A reader from LA writes with this: am in the archdiocese of Los Angeles.
I would be interested to hear what you and your blog readers think about what happened in parishes in our diocese yesterday. In the middle of mass, after the homily and before the Creed, Fr. C. stood up and said that Cardinal Mahony asked all priests in the diocese to pass out post cards to the parishioners regarding immigration reform, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. The ushers passed them out with pencils, then picked up the completed forms. It took about 20 minutes. Here is the text of the post card:
Dear Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist: I urge you to enact realistic and humane comprehensive immigration reform this year that: (1) includes a path to citizenship for hard working immigrants and their families. (2) provides an effective visa program for future immigrants that protects their rights and includes a path to citizenship. (3) keeps families together, (4) protects our civil rights and civil liberties, and (5) does not criminalize immigrants or their allies. Our immigration laws and our leaders should recognize that immigrants strengthen our economy and contribute to the fabric of our country. Signed: City & Zip:
While this is a social justice issue, and most people do agree that immigration laws need to be reformed in some way, it becomes a political issue when parishioner are asked to sign their names to something to be sent to a member of the Senate.
What really angered me about this, is that a couple of months ago, a group of us asked Fr. C. if we could collect signatures after Mass on the patio to get the parental notification act back on the ballot. We were told that Cardinal Mahony said we could not collect signatures on church property for a political issue, so we stood on the sidewalk to collect signatures. We were totally fine with that, and did so with no complaint whatsoever. I would not have minded if there was an "immigration reform table" on the patio after mass and if there was an announcement about it at the end of mass, but to interrupt the holy sacrifice of the mass for a political agenda is completely inappropriate.
We had active, faithful parishioners stand up and walk out of mass yesterday. This is going to be very divisive. I sure wouldn't want to be answering the phone in Cardinal Mahony's office this week!