by Isabel Angell
Talking to a group of clergymen from the San Francisco Archdiocese, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said yesterday that immigration reform should be a top priority for Catholics in the United States. That puts Cordileone right in line with bishops across America, who are calling on their parishioners to pressure lawmakers for comprehensive immigration reform.
Archbishop Cordileone told the group that the Catholic Church is bound to help all strangers, including undocumented immigrants.
“Far too many people have been living in the country for far too long without the opportunity to regularize their status,” he said. “And it’s not helping anyone by keeping them in the shadows.”
Cordileone called the church a “church of immigrants,” saying most Catholics in the U.S. have immigrant roots. That includes Cordileone, whose grandparents came to the United States from Italy.
“So this is something still very much in our living memory,” he explained.
The archbishop said Catholics have been traditionally welcomed into this country, and now it’s their turn to welcome new immigrants.
“So it’s important to us personally, it’s important to us on the basis of principle, it’s important to us because many of our own people still are immigrants to this country.”
The archbishop said Catholics must act quickly to ensure legislation passes before the election cycle starts up again, when immigration reform is notoriously difficult to enact. On September 8, priests across the country will speak to their parishioners about ways they can help, like urging Catholic members of the House to act on the bill.