Saturday, February 16, 2008

Immigration: A Catholic Response, by Bishop John C. Wester

The full text of Bishop John C. Wester's Aquinas lecture, delivered at St. Catherine of Sienna Newman Center at the University of Utah (where I was baptized, confirmed, brought into full communion, married, and where our two oldest children were baptized), 27 January 2008, is now available. As chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration & Refugee Services, he is deeply engaged all issues surrounding immigration. I cannot think of a better person for this job. I do not believe that Bishop Wester has an ideological bone in his body. He is a consummate bridge-builder.

The title of his lecture is Immigration: A Catholic Response.

"Some of you might ask why the Catholic Church would speak out on the
issue of immigration. It is primarily because of the Gospel mandate to 'welcome
the stranger,'” with strong roots in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy warns Israel
that 'the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, almighty
and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the
orphan and who loves the stranger, providing them food and clothing' (Dt. 10-17-
). Israel’s care for the stranger was to be guided by God’s command and their
own experience: 'You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the
land of Egypt' (Dt. 10-12)."

So, you can now either watch or read Bishop Wester's lecture courtesy of our diocesan newspaper the Intermountain Catholic. I do not hesitate to give Barbara Stinson Lee, the IC's editor, credit whenever possible, we are blessed to have such a knowledgeable, tenacious, passionate, and committed person in our local Church. We are also tremendously blessed to have Bishop Wester leading our diocese. All of us in the U.S. are fortunate to have him as the Church's spokesman and advocate on this issue at this time.

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