Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Catholic bishops take lead in rallies showing nat’l immigrant support

About rushing to judgement on the judgements of our Episcopals?

Case in point:
From Los Angeles to St. Louis, and from Jackson, Miss., to Washington, D.C., hundreds of thousands of people nationwide put on white shirts and picked up American flags to join rallies, marches and prayer services April 9 and 10 to call attention to the contributions of immigrants and to ask for changes in immigration law and policies.

In several cities, Catholic bishops gave speeches and led prayers. Many participants were encouraged to join the activities at their churches.

Crowds estimated to be as large as 500,000 in Dallas April 9 and in Washington April 10 blocked city streets and surprised even organizers with their size.

The events were part of the National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice, aimed at opposing strict immigration enforcement legislation passed by the House in December and encouraging more comprehensive bills that would not criminalize illegal immigrants and those who provide services to them. Organizers also support legislation that would make it possible for the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants to legalize their status.

At an April 10 vigil at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in downtown Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony prayed in Spanish to "the God of one and all" to help members of Congress not be exclusionary, and he asked for the intercession of Mary, an immigrant who fled to Egypt with her son, Jesus.

In St. Louis the day before, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke said, "It is not right to make immigrants the scapegoats of social and political problems of our nation. It is profoundly unjust to place the blame for the acts of terrorism perpetrated by a few at the door of all immigrants."

On a stage where he was joined by Protestant, Jewish and Muslim leaders, he said: "Our presence here today expresses the teaching common to our different religious traditions which instructs us to receive immigrants as true brothers and sisters."

In Chicago about 400 people gathered to pray for immigration reform April 10 at Our Lady of Tepeyac Church, days after senators left Washington for a two-week recess without voting on a comprehensive immigration bill worked out in a bipartisan compromise.
Are we too quick to judge here? What are the Bishops calling for? What are they trying to say?

They say that we need to treat our neighbors with the respect their dignity as people entitles them to. They say that it's immoral to felonize people that come to the US illegally, as well as the people that help them. They oppose draconian enforcement measures that don't necessarily respond to the problems they're intended to correct.

They're applying their prudential judgements on the principles of Catholic Social Teaching that clearly apply.

Are we sure we want to gainsay them? Then what say we? And does it honor CST?