The Catholic Church has put the word out to the faithful: Come September, the papacy will be pushing for a widespread and comprehensive immigration reform package on Capitol Hill that will open the doors to citizenship to roughly 11 million illegals.
The church announced the plans last week. Starting Sept. 8, services at participating churches around the nation will include a pulpit-generated push for amnesty, including a call for pew members to get involved, the New York Times reported.
"We want to try to pull out all the stops," Kevin Appleby, the director of immigration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the Times. "They have to hear the message that we want this done, and if you're not successful during the summer, you're not going to win by the end of the year."
Among the church's plans are scheduled marches and telephone blitzes to the offices of 60 Catholic House Republicans, demanding immigration reform. Speaker of the House John Boehner, along with nearly 130 other members of the legislative body, are Catholic.
At the community level, bishops and priests across the nation are planning to coordinate their Sunday services to include immigration reform throughout September, the Times reported.
At least a dozen already have agreed to hold special Sunday masses in September dedicated to pushing immigration reform as Congress returns to session.
But one Catholic said the church may be wasting its time.
"There are some issues that the church speaks authoritatively on, such as abortion, in protecting life," said Rep. Dan Lipinski, Illinois Democrat. "And then there are prudential judgments that are made, informed by Catholic theology, but it's not something that Catholics are required to follow."
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