Catholic cardinal condemns ‘forces of division’ and fear

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivers remarks on Nov. 13, 2017, at the USCCB's annual fall meeting in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(AP) — 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 (Nov. 13) for immigration policies that keep families together and a “humane” approach to policing the border.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Texas, affirmed the government’s authority to protect national security. But he said recent policies and attitudes have often been rooted in anxiety about people who “look, talk and even think differently.” That fear is present both within and outside the church, he said.

“The forces of division prey on our fear of the unfamiliar, the different. But fear is not of God,” said DiNardo, in an address to the bishops’ fall meeting in Baltimore. “They tempt us to see a threat in the stranger.”

DiNardo never mentioned President Trump by name, focusing instead on government policy. DiNardo said the country had a “moral responsibility” to protect 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 advocates 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 an aggressive deportation policy and restrictions on refugee entry to the U.S. are critical for national security. His administration has decided to phase out temporary deportation protections enacted under former President 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 has protected about 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families that overstayed visas.

The 68-million-member U.S. Catholic church, the country’s largest denomination by far, runs a nationwide network of support programs for refugees and immigrants. Immigrants make up a large share of church members, including a growing presence of Latinos, both newcomers and U.S.-born parishioners. Pope Francis has made aid for immigrants and refugees a priority of his pontificate.

DiNardo linked the church’s advocacy for immigrants with the Roman Catholic teaching against abortion, saying respect for others begins in the womb. He also called for stronger religious liberty protections for health care workers and others who oppose abortion.

The bishops’ meeting began Sunday night with an opening Mass presided over by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of their conference. In his sermon, Parolin encouraged bishops to continue bringing the church’s voice to “social issues and political debates.”

“The urgent need to welcome and integrate new waves of immigrants continues unabated,” Parolin said. “At the same time, the Catholic community is called, under your guidance, to work for an ever more just and inclusive society by dispelling the shadows of polarization, divisiveness and societal breakdown by the pure light of the Gospel.”

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Rachel Zoll


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  • “……….the Catholic community is called, under your guidance, to work for an ever more just and inclusive society by dispelling the shadows of polarization, divisiveness and societal breakdown…”

    Provided, of course, that it conforms to the RCC’s current iteration of a “just and inclusive” society.

  • Catholic cardinals: gay people are a threat to marriage and children, family and god. They’ve lost touch with their humanity. They must be stopped.
    Look!!! Gay SQUIRRELS!!!!
    Pay no attention to the man with his hands down the cookie jars pants.

  • bang on.
    Gay people must not be subjected to unjust discrimination. But any discrimination we call upon society to do is by definition just.
    In short, its just discrimination.

  • I talked to a a Mexican American friend of mine who marched with 1/2 million undocumented people in Los Angeles for amnesty a few years ago. I asked him why, and he said they are good people that just need a break. I said– Would you have marched if it were 1/2 million undocumented people if they were Russian, Chinese, or Arabs? He truthfully said– I don’t really care about them (NO). I asked a Priest who marched with them if he would have marched if it were 1/2 million undocumented Muslims marching instead of Catholics. He also truthfully said– I hadn’t considered it. I guess we are all self serving to some degree.

    In every Country in the world you have to sign the guest list on the way in and be able to provide verifiable documentation. There are 7.5 billion people on the planet fighting over resources We would have chaos without order.

  • We had two gay men in my combat unit, and a gay doctor helped to save my life in the hospital. I would never tell them that they cannot have the very same civil and social rights as myself or any taxpaying American. No one should tell consenting adults what to do when they get hot in their bedrooms. What do they want to do with all the straight men and women who use each other in a what the Church deems a morally wrong way?

  • Nothing of course. Heterosexuals are forgiven whatever their sins may be. Gay people are unforgiven whatever their sins are not.
    Thank you for your support.

  • “I guess we are all self serving to some degree.”

    Very much so – have you read “The selfish gene”?

    In 99% of people our basic selfishness is moderated by a functioning amygdala which co-ordinates our wants with the pressures of the world around us. Those without a functioning amygdala are called psychopaths.

    I wasn’t so much criticising the Bishops as pointing out the inevitable sub-plot – there could be nothing less – which, I’m sure, they see as right and proper but many of us see as disrespectful and morally corrupt.

    “We would have chaos without order” – on the face of it an indisputable statement since chaos is defined as “complete disorder”. In fact, the absence of order may lead (inevitably?) to order – an evolved order rather than an imposed one.
    Throw a rock into a pond and, eventually, it returns to placidity doesn’t it?

    This is thinking on the fly you understand.

    The problem with imposed order is that the order will inevitably reflect the preferences of those doing the imposing – the problem with evolved order is that, if those involved are unequally powerful, it may (must) do the same.

    I suspect the various attempts at “democratic” government since Ancient Greece are the result of people trying to put in place systems which work with the minimum of conflict and the maximum of general benefit – in a way which preserves the control of the ruling gang?

  • “They tempt us to see a threat in the stranger.”

    Had I been raised around some Catholic priests, I would hopefully have recognized the threat among us.

  • personally I would be uneasy taking sexual advice or rules from a gang of celibate men….just saying.

  • Again, you have to rely on faith that they are all celibate. Also, can you take reliable advice from a married priest who is distracted by a demanding wife and screaming kids running around the house, as opposed to a celibate man who dedicates himself solely to focusing on your issues that you cannot resolve yourself, or else you would not have come to a priest in the first place? Just asking!

    I am an atheist, but a friend of mine went to a priest when she was getting a divorce, because of her feelings of guilt, that were caused by the Church in first place. She told the priest everything, and the priest said— your marriage was over when you husband broke his vows by cheating with other women, which gave her some relief. But I don’t know if she is allowed to receive “Holy Communion”, so the Church still gets to hold that out over her. You are never completely from their hold over you, if you let them.

  • We’re working from an unproven assumption that married ministers are more distracted than celibate priests. Apparently, some priests have found illegal distractions,

  • Unproven is true! I cannot prove that the sun will come up tomorrow, but I would presume it will. You are correct, because I have never been a celibate priest.

  • When you throw too much out there, you cloud the water. Let me just say- We all have to stop at red lights for a reason.

  • Yet in many cases traffic flows better via roundabouts (traffic circles/rotaries?) without red lights. I know – more clouding.

  • Indeed….we have verified vast data that the earth will continue to rotate./.a very fair bet 🙂