The Catholic Church and illegal immigration: that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

On this Ash Wednesday, the Cardinal of Los Angeles, Roger Mahoney, shocked some Americans by saying he will instruct his priests to defy proposed legislation already passed by the House that would crack down on people aiding illegal aliens. Basically, the cardinal is saying that it is the duty of a Christian to help poor people, no matter what their immigration status.

Mahoney then went even further, telling The Los Angeles Times that the War on Terror isn't going to be won through immigration restrictions. The cardinal went on to say that Al Qaeda would not trek through miles of deadly desert to infiltrate the USA.

Well, how Mahoney could know that is a mystery. It seems to me Al Qaeda killers do a lot of trekking — through the mountains of Afghanistan, through the deserts of Syria, Iran and Iraq. Somebody tell the cardinal. Mahoney has long been an advocate of immigrant rights and legality does not enter into his thinking.

By the way, the cardinal has been roundly criticized for being soft on priests who molest children, but that is a separate matter. "Talking Points" did have to note it however. There is no question the cardinal believes anyone who gets into the USA deserves help and that is a controversial sanctuary policy. How "rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" fits into the cardinal's thinking is another mystery.

Surely Mahoney must realize that all nations have a right to control who enters their territory. This is just common sense. Right now, the USA has no record of more than 10 million illegal aliens. That is a dangerous and chaotic situation, brought about by a federal government that has been derelict in its duty.

The question is: Is Cardinal Mahoney being derelict in his duty as well? He was in the priest- pedophilia scandal, but this controversy is a bit more muddled. The philosophy of Jesus is to help the poor and downtrodden. And illegal aliens absolutely fall into that category. It's hard to imagine Jesus would ask a person's national status before giving that person a drink or a sandwich. And that is the crux of the matter. Good Christians must help those in need.

But do we have to enable them? The new law is designed to stop sanctuary movements that aid illegals far beyond giving them a temporary hand. Right now, there's an underground railroad of Americans who actively help illegals evade the law. That has to stop and if Cardinal Mahoney orders his priests to disobey the law, then he must suffer the legal consequences.

Finally with all due respect to the cardinal, he's clueless about how to wage the War on Terror or about the unintended consequences of illegal immigration. People are indeed suffering and most of them are here legally: us.

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Only the people who hate us will think this is ridiculous, and they are out there, unfortunately.

I want to thank Miami FBI Agent Cesar Paz for awarding me an American flag that flew in Iraq. The flag was used at the FBI's Bagram operations center; on December 12th it flew. And I am honored to have it. The FBI and other federal agencies are working hard to bring order and protection to the Iraqis.

And I'd like to compliment the FBI in general for doing a great job since 9/11 keeping Americans safe from terrorists. We hear a lot of negative stuff about all our federal agencies, but I think they are looking out for us.

And again, I thank Special Agent Paz for his generosity. Nothing ridiculous about it.

—You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com

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