prayer, fasting, and politics

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 10, 2006

"We are calling and inviting our community to initiate a month of fasting and prayer," said Bishop Zavala, in the hopes of persuading U.S. Senators to... "

Can you finish the sentence? The bishop wants the Senate to:

  1. balance the federal budget
  2. ban experimentation on human embryos
  3. withdraw troops from Iraq
  4. define marriage as a union between one man and one woman
  5. confirm judges who will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade
  6. reject legislation that would make illegal immigration a crime

The correct answer is the last one. The Los Angeles archdiocese, with the full backing of the US bishops' conference, has thrown its full weight behind the drive for immigration reform.

We can argue about immigration policy, if you like. Come to think of it, good Catholics do argue with each other about immigration policy. We can safely assume that some-- many-- of the faithful in Los Angeles support the legislation against which the bishops are now invoking spiritual warfare.

Come to think of it, there are many political issues on which Catholics disagree. Without much effort you can find Catholics in the US Senate who support partial-birth abortion and same-sex marriage. Since their stand on those issues is clearly and undeniably in conflict with their faith, those lawmakers need our prayers.

Thirty years after Roe v. Wade, there are no LA bishops calling for fasting and prayer to turn the hearts of pro-abortion lawmakers. Meanwhile a large-- and steadily growing-- number of Catholic politicians endorse legal abortion on demand. Maybe that's not a coincidence.

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  • Posted by: - Feb. 12, 2006 10:20 AM ET USA

    What's the problem with amending the bill to allow the change of illegal immigration from a civil to a criminal offense while, at the same time, allowing for humanitarian aid to those who are here illegally? Granted, we don't allow for "aid and comfort" for other criminal groups, but why can't this be an exception?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 12, 2006 12:14 AM ET USA

    Look at the bright side. Perhaps with the groundswell of illegal immigration, some Catholics with some real spine can be found to serve as Bishops in LA to replace the Nancy Boys currently keeping the mitres warm. Asta la vista.

  • Posted by: Byzantine Latino - Feb. 11, 2006 6:55 PM ET USA

    Dom writes: "Illegal immigration leads to the exploitation of the undocumented because they are usually too afraid to seek help when they are taken advantage of. Maybe that's what they should be expending their efforts on." The Church is expending her efforts upon what you describe. That's what this legislation seeks to criminalize- corporal and spiritual works of mercy!!!

  • Posted by: Cupertino - Feb. 11, 2006 4:21 PM ET USA

    It will never happen but maybe, just maybe, it will occur to the Bishops that the way to stop "illegal" immigration is for places such as Mexico to adopt reforms which put in place a true free market system with free capital. End the gross corruption imposed by government on commerce. Then there will be plenty of jobs at good wages, to keep people at home. Look at Singapore, Hong Kong and even Ireland. Good markets, good jobs for all and people stay home.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 11, 2006 12:41 AM ET USA

    How do you make "illegal" immigration into a "crime"? Isn't it a crime already, by definition? Seems that the good bishops with their references to "undocumented workers" are engaging in some spin and obfuscation. Illegal immigration leads to the exploitation of the undocumented because they are usually too afraid to seek help when they are taken advantage of. Maybe that's what they should be expending their efforts on.

  • Posted by: Byzantine Latino - Feb. 10, 2006 9:37 PM ET USA

    D misses the point. "illegal" immigration is already a federal offense. The proposed legislation seeks to criminalize the Church's spiritual and material ministry to illegal immigrants. (Last I checked, it is not a criminal offense to offer aid, comfort, and counsel to women who seek an abortion, but that could be next.) This is not an immigration issue. This bill seeks to infringe upon one of the Church's ministries- the divine command to minister to the "alien" among us (cf. Deut. 24:17).

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2006 9:17 PM ET USA

    Most of what comes out of our Bishops' mouths is meaningless and definitely not for the spiritual well-being of the flock. I have stopped reading anything put out by the USCCB; it is usually completely inane.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2006 6:35 PM ET USA

    One small reason to ignore the prudential judgments of their excellencies is that if illegal immigration continues to run amok as it has for several decades, we are getting closer to major civil unrest. As it is, our border counties with Mexico are practically battle zones. There are increasing flash points across the southwest and the Reconquista movement is growing every day.

  • Posted by: Web Doctor - Feb. 10, 2006 2:41 PM ET USA

    I'll only say this -- the only business that the American bishops have in this matter is how to deal with the spiritual needs of those individuals that fall their jurisdiction. Immigration policy is totally out of their scope.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2006 1:29 PM ET USA

    What a novel idea, "Prayer and Fasting" to solve problems. Do you think a "Month" will do it? It sort of reminds me of the "One Mass" in a year to stop abortion. It sort of gives all of us the illusion that something concrete is being done for the Kingdom of God. Yes, Mass, prayer, and fasting are the most important, but once a year and one month, is not going to solve Roe vs. Wade. Jesus said,"Pray Always", He was not kidding, because He knows that the Prince of this world is the devil. .

  • Posted by: Eleazar - Feb. 10, 2006 1:08 PM ET USA

    Pier Giorgio, these aren’t just blind acts; these are the acts of men who have other agendas. Bp Zavala and the USCCB hope to gain from supporting illegal immigration, in the same way that politicians and activists who support it hope to gain. Money. Influence. Power. When did our Church stop recognizing wrong-doing (sin) for what it is?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2006 11:58 AM ET USA

    Make that " co-called 'catholics' in the US Senate who support partial-birth abortion and same-sex marriage."

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Feb. 10, 2006 10:40 AM ET USA

    wow! this one sure does show, among other things, just how clueless our episcopal leadership is and how the Church in America finds itself being led by the blind . . . lets hope those under their care are not also blind, lest the entire flock fall into a ditch!

  • Posted by: Sir William - Feb. 10, 2006 10:07 AM ET USA

    What we ought to do instead is pray, fast and do penance for these pathetic men who act in the manner of corporate administrators schmoozing political hacks rather than good shepherds laying down their lives for their flocks. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion - have mercy on us & on the whole world!