In the following days there will, no doubt, be many articles and commentaries in the Catholic blogosphere and press about Sen. Edward Kennedy -- and how his years of public service reflected or defied Catholic values and teachings. Some will admire his commitment to the Church's social justice teachings, others will abhor his public support for legislation that stands in opposition to the Church's primordial tenet -- the right to life.
In terms of immigration law reform, his public efforts were unabashedly in line with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' calls for a just and compassionate comprehensive reform. And so, his efforts on this count were greatly admired by those of us who feel that the Bishops' and Pope's statements about immigration have been clear and unequivocal. His voice will be missed in this national debate.
Here is an excerpt from one of many talks Sen. Kennedy gave on the topic, this one from June 9, 2006:
“When I look at this issue, I say finally, this is an issue about our humanity, our decency and our values […] These are individuals prepared to leave their families to go across the northern part of Mexico where about 500 a year are dying out in the desert. So they’re risking their lives. They don’t know where they’re going to get a job, but they’re going to get a job and try to get something better. And what do they do? They work extraordinarily hard, and then they repatriate to who? To their families, to look after their children.
“We in this country value hard work. We value people that work hard and love their families. This is a group of individuals that get highest attendance of any group in society in terms of going back to church. […]
“And the first thing they do when the men become residents, what they do is try to become part of the military: 70,000 now are in Iraq and in Afghanistan and serving in our country. Scores of them have been killed in Iraq. These are individuals who want to be part of the American system. For anybody that’s interested look at the latest poll that you can get on the internet: 98% of them will pay the penalty. 98% of them want to join the military. 98% of them want to be part of the whole American dream. Why should we possibly expect that they’re any different from any of our forbears that came here and want to be a part of this great country?”
To the entire transcript go to: http://bit.ly/EdZrW