Not being a lawyer or a theologian I leave it to the reader to decide the case of what I call antinomianism on the part of the cardinal below. I see the man as a heretic and a criminal. My view is perhaps naive and uninformed.
Mahony: L.A. Church Won't Enforce Immigration Laws
News Report, Virginia Gaglianone,
Wave Newspapers, Mar 10, 2006
"The church is not in a position of negotiating the spiritual and the corporal works of mercy," Mahony said during a Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels marking the start of the 40-day season of Lent.
"We must be able to minister to people regardless of how they got here," he said.
Mahony was addressing an immigration bill being debated this week in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
The House of Representatives passed the border security bill in December that requires all personnel of churches and nonprofit organizations to verify the legal immigration status of every person served.
"If the law passes in its current form, it would criminalize people who are here illegally," Mahony spokesman Tod Tamberg said. "Anybody who would knowingly assist [illegal immigrants] could be guilty of human trafficking. That's insulting to any charity, especially the church.
"This bill is saying 'here church, you fix [the immigration problem]. We'll criminalize these things and you are the ones who will have to figure out how to deal with them,'" Tamberg added. "This is not our problem, this problem was created by poor policy to begin with and we want to see that changed."
Mahony supports the Justice For Immigrants Campaign, a national Catholic public awareness effort that provides education on immigration reform and supports proposals for a guest worker program, legalization of undocumented immigrants and more visas for migrants' families and refugees in this country.
"The Catholic Church is not in favor of open borders," Tamberg said. "What we are simply saying is that any kind of immigration or border security policy should reflect the basic values of Americans. We are a generous and humane people and we are asking that our best qualities be present in any legislation."
The campaign, launched by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other church organizations, challenges the bill.
"Our job is to try to lay out the moral foundation for immigration reform, like we would for any other social policy proposal," Tamberg said.
Some of the critics of the cardinal's position said that there is a limit to being charitable.
"Jesus Christ is very clear in the gospel, including the parable of the Good Samaritan," Tamberg said in response. "Charity and generosity to the stranger is to be unlimited. That may annoy some people, including some Catholics, but the gospel had always been annoying at different times of history.
"It is staggering for the federal government to stifle our spiritual and pastoral outreach to the poor, and to impose penalties for doing what our faith demands of us," Mahony said in a letter he sent to President George W. Bush.
Mahony also wrote a letter to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Senate Judiciary Committee member. Feinstein had spoken against a worker's program that went beyond agricultural workers.
Mahony said the guest worker program should be expanded beyond agricultural workers and that there should be some opportunity for those workers to become citizens without having to go back to their own country and wait for a decade or more.
"The whole concept of punishing people who serve immigrants is un-American," Mahony said in earlier interviews. "If you take this to its logical, ludicrous extreme, every single person who comes up to receive Holy Communion, you have to ask them to show papers. It becomes absurd and the church is not about to get into that. The church is here to serve people. We're not about to become immigration agents."
"It all starts with the dignity of the human person for us," Tamberg said.
The Los Angeles Archdiocese is the largest archdiocese in the country with 288 parishes and five million members.
"The underlying basis for our service to others, especially the poor, is the example, words, and actions of Jesus Christ in the Gospels," Mahony said in his letter to the president. "St. Matthew's Gospel does not simply invite us to serve others in the name of Jesus, but offers such service as a requisite to belonging to the Kingdom of God."
Is there a law for Catholic cardinals that supercedes the law for me? Is our nation illegitimate? If so, then I should join the cardinal and take up arms to destroy it. If not, then I feel that the cardinal should pack his tooth-brush and vasoline and prepare himself for some penitential time with Rocco and Vinnie. But I might be naive and uninformed.