Left to right, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson and Bishop Eusebio Elizondo are members of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration. The committee held a press conference on Thursday (May 29) on Capitol Hill before going to speak to members of the House of Representatives to push immigration reform efforts. Religion News Service photo by Heather Adams

Left to right, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson and Bishop Eusebio Elizondo are members of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration. The committee held a press conference on Thursday (May 29) on Capitol Hill before going to speak to members of the House of Representatives to push immigration reform efforts. Religion News Service photo by Heather Adams


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

WASHINGTON (RNS) Catholic bishops returned to Capitol Hill on Thursday (May 29) with a renewed push for immigration reform, as Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski called the failure to address immigration reform “a stain on the soul of our nation.”

Before fanning out to meet with lawmakers, members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration held a Mass at a Capitol Hill church that recalled a dramatic Mass they held April 1 along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Wenski, the committee’s chairman, said, “When laws fail to advance the common good, they can and they should be changed.”

The bishops’ push was accompanied by a separate open letter to House Speaker John Boehner, a Catholic, signed by 30 Catholic leaders, including the Rev. Larry Snyder, CEO of Catholic Charities USA, and the Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, who oversees Jesuit priests in the U.S.

“Legislative obstruction in the face of preventable suffering and death is not only a failure of leadership. It is immoral and shameful,” the letter said. “The eyes of our God — who hungers for justice and commands us to welcome the stranger and bind the wounds of those left by the side of the road — are on us.”

A choir led songs during a Mass held by members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration at a Capitol Hill church on Thursday (May 29). The service included multiple languages, such as Swahili, Arabic, Spanish, German and English. Religion News Service photo by Heather Adams

A choir led songs during a Mass held by members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration at a Capitol Hill church on Thursday (May 29). The service included multiple languages, such as Swahili, Arabic, Spanish, German and English. Religion News Service photo by Heather Adams


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Advocates have been pushing the House to pass an immigration bill for months; the Senate passed the bill last June but it has faced steep opposition in the Republican-controlled House, where Boehner says it lacks the votes to pass.

Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., said that the prelates planned to tell some of the stories from the border Mass to lawmakers to humanize the immigration debate because “when there’s a faceless person, it’s easy to reject or ignore or put aside that person.”

During Wenski’s homily, he said the immigrants aren’t criminals and are looking to “regain themselves with honest work.”

“They aren’t outside the law because they want to be,” Wenski said, adding that undocumented immigrants should have the chance to earn U.S. citizenship.

KRE/AMB END ADAMS

9 Comments

  1. Wouldn’t it be nice if the holy bishops worked together to put an end to the pedophilia that is still being shunted aside in many dioceses, and stop obstructing the justice of providing therapy and paying the awards the courts have ordered for those who have been violated?

    It is apparent that the bishops pursue causes like birth control and immigration to distract the people in the pews from attending to the awful sins and crimes of the clergy, some bishops included, against their kids with sexual abuse.

    The now quieter Cardinal Tim Dolan of New York was rewarded by Benedict with New York and a red hat for his “good work” in hiding diocesan funds while archbishop of Milwaukee, WI, so they couldn’t be used to pay court-ordered awards for sex offenses by Milwaukee priests.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the holy bishops at least spoke out against their colleagues like John Meyers of Newark, NJ, and Gregory Wilton of Atlanta, GA, who insist on following in the footsteps of Bishop “Bling” of Germany in spending many millions of dollars of the people in the pews to build royal mansions for their own residences?

  2. The preceding comment has identified the real STAIN of “the church”! The protracted, systematic abuse of U.S. law, involving between one and two billion dollars, is a clear moral statement that “the church” is above all law and must be protected at any cost, including the most innocent, loved, human treasure the congregants claim. They claim, but who has anyone been tarred and feathered; jailed? No one!
    The victims (parents and children) were blamed and shunned by the priests, bishops, and cardinals!

  3. The Catholic Bishops continued prayer and advocacy demonstrates how important this issue is for our country and for the Church. Comprehensive immigration reform has the potential to respond to the needs of 11 million people who are undocumented and live marginalized at the edge of society; at the same time it can help us build a stronger U.S. economy and improve our communities.

    Over 1,000 Jesuit university and high school alumni have signed a letter on comprehensive immigration reform to 40+ fellow alumni in the U.S. House of Representatives calling for these representatives to take action for comprehensive immigration reform that is humane. Read the letter at: http://bit.ly/jesimso

  4. They are on a power trip, and the more vulnerable the population, the more power they can get. I have an idea: let the nuns and priests get REAL jobs and see how hard the average American has to work to make ends meet.

  1. […] Catholic bishops returned to Capitol Hill on Thursday (May 29) with a renewed push for immigration reform, as Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski called the failure to address immigration reform “a stain on the soul of our nation.” Before fanning out to meet with lawmakers, members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration held a Mass at a Capitol Hill church that recalled a dramatic Mass they held April 1 along the U.S.-Mexican border. [Read more] […]

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