Tags: Immigration | MidPoint | Bill Donohue | Catholics | Church | immigration

Bill Donohue: Catholics Free to Disagree With Church on Immigration

By    |   Tuesday, 02 Dec 2014 04:50 PM

A difference of opinion with the Catholic hierarchy on how to deal with illegal immigration does not put a believer in conflict with the Church, Catholic League president Bill Donohue told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Tuesday.

"A Catholic can be a Catholic in good standing, go to church and do communion every single Sunday, and still disagree with the bishops on this," said Donohue, an outspoken New Yorker known for his fierce defense of Catholicism and the Church.

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Catholic prelates including Pope Francis have recently championed migrants from impoverished countries who travel to Western Europe and the United States, often at great personal risk.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, for example, praised President Barack Obama's executive order last month to lift the threat of deportation from millions of undocumented migrants.

One bishop called the move — which Republicans in Congress have blasted as an abuse of presidential power and an invitation to more chaos at U.S. borders — an act of "relief and justice to our immigrant brothers and sisters."

Donohue said that the Church was liberal on immigration long before the arrival of Pope Francis, but that there is no doctrinal Catholic position on how it must be managed by elected officials and policymakers.

"There's basically a hierarchy of values in the Catholic Church," said Donohue. "For example, abortion is called intrinsically evil: You cannot be a faithful Catholic and say that you're pro-abortion. When you get to the question of immigration, it's like helping the poor: The Catholic Church wants to reach out to the migrant and they also want to help out the poor, but it doesn't have a specific way of doing it."

So if a nation decided to fortify its borders, he said, the Church wouldn't automatically object.

"Go ahead and have all the fences you want," said Donohue. "But once people have made their way into the country, even if they came in here illegally and these people need services, you can't turn your back on them. You've got to reach out to these people and resolve the problem."

Donohue said that U.S. bishops praised Obama and prodded his opponents out of impatience with the political process.

"As we know, Republicans don't want to deal with this issue because they want the cheap labor," he said. "The Democrats don't want to deal with this issue because they want the votes. That's why we've had no immigration reform since 1986. There's a lot of blame to go around, and the bishops are feeling exasperated at this point."

Donohue also discussed the latest seasonal sparring between Christians and non-believers who say that religion has intruded too far into civic life.

This year, it's a "Dear Santa" billboard campaign by New Jersey-based American Atheists. The billboard text, in the style of a child's wish-list to Santa Claus, reads, "All I want for Christmas is to skip church! I'm too old for fairy tales."

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Donohue called the campaign innocuous and easy to ignore compared to previous efforts by atheist groups to argue against the religious character of Christmas.

"What they did last year and about two or three years ago … got pretty ugly: the pictures of Jesus, and the blood coming down his face," he said. "They tried to exploit Jesus' imagery to make a cheap political point. That's when I get angry. This is just more silly than it is obscene."

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A difference of opinion with the Catholic hierarchy on how to deal with illegal immigration does not put a believer in conflict with the Church, Catholic League president Bill Donohue told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Tuesday.
Bill Donohue, Catholics, Church, immigration
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Tuesday, 02 Dec 2014 04:50 PM
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