Standing with the immigrant, charges dropped

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A priest in New Haven, Connecticut was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with the police. The charges are now dismissed. Father Manship, pastor of Saint Rose of Lima Church, a parish community with a dominant Latino congregation, was "videotaping two officers who were removing what they called illegal license plates from a wall of a grocery store owned by an Ecuadorean couple."


The real matter is the process of justice. East Haven police have long been known to do racial profiling. In fact, they are generally imprudent but some of that imprudence is learned from their superiors. The question of what this couple was doing with license plates is rather crucial but whatever it was they really doing needs to be investigated according just principles according the law. Perhaps the law enforcers could have worked with the priest to understand better the context, etc. Nevertheless, there have been significant problems with stolen plates used on cars driven by illegal immigrants in Connecticut, who also drive without insurance. Plus, a causal observer would see the number of Pennsylvania license plates on cars driven by Hispanics in the New Haven area. It's doubtful that they commute from anywhere in Pennsylvania to work in New Haven (PA is normally 3-4 hours away). So, there is something illegal going on here but there is due process of the law.


Father Manship, like any priest, like any Catholic, was right to stand up for the rights of people against the injustice. The Gospel calls us to this type of witness. Prudence and discretion are also required. The Ecuadorean couple may well have been doing wrong but following Catholic Social Teaching and just laws to right the matter is required.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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This page contains a single entry by Paul Zalonski published on March 27, 2009 8:00 AM.

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