Catholic priests and bishops from major dioceses all across the United States will be preaching a coordinated message in September that backs changes to existing immigration policies, with some even making use of their Sunday Masses on September 8th to urge Congress to pass legislative reform that would include a pathway to US citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The choice to embrace political action via the pulpit comes as part of a wide effort being made by the Roman Catholic Church, as well as other faith groups, who are supporting the call for new immigration laws made by President Barack Obama. This includes phone calls and advertising aimed at 60 Republican lawmakers who are also Catholic as well as making “prayerful marches” within Congressional districts wherein the issue has become a very divisive one.
“We want to try to pull out all the stops,” says the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ director of migration policy, Kevin Appleby, who believes that the issue of immigration is now at the point of being now or never. “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 unsuccessfully attempted to wield their clout on issues such as abortion, birth control and same-sex marriage against Obama, are betting that pressure on reluctant political leaders can be brought to bear by their congregations on the issue of immigration.