Kathryn Lopez

Unfortunately, though, the clergymen with the bullhorns on immigration are putting their emphasis somewhere else entirely. In a joint statement on immigration, the Catholic bishops of the United States and Mexico express their concern that: "Alarmingly, migrants often are treated as criminals by civil enforcement authorities." But, dear bishops, when we are speaking of those illegally migrating, their actions do, in fact, fall under the "crime" category.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney has recently made headlines for encouraging the priests in his archdiocese of Los Angeles to defy a proposed federal law that he and his supporters on this front are assuming would mean churches would be legally forbidden from providing basics to an immigrant in need -- bread, for instance, both of the consecrated and Wonder varieties. But a look at the proposed language suggests something different, and at least one expert tells me he's betting this tempest becomes a moot point before a new law is passed.

But even when that legislative hurdle is overcome, there's the spirit of the cardinal's protest. At an Ash Wednesday Mass at Our Lady of Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahoney echoed the same general sentiment as that bishops' statement, blasting "increasing hostility toward immigrants." While ministering to least of these among us, he could spare some prominent words for good citizenship -- which doesn't have a prayer of a chance without actual citizenship.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.