BALTIMORE – The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, decried what he said were “the forces of division” in the country, as he called Monday for immigration policies that keep families and a “humane” approach to policing the border.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Texas, where the power of the government to the protection of national security. But he said recent policies and attitudes are often rooted in fear about people who look, talk and even think differently.” That fear is present both inside and outside the church, ” he said.
“The troops of the division to prey on our fear of the unknown, the other. But fear is not of God,” said DiNardo, in a speech to the bishops fall meeting in Baltimore. “They entice us to see a threat in the stranger.”
DiNardo never called President Donald Trump by name, address, in place of the policy of the government. DiNardo said that the country had a “moral responsibility” for the protection of the border “in a humane way.” He said a “pro-life immigration policy is one that does not tear families apart.” And he expressed support for young immigrants known by their lawyers as Dreamers. For “those who have only known the United States as their home, we make Pope Francis’ words our own: keep on dreaming,” DiNardo said.
Trump has said are aggressive deportation policies and restrictions of the refugees and the access to the US are of critical importance to national security. His government has decided to phase out the temporary deportation protection enacted under the former President Barack Obama for a number of those young people brought to the country illegally as children, giving Congress until March to come up with a new policy. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protected approximately 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, or came with the families who exceeded visa.
The 68-million-member AMERICAN Catholic church, the country’s largest denomination, runs a nationwide network of support programs for refugees and immigrants. Immigrants constitute a large part of the members of the church, including a growing presence of Latinos, both newcomers and U.S.-born parishioners. Pope Francis has made support for immigrants and refugees a priority of his pontificate.
DiNardo linked the church’s advocacy for immigrants with the Roman Catholic teachings against abortion, saying respect for others begins in the womb. He also called for greater freedom of expression, protection for emergency responders and others who oppose abortion.
The bishops ‘ meeting began Sunday night with an opening Mass presided by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of their conference. In his sermon, Parolin encouraged bishops to continue to bring the church the voice of “social issues and political debates.”
“The urgent need to welcome and integrate new waves of immigrants continue unabated,” Parolin said. “At the same time, the Catholic community is called, under your leadership, to work for a more just and inclusive society through the elimination of the shadows of the polarization, discord, and social disruption by the pure light of the Gospel.”