WASHINGTON (CNS) — While most U.S. bishops have not publicly addressed comments from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump regarding immigration, a popular U.S. cardinal and adviser to the pope said he is worried about such rhetoric.
Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley directly addressed the issue July 17 when he answered a question by Irish media: “Are you worried about Donald Trump’s simplistic solutions at all?”
“I worry about his rhetoric,” said the cardinal in response to the question by a reporter during an interview with Raidio Teilifis Eireann. “It’s very easy to stir up resentment and to blame groups of people.”
The U.S. Catholic bishops, citing the Gospel mandate to “welcome the stranger,” have long supported comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship, especially for those immigrants already in the country.
When announcing his candidacy for president June 16, 2015, Trump famously said that the U.S. has become “a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” while referring to immigrants.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting.”
He added that, “They’re sending us, not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico, it’s coming from all over South and Latin America and it’s coming probably … from the Middle East … and it’s gotta stop and it’s gotta stop fast.”
Shortly after that speech, Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of Dallas, wrote in a July 2015 blog about immigrant bashing of the past, including in the form of nativism, which instills a fear of losing “American values and traditions … by immigrants who were considered inferior mentally and culturally.” The Irish-born bishop said that in the past “anti-immigration laws were enacted against the Chinese, Irish, German, Italian and Eastern European immigrants,” who “were vilified as sub-human, ne’er-do-wells and drunkards incapable of productive citizenship.”
In his recent interview, Cardinal O’Malley, too, recalled how the Irish in the United States were the ones blamed for the economic problems of the country at one point. But the cardinal said that instead of looking and finding blame for a country’s problems, “we need to take care of one another.”
“We need to be able to work together as a community of nations to deal with the reasons that all of this movement of people takes place,” he said. “Very often, wars or economic injustice or oppression, causes people to make the life-changing decision to abandon everything that is familiar to them and go off to another country.”
This year, most bishops, while refraining from addressing Trump’s words directly, have focused on recognizing the contributions of immigrants or emphasizing Bible teaching about welcoming the stranger.
In Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez celebrated a July 17 Mass for immigrants.
“We pray for immigration reform in our country, for our elected officials and for people all over the world that they open their hearts to the immigrants who come to their countries,” Archbishop Gomez said.
Cardinal O’Malley affirmed the call of other bishops in the U.S. to work for “just immigration laws and a way of dealing with immigration that would not dehumanize people.”
Immigrants, he said, need to be seen as a resource and not as a burden.
“Countries have to learn to see them that way,” he told Irish media.
And in that sense, the U.S. has an easier task before it than Europe. Europe, he said, has a greater challenge because often people’s identity has been a shared history, a shared ethnicity, a shared religion.
“We’ve never had that in the United States. We’ve always had a collection of people from all over, every language, every religion, every race. But this is what the mission of the church must be: to bring people together to help recognize that we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord.”
In the document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” the U.S. bishops say that “the Gospel mandate to ‘welcome the stranger’ requires Catholics to care for and stand with newcomers, authorized and unauthorized, including unaccompanied immigrant children, refugees and asylum-seekers, those unnecessarily detained, and victims of human trafficking.”
It says that while nations have a right to control their borders and maintain rule of law, that must be “pursued in a just and humane manner.”
“Comprehensive reform is urgently necessary to fix a broken immigration system,” the document says “and should include a broad and fair legalization program with a path to citizenship; a work program with worker protections and just wages; family reunification policies; access to legal protections, which include due process procedures; refuge for those fleeing persecution and violence; and policies to address the root causes of migration.”
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As a Catholic I am appalled at the Bishops’ acquiescence in Trump’s election.
He spewed forth hatred of blacks, Hispanics, Latin Americans, prisoners of war, the LGBT community, the handicapped, women, etc. He repeatedly lied about obvious statements that were recorded. Yet, somehow he was acceptable? How can Catholics cheer the election of someone who publicly shamed and laughed at a handicapped man? Why is it once that children are born it’s a positive to deny them healthcare, food and shelter?
Where in the gospels does it say we should hate everyone who is unlike ourselves? Haven’t the bishops read the parable of the Good Samaritan? Yes it was about helping someone who was despised by the community. It was about charity–according to the gospels, charity is the most importanat virtue. Somehow a candidate who hated everyone is considered acceptable? Where are their morals?
I am really concerned and frightened with the tone of his lashing out against people who are disabled, nationalities and religions. How far have we come? Is this a country who will back this man who is spitting out so much hatred? Is it because this is what America really feels and are backing him because he is stupid enough to say it publicly? Dear God help us all. We must pray and pray hard.
I wonder, with regard to earlier immigrants who experienced serious prejudice, how many came “illegally?”
How many arrived in waves of tens of thousands, with no medical examination, no vetting of any kind,
bringing with them political vendettas spawned in countries where Christians are currently crucified, women
are treated worse than cattle, and children are forced into sexual slavery? Were tens of thousands of unaccompanied
children rushed across our borders, unchecked for disease, and disbursed immediately to unsuspecting and uninformed
cities and towns across the nation?
My guess is that the Chinese, Irish, German, Italian and Eastern European immigrants mentioned in these
statements, arrived under different circumstances, were at least somewhat “vetted,” and did not harbor only bad thoughts
about the United States of America. Oh, and they arrived at a time in our history when we had an existing population of approximately 200,000,000….LESS than we have today.
Where is the outrage and “worry” about VP KAINE ? Pro abortion, Muslim sympathizer, first class liar. Where is the outrage about Hillary ? A felon running for POTUS? Trump not racist. That’s the media’s proparganda. Where is the worst about O’Malley ?
I voted for Trump in the Texas primary and plan to vote for him in November. By the way, I’m one of those many Americans related to someone who was raped and murdered by an illegal during a home invasion — an illegal who supposedly had NO PRIOR RECORD — ONE OF THOSE SUPPOSEDLY OH SO INNOCENT “VICTIMS” OF US MIGRATION LAWS. BTW I’ve been long opposed to illegals, not just because that happened. This “wave” of immigration, as any true American knows, is not comparable to those in the past. These people are refusing to learn to language, to assimilate, to obey migration laws, it shows no sign of stopping, and their countries of origin — ex. Mexico — aid and abet the predatory migration/invasion as a means of attacking this country.
How about the cardinal worrying about Catholics who vote and continue to vote for radical pro abortion candidates? How about that Cardinal. You all have been silent for over 40 years and that is why we got Obama and probably Hillary. I am so fed up with our Church leaders. My grandparents came here legally Cardinal and did it the right way. Unreal. So many Catholics including the clergy have been compliment in the 60 million unborn lives sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. Any wonder why the largest group of Catholics are those who left?
As a Catholic, I find it extremely troublesome that Cardinal O’Malley and other Catholic bishops feel they can criticize Donald Trump for his stand on upholding the law by protecting the American people from the invasion of people who refuse to enter this country legally as my grandparents from Poland and Ireland did. As to the preeminent issue for every practicing Catholic, protecting the lives of the pre born, I hear no condemnation from Cardinal O’Malley for the strong pro abortion beliefs of Mrs. Clinton and her so called Catholic running mate Governor Tim Kaine. Gov. Kaine has a 100% rating from NARAL
There wasn’t anything inflammatory in Mr. Trumps remarks about immigration. As a life long Catholic, I do
see a problem with the bishops.