US Catholic leaders take immigration reform push to the pews

Catholic bishops and priests from major dioceses across the US will preach a co-ordinated message next month backing changes in immigration policy, with some using Sunday Masses on September 8 to urge Congressional passage of a legislative overhaul that includes a path to citizenship for unauthorised immigrants, reports The New York Times.

The decision to embrace political action from the pulpit is part of a broader effort by the Roman Catholic Church and other faith groups that support President Obama’s call for new immigration laws.

It includes advertising and phone calls directed at 60 Catholic Republican lawmakers and “prayerful marches” in Congressional districts where the issue has become a divisive topic.

'We want to try to pull out all the stops,' said Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said the immigration issue was at a now-or-never moment. 'They have to hear the message that we want this done, and if you’re not successful during the summer, you’re not going to win by the end of the year.'

Catholic leaders, who have tried to wield their clout against Mr. Obama on issues like abortion, birth control and same-sex marriage, are betting that their congregations will be able to exert pressure on reluctant Republicans and wavering Democrats to support the president on immigration.

They say they are motivated by the Bible’s teachings and by the reality that many Latino immigrants are Catholics and represent a critical demographic for the church.

FULL STORY Catholic leaders to take immigration push to the pews (The NYT)

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