Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Statement of Roger Cardinal Mahony
Archbishop Emeritus  of Los Angeles


April 12, 2018

As archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with the largest immigrant population of any metropolitan area, I strongly oppose recent actions announced by the Trump administration to target our immigrant brothers and sisters with new enforcement initiatives that undermine the due process of law and sow fear within immigrant families and immigrant communities.

This fear was illustrated on Easter Sunday when two teachers told me after Mass that increasingly young boys and girls just start crying during class.  The reason?  They are terrified that when they return home either their mother or father will be gone.  How can we do this to innocent children?

In the FY 2018 omnibus budget bill recently passed, the administration failed to win funding for additional border patrol and ICE agents, detention beds, and for the construction of a new border wall.  These funding decisions represented the will of Congress and the majority of the American public, as a majority of US citizens oppose mass deportation schemes and a 2,000-mile wall along our southern border.

Regardless, the administration has announced new steps to militarize the border and to remove due process protections from asylum-seekers searching for protection in our nation, including the use of National Guard troops at the border, the detention of all asylum-seekers until their court hearing, and annual quotas for cases for immigration judges.

Moreover, the administration is intending to introduce legislation to remove protections from unaccompanied alien children arriving at our border and otherwise restrict asylum-seekers in their ability to win asylum protection.  And, of course, the administration continues to pursue an ill-advised border wall, which will drive desperate migrants into remote portions of the desert and possibly to their deaths.

Taken together, these steps could severely weaken our standing as a safe haven for the world’s persecuted and a nation based upon fairness and the due process of law.
This is in addition to the administration’s ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for numerous at-risk populations, and weakening of the US refugee programs, among other initiatives.  It is clear that this administration is pursuing a war on immigrants, both the undocumented and legal immigrants.

Enough is enough.  Catholics and all Americans of good will should stand up against these policies as contrary to America’s values and interests.  We should not be transformed from a welcoming society, which has benefited our nation for centuries, to one which is intolerant and hostile to those seeking protection and a better life in our nation.  This is not the American way.

In his recent Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), Pope Francis teaches us that being open to and welcoming migrants is a path toward holiness.  He also states that migration is not a secondary issue but should be a primary concern for Catholics and others who seek holiness.

Along with many of my fellow brother bishops, I call upon Catholics and all who cherish our nation’s immigrant heritage to oppose these draconian immigration policies and to stand against rhetoric which dehumanizes our immigrant brothers and sisters.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ teaches us to “welcome the stranger,” as in the face of the migrant we see the face of Christ.  We are at a pivotal point in our country’s history, where we can follow the call of Christ or remain silent and complicit in policies which cause suffering among our fellow human beings.

Let us work together with all religious groups to proclaim the truth that immigrants and refugees who arrive in our nation are not criminals, but are contributors to our great country, and, like all Americans, are drawn to the values we all share:  liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018


It is a joy to thank God for the appointment of Monsignor Marc Trudeau to serve as an Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles!

It was my privilege to ordain our Bishop-Elect to the Sacred Priesthood in 1991, and to have worked closely with him over the years.

His pastoral heart has always been in serving as a parish priest, and he has done that so well over the years.  His two pastorates, St. Pius X in Santa Fe Springs, and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in Lomita, is where he wanted to spend all of his priestly years. 

In between those two pastorates, I was privileged to have him as my priest secretary in service to the entire Archdiocese.  His pastoral experience and his great love for people endeared him to everyone who had contact with the Archbishop’s office.  He was a great support during those tumultuous years when the clergy scandal was in its settlement phases.

While serving with me, the doctor’s discovered cancer.  Fortunately, he had a form which was curable.  However, those many weeks of chemotherapy were very difficult.  We were blessed to have him with us at the Cathedral residence during his treatment protocol.  He showed great humility, patience, and lessons in how to suffer after the manner of Jesus.  His witness touched all of us in the residence.

It was not long before Archbishop Jose Gomez recognized Bishop-Elect Trudeau’s gifts and talents, and he was assigned to St. John’s Seminary to prepare to take over as the Rector.  His priestly and pastoral gifts were a great grace in the ensuing years in the formation of young men for the priesthood.

When I spoke with the Bishop-Elect about his appointment, he stated “I would prefer to be going back to serve in a parish.”  I responded—you are, except there are many more parishes in your Pastoral Region than in just one parish!!  

May Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd, continue to shape the heart and ministry of Bishop-Elect Marc Trudeau!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


Sadly, there are enormous anti-immigrant rhetoric and threats coming forth from President Trump and other government leaders every week.  But the rhetoric and threats rarely mention the unintended consequences:  those people who rely upon immigrants for assistance.

In this blog I will focus on the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who provide special care for our older members of society--those in special care homes, or those receiving special care in their own homes.  These senior citizens are already learning that their beloved caregivers may be deported, and there are no Americans willing to take their places.

These caregivers work long hours and very difficult work caring for people with many physical disabilities, incontinence, illnesses, and other challenges.  Working 60 to 70 hours a week is normal.  They receive minimum wage salaries:  the median wage for personal care attendants and home health aides is only $10.66 an hour.  Those persons certified as nursing assistants may earn $12.78 an hour.  No overtime, no health care for them, and no paid leave or vacation.

Our older Americans depend totally upon these caregivers, but since the vast majority are immigrants, threats are looming.  Many are here without proper documents.  Others came in under the TPS [Temporary Protected Status] provision for immigrants facing a disaster at home, such as earthquakes and tornadoes.  But the Trump Administration wants to halt the TPS program and deport all of these people.

Another immigrant group under dire threat are relatives of people who are legal citizens of our country.  The Trump Administration calls these people beneficiaries of what they disdain as "chain migration."  In our Gospel perspective, we call it family reunification.  The Administration wants to halt family reunification, and focus entirely upon a "merit based" policy--a policy which basically excludes all people of color, and everyone without an advanced degree or skill.

Professor Paul Osterman from Massachusetts Institute of Technology predicts a shortfall of 151,000 direct care workers by 2030 (12 years from now), and a shortfall of 355,000 by the year 2040.  And those are conservative estimates.  Many populous states, such as California, will face far more disastrous losses because of the large population of immigrants involved in senior care.

Some groups who believe that Americans would take these jobs if the pay were doubled or tripled, and with all the usual employee benefits, don't understand that our seniors live with very tight fixed incomes--and they could never afford such care at those costs.  And with Social Security and Medicare on the brink of become insolvent, there are no increases coming.

It is sad that when people--especially ones who are supposed to be leaders--continue to propagate venom towards our immigrants, invite us all to fear them, and to work hard to drive them out of the country.  It is a phenomenon we have witnessed since the early 1800s, and it goes in cycles.  Political leaders and others can be counted on to drag forward our brother and sister immigrants to blame for whatever ails our country.

As Catholics, our approach is rather simple:  "For I was a stranger, and you welcomed me!"  That approach brings with it all the blessings that we will ever need to care for each other!