In his first major interview since leaving the Trump administration, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon commented on the the decision to rescind the DACA program in sixth months and the Church’s response, saying that the Church only has an economic interest in supporting immigrants to “fill pews.”

The comments come from an upcoming 60 Minutes interview set to air this Sunday after the controversial decision to rescind the DACA program in six months, unless legislation is passed by Congress. In the interview, he accused the Church of having an economic interest in illegal immigration to “fill the churches,” saying

“The bishops have been terrible about this. By the way, you know why? You know why? Because unable to really – to – to – to come to grips with the problems in the church, they need illegal aliens, they need illegal aliens to fill the churches. That’s – it’s obvious on the face of it. That’s what – the entire Catholic bishops condemn him. … They have – they have an economic interest. They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration.”

Bannon also commented that it is not an issue on Church doctrine, but instead the “sovereignty of a nation,”

“As much as I respect Cardinal Dolan and the bishops on doctrine, this is not doctrine. This is not doctrine at all. I totally respect the Pope and I totally respect the Catholic bishops and cardinals on doctrine. This is not about doctrine. This is about the sovereignty of a nation. And in that regard, they’re just another guy with an opinion.”

In a full statement issued by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops after the release of the interview, the USCCB reaffirmed their pro-immigration stance:

“It is preposterous to claim that justice for immigrants isn’t central to Catholic teaching. … We are called not to politics or partisanship, but to love our neighbor. Let’s reject the forces of division that insist we make a false choice between our safety and our humanity. It is both possible and morally necessary to secure the border in a manner which provides security and a humane immigration policy. Our pro-immigration stance is based on fidelity to God’s word and honors the American dream. For anyone to suggest that it is out of sordid motives of statistics or financial gain is outrageous and insulting.”

Cardinal Dolan personally responded on the matter in a SiriusXM radio interview on the Catholic Channel given Thursday, saying he had heard about Bannon’s comments about himself and the Church after reading the transcripts of the upcoming 60 Minutes interview. He responded:

“I was rather befuddled to see it. I don’t care to go into what I think is a preposterous and rather insulting statement that the only reason we Bishops care for immigrants is for the economic and because we want to fill our churches and get more money, that’s just so insulting and ridiculous that it doesn’t merit a comment.”

Cardinal Dolan commented that the Church’s views on immigration stems directly from the Holy Bible itself and not doctrine, saying that

“Well, as a matter of fact he may be right. This is not an issue of Catholic doctrine because it comes from the Bible itself and we Catholics are people of the book. The Bible is so clear, so clear, that we treat to treat the immigrant with dignity and respect, to make sure that society is just in the treatment of the immigrant is Biblical mandate. It’s clear from the lips of Jesus when he said, ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me. When I was a stranger’ — meaning an immigrant or refugee — ‘you welcomed me.’”

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  1. Cardinal Dolan, we most certainly are not a people of the book. We are a people WITH a book. The Bible is just one of many teaching tools albiet it is the most sacred. Still, we are a religion WITH a book.
    As far as immigration is concerned perhaps a good read of the Summa Theologia by Saint Thomas Aquinas would be in order. National Security is a priority for us, early Christians and Old Testament Jews.
    I find it amazing how ignorant our clergy is or, if not, how ignorant they hope the laity is.

  2. Ms. Candello,
    You have a right to your opinion regarding people of the book but not the patronizing comments on the Cardinal and clergy. I remind you of something else Saint Thomas said, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”–Source:Wiki. If one follows Christ, the Catholic church and its people their true faith will become obvious of their deeds to society. Who do you think you speak for when you say “us”? Certainly not me. National Security is not a serious issue for people who have faith. Your point from a writing in the 13th century seems hardly relevant to story above and the times we live in today.

  3. Still waiting for our Pope to tear down the 40 foot high wall surrounding The Vatican. It’s time to start leading by example and accept the many illegal immigrants looking for housing in a foreign country. The Vatican can we’ll provide housing for hundreds of illegal aliens. The same goes to the cardinals who live with high security in highly secured dwellings. Hypocrites.


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