Friday, April 28, 2006

The Pre-Dinner Policy Session

As you all know, the American Cardinals have converged upon Washington for their annual dinner for the Catholic University of America, which takes place tonight. Appropriately enough, three of them took advantage of the location earlier this morning to handle some political business.

Cardinals Roger Mahony, William Keeler and Theodore McCarrick met for an hour today with Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and counselor to the President. Vincentian Fr David O'Connell, the university's president, was also in attendance at the West Wing session. According to a release from Catholic, "The focus of the meeting was immigration. Rove presented the Bush administration’s position on immigration reform and the cardinals shared the Catholic Church’s position and response to the needs of immigrants."

In case anyone needs refreshing on the positions of the cardinals vis a vis immigration reform, Mahony announced in March that he'd order his priests to break the law if it precluded giving aid and food to undocumented workers, Keeler called plans approved by the House of Representatives "evil," and McCarrick's stance was rearticulated in a recent interview with Beliefnet in which he said that "Everyone should be open to having other people come into their country, for good reason. We're America, a nation that only exists today because people were allowed to come in to try for a better life, to escape persecution or great poverty. Every nation should have some opportunity for people to come in; otherwise they become lost in being nativist, protectionist, and isolationist."

In related news, it seems the immigration debate has traveled past the water's edge. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster has penned a piece on immigration in Britain published in today's edition of The Tablet.

Murphy-O'Connor compared the advent of the UK's "new multiracial and multiethnic" society to the birth of the church 50 days after Easter....
The Church was born from Pentecost: a real and symbolic meeting of peoples and cultures and languages. As Pope John Paul II said in his 1993 message for World Migration Day: “In the Church no one is a stranger, and the Church is not foreign to anyone, anywhere.” For the Church, he went on, is “a sacrament of unity and thus a sign and binding force for the whole human race”.