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Webinar series on immigration halted amid controversy

A webinar series on immigration hosted by an archdiocesan task force has been halted amid complaints that the presentation took a partisan approach on the issue as it relates to voting.

The Immigration Task Force of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, which falls under the auspices of the Peace and Justice Commission, hosted the webinar, “Immigration and the 2020 Election: Education and Action for People of Faith,” last week on Facebook. The ministry had invited representatives of other faiths to share their opinions on immigration, some of which were in opposition to the archdiocese’s position on immigration.

“The opinions of those faith representatives are their own and do not fully — nor in some parts accurately — represent the stance of the archdiocese regarding immigration,” the archdiocese stated in a Sept. 22 internal memo addressed to priests, deacons and members of the curia. The statement said that neither Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski nor anyone on his leadership team knew about the webinar before its execution.

“The work of the Archdiocese of St. Louis in promoting immigration initiatives is well documented and remains focused on serving all of our brothers and sisters in need,” the statement said.

The statement also noted that the Archdiocese of St. Louis “helps to form consciences for faithful citizenship in a non-partisan way by sharing the Church’s teachings on the issues of the day. This good faith effort is done so that Catholics and voters of all denominations can make informed decisions as they discern how to cast their ballots. The Catholic Church does not endorse nor criticize political candidates nor parties. Regrettably, the offending presentation violated our expectations in this regard.”

Archbishop Rozanski has ordered the removal of the webinar and the Immigration Task Force Facebook page and placed on administrative leave the employee who had oversight of the page. All future webinars from the task force have been discontinued. All social media accounts belonging to ministries of the Archdiocese of St. Louis are now subject to review by the archdiocesan Office of Communications and Planning.

From the Archive Module

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