January 30, 2017
did we see you a stranger and welcome you?"
WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of
the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Archbishop José H. Gomez
of Los Angeles, vice president of the USCCB, have issued the following joint
statement regarding the recent executive order on the new refugee policy
announced by President Trump this past Friday. President Trump's executive
order suspends the entry of refugees into the United States for 120
days. The order also indefinitely stops the admission of Syrian refugees
and for 90 days, bars individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
joint statement as follows:
Over the past several days, many brother
bishops have spoken out in defense of God's people. We are grateful for their
witness. Now, we call upon all the
Catholic faithful to join us as we unite our voices with all who speak in
defense of human dignity.
The bond between Christians and Muslims is
founded on the unbreakable strength of charity and justice. The Second Vatican Council in Nostra Aetate urged us to sincerely work
toward a mutual understanding that would "promote together for the benefit of
all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom." The
Church will not waver in her defense of our sisters and brothers of all faiths
who suffer at the hands of merciless persecutors.
The refugees fleeing from ISIS and other
extremists are sacrificing all they have in the name of peace and freedom. Often, they could be spared if only they
surrendered to the violent vision of their tormentors. They stand firm in their faith. Many are families, no different from yours or
mine, seeking safety and security for their children. Our nation should welcome
them as allies in a common fight against evil.
We must screen vigilantly for infiltrators who would do us harm, but we
must always be equally vigilant in our welcome of friends.
The Lord Jesus fled the tyranny of Herod,
was falsely accused and then deserted by his friends. He had nowhere to lay His
head (Lk. 9:58). Welcoming the stranger and those in flight is not one option
among many in the Christian life. It is
the very form of Christianity itself.
Our actions must remind people of Jesus. The actions of our government
must remind people of basic humanity.
Where our brothers and sisters suffer rejection and abandonment we will
lift our voice on their behalf. We will welcome them and receive them. They are
Jesus and the Church will not turn away from Him.
Our desire is not to enter the political
arena, but rather to proclaim Christ alive in the world today. In the very moment a family abandons their
home under threat of death, Jesus is present.
And He says to each of us, "whatever you did for one of these least
brothers of mine, you did for me" (MT 25:40).
Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo,
Archbishop José H. Gomez, President Trump, Executive Order, refugee policy,
Christianity, Muslim faith, human dignity, Syrian refugees, social justice,