Pastor's Corner 050513

posted May 6, 2013, 7:22 AM by Music Director

Bishop Sullivan has designated today “Justice For Immigrants Sunday” in response to the controversy surrounding national immigration policy and efforts to reform it.  The Catholic Bishops of the U.S. have been strong advocates for such reform, but you may not be aware of that position and why we, as the Church, are called to support it. 

Why does the church care about immigration policies?  Based on Holy Scripture and the Church’s social teaching that is derived from it, as well as our own experience as an immigrant Church, our bishops feel compelled to address the needs of marginalized persons with God-given human rights.  They believe that current immigration laws and policies have often led to the undermining of human dignity, particularly by keeping families apart.  These laws have resulted in a growing number of persons living in the shadows as they toil in jobs that would otherwise go unfilled.  Close family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents often must wait years for a visa to be reunited. And they believe that our border enforcement strategies have been ineffective and have led to the death of thousands of would-be migrants.  They confirm the church’s responsibility to shine God’s Word on this issue and help build bridges between all concerned parties so that a just immigration system can be created that serves the common good, including the legitimate security concerns of our nation.

              Does the Catholic Church support illegal immigration?  Absolutely not!  Our bishops do not condone unlawful entry or circumvention of our nation’s laws.  They DO believe that reforms are necessary to respond to the realities of separated families and labor demands that compel people to migrate here.  They point out that our nation’s economy depends in part on foreign labor, yet there are an insufficient number of visas to meet this demand.  Backlogs of available visas often mean interminable family separations, sometimes 20 years or longer.  Thus, immigration policies need to be updated to reflect these realities.

               Does the Catholic Church support “amnesty?”   Again, no!  Our bishops have proposed a window of opportunity for undocumented immigrants who are already living in our communities and contributing to our nation to come forward, pay a fine and application fee, go through a rigorous criminal background check and security screening, demonstrate that they have paid taxes, are learning English, and obtain a visa that could lead to permanent residency over a given period of time.

               This information has been provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Justice for Immigrants Campaign.”  You can learn more by going to their website at www.justiceforimmigrants.org.  Let’s pray that we can find a way to balance national interest with human need.  Otherwise, we will need to seriously reconsider what our nation, comprised of immigrants and the descendants of immigrants, truly is and for what it truly stands. 

               On a lighter note, I am thrilled with the Eagles draft picks!  Are you?

 

LET’S GO PHILLIES!

 

In His Love,

Fr. Mike

 

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