Congratulations to Congressman Sensenbrenner!
From the WSJ:
Joined by church leaders, Sensenbrenner becomes Catholic
Wisconsin Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls) converted to Catholicism in a quiet ceremony at Milwaukee’s St. Francis de Sales Seminary on Monday — a private affair reportedly attended by at least two Wisconsin bishops and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
Sensenbrenner’s office confirmed the conversion in an e-mail. But it turned down an interview request, saying the congressman “sees this as a private matter.”
The ceremony was first noted by Mark Silk, professor and director of the Greenberg Center for the study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College in Connecticutt, on his blog, Spiritual Politics. In addition to Dolan, Silk said, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki and Madison Bishop Robert Morlino were on hand.
A spokesman for Morlino confirmed Wednesday that he attended the ceremony. Listecki’s chief of staff, Jerry Topczewski, said, “We don’t comment on his private calendar.” A representative for Dolan could not be reached.
The Republican lawmaker had previously identified himself as an “Anglican Catholic,” Silk noted, “so jumping the Tiber was for him not much of a leap religiously.”
“Sensenbrenner seems to have been traveling this road for awhile,” said Silk.
Silk questioned how the conversion might influence Sensenbrenner’s views on immigration, a policy point on which he and the Catholic bishops have parted ways over the years.
“Who knows whether they even thought about that,” Silk said in a telephone interview. “The question is whether all the bishops really are on board with pro-immigration reform.”
In 2005, the Republican congressman pushed the House of Representatives to pass what became known as the “Sensenbrenner bill,” which would have made it a crime to, among other things, help an undocumented immigrant remain in the United States. And last year, he denounced the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, which had been lauded by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as “the most radical amnesty proposal in our country’s history.”
Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the conference’s committee on Migration, commended the Senate on the vote. And Dolan, then president of the bishops’ conference, urged the House of Representatives to follow suit.