New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan has called for a compassionate immigration reform in the United States.

Referring to the controversial immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama which allow law enforcement to check on the status of suspected illegal immigrants, he said that it was “not Christian” and “not American."

The Irish American Cardinal, who could be in line for the position of Pope in the future, was speaking to Chris Jansing, on MSNBC’s “Jansing & Co."

He said the Republican party must “come up with a much saner, more civil, more just immigration policy.”

Dolan continued, “When you have a policy that splits up families, when you have a policy that drives people underground, when you have a policy where now the government, whether it be in Arizona or Alabama, is asking our soup kitchens to ask for documentation before they give people food or housing or clothing or medical care, that’s not right. That’s not Catholic. That’s not Christian. That’s not religious. And it’s not American.”

The Cardinal is also the head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. He said the bishops were in support of immigration reform.

He said “Catholics feel…Catholic bishops feel very strongly about that immigration needs reform. We're just upset where the loudest cheers in the campaign trail for whatever candidate can say the most punitive or the most angry things about immigrants. The Catholic Church is… we call our mother church , and she's traditionally welcomed the immigrant. We are a church of immigrants, so we're particularly sensitive to the rights of immigrants.”

Dolan also spoke about his opposition to President Barack Obama’s administration’s rule that religious-affiliated institutions provide health insurance for the employees that pays for contraceptive services. He said Church leaders are concerned by what they see as government restriction on religious freedoms.

The Cardinal said “What we find particularly odious, Chris, would be what we would say would be an intrusion by a bureau of the federal government into the very definition of religious ministry and the extent of this church’s service.”

Here’s the MSNBC video:

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