Cardinal McCarrick's Statement and Prayer at the Immigration March
April 10, 2006
Almost 50 years ago, one of my predecessors as Catholic Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle, addressed a march here in the nation’s capital calling for justice and equality for our African American people. That struggle is not over and we must still fight against racial discrimination in our land.
Today, a half century later, we gather in prayerful protest against another discrimination, that of the immigrant who comes to our country seeking a better life for himself and his family. It is only fitting that in unity with the memory of Cardinal O’Boyle, the Catholic Church in Washington raises it voice once again in a call for comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
Dear friends, we are in an historic moment in our nation’s history. We are a nation of immigrants. Let us not now turn inward after all these centuries. We are all God’s children, all brothers and sisters in His one human family. Respect for the dignity of every human person calls us to protect the human rights of the newcomers and the poor.
Sadly, today we see our immigration laws separating fathers from children and husbands from wives. We see workers who do not receive appropriate protection in the workplace or sufficient wages to support their families. We see our brothers and sisters abused at the hands of smugglers and human traffickers. We witness the tragic death of our fellow human beings in the deserts of the American Southwest.
It is clear that our immigration laws must change. We cannot stand by as these injustices continue to occur. We do not deny that every government has the right and the duty to control its borders. We accept and defend that right, but we are not doing it today in a way that is either efficient or humane.
This is why we are here this afternoon, to call on our elected officials to take up again the cause of comprehensive immigration reform and not to let any political or other considerations keep them from doing what is right.
I pray for those who remain in the shadows of our society, for those who are unable to defend their rights or give their full talents to their communities without fear. I pray for those who feel compelled to risk their lives in crossing the vast desert that soon their suffering may end. I pray for our elected officials that they may have wisdom and courage – the wisdom that they may understand the need for change and the courage that they might accomplish it.
May the Lord bless our road ahead. May we walk it always in a civil and peaceful way so that our voices may be heard by all Americans and that understanding and education about the rights of immigrants can bear fruit in our land. May the Lord, Whose coming Resurrection from the dead gives life and hope to all humanity bring the grace of success to our efforts and may His Blessed Mother, the Virgin of Guadalupe, walk with us always on the way.
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