Thursday, August 31, 2006

Labor Day, 1

With Labor Day approaching, we at Albany Catholic thought it would be good to spend a few days focusing on issues of labor in America. We begin with this Labor Day Statement by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Chairman of the Domestic Policy Committee for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, dealing with the issue of immigration.
In his powerful encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that Jesus calls us to expand who we see as our neighbor. The Holy Father, citing the parable of the Good Samaritan, says that "neighbor" can no longer be limited to

the closely-knit community of a single country or people. This limit is now abolished. Anyone who needs me, and whom I can help, is my neighbor. ... 'As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me' (Mt 25:40). Love of God and love of neighbor have become one: in the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God. (para. 15).

Who is our neighbor is not dependent on where they were born or what documents they possess.

The immigration debate this Labor Day challenges us to consider again who we are as a nation, how our economy treats all workers, how we welcome the "strangers" among us. As Catholics, we should join this discussion and bring our belief in the sacredness of human life, the inherent dignity of the human person and the value of work. We cannot simply retreat behind walls at our borders or in our hearts and minds. As believers, we are called to build bridges between the native born and newcomer, between legitimate concerns about security and national traditions of welcome, from fear and frustration to hope and action for a better tomorrow.

We recommend reading the entire statement.