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A White Paper funded by a grant from the Hagedorn Foundation and the Jesuit Conference. This project hypothesized that a faith-based perspective emphasizing humanism and the search for the common good allows for a more inclusive discursive environment, which could shift the dialogue away from the usual polarized atmosphere more commonly found in such a highly charged politicaldiscourse as immigration. Drawing on a cluster analysis and term frequency index from two focus groups held at two Catholic parishes on Long Island, New York (NY), this paper looks at common frames surrounding the topic of immigration and argues that, when framed in terms of religion and local experience, a more positiveand empathetic discussion of immigration emerges. Alternatively, when participants discussed immigration in terms of a government or institutional frame,a qualitatively more negative dialogue develops. This paper also identifies the tensions that arise for parishioners when priests introduce political issues directly into religious services. This finding indicates broader concerns among congregants related to the separation of church and state that has implications for how the Catholic Church organizes for immigration reform in the United States (US) and invites parishioners into dialogue around hotly contested social and political issues.


Copyright 2015 Center for Faith and Public Life, Fairfield University

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The Center for Faith and Public Life