Cardinal Dolan: US Needs Compassionate Immigration Reform

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 01:43 PM

By Andra Varin

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan called Wednesday for sweeping but compassionate immigration reform, saying laws that separate families and deny aid to the needy are “not Christian” and “not American.”

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Jansing & Co.,” the recently elevated cardinal said the Catholic Church has traditionally welcomed immigrants. He said Republicans  must “come up with a much saner, more civil, more just immigration policy.”

“When you have a policy that splits up families, when you have a policy that drives people underground, when you have a policy where now the government, whether it be in Arizona or Alabama, is asking our soup kitchens to ask for documentation before they give people food or housing or clothing or medical care, that’s not right. That’s not Catholic. That’s not Christian. That’s not religious. And it’s not American,” the leader of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York told host Chris Jansing.

Dolan, who is head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he remains adamantly opposed to the Obama administration’s rule that religious-affiliated institutions provide health insurance for their employees that pays for contraceptive services. The law violates church teaching on contraception, but church leaders are even more concerned by what they see as government restriction on religious freedoms, he said.

“What we find particularly odious, Chris, would be what we would say would be an intrusion by a bureau of the federal government into the very definition of religious ministry and the extent of this church’s service,” the cardinal told Jansing.

Although Democrats have tried to paint Republicans as waging a “war on women,” Dolan said he does not believe that will have much of an effect on how Catholics vote in November.

“Many people are right when they say, bishops, I don’t know if you’ve got your people with you on this specific issue of contraception. And I hate to say, they’re right. I don’t think we do. We better get our act together there. We do have them with us on religious freedom,” he said.

Dolan also said that many Catholics, especially women, are tired of hearing their church attacked.

“Yes, there are some who think now the church hierarchy has become part of a war on women, I vigorously disagree with that. You’ll also find Catholic women say, wait a minute, I’m sick of seeing my church stereotyped as a war on women,” he said.

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