Archbishop Chaput Speaks on Immigration Reform
How we treat the weak, the infirm, the elderly, the unborn child and the foreigner reflects on our own humanity.
Our countryís immigration crisis is a test of our humanity. Whether we pass it is entirely up to us. Thatís why this gathering is important. Thatís why weíre here today. And thatís why I hope all of you will take part in this national work for immigration reform as vigorously and unselfishly as possible. The future of our country depends on it.
The Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado is a shining example of the "New Evangelization" which the late Servant of God John Paul II called for and which his worthy successor, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI is now leading. The seminaries are full, the parishes are growing (in fidelity and number)and the ecclesial movements are flocking to find a missionary outpost.
As a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe, Archbishop Chaput is the second Native American to be ordained bishop in the United States and the first Native American Archbishop. On Saturday, June 13, he joined joined Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) and other religious and civil leaders in a forum dedicated to the disussion of comprehensive immigration reform. This is a crucial issue which Catholic citizens must address, with the mind of the Church.
Unfortunately, too many Catholics (and other Christians) have not considered the implications of our Gospel committment to the poor in considering immigration reform. They have instead listened to prevailing political jargon from both the 'right' and the 'left.' We offer the transcript of the Archbishops' remarks as an example of how an informed Catholic should approach this vital issue. As the Archbishop points out: "The Catholic commitment to the dignity of the immigrant comes from exactly the same roots as our commitment to the dignity of the unborn child. Any Catholic who truly understands his or her faith knows that the right to life precedes and creates the foundation for every other human right." These remarks can be found on the excellent website of the Archdiocese of Denver. http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/id/1
Opening Remarks: Immigration Forum
Thank you all for coming today. Letís settle our hearts for a moment and begin with a prayer:
"Lord, you created men and women in your image and endowed them with your dignity. You call each of us to be agents of your justice and mercy in the world. Help us to build a culture of life Ė a culture that holds all human life in reverence, from the unborn child and the immigrant, to the poor, the homeless, the infirm and the elderly. Give us the character to live the Gospel not just with our words, but with our hearts and our actions. Make us quick to forgive each other, quick to listen to each other, and eager to serve those who are suffering and in need. And finally Lord, in all things, fill us with the courage to follow St. Paul when he urges us to ďspeak the truth in love.Ē We ask this trusting in your goodness and in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen".
We have a lot to cover in a short time on an important issue, so Iíll be brief. But I do want to start by thanking Father Greg Ames for his generosity in making his parish available to us today. Father Greg has the heart of a real pastor, and Iím very grateful for his support. Iím also very grateful to Congressmen Polis and Gutierrez for having the courage to put this issue back in front of the public.
Immigration reform in this country has been gridlocked for more than three years, and both Democrats and Republicans have created that paralysis. We made our immigration crisis in a bipartisan way. Now we need to solve it in a bipartisan way that involves good people from both parties or no party; and people who may have very different convictions. Iím pretty confident that Congressman Polis and I would agree that we disagree Ė vigorously Ė on some very serious social issues. But those issues arenít on the agenda today. Whatís on the agenda today is finding a way to make our immigration laws better. We have a mutual interest in that important work -- and I respect the congressmanís sincerity and energy in trying to do something about it.
This morning I celebrated Mass at a Hispanic prolife congress here in the archdiocese. It was a very good prologue to our gathering today. The Catholic commitment to the dignity of the immigrant comes from exactly the same roots as our commitment to the dignity of the unborn child. Any Catholic who truly understands his or her faith knows that the right to life precedes and creates the foundation for every other human right. Thereís no getting around the priority of that fundamental right to life. But being ďprolifeĒ also means that we need to make laws and social policies that will care for those people already born that no one else will defend.
In the United States today, we employ a permanent ...
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