In a letter sent to his priests, New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan was clear as clear can be about the Church's position on immigration. Dolan also indicated that he perceives the danger - a danger some of his advisors do not recognize - of the Church appearing to have a one-issue, or one-party, platform. As the President of the USCCB as well as Archbishop of the media capital of the world, Dolan is the face of the American bishops and, as I predicted when he was elected USCCB president back in November, Dolan will prove to be the kind of balanced, thoughtful leader the bishops need as they navigate the rough political waters here in the States as well as the ad liminas that begin in November.
Here, thanks to Rocco, whose post also includes Pope Benedict's remarks on immigration, is what Dolan said on immigration:
"My New Year got off to a bad start when I opened up our hometown paper to see the headline that some of our states, and some in the Congress, intend to push for restrictive, harsh immigration laws. Those who blast us bishops for only being concerned about pro-life and defense of marriage issues will be shown to be what we’ve told them they are for a long time -- wrong!
"Not that we can ever flag in our earnest promotion of “equal protection under the law” for our most vulnerable citizens -- the baby in the womb -- or in reminding government that it has no right to redefine marriage . . . but the Catholic Church in the United States has been and will continue to be on the side of the immigrant. Yes, government indeed has the duty to protect -- especially given the genuine threat of terrorism -- our borders and enforce sane, fair, and just immigration laws. But to get mean and punitive is not the answer.
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"This New York community, with the Statue of Liberty at our door, has always been a welcoming home for the immigrant, and as such is an icon of America at her best. And this archdiocese has been, is, and always will be a sanctuary for the alien, (most of whom, if you have not noticed, are Catholic), and, as such, has been a reflection of the Church at her best.