An Easter Reminder to Roger, Cardinal Mahony—Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness

Several years ago, when I was on

Californians for Population Stabilization
then-Executive Director Tom McMahon and I had many long
conversations about the

Roman Catholic Church

McMahon was a former Maryknoll
missionary and I, as

a young man
, had wanted to be a priest.

Although we had both fallen away
from the church, McMahon and I agreed that it was
impossible to leave Catholicism fully behind us.

So when Holy Days like

roll around, my thoughts inevitably return to
the time when during the three-day period from

Good Friday
to Easter Sunday, I served as an

altar boy
and spent a large part of each day at

This Easter my attention is still
focused on Catholicism, albeit on an entirely different
aspect of its activities.

I am dumbfounded at the church`s
role in

encouraging lawlessness and promoting open borders

And, specifically, Roger Cardinal

Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles,
appalls me with
his promise to defy (and to push others to

join him in his defiance

H.R. 4437
should it become law.
[Email can be sent to

Mahony has long been an advocate of
more immigration and, posturing as a civil rights
crusader, an activist for, as he calls it, "justice
for immigrants

Born in

in 1936, Mahony claims that his empathy
for aliens began early in his life. When he was 12,
Mahony says that while working at his father`s

poultry plant
in the San Fernando Valley, an INS

became the foundation for his pro-immigrant

Recalls Mahony:

"I will
never forget them bursting through the doors. I was
terrified by it. And I thought, these poor people;
they`re here making a living supporting their families.
It had a very deep impact on me throughout the years."
Joins Fight for Undocumented Workers Rights,"

Washington Post
, April 6, 2006]

Throughout his early to middle
adult life, Mahony was always close to California`s
agricultural pulse. He attended the

seminary in Camarillo
, was ordained in the

Diocese in 1962, named first Chairman of the
California state Agricultural Labor Relations Board in
1975 and appointed Bishop of

in 1980.

Curiously though, during Mahoney`s
formative years the Catholic Church—which you would
assume had a powerful influence on his thinking—was an

pro-American worker

anti-bracero force
. (The

program was a

guest labor scheme
in which 1-2 million Mexican

worked temporarily in the United States.
It was
jointly operated by the U.S. and Mexican government and
lasted from 1942 to


In 1964, shortly after Mahony was
ordained and as the bracero program was ending, because
of U.S. labor union opposition, the Catholic Church
began a vigorous national campaign to support American
farm workers. (My source for what follows: Bracero
Politics: Longest Crap Game in California`s Agricultural
, by William Turner,

Ramparts Magazine,

September 1965, not online.)

At a labor hearing,

Jesuit James L. Vizzard
of the National Catholic
Rural Life Conference said:

"I have
no tears to waste on those who have been

crying disaster
at the prospect of losing the
previously readily available agricultural workers from
Mexico but who in the meantime have taken no realistic
steps to secure an adequate and dependable U.S. labor

Then Vizzard took aim at the

"I can
only deplore those politicians who

feel they must cooperate with the growers
in their
continued refusal to face the demands of individual
justice and the common good…Since these growers show no
signs of self-reform, they need to be told emphatically
and with finality that the approximation of

slave-labor conditions
which they have perpetuated
will no longer be tolerated by this nation. They need to
understand in what century and in what kind of economy
and society they are living and operating."

Concluded Vizzard:

must be made to realize that to exploit the

poverty of other nations
in order to beat down and
crush the poor of our own country is the grossest kind
of immorality."

That was in the 1960s, remember!
But Vizzard was not a lone voice in his scathing (and
still valid) denunciation of the

abuse by growers
of agricultural workers at the
expense of

America`s unemployed.

Supporting Vizzard were

Msgr. George Higgins
of the National Catholic
Welfare Council, Reverend Wayne C. Hartmire, Jr. of the
California Migrant Ministry of the National Council of
Churches and Father Thomas McCullough, an activist
Catholic priest who rallied on behalf of American farm

But even putting this Catholic
tradition aside, Cardinal Mahony`s sixty-year-old memory
of the INS raid hardly seems sufficient reason for his
ultra-radical stance on giving

amnesty to illegal aliens today.

Not only is Mahony endorsing
breaking existing immigration laws and encouraging more
illegal immigration, the Cardinal is violating one of

Ten Commandments

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness

Mahony has repeatedly and knowingly
lied about what the federal government proposes in new
immigration legislation.

In his March 22nd New
York Times
op-ed titled "Called
by God to Help,
" Mahony deceitfully wrote (and
shame on the NYT for letting it pass unedited)
that H.R. 4437, if enacted:

[priests], as well as other church and
humanitarian workers, to criminal penalties. Providing
humanitarian assistance to those in need should not be
made a crime, as the House bill decrees. As written, the
proposed law is so broad that it would criminalize even
minor acts of mercy like offering a meal or
administering first aid."

As Mahony certainly knows, his
statement is

completely untrue.

Indeed, Mahony has been so
consistently outrageous and inaccurate on the proposed
legislation that on April 5th Chairman of the
House Judiciary

F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr
., Chairman of the House
Homeland Security Committee Peter T. King and Chairman
of the House International Relations Committee

Henry J. Hyde
wrote an open letter to the U.S.
Catholic Bishops. 

The letter (read it

) can best be summarized as a plea to stop lying
about the provisions of H.R. 4437 although its formal
language politely requested "a thoughtful and
respectful dialogue"
—something that Mahoney is not
engaged in.

Here are the key points in the
Sensenbrenner-King letter:

  • "Many have misconstrued the
    House`s good-faith effort to bring human traffickers
    to justice as a way to criminalize humanitarian
    assistance efforts. The House bill does no such
    thing, nor did it intend to."

  • "Just as under current law,
    religious organizations would not have to `card`
    people at

    soup kitchens
    homeless shelters
    under the House bill`s
    anti-smuggling provisions. Prosecutors would no
    sooner prosecute good Samaritans for `assisting`
    illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. under the
    House bill than they would prosecute such persons
    for `encouraging` illegal immigrants to remain in
    the U.S. under current law, which has existed for
    nearly 20 years."

  • "We know many of you are
    concerned about the House bill`s provision making
    illegal presence a felony. We share that concern. As
    you should know, during the House debate, Chairman
    Sensenbrenner offered an amendment to reduce the
    bill`s penalty for illegal presence from a felony to
    a misdemeanor. Unfortunately, this amendment was
    unsuccessful, primarily because all but eight of our
    Democratic colleagues decided to play political
    games by voting to make all illegal immigrants
    felons. A felony penalty is neither appropriate nor
    workable. We remain committed to reducing this
    penalty and working with you to this end."

The letter closes with an offer to
"work together"—which, according to a
conversation I had with the House Judiciary Committee`s
media relations department, has not been accepted.

(Note: the provision in the House
bill that illegal presence in the U.S. would be a felony
has been


Mahony`s cavalier attitude to the
truth about

H.R. 4437
should be no surprise. Although some
readers will regard this as a low blow, it must be said
that a similar pattern emerged during Mahony`s 2004
deposition regarding the allegations of sexual abuse by
priests of minors.  In his LA Weekly News article

"Cardinal Untruths"
December 16,
2004) Jeffrey Anderson reports that the Cardinal
was caught in numerous lies and evasions. 
Psychotherapist and former priest A.W. Richard Sipe, who
witnessed the deposition, concluded of Mahony`s

"Lawyers might call that perjury, but a lay person would
say, `My God, that`s a lie.` Even if he [Mahony] had a
genuine memory lapse it raises questions about his
ability to lead."

And in a broader indictment, Sipe
concluded that:

are seeing the philosophy of the Catholic hierarchy,
which is, `I only lie when I have to.`"

Yet despite Mahony`s

two decade involvement
in the cover up and
mismanagement of multiple incidents of pedophilia among
his priests, the

treats him with kid gloves when he promotes
illegal immigration.

Can you imagine the field day those


would have if a leading figure in the
immigration reform movement had Mahony`s track record?

Yet Mahony remains one of the
leaders of the no-credibility cabal. His is a case of
preaching to the choir—literally.

Here`s the Easter question: Who
among us is the sinner?

Is it Mahony, an

, a

, and a


Or is it us who promote obeying the
law and working for

America`s common good?

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.