Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Cardinal Willing to Obey the Law --
No, it has nothing to do with covering up pedophile priests.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

In his most forceful comments to date, Mahony said he would instruct his priests to defy legislation — if approved by Congress — that would require churches and other social organizations to ask immigrants for legal documentation before providing assistance and penalize them if they refuse to do so. That provision was included in the immigration bill recently passed by the House of Representatives; a similar proposal is in the version that the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to begin debating this week.

Although some parishes engaged in civil disobedience during the sanctuary movement to harbor Salvadoran refugees during the 1980s, Mahony's call to all priests to defy the law would mark a first for the cardinal.

"The whole concept of punishing people who serve immigrants is un-American," Mahony said. "If you take this to its logical, ludicrous extreme, every single person who comes up to receive Holy Communion, you have to ask them to show papers. It becomes absurd and the church is not about to get into that. The church is here to serve people…. We're not about to become immigration agents. It just throws more gasoline on the discussion and inflames people."

Mahony has long been a strong advocate of immigrant rights, opposing efforts to deny public benefits to undocumented migrants through Proposition 187 in 1994. California voters approved the widely popular initiative, but it was later struck down by the federal courts as unconstitutional.

Immigration has once more risen to the top of Mahony's agenda because of what the church believes is a punitive House immigration bill that criminalizes aid to undocumented migrants and contradicts gospel values, said Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala of the archdiocese's San Gabriel Valley region.

Cardinal Roger Mahony is calling on Catholics to fast and pray for humane immigration reform. The man is no stranger to controversy. He enraged several with his highly expensive plan for LA's new cathedral, Our Lady of the Angels. Pro-life groups have attacked him for, in their eyes, "coddling" pro-choice politicians. Priest abuse victims groups have criticized him for wishing to keep files confidentals. He got into a tiff with EWTN's Mother Angelica over her criticism of one of his pastoral letters as tending toward secularization.
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