Published on October 29th, 2012 | by Angela Cotta0
Catholic Church Dignitary Shares Hopes and Goals for Immigration Reform
Angela Cotta, Religion Editor
Pictured above by Michael Phipps: Roger Cardinal Mahony offered a vibrant homily during Mass.
On Thursday, Oct. 11, Roger Cardinal Mahony of the Catholic Church visited Lewis to bring his hopes and goals of just immigration reform to the attention of college students, faculty and staff.
Since his retirement from the position of Archbishop of Los Angeles last year, Cardinal Mahony has spent his time advocating for just immigration reform. A significant part of the
Cardinal’s project has been visiting Catholic universities and colleges across the United States.
“I encourage all of the actions. They’re [college students] the ones who will change the system. They are the future,” said the Cardinal.
The morning of his visit, Cardinal Mahony held two dialogue sessions with the Lewis community. The dialogue sessions consisted of the Cardinal offering a biblical background of immigration, setting immigration in a religious historical context and answering questions. He also incorporated several verses of Scripture to exemplify the origins of the Catholic Church’s teachings.
“Cardinal Mahony’s presentation did indeed call on biblical narrative in appealing for reform of our
current immigration system, but it also offered an analysis of the waves of immigration that have built this nation and a prediction of future needs for immigration to supply the workers who will fund the pension obligations woven into our social contract,” said Dr. Tracey Nicholls, assistant professor of philosophy.
Nicholls explained that students without religious beliefs should take interest in immigration reform, because it will promote the country’s unique and rich multicultural identity.
Cardinal Mahony spent a significant amount of time explaining the four waves of immigration over the course of the United States’s history. He highlighted where and when attitudes changed and how we have arrived at this current point of tension in solving immigration reform.
During the afternoon, he presided over Mass in Sancta Alberta Chapel.
Just immigration reform is not only a political issue; it is a Catholic issue as well. Advocating for immigrants is a major part of achieving “Life and Dignity of the Human Person,” the central principle of Catholic Social Teaching.
The Catholic Church believes that all humans have inherent worth and dignity as soon as they are conceived, hence the gravity of any issues related to Catholic Social Teaching’s central principle.
Cardinal Mahony’s visit was certainly a mission-based event.
“I think it draws on the mission values of justice, in its call for comprehensive immigration reform, and association, in its appeal for a grassroots, student-led effort,” said Nicholls.
Cardinal Mahony’s work for immigration reform is far from over. Now, it is the university’s turn to spread his message throughout the community. Nicholls explained a few steps to actively promote the cardinal’s work.
According to Nicolls, there are a few steps the university can take to integrate the cardinal’s mission into the Lewis community. Faculty, staff and students can commit themselves to signing the “Drop the I-word” pledge that will be circulating. Social networking should also be used to dialogue about immigration. Solidarity and justice can be promoted through education on immigration-related issues such as the DREAM Act.
Dr. Nicholls’s suggestions are a starting point. Finding just immigration reform has no easy solution, but if we work together through dialogue and advocacy, a solution is possible.