In a letter sent to clergy last Friday, New Hampshire bishop Peter Libasci, of the Diocese of Manchester, told clergy members not to allow illegal aliens to use churches as a means of avoiding deportation.
Bishop Libasci, who oversees the diocese for the state of New Hampshire, says the church will always be a “welcoming community ready to offer immediate aid to anyone in need.”
However, he doesn’t want “sanctuary” to be interpreted to mean that churches should be expected to provide long-term living arrangements for individuals avoiding deportation.
He notes that the church can provide no real legal protection and that offering up churches as a “sanctuary” sends a false message that they can protect individuals.
“Immigration law imposes criminal penalties and fines on anyone who conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, in any place, an alien who has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of the law,” he wrote.
This interest in assessing the Diocese immigration stance comes after a meeting with priests who brought up concerns surrounding enforcement. Bishop Libasci realized that “sanctuary church” was not clearly defined, leaving its meaning and application open to interpretation.
Bishop Libasci released the letter to give clergy guidance about how to adequately “assist those who come to them looking for help” according to Thomas Bebbington, Diocese spokesman.
Bishop Libasci is the tenth Bishop of Manchester , serving more than a quarter million Catholics in New Hampshire.
H/T: The Christian Post
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