EMOTIONS FLARE UP at the mention of immigration. People feel strongly about the issue on all sides. People express their opinion on Web sites, in blogs, at rallies and in phone calls to their legislators.
Like other bishops, I have received many e-mails, calls and letters, mostly voicing anger about my involvement with the issue. Certainly, attitudes toward immigration guide the decisions of some voters, especially in my state of Arizona.
As people of faith, it is critical that we understand the complexities of immigration. As people of faith, it is critical that we have opportunities to discuss the issue so that we can better understand
the Church’s concern and involvement. As people of faith, we need to share our attitudes and feelings and—as hard as it is sometimes—we need to listen.
Why, then, is the Church involved in the immigration issue? There are three broad, or overarching, reasons. In this article, we’ll explore the following: 1) how Scripture and Catholic teaching see and understand immigration; 2) immigration’s impact on the life of the Church—our parish life, our programs, our growth and diversity; and 3) the moral issues that the Church is called to address in the broader society.
Let’s start with a discussion of Sacred Scripture.