Bishops Say Mass at the Border; Catholic Lay Want Enforcement

Published on April 14th, 2014


Catholic Bishops bless protestors at the border

As a Roman Catholic who attended Catholic schools and served as an altar boy in my youth, I’m troubled by the Church’s ongoing amnesty advocacy. The U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops has a strong lobbying presence in Washington D.C. Amnesty is always at or near the top of its agenda.

On April 1, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley and several bishops celebrated a bilingual Mass near the Nogales, Arizona border fence to emphasize their dedication to legalizing the 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. The Mass generated vast amounts of favorable publicity that organizers hope will put further pressure on President Obama to use his “pen and phone” to end all deportations.

Arizona state Sen. Al Melvin

But Arizona state Sen. Al Melvin, a Republican running for governor, called the bishops “irresponsible” and predicted that the clergy visit will do little to solve the porous border problems. Melvin said developing private-sector jobs in northern Mexico and securing the border to prevent drug and human trafficking are needed to bring stability to both sides of the international boundary.

Said Melvin: “Frankly, and I am a Catholic, I think this is irresponsible of these bishops to be down there. They are not bringing stability to the border. They are adding to the chaos of the border. And it’s not helping to save lives. If anything, I believe it will contribute to more lives being lost. We need to secure the border to protect lives.”

My fellow lay Catholic James Todd posted seven questions on his Pewsitter.com site that he would like bishops who support amnesty to answer:

  1. Is it moral for a state or the federal government to impose controls on immigration?
  2. Is it moral for the government to enforce such laws?
  3. Does the government have the moral right to deport people that have entered the U.S. illegally?
  4. Does the government have the moral obligation to give illegal immigrants amnesty?
  5. Is it immoral to ask people to document or prove they are in the U.S. legally? If so, how is that different than a foreign government asking me to show my papers/passport and prove that I am in their country legally?
  6. Is it immoral for a government to deny free medical coverage to illegal immigrants for non-life threatening conditions?
  7. Is it immoral to deny illegal immigrants and/or their children access to our free public school system?

Polling done in February found that likely voters including people of all faiths support interior workplace and border enforcement before any form of amnesty is granted.

Instead of promoting more illegal immigration, which amnesty would do, the bishops’ first priority should be to help suffering Americans, including the 50 million who live in poverty and the nearly 20 million Americans who want a full-time job but can’t find one.

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