There are days when I truly believe the Church has lost its way. Those of the days when a beautiful homily turns into a diatribe about abortion, when I hear evangelicals touting how going with God means economic prosperity (I guess they missed that speech by Jesus when he said it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle that for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God; Mark 10:25).
But I digress.
This week the U.S. Congress of Catholic Bishops announced they will lobby for immigration reform in 2010. Their reasons? They are following Christ, and looking after the needs of the poor, the sick, the friendless and the needy.
U.S. BISHOPS ANNOUNCE PUSH FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM IN 2010Launch Web sites, post card campaignUrge Congress to act for reform as soon as possible
Migration should be driven by choice, not necessity
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on January 6, announced steps to push for the enactment of immigration reform legislation in 2010. Bishop John C. Wester, bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah, and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, bishop of Albany, New York, and chairman of the International Policy Committee of the USCCB, made the announcement.
“It is our view, and that of others, that the American public, including the Catholic and other faith communities, want a humane and comprehensive solution to the problems which beset our immigration system, and they want Congress to address this issue,” said Bishop Wester.
Steps announced by Bishop Wester include:
- The launch of a nationwide postcard campaign under the Justice for Immigrants campaign, with 1.5 million postcards already ordered;
- The launch of two Web sites, a new Justice for Immigrants Web site with tools for parishes (www.justiceforimmigrants.org), and the National Migration Week Web site, which provides other resources (www.usccb.org/mrs/nmw/index.shtml); and
- A nationwide action alert asking for Congress to enact immigration reform as soon as possible.
Bishop Hubbard, chairman of the International Policy Committee, spoke to the root causes of irregular migration and how the long-term and humane solution to the problem is integral human development.
“The first principle of the U.S. bishops with regard to immigration is that migrants have the right not to migrate—in other words, to be able to find work in their own home countries so they can support their families in dignity,” he said. “Migration should be driven by choice, not necessity.”
Sister Rita Mary Harwood, a Sister of Notre Dame and Secretary for Parish Life and Development in the Diocese of Cleveland, spoke about support for immigration reform in Ohio, where nearly 300,000 postcards will be distributed throughout the state.
“In the end, to stand with those who are frightened, alone or in danger; to educate, to speak with and for, and to pray—this is the message of the Gospel and the work of the Church,” she said.
Sister Mary Beth Hamm, justice coordinator of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Philadelphia, outlined what her religious order and other orders are doing to support immigration reform.
Bishop Wester concluded that the Church will work to make sure that legislators act on this issue in the near future.
“We remain committed to moving immigration reform as soon as possible,” he said. “We hope to make sure that our federal legislators are committed to that goal as well.”