Support for Immigration Reform a 'Moral Imperative'

Immigration reform

Catholics need to put aside "any partisan differences" they have on the immigration issue and come together to pray for the welfare of their brother and sister immigrants and for Congress to pass much-hoped-for comprehensive immigration reform, said Bishop David M. O'Connell of Trenton.

Immigration reform in the United States is "a moral imperative" that goes beyond politics, the bishop said in a pastoral statement he issued for the Trenton Diocese's Justice for Immigrants Sunday, observed on July 14.

Advertisement

"Whatever we, as Catholics, can do to foster the hopes and dreams of those who see our country as their potential home is an imperative of the Gospel and of the Catholic social teaching based upon it, not of our political persuasion," Bishop O'Connell said.

"Prayer is a powerful prerogative and something that all of us can do. I believe that with all my heart and soul," he added.

The bishop designated Justice for Immigrants Sunday as a day in which Catholics at all parishes in the diocese prayed for concrete action "on fair immigration policies."

Special prayer petitions were read, homilies delivered and materials distributed to inform the Catholic community of the U.S. bishops' support for comprehensive reform as outlined in their 2003 pastoral letter titled "Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope."

The principles enunciated in that letter—among them a path to citizenship for the undocumented, provisions to keep families together and various types of worker visas—were echoed in a recent pastoral statement on immigration from the Catholic bishops of New Jersey, advocating the reform of "a badly broken system in our country."

"That something significant and substantial needs to be done is hardly arguable," Bishop O'Connell said in his statement. "How best to accomplish that goal continues to be a source of debate, even division within our nation.

"Sadly, people are quick to paint the issues involved with political and partisan brushes, thereby adding to the polarization and the delay in resolution."

Comprehensive immigration reform "is not Washington's problem," he continued. "It is a concern for all citizens of our country as well as those who hope to be, much as it was for our ancestors who arrived here with hopes for and dreams of a better life, 'Under God, with liberty and justice for all.'"

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

This year’s W.Y.D takes place less than three months after the conclusion of the Synod for Young People that was held in the Vatican last October.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 21, 2019
On Jan. 18, a teenager wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, center left, stands in front of an elderly Native American singing and playing a drum in Washington. (Survival Media Agency via AP)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- An exchange between Catholic high school students and a Native American tribal leader in Washington Jan.

Like most public writers, I was used to getting notes that were crude, crazy or even mildly threatening. Normally, I would say a quick prayer for these obviously troubled people and get on with my day. This time it felt different, precisely because the author wasn’t insulting or obviously deranged.
Rachel LuJanuary 21, 2019
In cities across the country, local activists marched in support of a progressive agenda centered on economic justice, racial justice and immigrant rights.
Brandon SanchezJanuary 20, 2019