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Tom Head

Catholicism, Abortion, and Immigration

By November 30, 2012

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The National Catholic Reporter's Michael Sean Winters has taken issue with LifeSiteNews, which has gradually expanded its focus on abortion to cover what it calls "the increasingly conjoined issues of the right to life, defending marriage, and immigration enforcement." If you're wondering why opposing abortion has anything to do with opposing same-sex marriage or deporting immigrant families, you're not alone. Winters writes:
[H]ow on earth did the people at LifeSiteNews come to see the issue of right to life and "immigration enforcement" as "increasingly conjoined"? One wishes they would see the issues as conjoined in the manner in which Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, saw them as conjoined in his Steele lecture earlier this autumn...
In the lecture to which Winters refers, Bishop Flores makes a strong argument for humane immigration policy on the basis of human dignity--and quotes Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile (emphasis mine):
This new Alabama law makes it illegal for a Catholic priest to baptize, hear the confession of, celebrate the anointing of the sick with, or preach the word of God to, an undocumented immigrant. Nor can we encourage them to attend Mass or give them a ride to Mass. It is illegal to allow them to attend adult scripture study groups, or attend CCD or Sunday school classes. It is illegal for the clergy to counsel them in times of difficulty or in preparation for marriage. It is illegal for them to come to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings or other recovery groups at our churches. [...] The law prohibits almost every activity of our St. Vincent de Paul chapters or Catholic Social Services, [...] If it involves an undocumented immigrant, it is illegal to give the disabled person a ride to the doctor; give food or clothing or financial assistance in an emergency; allow them to shop at our thrift stores or to learn English; it is illegal to counsel a mother who has a problem pregnancy, or to help her with baby food or diapers, thus making it far more likely that she will choose abortion.
I suspect LifeSiteNews means to say that anti-abortion policy, anti-gay policy, and anti-immigrant policy all connect because they're "biblical," which of course directly contradicts what the Bible actually says about immigrants (and indirectly contradicts what the Bible says about lesbians and gay men as well). But if there is one consolation to take from Winters' blog entry, regardless of whether one agrees with his views on abortion or immigration, it's that there are still plenty of people who do not warp Scripture to conform to the teachings of Rush Limbaugh.

Related: Civil Liberties and the Roman Catholic Church

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