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Preaching politics: Catholic priests enter fight for immigration reform

Pope Francis looks on during an audience with the diplomatic corps at the Vatican on March 22, 2013. Pope Francis called for the Roman Catholic Church to 'intensify' its dialogue with Islam, echoing hopes in the Muslim world for better ties with the Vatican during his reign. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

The NYTimes reports that the Catholic Church is jumping into the immigration debate in a big way and support for "comprehensive" reform will soon be coming to a pulpit near you:

Catholic bishops and priests from major dioceses across the country will preach a coordinated message next month backing changes in immigration policy, with some using Sunday Masses on Sept. 8 to urge Congressional passage of a legislative overhaul that includes a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

The decision to embrace political action from the pulpit is part of a broader effort by the Roman Catholic Church and other faith groups that support President Obama’s call for new immigration laws. It includes advertising and phone calls directed at 60 Catholic Republican lawmakers and “prayerful marches” in Congressional districts where the issue has become a divisive topic.

“We want to try to pull out all the stops,” said Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said the immigration issue was at a now-or-never moment. “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.”

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