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Catholic bishops called out Steve Bannon over his comments about undocumented immigrants

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Updated September 08, 2017 05:08 PM EDT

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called out former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon just days after he accused the Catholic Church of having ulterior motives in helping undocumented immigrants.

James Rogers, the USCCB's chief spokesman, called Bannon's comments "preposterous" in a interview on Sirius Radio.

Rogers was referring to Steve Bannon's interview with Charlie Rose on "60 Minutes" where he claimed the Catholic Church only needs "illegal aliens" as worshipers.

Rogers says Bannon's statements are untrue.

"Our pro-immigration stance is based on fidelity to God's word and honors the American dream. For anyone to suggest that it is out of sordid motives of statistics or financial gain is outrageous and insulting," he added.

"And the Bible is so clear, so clear, that to treat the immigrant with dignity and respect, to make sure that society is just in its treatment of the immigrant is Biblical mandate," Dolan said. "It's clear in the Old Testament -- my Jewish neighbors remind me of that all the time -- and it's clear from the lips of Jesus when he said, 'Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do to me. When I was a stranger -- meaning an immigrant or a refugee -- you welcomed me.'"

Bannon's comments have drawn widespread criticism.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, said in an interview on the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM, "I don't really care to go into what I think is a preposterous and rather insulting statement that the only reason we bishops care for immigrants is for the economic because we want to fill our churches and get more money."

The full interview of Steve Bannon on "60 Minutes" will air this Sunday.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is accusing the Catholic Church of needing "illegal aliens" as worshipers.

“The Catholic Church has been terrible about this,” he said while discussing immigration policy in a new interview Thursday. “The bishops have been terrible about this.”

“[It’s] because [they’re] unable to really to – to – to come to grips with the problems in the church,” Bannon continued on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” “They need illegal aliens, they need illegal aliens to fill the churches.”

“They have an economic interest. They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration.”

Bannon was discussing President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA temporarily blocks undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children from deportation and lets them get renewable work permits.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday announced that Trump’s administration would eliminate the program in six months.

Nearly 800,000 “Dreamers,” or DACA recipients, have benefited from the program since former President Barack Obama’s administration implemented it in 2012.

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