.- Calling for immigration reform, Bishop of Phoenix Thomas J. Olmsted has written that Americans should remember the saintsâ examples of love during the âhighly chargedâ emotional debate over the Arizona immigration bill. He urged that Catholics not let the bonds of fraternal love be broken by concerns about immigration status.
Bishop Olmstedâs column on the Arizona law SB 1070 would normally have been published in The Catholic Sun on May 20. A source with the diocese told CNA the bishop did not want to wait for it to be published in print and had it published on the internet.
In his column, the bishop acknowledged the duty of civil authority to regulate immigration and the duty of all people to obey the law. However, he added, âthe fact that our current immigration system is broken and in need of reform is abundantly clear.â
âNo oneâs dignity is served well by our current system.â
The Bishop of Phoenix joined his fellow U.S. bishops in urging Congress and President Obama to address this âcomplex but important issueâ by passing federal comprehensive immigration reform legislation âas soon as possible.â
âWithout immediate action by the federal government, good people on all sides of this issue will continue to suffer needlessly,â he explained.
Bishop Olmstedâs comments on immigration came in the context of a reflection on Jesusâ commandment âlove one another.â
He explained his primary concern is the salvation of each personâs soul among those entrusted to his care. The poor and the immigrant are often the most vulnerable and must be âof special concernâ for Christians, the Phoenix bishop said.
He noted the long history of Christian saints and their examples in living out Jesus' commandment to love one another. St. Stephen forgave those who killed him, praying âFather do not hold this sin against them!â Blessed Mother Teresa spent her life in the service of the poor and sick, while St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, an immigrant in the United States, served poor immigrants by establishing schools, hospitals and orphanages.
âOurs is indeed a history of witnessing boldly to the love of Christ for the salvation of the world,â the bishop wrote.
He pointed to the examples of the saints, who put dedication to love above âtheir human natureâ and often âeven above their own needs.â
This âcall to loveâ should be remembered in light of the controversy over immigration, he wrote.
âThe Church holds out hope and offers her fervent prayer that calm and reasonable minds will prevail and a just solution will be found that will benefit all of Godâs children.â
Christian believers are given âthe duty and the graceâ of being united in love in âa visible wayâ with the immigrant, the unborn and all who are marginalized.
This unity is not possible, âhumanly speaking,â but nothing is impossible for God, Bishop Olmsted taught. The love of Christ impels Christians and unites the Catholic community in âa bond of fraternal love that must not be broken by any earthly power and certainly not by oneâs immigration status.â