Letter to Editor

Nebraska Catholic Bishops need to abide by law, not sentimentality

Having relatives in the Grant area, I have read news reports that all three Nebraska Catholic Bishops call for solutions on the DACA youths, which stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” also known as “DREAMers.”

While I am not heartless and don’t want families of illegal immigrants torn apart; nevertheless I respect the “rule of law.”

I am a descendant of people who came to America in the 1600s as well as other ancestors who came over in the 1800s. 

Some of my ancestors were Anglican, some Methodists, some Catholic...as well as other denominations. 

I have even attended church services of most of these but closely identify with Methodist and Catholic heritage, so I have no ax to grind. 

While I feel Christian compassion, I am also mindful of the ulterior motives by the three Catholic bishops who represent all of Nebraska, including Grant. 

The bishops say the “DREAMers” should stay - citing them as “contributors to the economy, standouts at our universities and leader in our parishes,” BINGO! Their motive lies in the fact that membership in Catholic churches has been declining in recent decades (remember: I am partly Catholic and attend Mass regularly.) Even the number of priests and nuns have fallen. Most have literally died-off (no disrespect.) To be candid, the only nun whom I personally know is my mom’s first cousin, Sister Philomena Bahr, who is in a retirement convent in Whichita, Kansas. She is age 91 and has been a nun over 70 years, I applaud that. 

I do frown on the Catholic bishops of Nebraska fudging our established American law. The reason they do so: the vast majority of illegal immigrants and their DREAMer children came from Mexico and other Central American countries that are predominantly Roman Catholic. 

To me, that is no ethical excuse to replenish the numbers of parishioners in the pews, nor the number of priests. 

I feel enormous compassion of those peoples who wish to legally come to the United States, but who can’t so easily do so - if they are separated by an ocean such as the English (church of England adherents), or the Swedes, the Finns, the Dutch, and those in Northern Germany who cling to the Lutheran Faith.

Would the Nebraska bishops be as vocal? Would they be as supportive of those people coming to legally start a new life in America? I think not.

Bottom line: laws are laws. 

My great grandfather Charles Marples (1824-1876) fought in the Civil War and he is buried in Nebraska soil at a cemetery. Abraham Lincoln drafted my great grandfather (and many others) to preserve a Union.

Will we preserve the Union of laws they built? I hope so.

I am merely advocating a level and honest playing field with regard to law and immigration issues. 

Sincerely, 

James A. Marples

Longview, Texas

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