Welcome immigrants based on Gospel mandate, Cardinal Mahony says
Published: March 27, 2012
ANAHEIM, Calif. (CNS) -- In a wide-ranging presentation March 24 at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony said one has to go no further than the 25th chapter of Matthew to find this sacred mandate: "For I was a stranger and you welcomed me." "All of us as disciples of the Lord are really called by Jesus to look at the strangers in our midst as looking at the face of Jesus," said the retired archbishop of Los Angeles in his talk titled "Surprise: We All Employ Undocumented Workers." Since retiring last year as archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony has devoted himself to advancing the cause of comprehensive immigration reform in the nation. Specifically, he has headed an effort to organize Catholic college students, as well as college presidents, around the biblical and moral principles that are the foundation for the church's ongoing support for immigration reform. The cardinal said Adam and Eve were actually the first migrants in recorded history, noting also that Moses led his imprisoned Jewish people out of Egypt to the Promised Land and Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt to protect the life of their newborn son. During his PowerPoint presentation, Cardinal Mahony also went through the major historical waves of immigrants to the U.S., from the pilgrims in England fleeing religious persecution to today's Hispanics seeking a better economic life. In addition, he spoke about the different backlash movements against immigrants, starting with the Know Nothing Party of the 1850s up to today's border-guarding militiamen. "The so-called 'flood of immigrants' has always alarmed some native-born Americans," he said. "Some feared job competition from foreigners. Others disliked the religion or politics of the newcomers. Has anyone heard that recently? We're still hearing the same thing today."
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