Remember our roots, treat them justly
Signs at some of the recent immigration rallies have proclaimed, "We are all immigrants." In the United States, that is certainly true.
My ancestors came from Ireland and Germany. They settled in Wisconsin in the 1800s, struggling to earn enough money to raise their families. They worked hard and educated themselves and their children. They became active in church and community organizations. They became citizens and some eventually entered politics, my own father among them. They served in the armed forces, defending our country in world wars.
We can be proud of the efforts of our ancestors. Our country is enriched with the gifts and talents of people from so many races and cultures. They have helped make our country the greatest nation on earth.
Not always welcomed. Yet, despite our shared immigrant background, it seems as if Americans do not always welcome newcomers. This has been true throughout our history, but it still continues to this day.
Some Americans seem to forget their own immigrant roots. They do not want to share this country with others seeking a better life. They jealously guard their own wealth and security, perhaps fearing too many immigrants might weaken our nation.
The events of 9-11 also added fuel to this anti-immigrant mentality. I can understand the importance of caution in guarding our borders, but we must also realize that there are many people seeking to enter our country for good reasons. And there are people already here who are contributing to the welfare of our society.
Proposed legislation. These negative attitudes might be one reason why the United States Congress is attempting to pass legislation which would make being an illegal immigrant a criminal offense. It would also penalize people and groups who provide humanitarian aid to people who are in this country illegally. The House has already passed this bill, which has been criticized by many Catholic bishops and Catholic organizations.
The Senate is prepared to resume debate on this legislation when Congress reconvenes on April 24. Bishops and church organizations are urging Catholics across the country to pray for just immigration reform and to encourage their legislators to pass laws that would legalize the status of millions of illegal immigrants.
Bishops call for more humane laws. In Madison, Bishop Robert C. Morlino addressed a rally at the state Capitol during Holy Week. He reminded those at the rally that the Catholic Church is an immigrant church. He joined Catholic bishops from across the country in calling for more humane immigration laws.
For example, the bishops of New York state in a Good Friday statement supported legislation that "provides for a pathway to permanent legal status for undocumented workers" and sets up "a rational and fair temporary worker program." The bishops oppose "the criminalization of immigrants for their undocumented status and the criminalizing of the agencies and religious congregations who help them," said the April 14 statement.
According to Catholic News Service, San Francisco Archbishop George H. Niederauer called for special prayers for a humane immigration reform to be offered April 23 on Divine Mercy Sunday. In an April 12 statement, he also urged Catholics to make sacrifices and contact their legislators on behalf of measures that respect "the dignity of our brothers and sisters who have come here from other lands."
We just celebrated Holy Week and Easter, recalling that Jesus suffered and died for all people. In the spirit of the Easter season, let us pray for just treatment of immigrants and contact our legislators - especially our senators - urging them to pass more humane laws dealing with immigrants.
Mary C. Uhler
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Fight the holocaust of abortion
To the editor,
With spring upon us, new life is appearing everywhere. At the same time, the days are getting warmer and longer, and people generally feel good at this time of year. The seasonal depression related to the short, cold, and dark days of winter subsides, and we celebrate the greatest Holy Day of our faith. With this renewed strength, I'd like to suggest that it's the perfect time for people to get into the fight for innocent life in our society.
I'd like to remind everyone that there is a holocaust occurring today just as in the days of Nazi Germany. Those in power have made it the law of our land to exterminate an entire class of people in our country while many stand by feeling powerless.
If you don't agree that these are a class of people, I invite you to view pictures of torn apart babies on the Priests for Life Web site (priestsforlife.org) and see for yourself. I'm brought to tears every time I see such images. As Catholics, we shouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing that 4,000 children are murdered in our county every day.
It's time to enter into the fight! Now is the time to use your renewed strength of spring to enter into the battle. If you need ideas, contact Priests for Life or other pro-life groups. There are hundreds of things you can do, even right from your home. In this holy season, pray about it and let the Holy Spirit lead you into the fight for innocent people!
Tom Renz, Waterloo
Women should meet in evenings
To the editor:
I would like to see a change in the wording in a recent Catholic Daughters of the Americas' article from "all women invited to attend," to "all women who are retired and non-working women." Some of us women who would like to participate cannot because we have to work during the hours the meetings are held.
I would like to see something like that in the evenings. I have no children, so there are a lot of things for the non-working people and people with children. That leaves some of us out that have to work.
I used to belong to the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and I enjoyed the meetings and speakers and the fellowship with other women. These days the Catholic Church doesn't have anything for us working people in the evening, including the Catholic Daughters or the Catholic Woman's Club.
Use of language on abortion
To the editor:
Thank you to Bishop Morlino for your column in the Catholic Herald about "Abortion in Culture." The term "pro-choice" has also always interested me, especially when others get defensive if I refer to the movement as "pro-abortion." I've always felt that using the term "pro-choice" instead of "pro-abortion" is similar to calling a "strip joint" a "gentlemen's club." God bless you.
Barbara J. Hetzel, Spring Green
Face up to truth and protect life
To the editor:
For 33 years Jesus led a comparatively private and exemplary life. At age 33, Jesus began an active life with the public proclaiming of a new covenant.
For 33 years since the decision of Roe vs. Wade, organized religions have been steeped in complacency while the culture of death escalated in intensity and brutality. Now is the time for organized religions to flex their muscles and face up to what is truth and act accordingly. The truth is that we should protect human life from conception to natural death.
Charles J. Sippel, Waterloo