Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, fired back at Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, following Bannon’s suggestion that the Catholic Church was economically motivated to oppose Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“You might imagine I was rather befuddled to see it,” Dolan said on Sirius XM’s Catholic Channel on Thursday. “I don’t really 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 because we want to fill our churches and get more money.”
“That’s insulting and that’s just so ridiculous that it doesn’t merit a comment,” Dolan continued.
Bannon first made the allegation by saying that the church had an “economic interest” in “unlimited illegal immigration.”
“To come to grips with the problems in the church, they need illegal aliens — they need illegal aliens to fill the churches,” Bannon said in a CBS “60 Minutes” interview. “They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration.”
“As much as I respect Cardinal Dolan and the bishops on doctrine, this is not doctrine,” Bannon continued. “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.”
“Well, as a matter of fact he may be right,” Dolan responded. “This is not an issue of Catholic doctrine because it comes from the Bible itself and we Catholics are people of the book.”
“And the Bible is so clear, so clear, that to treat the immigrant with dignity and respect, to make sure that society is just in its treatment of the immigrant is Biblical mandate,” Dolan continued. “It’s clear from the lips of Jesus when he said, ‘Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me. When I was a stranger,’ meaning an immigrant or a refugee, ‘you welcomed me.'”
Trump, this week, decided to revoke the Obama-era DACA program that protects from deportation 800,000 immigrants living in the country illegally — many of whom were brought to the US as children. Following the decision, Dolan said that it was “certainly not Christian” and “not American.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.