NEWARK, N.J. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A New Jersey cardinal has spearheaded a protest against immigration enforcement.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin joined hundreds of protesters on Wednesday outside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building in Newark, New Jersey.
The cardinal, head of the archdiocese of Newark, said, "I am Joseph, your brother, who has been heartbroken by the inhumanity."
He went on to say, "I ask Catholics and others of goodwill to contact their elected officials and urge them not to manipulate immigrant families as political pawns."
Cardinal Tobin went with about 400 protesters in a march to the ICE office. As they marched, the cardinal led the crowd in the chant, "Stop the inhumanity!"
On the separation of migrant families, Cdl. Tobin opined, "Children will bear the trauma wrought by immigration enforcement raids, separation from their families, and indeterminate detention."
"These draconian measures are not, they are not, a solution to our broken immigration system," he argued. "They are violations of human dignity and are contrary to all religious teachings and the sacred call to care for our most vulnerable populations. Unlike others, we don't have to look up Bible verses to justify the building of walls. There are none."
In May 2018, Cdl. Tobin led a similar immigration protest in Newark called the Jericho Walk.
Also present for Wednesday's protest in Newark was leftist Catholic group Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN).
In a Facebook post Wednesday, ISN shared a live two-hour video of the rally, stating, "ISN is live in Newark, NJ, at the Catholic Day of Action for Immigrant Children with Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Archdiocese of Newark and hundreds of Catholic leaders, calling for an end to child and family immigration detention."
During Wednesday's protest, five people laid on their backs along a crosswalk, forming the shape of a cross. Other protesters gathered around them, reciting various cheers and chants, as well as prayers.
Featuring prominently in the rally was a piece of protest art: an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus, but placed behind a fence, to make a political point about immigration policies.
Video from earlier in the day shows that same artwork leaned up against the altar in a Catholic parish for display. Musicians playing two guitars and a harmonica led attendees in a worship song as the artwork was brought up to the altar.
Regarding the music that was played, Catholic professor and author Taylor Marshall commented sarcastically on Twitter, "This groovy 1969 'Catholic' music is so cool and hip."
This groovy 1969 “Catholic” music is so cool and hip. Wait for the end of the video for a visual surprise: pic.twitter.com/9qvMvfTtIB— Dr Taylor Marshall �� (@TaylorRMarshall) September 4, 2019
A tweet from pro-gay Jesuit Fr. James Martin identified the parish where this occurred as St. Mary's Abbey Church in Newark. Father Martin described those in attendance as "a congregation from young to old."
Evening meditation: "Christ, be our light!" Sung at St. Mary's Abbey Church today in Newark, NJ, in a congregation from young to old, on the #CatholicDayOfAction protesting the detention of migrant children. #Catholics4Migrants @IGsolidarityNET @franciscannet @FaithPublicLife pic.twitter.com/7wVvuGl9kA— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) September 5, 2019
Cardinal Tobin was the only Catholic prelate present for the rally; but other bishops issued statements of support.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory of the Washington archdiocese issued one such statement, saying of immigrants, "Their plight should arouse our compassion, particularly the children and families, so many of whom have been held in detention at the border."
From the diocese of Lexington, Kentucky, Bp. John Stowe issued a similar statement of support.
Stowe reportedly stated, "I applaud the Church in Newark for making a public statement and standing in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters at a time when they have been subjected to dehumanizing cruelty."
The Lexington bishop has a reputation for aggressively promoting the LGBT agenda.