Thursday, July 29, 2010

Arizona Catholic Bishops Mostly Right on This Issue...

In a short statement released by the Arizona Catholic Bishops' Conference yesterday, they commended the action of Judge Susan Bolton in restricting some of the "more problematic provisions of SB 1070," which would lead to racial profiling and the unreasonable holding of immigrants who are here legally as well as U.S. citizens.

Although I understand that a short statement should be expected on short notice, I am disappointed that the document does not make use of any of the foundational biblical teachings or social doctrine of the Catholic Church. The primary concern expressed in the document seems to be that this unjust law would adversely affect Catholics at almost every parish in the state of Arizona. Hence, it seems that they are primarily concerned with the issue because it will affect Catholics.

They also briefly lay out their vision of comprehensive immigration reform, which includes forcing illegal immigrants to learn English as a punishment for being here illegally. It lists this next to fining illegal immigrants. Although I think it would be helpful to offer English classes to immigrants, it seems odd to make their punishment "learning English." After an illegal immigrant learns English, would they receive a green card?

In any case, I am pleased that they are opposed to this legislation. Scripture as well as Catholic Social Teaching make abundantly clear that the alien in your midst should be treated with respect, dignity, and love. What else is the message of Jesus if not one of God's unconditional love for us that we would likewise share. Obviously, there are other complexities concerning this issue, but I will tackle those in a future post.

A Faithful Catholic

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Connell Making Waves with Listecki...

Over two weeks ago now, Fr. James Connell, a canon lawyer and priest of the Archdiocese of the Milwaukee, stated the the national audits by the US Bishops of individual dioceses do not protect children adequately from child abuse. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and La Crosse covered the story, but few others. The reason that the statement was also covered in La Crosse is because Connell asserts that the current standards to protect children from priest molesters in the Diocese of La Crosse in particular are not sufficient.

As people in both dioceses know, current Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki came from La Crosse. Connell points out that according to the Vatican, priests who are accused of sexual abuse with a semblence of truth or probable cause are to be reported the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The Diocese of La Crosse does not report to the CDF unless the claim seems beyond a reasonable doubt or has moral certitude. This is basically the difference between culpability in a civil versus criminal court case and means that La Crosse has a lower standard for reporting possible pedophile priests than the Vatican.

Connell's statement is important and needed. It is shame that more media outlets have not picked up this story. At the same time, it will be interesting to see how the relationship between Listecki and Connell develops in the future. Connell statement is basically an indictment of Listecki for endangering children while he was in La Crosse.

A Faithful Catholic