Trump trumpets on, church disappointed
Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me.” -Exodus 19:5
America’s two topmost bishops decried President Donald Trump’s order banning Muslim immigrants by inviting all Catholics to take every possible action to support Muslims and migrants.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop José Gomez, the vice president of the Conference, declared that the bond between Christians and Muslims is founded on “the unbreakable strength of charity and justice.”
Ironically, the Cardinal and Archbishop were elected to their positions last year to be the ones to guide the American church’s relationship with Trump and Pope Francis, at a time when US bishops had been divided over what they saw as the Holy Father’s attempts to “liberalize” the church.
The election of Archbishop Gomez – who is one of the church’s loudest voices in support of immigrants – had been the church’s message to the then-campaigning Mr. Trump, that (in Gomez’s words): “The bishops of the United States have to recognize the presence of Latinos in community, country, and church.”
In an attempt to pacify, President Trump said in an interview given alongside his executive decision to ban Muslims, that “Christian refugees should be given priority over people of other faiths.” The two bishops shrugged off the pacifier. In unambiguous terms, they expressed solidarity with Muslims by stating in a written declaration, “The Church will not waiver in her defense of our sisters and brothers of all faiths who suffer at the hands of merciless persecutors.”
Trump’s executive order gives banning priority to “religious minorities” experiencing persecution who are seeking entry into the United States. It strongly includes Syrian refugees from coming to the United States and which places a temporary hold on resettling migrants from other countries.
In fact, that very afternoon, over 550 Catholics gathered in Lafayette Square outside the White House to attend Mass organized to express their solidarity with refugees and immigrants; to show Catholic disapproval to religious discrimination. “We have suffered it for long all over the world.” So they were not going to play silent or look the other way while people were being oppressed and victimized.
Another protestor said, “The Mass as a form of protest is a very beautiful thing because the sacrament itself tears down borders. It’s subversive to the powers that be that we all come together and receive, and that we’re transformed, if we are truly one body, if someone is hurting, we must respond as a body.”
More and more Catholics have spoken out in defense of God’s people. The topmost Bishops stated: “We call upon all the Catholic faithful in America to join us as we unite our voices with all who speak in defense of human dignity.”
The emphasized that their move should not be construed as “political”, that all Catholics and Trump himself need to realize welcoming refugees is at the heart of the Christian faith. “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,” they said. “Our actions must remind people of Jesus.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.”
The Catholic vote had played a large part in getting Trump elected over Hilary Clinton. Is the Church now regretting that? Will the disappointment of the Catholic authorities pause the President ever so slightly?
Let us pray …
by the NLTCE News Network