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Words Heating Up Between State Lawmaker and a Religious Leader

Phoenix, AZ – Roger Mahony, the cardinal of the Los Angeles archdiocese, fired
the first salvo earlier this week. In a blog on the church web
site, he called the legislation dreadful. The measure, now
awaiting action by Gov. Jan Brewer, directs police officers, when
practicable, to check whether those with whom they come into
official contact are in this country legally. And while it
precludes race or ethnicity as being the sole factor for deciding
when to question someone, it does permit either to be used as one
factor. Another section makes it a state crime to not have proper
documents to be in this country. But Mahony's criticism didn't
stop there. The cardinal wrote -- quote -- I can't imagine
Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist
techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to
the authorities on any suspicion of documentation. On Wednesday,
Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of the plan, fired back.

(He's not a guy to be calling names. He's part of a group that
have buried and hidden information on predators, moved them
around, while kids lives were destroyed. He has no room to call

Mahony has been named as a defendant in several lawsuits accusing
him of failing to remove priests who he knew or should have known
were pedophiles. Pearce said if the cardinal wants to debate him,
fine. But he said Mahony should not resort to calling names. For
Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.