assembly.
Rev. Mark Adams, coordinator for the Presbyterian border ministry, Frontera de Cristo, and border resident, stated, With the 'border surge' in the bill, Senator John McCain stated that we will have the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall. As it stands, this bill will basically double a policy that is fiscally irresponsible, highly ineffective, and morally reprehensible. But perhaps the most tragic aspect of the bill is that the bill does not address our own participation in the economic systems that has driven much of the migration across the southern border.
While the bill raises many concerns, this vote in the Senate is a step toward modernizing our immigration system, particularly the sections of the law that provide for the future flow of immigrants. In addition to the pathway to citizenship, the legislation creates pathways for people who want to immigrate to the U.S. to do so with proper authorization, and there are many improvements to current law that are good for children and refugees.
Rev. J. Herbert Nelson of the office of Public Witness for the Presbyterian Church also acknowledged that the legislation, as is, is unjust. He stated, "The bill provides a pathway to citizenship for millions of our brothers and sisters but it is unjustly tied to the increased use of flawed and punitive immigration enforcement policies. Although compromise is necessary in legislative deal making, it shouldnt come at the expense of anyones dignity and right to life. Further, taxpayers dollars that should be invested in human capital in providing a social safety net, job training, and a myriad of other shared priorities for the common goodbut with this bills authorization, those dollars will be wasted. The lives of millions of our brothers and sisters, both at the border and across this nation, should not be traded for the votes of politicians who continue to deny the need for real reform and the fundamental truth that every person is a child of God."
Now it is up to the House to take action on immigration reform. Some restrictive legislation is being considered in the House Judiciary Committee but so far legislation has not been proposed that will meet the General Assemblys foundations for a just and compassionate reform, which include a pathway to citizenship and a border policy that comports with our notions of due process and respects human rights. Since no laws have changed, the public should be vigilant and warn families about fraud as many unscrupulous individuals are looking to profit from people present in the U.S. without authorization. Be suspect of anyone claiming to secure legal status as a result of new changes in the law.
Rev. Parsons has issued a challenge to Presbyterians to study Scripture and pray so that every one might remember his or her own migration story. He said, By remembering that we too were once strangers in Egypt, we can reclaim these stories as our own and take action that will improve the legislation in the House. While we need to celebrate this movement, we cannot rest.
Rev. Melissa Davis, coordinator of advocacy issues in the office of Immigration Issues for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), added, Presbyterians have a tradition of taking action on immigration issues and working to ensure our nations laws are just. Now is the time to remember our past and continue that legacy. Even by doing small things like calling our representatives and writing letters to the editors of our local paper, we can make a big difference. Most of all, these efforts need to be undergirded by prayer.
The General Assembly has long advocated for a pathway to citizenship for those working and living in the United States without authorization. In 2012 this call was renewed, clarifying that this pathway should not be encumbered with penalties, wait times, or other irksome conditions.
Resources on General Assemblys immigration policy and how to effectively engage with your representatives can be found at the office of Immigration Issues website: www.pcusa.org/immigration and the office of Public Witness blog: http://officeofpublicwitness.blogspot.com/. The July congressional break is a great time to engage with your representatives while they are home in their district offices.
The United Methodist Church position on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
For the past two four-year periods or quadrennia, The United Methodist Church has declared its support for a comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration law, and it has called all its agencies, annual conferences, and local churches to become actively involved in this ministry. As affirmed by General Conference in 2008, we believe that, there is theologically and historically an implied nature of mutuality in migration. Both the migrant and the native are meant to benefit from migration. Welcoming the migrant is not only an act of mission, it is an opportunity to receive Gods grace. In Scripture we read: When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:33-34).
What statement has the Church made about Immigration? The 2008 General Conference approved a resolution entitled A Call for a Comprehensive Immigration Reform:
Be it resolved that the 2008 General Conference of the United Methodist Church assert that immigrants are children of God made in Gods image, affirm the labor and struggle of the undocumented worker, andassert that immigrant children deserve to be educated and provided with basic social services .that the United Methodist Church stand against all forms of oppression and prejudices and will work through its general agencies, especially the General Commission on Religion and Race and the General Board of Church and Society, to resist racism, intolerance, and prejudice in the context of the immigration debate that the General Conference urge all the local congregations to oppose unjust local and state ordinances that seek to deprive undocumented persons of basic social services including the access to adequate housing and protection under the law that we urge the United States Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that makes family unity, students being able to get an education at an affordable rate, fair and just treatment of laborers, and a reasonable path towards citizenship a priority and, finally, that the 2008 General Conference of The United Methodist Church request the Council of Bishops to urgently establish a Plan of Action of Advocacy and Welcoming the Sojourner to enable their annual conferences to immediately respond to the needs and challenges of the Hispanic/Latino immigrant population, and all immigrant populations in the community, by creating opportunities of service and equipping local churches to effectively respond in their ministry. (For a complete text go to: www.umc.org and search A Call to Comprehensive Immigration Reform 2008)
What do The Social Principles say?
The 2009-2012 Discipline addresses in paragraph H) Rights for Immigrants: We recognize, embrace, and affirm all persons regardless of country of origin, as members of the family of God. We affirm the right of all persons to equal opportunities for employment, access to housing, health care, education, and freedom from social discrimination. We urge the Church and society to recognize the gifts, contributions, and the struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all. (approved at General Conference 2008)
What is the Isaiah 58 Call to Prayer and Fasting?
Isaiah 58 is an initiative from the Interagency Task Force on Immigration and the Council of Bishops inviting all United Methodists for an intense time of Vigil and Fasting from June 6 to July 28, 2010 in response to the implementation of Arizona law SB 1070. The Council of Bishops have asserted: this law will potentially result in racial profiling against Latinos and immigrants of color. Though we are called to love and serve all immigrants, regardless of their legal status, this law could possibly criminalize those who minister among immigrant communities. This legislation will force police officers to abandon their responsibilities to protect and serve communities and force them to become federal immigration enforcement agents. This legislation has created a climate of fear and terror and has done nothing to repair the broken immigration system. It is clear that the Arizona law, SB 1070, falls short of the principles called for by the 2008 General Conference and therefore this legislation, and all other bills like it should be opposed by United Methodists. During these weeks, vigil participation will roll from one region to another. The North Carolina Conference prayer and action will take place on week 7, July 18-24.
What do we mean when we say Comprehensive Immigration Reform? Does that mean Amnesty?
The United Methodist Church advocates for comprehensive immigration reform that consists of: An opportunity for legal status for all undocumented migrants. Any pathway created for undocumented migrants should have minimal obstacles and those requirements should not be designed to preclude migrants from eligibility for legalization, Clearing the backlogs and reunifying families separated by migration or detainment, An increase in the number of visas for short-term workers to come into the United States to work in a safe, legal, and orderly way. Opportunities for legalization should be available for those who wish to remain permanently, The protections of all workers who come to stay for a certain period of time as well as for those who stay permanently. The right to bargain for higher wages, to protest against poor working conditions, and to preserve their human rights should be maintained by all workers, documented and undocumented alike.
There is right, and there is wrong, irrespective of association with religious persons and ecclesial bodies. I can say that because believe the Bible is the final authority in determining right and wrong. Now I'm not Catholic, and thus it comes as no surprise that I think that the Catholic Church is wrong in their position on immigration. What you may not be aware of is that I'm not PC(USA) either, and therefore you might be surprised to hear me say that IMO the PC(USA) is wrong in their position as well.
Latino immigrants in the U.S. have the fastest dropping birth rate and the fastest rising divorce rate of any demographic group in the hemisphere. And religious? Start out RC, slip into Pentecostalism, and then it evaporates altogether.
I am a Catholic, in the Knights of Columbus. Most of my friends are Catholic. I am conservative, all of my friends, especially the Knights are as conservative as they come.
None of us agree with letting illegals flood into the United States. We say all the time that if the bishops think for one minute that illegals are going to vote for pro-life candidates, they are dead wrong. Illegals will vote democrat.
They will vote for whoever can give them the most. Most that call themselves Catholic do not go to Mass. But they have no problem making it down to the welfare office.
Do you believe that your bishops are taking a genuinely Catholic position on immigration reform?
Believe it or not, I suspect its Rome that is pushing for it.
The Cathedrals which stand unused have bankrupted the Catholic Church.
It didn’t even click till I visited Spain and Portugal. You saw all the riches taken from the new world used to adorn their Cathedrals.
Eventually it crushed Portugal 1000 years ago and it still suffers from it. It has finally caught up with Spain.
Travel up and down the CA coast looking at the Missions. The same thing is starting to happen in CA.
FWIW, I think it's safe to say that Rome certainly isn't pushing against it.
Vatican official steps down after stirring debate on French immigration policy
Curia archbishop addresses illegal immigration [solutions "other than" sanctions, border closures]
Vatican official prods US on immigration reform
US Catholic Latino leaders meet with Vatican officials, discuss Hispanic reality
Pope Benedict urges bishops to work for recognition of immigrant rights
When I go to Church on Sundays , I RARELY hear about abortion.
I NEVER hear about contraception, self sterilization, invitro fertilization, euthanasia , same sex marriage, transgendered issues.
I never hear about so many fundamental moral issues.
To include how nearly all humanitarian, environmental and charitable organizations are immoral in that they are anti-humanist. Most nearly all of them support the culture of death so prevalent in our society. Try giving to any organization that is intended to find a cure for a disease and you will find support for the embryonic stem cell research industry....
Getting back on track:
Unfortunately, if its not talked about in the homily then many “Catholics” just dont know that its wrong. Frequently they hear through the mainstream media in a 30 second appearance by Fr. Joe Liberal that all of these things are either okay or they just muddy the issue. These kind of priests are mostly the only kind booked to be on the major networks news programs.
The Catholic Church no longer catchechizes its people. But yet it wants to tell us how to vote on purely ‘pet’ issues during the homily. The illegal immigration issue being one where one could vote to give away the candy store(as the C.C. advocates) or not. No intrinsic evils involved. A Catholic is free to hold and vote his opinion in either direction on this issue.
But more importantly, we need Catholics who speak their minds modeled upon a saint who is known for speaking his mind. Of course there were many of them during early Christianity in the Roman Empire, they died martyrs.
St George would be one, St George uniquely spoke his mind directly to the Emperor Diocletian:
pffftttt...Rome has NEVER been on just ONE side of an argument. That’s the secret to their “success”. If you’re on both side of every issue, who can accuse you of being wrong? and the $$$$$ just keeps piling up...
All of our ancestors (unless we are native Americans) were once immigrants.
Many remember the signs:
“No Catholics need apply.”
“No Irish need apply.”
“No Germans need apply.”
Now what will it be?
Churches may speak to issues — which this is.
They lose their tax-exempt status when they endorse a single candidate.
You will probably find this article of interest:
[Dolan's letter wasn't] just a product of Dolans need to appease both sides in the intra-Church struggle. It was also a classic example of a style of ecclesiastical document that the Vatican employs in complicated situations....This style of writing aims at studied ambiguity, a Vatican diplomat explained to me, noting that the people who write such letters are trained to think in terms of centuries, not sound bites. So you always need to be able to say fifty years on, Well, of course we never meant that, the diplomat said.
-- from the thread Mixed Blessing: The Ryan budget and the raging battle within the U.S. Catholic Church
What does legal immigration have to do with this?
If the USCCB had EVER spoken out in this manner against abortion then what you contend could be true, but it is not true, it is a lie.
I wrote my pastor saying this last week, saying that if I hear one sentence about this i will not give to the parish until it was recanted.
I hope all will se this. It is driven bye ocean Archbishops who have usurped just as the local Mexicans are usurping our border language and culture
But the Church in th US is NOT vocal or demonstrative about abortion
Actually, the Catechism says DO NOT advocate for illegal aliens or they will sap the host country dry disabling its ability to be charitable
Ask any white “non Hispanic” high Schiller trying to get into a good college
>All of our ancestors (unless we are native Americans) were once immigrants.
The invasion of illegals today have nothing in common with the immigrants who came here to build America. They are here to destroy America and mooch off the sweat of our labor.
August 26: Catholic Church Steps up Immigration Support, Preaching Message from Pews
August 30: Catholic Leaders Differ on Views of Latino Cultural Shift
September 5: Catholic priests to advocate for immigration reform during Sunday services
Caring for the poor is the responsibility of the CHURCH, the individual believers.
WE are to help those we encounter who need it. It’s not a responsibility that can be farmed out or voted off our shoulders.
If the church were doing its job, and that includes, especially the churches in Mexico or whatever country the illegals are from, we wouldn’t be having these illegal immigrant issues.
The church needs to be teaching its parishioners to lead moral and productive lives, and that especially includes the politicians.
Seems that all around the world we see countries rich in natural resources, dirt poor because of political corruption and mismanagement. The politicians need to be straightened out by their churches to stop it.
THAT would solve a whole slew of problems.