YAKIMA – Cardinal Francis George, a former bishop of Yakima and now the top Roman Catholic bishop in the United States, returned to Yakima on Saturday, saying the nation’s current immigration policies are unsustainable.
He also touched on the sexual abuse scandal facing the church and encouraged residents to be hopeful during the economic recession that has crippled the country.
George, now archbishop of Chicago and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the church does not support breaking the law or illegal immigration.
“But we should also say you have to respect the people in front of you. If you have neighbors and family members who have been subjected to society financially, socially and religiously for decades, they should be able to live here with security,” said George, who served as bishop of the Yakima Diocese for nearly six years in the 1990s.
George was in Yakima to participate in the lifetime award ceremony for Central Washington Catholics who received the award, a medallion that is named for him.
George said the Catholic Church is being more responsible on the issue of sexual abuse by priests that has rocked the church for years.
But he quickly added the church has more work to do as long as living victims are still hurting.
“We have to keep pace on it,” he said.
Weather Service warns of freeze
With two days to go before the start of fall, there’s already a decided nip in the air in some areas east of the Cascade Range.
Temperatures reached the freezing point, 32 degrees, early Sunday morning in Redmond, Ore., and were in the 30s in Pasco and in Burns, Baker and Klamath Falls in Oregon.
The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for early today for the Spokane area and Coeur d’Alene, Hayden and Worley in the Idaho Panhandle.
New West Nile cases confirmed
Three more cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in Washington state, according to the Department of Health on Friday.
The new victims bring the total to 13 people infected in Washington this year. Before this year, 2008’s three cases had been the state’s highest annual figure since the state began tracking the virus in 2001.
The newest cases are in residents of south-central Washington – a Yakima County man in his 60s, a Klickitat County man in his 40s and a Benton County man in his 40s, officials said.
This year’s cases have all been in people who were exposed in communities east of the Cascades. No deaths have been reported.
West Nile virus season won’t end until colder weather arrives and stops mosquito activity for the year.