Do unto others

Column: Give church a chance to explain its immigration position

Bill Scholl is the archdiocesan consultant for social justice. You can email him at:

Bill Scholl is the archdiocesan consultant for social justice. You can email him at:

by Bill Scholl

His dad was poor, his mom was poor and he was born in a smelly barn surrounded by animals and dirty sheepherders. After a genocide, and through no fault of his own, his family became fugitives from the law and had to flee to Egypt.

With our current immigration dilemma, I wonder how we Americans would have treated the Holy Family. Would we want to find a way to welcome them or would we have tried to find ways to arrest and deport them back to Bethlehem or Nazareth? After all, they broke the law. After all, Joseph must have worked to support the family during its time of exile, perhaps even taking work that an Egyptian might have done.

Concerning some modern-day issues, the Catholic faith speaks clearly: It separates right from wrong. Abortion is such an issue.

However, regarding many issues, the Catholic Church gives guidance, but doesn’t provide policy prescriptions. And there can be legitimate disagreement among Catholics.

Immigration is such an issue. However, there are some moral boundaries that limit and define where a disciple of Christ can go on this issue. I never stop being shocked at some of the attacks that fellow Catholics have leveled upon our Catholic Charities, Hispanic Ministries, and even our bishops when even the church tries to either help immigrants or advocate to improve the lives of their families by fixing our nation’s immigration laws.

Because many of these Catholics are either misinformed on the issue or don’t know the church’s teaching on immigration, a lot of anger is defused once they learn. As Catholics, we must take the time to be informed on the immigration issue and how faith informs the debate.

One great place to start is to go to the U.S. bishops’ Web site at: justice There you’ll find both the church’s teachings and the relative facts about what is going on right now in our country.

As well, the archdiocesan office for social justice is cosponsoring an immigration conference. This conference will begin with a 5 p.m. Mass concelebrated by Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Bishop George Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio on Feb. 4.

The conference continues at 9 a.m. on Feb. 5 at St. Francis Xavier Church, 5400 Troost, Kansas City, Mo. Bishop Murry will be the keynote speaker, and the day will include sessions to meet immigrants and the agencies that serve them.

If you feel strongly about the im- migration issue and are a person of good will, if you are open to learning more about immigration and, most importantly, the people behind the issue — fathers and mothers wanting to keep their families intact and safe — please prayerfully consider attending the conference.

Questions? Contact me, via e-mail, at:

About the author

Deacon Bill Scholl

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