by Ed Wilkinson
It’s been a busy news week.
The biggest story of the week – the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Health Care Act, better known as ObamaCare – happened after The Tablet went to press. That’s the problem with a weekly newspaper. You’re always catching up. We will have complete coverage of church-related reactions to the decision in next week’s edition.
But the Supreme Court did issue what most people think was a mixed decision in regard to the controversial Arizona immigration law. While some parts of the law were struck down, pleasing opponents of the bill, the most controversial piece that allows the police to demand proof of legal status, was left in place.
Apparently, the Court wants more time to see how the statute is applied and has decided to take a wait-and-see approach.
The New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform, of which Brooklyn-Queens Catholic Charities is a member, applauded the decision while calling upon the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Catholic Charities’ Josefa Castro was among the signers of a statement that said:
“The New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform, a religiously diverse network of faith leaders and organizations, is gratified by the Supreme Court’s SB 1070 ruling that enforcing federal immigration law is a federal prerogative and by its decision to strike down three of the four provisions of the law. On the other hand, we are deeply disappointed that the Court did not strike down the law’s ‘show me your papers’ provision – although the fact that the justices said that the provision could be subject to additional legal challenges gives us reason to hope that civil rights cases that have been brought against the provision will be successful.”
Arizona’s Catholic bishops said they believed the “show me your papers” provision “will not enhance security, benefit the economy of our state, or foster its well-being. Rather, this provision might separate families, create the possibility of racial profiling even if unintended by the law, heighten fear in the immigrant community, jeopardize community policing, and not fix the federal immigration policy which many across the political spectrum have said is broken.”
A court ruling in Philadelphia shook the inner workings of the archdiocese there as Msgr. William Lynn was found guilty of one charge of endangering the welfare of a minor. It was the first time a church official has been held responsible for not being vigilant in the line of duty. The priest oversaw the transfer of a priest with a history of abuse to another parish where he would have contact with youngsters. The 61-year-old priest was acquitted of two other charges including conspiracy to endanger youth.
Some see the Philadelphia decision as justice, and others think the monsignor has been made a scapegoat for the epidemic of child abuse in society. One thing for sure is that the vigilance of the Church in following up on the sex abuse scandal has led to the exposure of the abusive way that young people are treated in other systems such as education and recreational sports leagues. The Jerry Sandusky conviction at Penn State is further evidence of the magnitude of the problem.
We’ve become a litigious society, relying on the courts to solve our problems. Sometimes, we’re not sure justice is being served when nuanced decisions are written, and there doesn’t seem to be a black-or-white solution. Are we really getting at the root causes of the problem?