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A New Law Suit Involving the Church In The Making?

April 26, 2010

It’s not what you think. To quote the Phoenix Business Journal, Bishop Kicanas is advocating the law suit. The purpose? To put an end to an evil law:

The Roman Catholic bishop in Tucson says the Catholic Church should join lawsuits challenging the state’s controversial new immigration law.

Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, said in a memo to parishioners Monday he is asking the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to consider joining lawsuits against the Senate Bill 1070 Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure into law Friday.

Previously, the Arizona Bishops formally asked the governor to veto the bill. This looks like a debate which will not be going away soon.
  1. Dan permalink
    April 26, 2010 4:05 pm

    Why would the Bishops feel the need to meddle in someone else’s business. They have a kingdom of their own. If they want to play politics, send them to Rome. They have no business in secular politics. What a waste of energy, not to mention the question of legality. If they join this suit do they lose their tax exempt status? Aren’t there some poor people they can feed, or marriages they can annul?
    Oh well, maybe they are just mad and want to get even with somebody.

    • April 26, 2010 4:09 pm


      Perhaps there are many reasons, including the fact that many of their own flock are going to be abused by the law? There certainly is a pastoral reason to object. More importantly, they know if their churches give aid to illegals, under this law, the churches will be in violation of the law. This is another reason why it affects them — if the churches are to be as they are meant to be, which includes places of charity, this law cannot stand — either it must go, or the churches are going to have to break the law and engage in civil disobedience until it goes.

  2. April 26, 2010 4:21 pm

    The church does have “business” with secular law and politics. And secular law and politics have “business” with the church.

  3. April 26, 2010 4:34 pm

    BHO is pulling out all the stops! First Al Sharpton and now the USCCB! Doesn’t get more exciting than this.

    • April 26, 2010 4:37 pm


      You do realize their current stand is not new, and not related to the President?

  4. April 26, 2010 4:55 pm

    The USCCB should oppose this law. It is manifestly unjust:

  5. April 26, 2010 5:05 pm


    Indeed, the injustice can be found on so many levels. It reminds me of some of the legislation which surrounded 19th century xenophobia (against Irish, against the Chinese, et. al.) in America, among other things.

  6. Kevin permalink
    April 26, 2010 5:44 pm

    Are you sure the USCCB hasn’t been misled by the immigration advocacy groups?

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree that this law is unjust and should absolutely be opposed. But this blog and the persons writing for it lose credibility when you cherry pick when you want to listen to the bishops on an issue.

    • April 26, 2010 5:49 pm


      The effects of the law and the rules in it are easier to read than the health care reform bill; it is in this way, easier to see how a principle is to be followed in prudence. More importantly, if you disagree — make the argument. But I think it is quite clear, you are making a strawman here.

  7. April 26, 2010 6:10 pm

    No strawman as far as I can tell. The USCCB has legal experts who read both bills. The assertion, so often voiced here, that the bishops were confused or misled on the health reform bill, is wishful thinking.

    • April 26, 2010 6:21 pm


      And as I said — if one wants to say their legal experts are wrong in the case of the immigration bill, people are free to do so — and explain why they say as much. More importantly, it is acting like the claim is “the bishops say X, therefore believe it.” That is not the argument, and so again, a strawman. It has been said that if one thinks the legal opinion is off, one should make a case for why it is off — and that remains here. So no contradiction.

  8. DAvid Nickol permalink
    April 26, 2010 6:23 pm

    It is the business of the USCCB to speak on moral issues. I think it is fine for any and all bishops to speak to the issue of the morality of this law. But I don’t see the point of the USCCB filing or joining in a lawsuit. The USCCB should sue if a law affects them or the Church (as a legal entity) directly. But if the USCCB is going to make it its business to join lawsuits every time there is injustice, it’s going to be doing nothing but bringing suits. It was a mistake for the USCCB to be negotiating with congress over health care reform, and it would be a mistake to sue to overturn even a law as bad as this one. There will be plenty of legal challenges to the law. The bishops should content themselves with making moral statements, not with bringing suits.

    • April 26, 2010 6:26 pm


      The reason is that this law WILL affect them. The law, among other things, makes it illegal to help illegals with charity, and if an illegal goes on private property, it will make it an automatic trespassing (even if they are invited onto the property); what do you think a church is?

  9. ron chandonia permalink
    April 26, 2010 6:29 pm

    It’s a joy to see Vox Nova and American Catholic taking the same side on this one. It’s a greater joy to see that it is the right side!

  10. M.Z. permalink
    April 26, 2010 6:55 pm

    It’s a joy to see Vox Nova and American Catholic taking the same side on this one. It’s a greater joy to see that it is the right side!

    In that case, the law seems entirely reasonable to me.

    Are you sure the USCCB hasn’t been misled by the immigration advocacy groups?

    There appears to be little dispute between what advocates and opponents of the legislation believe the legislation does. If legislation advocates believe they are being misrepresented, they are well within their rights to demand their objections be addressed.

  11. DAvid Nickol permalink
    April 26, 2010 7:05 pm


    Archbishop Kicanas, in his detailed statement about the bill, said nothing about the issues you raise. They are clearly not what motivates his opposition to the bill or his request for the USCCB to look into the bill.

  12. digbydolben permalink
    April 26, 2010 9:09 pm

    Ah, Republican, Hispanophobic Arizona helps to secure the re-election of Barack Obama by deepening the Hispanics loathing of their party! I love it!

    I want you to know that, during the time I lived in New Mexico, I noticed the fierce resentment of the Republicans’ anti-immigration stance among Hispanics whose ancestors had been in New Mexico before the United States was a country; they clearly recognised in this the anti-Hispanic, anti-Catholic prejudice of the “gringos.”

    The extremely well-mannered, cultivated coach of our Catholic high school (who was also the AP art history teacher)–the son of a former U.S. Senator from New Mexico–bluntly called it “racism” in the teachers’ lounge.

  13. April 26, 2010 10:55 pm

    THis law is going no where . It will be stayed by the COurts.

    I am not thrilled with the law but people need to realize it is the result of peoples frustrations that the laws are not being enforced. Untill people think they will be comp immigration reform will not happen.

    It is all frustrating

  14. April 27, 2010 1:58 am


    Actually, he says the concerns of the 2003 pastoral are a part of his concern, and specifically quotes:

    We share in the concern of religious and social service providers who, without violating civil law, attempt to respond to the migrant knocking at the door.

    Migrants and immigrants are in our parishes and in our communities. We see much injustice and violence against them and much suffering and despair among them because civil and Church structures are still inadequate to accommodate their basic needs.

  15. digbydolben permalink
    April 27, 2010 6:32 am

    Meanwhile, here are the kinds of lawsuits that the Catholic Church in other parts of the United States IS getting involved in:

    I wonder if you think this kind of thing is more appropriate than helping immigrants?

  16. Ronald King permalink
    April 27, 2010 8:18 am

    The Church exhibits classic symptoms of a fragmented personality in which there is no insight into the stream of consciousness it presents to the world and its followers. One moment the Love of God which is its Mystical foundation breaks through and proclaims empathy for all those who suffer victimization of every kind of evil and the next moment the masculine construction of unresolved fear and hate which forms the concrete of this foundation becomes the persecuted and militant faith that only sees the “wolves” desiring its destruction.
    The Body of Christ is borderline in its human identity and unless they can begin to develop insight into their expressions of love and fear how this fragmentation harms every human being our beautiful faith will remain ugly to those who desire and are created for the Love that She was meant to reveal as a beacon of God’s Luminous Light of Love.
    The light she projects now is created by friction and heat.

  17. April 27, 2010 8:24 am

    “Meanwhile, here are the kinds of lawsuits that the Catholic Church in other parts of the United States IS getting involved in”

    I am all the for the Church fighting this removal of the Statutue of limitations. BAD IDEA not only relating to the Church but everyone else.

    There will be no helping immigrants if we keep doing that because we shall all be broke

  18. Ronald King permalink
    April 27, 2010 8:43 am

    jh, We are morally broke now. The Church is not about protecting our wealth, it is about spreading the wealth for the benefit of those who have nothing. The Body of Christ has no aliens and no borders. Human beings create these borders through the influence of primitive survival mechanisms in the brain that we share with the animal world, but, we create laws, weapons and beliefs systems to justify our self-protection and self-absorption.

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