From the Pastor: USCCB Solves Refugee Caravans Crisis!
I opened an email from the diocese this week and saw this: “Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the USCCB have released a joint statement about the migrant caravans.” Note the plural number. There was a link to the “joint statement” (which was simply a press release) which I will print in its entirety below so that you can read it for yourself. I encourage you to read it, since it comes from our Bishops’ Conference and, therefore, not only supposedly carries some amount of spiritual weight for every Catholic in the US but is also produced and paid for and distributed with our money. You may come to your own conclusions about it but I will give some small amount of commentary regarding it at the end of this column.
Catholic Agencies Urge Governments to Protect Migrants Seeking Safe Haven
Calling for compassion toward those needing refuge from violence and poverty
BALTIMORE, MD, October 29, 2018 – As thousands of people from Honduras and other Central American countries are making their way toward Mexico and the United States, three major Catholic agencies are urging all people of goodwill to speak and act with compassion towards those seeking refuge from violence and poverty.
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and Sister Donna Markham OP PhD, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA issued the following statement:
“As Catholic agencies assisting poor and vulnerable migrants in the United States and around the world, we are deeply saddened by the violence, injustice, and deteriorating economic conditions forcing many people to flee their homes in Central America. While nations have the right to protect their borders, this right comes with responsibilities: governments must enforce laws proportionately, treat all people humanely, and provide due process.
We affirm that seeking asylum is not a crime. We urge all governments to abide by international law and existing domestic laws that protect those seeking safe haven and ensure that all those who are returned to their home country are protected and repatriated safely.
Furthermore, we strongly advocate for continued U.S. investments to address the underlying causes of violence and lack of opportunity in Central America. Our presence throughout the Americas has convinced us that migration is a regional issue that requires a comprehensive, regional solution. An enforcement-only approach does not address nor solve the larger root causes that cause people to flee their countries in search of protection.
As Christians, we must answer the call to act with compassion towards those in need and to work together to find humane solutions that honor the rule of law and respect the dignity of human life.”
Catholic Relief Services is working with church partners in Guatemala and Mexico to monitor the situation and provide humanitarian assistance to migrants. Recognizing the need to address the violence and lack of opportunity that drive migration, our programs in Central America create economic opportunity and reduce people’s vulnerability.
Now for my comments. What a bunch of gibberish! We have thousands of “refugees” who illegally entered into Mexico with the express purpose of breaking their immigration laws so that they could illegally pass through that country on their way to purposefully and publicly illegally break into our country. Our own Catholic Relief Services has been subsidizing over 7000 of these “refugees” (with our CRS second collection money) as they travel through Mexico (that information comes from the CRS webpage also linked in the diocesan email). Yet in this statement there is not a single word about what our country can, might, or should do about the “migrant caravans” as would have been thought by reading their headline, which I quoted above in the first sentence. Are we to just open our borders and let them in? Without a doubt, there will be a third (a second caravan has already been reported), fourth, and fiftieth caravan marching in if this one succeeds in entering our country without consequences. How about some actual commentary from the Bishops on the pros and cons of this and other various scenarios or solutions? How about some actual guidance instead of just saying, “Be nice to poor people”? I am sorry, but if this is the best they can do and they think this is actually good enough for publication and distribution, it is no wonder our Church is in the mess She is in today. God help us all. And, yes, I offer that last line as a true prayer.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka