Thursday, June 27, 2013


On June 27 the U.S. Senate passed the most comprehensive immigration reform bill in decades.  The 68 to 32 vote shows strong bipartisan support.

I commend the Senators for turning back many amendments which would have created serious problems for many of the 11 million unauthorized persons living among us, but in the shadows of dignity, respect, and legal rights.

The U.S. Bishops Conference had been working with many in the Senate to improve the bill, especially in lessening serious hindrances for those attempting to apply and to qualify.  What is needed is a final bill which balances all of the needs and concerns for our country, as well as for these persons who work in a vast array of service jobs, in agriculture, in construction, in home care, in hotels and motels, and in all tourism industries.

Our next major challenge is to try to get the House of Representatives to adopt a bill which is similar to the one from the Senate.  But there has been so much rhetoric on the part of many in the House which is ominous, and which portrays a punitive approach to these 11 million brothers and sisters.

Now is the time for each of us to contact his/her House member urging a humane and just approach, and urging them to see the Senate bill as a good model and the basis for an eventual Conference Committee.

May the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph open the minds and hearts of the House members to bring about a just and lasting solution!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

“Tragic Day for Marriage and our Nation,” State U.S. Bishops
June 26, 2013
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court decisions June 26 striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and refusing to rule on the merits of a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 mark a “tragic day for marriage and our nation,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
The statement follows.
“Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage.
It is also unfortunate that the Court did not take the opportunity to uphold California’s Proposition 8 but instead decided not to rule on the matter. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in witness to this truth. These decisions are part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.
“Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and a woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with the secure foundation of a mother and a father.
“Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters. While the culture has failed in many ways to be marriage-strengthening, this is no reason to give up. Now is the time to strengthen marriage, not redefine it.
“When Jesus taught about the meaning of marriage – the lifelong, exclusive union of husband and wife – he pointed back to “the beginning” of God’s creation of the human person as male and female (see Matthew 19). In the face of the customs and laws of his time, Jesus taught an unpopular truth that everyone could understand. The truth of marriage endures, and we will continue to boldly proclaim it with confidence and charity.
“Now that the Supreme Court has issued its decisions, with renewed purpose we call upon all of our leaders and the people of this good nation to stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending the unique meaning of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. We also ask for prayers as the Court’s decisions are reviewed and their implications further clarified.”

Friday, June 21, 2013


The major focus now in the US Senate debate on a comprehensive immigration bill is on border security.

There are two views on how the country's borders are key to passage of a comprehensive new law:

     1.   Secure the Borders as Part of the Comprehensive Plan

This point of view sees the entire comprehensive plan as a single package, and each of its elements is related to the other.  All elements get set in motion once a law is signed by the President.  But no element is contingent upon completing any other element when the law goes into effect.

This is the view supported by the Catholic Church in our country because there are already sufficient time delays in the proposed plan to make sure that by the time an unauthorized person is eligible for a green card, at least 10 years or more will have past. 

With the recent border security amendments now in the bill, making the southern border totally secure will happen.  The doubling of Border Patrol agents begins at once, and the other border elements will follow quickly.  With the addition of more Border Patrol agents, one could actually station one agents every 250 feet from one end of the southern border to the other.

Keep in mind that the number of unauthorized persons attempting to enter the U.S. looking for work has dropped to a mere trickle.  In fact, the "bad guys" far outnumber people looking for work.  Drug dealers, money launderers, and human traffickers make up the majority of persons now apprehended.

     2.  Secure the Borders Totally Before Other Parts of the Plan Take Effect

This point of view focuses upon target percentages or trigger numbers of apprehensions before any of the other elements can take effect. 

But how can one know that 90% of all unauthorized persons are actually apprehended?  Since most unauthorized persons cross through five of the eleven Border Patrol Sectors, it will be easy to focus most of the new agents in those key Sectors.

It is feared that the proponents of this second approach are really not in favor of a comprehensive immigration reform plan, and see the use of triggers as a way to halt the implementation completely.  All of the anti-immigrant groups in the country tend to favor this second approach.

I urge each one of you to contact your U.S. Senator and urge him/her to support the bill in the Senate which retains border security as one of the interlocked elements of a comprehensive approach to reform.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


For those of you who have been following my blogs, especially during March, you will recall that St. Joseph is a long-time and dear patron saint for me.

In fact, during the recent Papal Conclave I was praying that the Inauguration of the new Pope's Petrine Ministry would take place on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph.  And that's exactly what happened:  Pope Frances formally began his ministry as the Successor to Peter on that day.

As the Second Vatican Council was underway some fifty years ago, the Constitution on the Liturgy [Sacrosanctum Concilium] was the first Council document to be approved and published.  At the same time, Pope John XXIII decided to include the name of St. Joseph to the Roman Canon, now known as Eucharistic Prayer I.  St. Joseph was not named in the other Eucharistic Prayers since they were prepared and published a few years later.

I must confess that over the years I have consistently added the name of St. Joseph when I was praying the other Eucharistic Prayers.  Surely not a liturgical aberration!

Well, good news!  The Congregation for Divine Worship has published a decree that beginning immediately the name of St. Joseph is to be inserted into Eucharist Prayers II, III, and IV.  Those Prayers will be altered to include him in this way:

       ....that with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God,
            with blessed Joseph, her Spouse,.....

And in Spanish:

          ....con Maria, la Virgen Madre de Dios,
               su esposo san Jose,.....

I have that inner feeling that Pope Francis is the one who made this important addition to the other Eucharistic Prayers.  He has had a long devotion to St. Joseph, and I suspect that he decided to take this step.

This new inclusion of St. Joseph will certainly vault this wonderful Saint to a new recognition and appreciation.

St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer, pray for us!
St. Joseph, Patron of the Church, pray for us!

Monday, June 10, 2013


This week comprehensive immigration reform will formally go to the floor of the U.S. Senate.  The hope is that a vote in the Senate on the final version will occur before the 4th of July.

We need to pray earnestly that amendments which will delay or lessen the rights of our immigrants will be turned aside.  Sadly, there is much misunderstanding in our country about the true value of today's immigrants.  We need to help all of our family and friends understand what is at stake with our wonderful immigrants in the Congress.

Various amendments are being suggested which will create very difficult obstacles for most immigrants to surmount.  "Border security" will become a mantra from some to delay for many years any possible earned path to legal status for our immigrants.

Each of us has a duty to contact our two U.S. Senators and urge them to vote for a version which most resembles the comprehensive reform which the Church has been advocating for so many years.  Refer to the website:

Prayer is essential!  May the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, a grand prototype of immigrant families, lift up the hopes and dreams of our immigrants!