Browsing News Entries
Posted on 06/20/2018 23:01 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Jun 20, 2018 / 04:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The United States bishops have asked Congress to compromise on immigration reform to give legal protections for undocumented youth, known as “Dreamers,” and ensure respect for human dignity and families at U.S. borders.
A June 19 letter to the House of Representatives stated that the bishops cannot endorse changes to the immigration system that “detrimentally impact families and the vulnerable” as contained in new legislation brought before the House this week.
“We welcome the opportunity to dialogue with lawmakers and to discuss possible opportunities for further compromise,” wrote Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, chairman of the bishops’ committee on migration.
The letter stated immigration legislation should be “bipartisan, provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship, be pro-family, protect the vulnerable and be respectful of human dignity with regard to border security and enforcement.”
Vasquez also reminded House members that family separation at the border can be ended without legislation at the discretion of the administration.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order June 20 ending the policy of family separation, except when there is a risk to the child's welfare. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan indicated that the lower chamber will vote Thursday on an immigration bill.
H.R. 6136 on border security and immigration reform was introduced June 19 by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and includes a proposal of a framework for Dreamers potentially to receive permanent residence and later citizenship in the U.S.
The framework would include the same criteria outlined in the DACA program, initiated by President Obama in 2012, which postponed deportation of undocumented immigrants under the age of 30, who had been brought to the U.S. before the age of 16 and lived in the U.S. since June 2007.
The new bill would require applicants also to have no more than one non-traffic-related misdemeanor, including for immigration-related offences; and if not a student or primary caregiver, to demonstrate the ability to maintain an income of at least 125 percent of the poverty line.
The new bill is on the schedule to be considered by the House in the coming week, along with H.R. 4760, which was introduced Jan. 10.
Vasquez responded to immigration bill H.R. 4760 in a statement Jan. 10, calling for financially sound, effective, and safe measures to strengthen national security at the U.S. border, emphasizing that Dreamers and their families “deserve certainty, compassion, generosity, and justice.”
He also acknowledged the nation’s right to control its borders, but cautioned against the introduction of “unrelated, unnecessary, or controversial elements of immigration policy – especially those that jeopardize the sanctity of families or unaccompanied children – into the bipartisan search for a just and humane solution for the Dreamers.”
Posted on 06/20/2018 22:35 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Jun 20, 2018 / 03:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archbishop of Los Angeles said he “welcomes” an executive order signed Wednesday by President Trump, and called on Congress to act on immigration reform.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday titled “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation,” intended to end the practice of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border, while maintaining the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy illegal entry into the United States.
The executive order said that detained families will be held together, “where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.”
In a tweet Wednesday afternoon, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Vice-President of the bishops’ conference, said “I welcome the President’s executive order ending the cruel family separation policy. Now Congress needs to act on immigration. With my brother (bishops) @USCCB, I am disappointed about the bills the House will vote on tomorrow.”
“We need a bipartisan bill like the #USAAct that provides a clear path to citizenship for #Dreamers and secures our borders. And we need it now,” Gomez added in a subsequent tweet.
The executive order laid the blame for family separation on Congress for its “failure to act” as well as court orders that “have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law.”
“The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary), shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, maintain custody of alien families during the pendency of any criminal improper entry or immigration proceedings involving their members,” the order reads.
Minor children are not currently permitted in detention facilities where adults are held. This new executive order calls for the Secretary of Defense to provide the Secretary of Homeland Security with existing facilities that can be used to house a family unit. If these facilities do not exist, they will be constructed.
The 1997 Flores consent decree limits the amount of time that undocumented immigrant children can be held by the federal government, whether they crossed the border with relatives or by themselves. In Wednesday’s executive order, the attorney general was instructed to “promptly file a request” with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to modify this agreement. With the requested modifications, undocumented immigrant families would be able to be detained together during criminal proceedings.
The Attorney General was also ordered to prioritize any cases involving a detained family.
The US bishops’ conference did not respond to a request for comment by deadline. The conference, as well as individual bishops, have been vocal in opposition to family separation at the border.
Speaking at the signing, President Trump said he “didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” and that “it's a problem that's gone on for many years, as you know, through many administrations.”
“So we're keeping families together, and this will solve that problem,” said Trump.
“At the same time, we are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be a zero-tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally.”
Posted on 06/20/2018 22:07 PM (CNA Daily News)
Fort Worth, Texas, Jun 20, 2018 / 03:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As thousands of children have been separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexican border in recent weeks, Catholic Charities Fort Worth has opened its doors to shelter the unaccompanied migrant children.
“…Catholic Charities Fort Worth has received and is assisting children who have been separated from their parents at the U.S./Mexico border,” said Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth in a June 19 statement.
“The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth and Catholic Charities Fort Worth, as in the past, will live out the mission to help those in need,” Olson continued, noting that “Catholic Charities staff stands ready to expand the program as needed.”
The Trump administration’s immigration policy has garnered international attention for its zero-tolerance stance at the border, which has enforced the separation of migrant children from their parents who have be detained by border officials as a way to deter illegal immigration.
The United Nations condemned the separation policy June 5, saying it was “a serious violation of the rights of the child.”
Olson additionally condemned the practice, saying supporting it “lacks compassion, promotes hardness of heart, and further desensitizes us to our mission and responsibilities as Christians to give comfort to the afflicted and to promote respect for human life…”
“The unwarranted separation of parents from their children not only harms those relationships but undermines the right to life, the respect for legitimate authority, and all other basic human rights in society,” Olson remarked.
“The use of separation of children, including babies, from their mothers and fathers at the U.S./Mexican border as a tool for implementing the Administration’s zero-tolerance policy is sinful because it undermines the right to life of the vulnerable, directly traumatizes those who have already been injured, and undermines the role of legitimate authority,” he continued.
According to the administration, the policy has separated around 2,342 children from their parents between May 9 and June 5. The federal government is in charge of providing shelter for the migrant children who have been taken from their parents.
Catholic Charities Fort Worth has been hosting a number of migrant children in an effort to serve the families torn apart by the immigration policy. The Star-Telegram reported Catholic Charities was contracted with the federal government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, according to Pat Svacina, a spokesman for the Diocese of Fort Worth.
To protect the privacy of the children, Catholic Charities did not release any information on the children they were sheltering at their 26-bed facility.
An online statement from Catholic Charities Fort Worth offered ways to help, encouraging individuals to donate to their Unaccompanied Children program or help create welcome boxes. They are also looking for foster parents through the International Foster Care Program who can provide a safe haven for the children who have been separated from their parents.
“I call on each of us to examine our own consciences and interior lives if we in any way take cruel delight in these actions done in the name of our government and in the name of the security of our borders,” said Olson.
“Separating children from their mothers and fathers in an already traumatic time in their lives as immigrants seeking asylum is inhumane and morally wrong without due regard for the safety and protection of the children and informed consent of their parents.”
Posted on 06/20/2018 22:01 PM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, Jun 20, 2018 / 03:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In an interview with Reuters, Pope Francis said more space has to be created for women to take on leading roles in the Roman Curia, but that priestly ordination is not an option.
Responding to a question about women's ordination to the priesthood, the pope said “there is the temptation to 'functionalize' the reflection on women in the Church, what they should do, what they should become.”
“We cannot functionalize women,” he said, explaining that while the Church is referred to as a woman, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is out of the question “because dogmatically it doesn't work.”
“John Paul II was clear and closed the door, and I will not go back on this. It was something serious, not something capricious,” he said, adding, “it cannot be done.”
However, Francis stressed that while the priesthood is out, women do need to be given more opportunities for leadership in the Roman Curia – a view he said has at times been met with resistance.
“I had to fight to put a woman as the vice-director of the press office,” he said, referring to his decision in 2016 to name Spanish journalist Paloma Garica Ovejero as the Vatican's deputy spokesperson.
He said he at one point offered a woman the job of heading the Vatican's Secretariat for Communications, but she turned it down because “she already had other commitments.”
Women in the Curia “are few, we need to put more,” he said, adding that it can be either a religious sister or a laywoman, “it doesn't matter,” but there is a need to move forward with an eye for quality and competency in the job.
“I don't have any problem naming a woman as the head of a dicastery, if the dicastery doesn't have jurisdiction,” he said, referring to the fact that some Vatican departments have specific functions in Church governance that require a bishop to do the job. Lay men are also ineligible to oversee offices that require the jurisdictional authority of a priest or bishop.
For example, the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy has jurisdiction, so it has to be led by a bishop, but for others, such as the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy, “I would not have a problem naming a competent woman,” Francis said.
Women must continue to be promoted, but without falling into “a feminist attitude,” the pope said, adding that “in the end it would be machismo with a skirt. We don't want to fall into this.”
Pope Francis spoke during an interview with American journalist Phil Pullella of Reuters, which took place Sunday at the pope’s Vatican residence, and was published June 20.
In the interview, the pope touched on a variety of topics, including a possible deal with China on the appointment of bishops, clerical abuse and the ongoing scandal in Chile, the reform of the Roman Curia, and criticism he's faced.
On the topic of women, Francis said that in his experience, things are usually done better when there is a mixed group working on a task, rather than just men.
“Women have an ability to understand things, it’s another vision,” he said, noting that whenever he has visited prisons run by women, they “seemed to do better,” because women know how to be “mothers” and care for inmates and their needs in a unique way.
“Women know how to manage conflicts better. In these things, women are braver,” he said, adding, “I think it would be so also in the Curia if there were more women.”
Francis noted that some have said inviting more women into the mix might mean there is more gossip, however, he said he does not believe that would be the case, “because we men are also gossipers.”
Posted on 06/20/2018 21:00 PM (CNA Daily News)
Managua, Nicaragua, Jun 20, 2018 / 02:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Peace talks mediated last week by the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, between the government of President Daniel Ortega and his opposition, proved to be short-lived as clashes have yet again devolved into violence.
On Friday, June 15, the bishops of Nicaragua, who have been key mediators in peace talks in the majority-Catholic country, reconvened a national dialogue to make known the response of Ortega to the proposals he was given in order to end the crisis.
But by Tuesday, June 19, at least 11 people had died in additional fighting, and the peace talks were yet again abandoned after Ortega’s administration failed to invite international organizations to investigate deaths and acts of violence as promised.
Unrest first broke out in the country in April after Ortega, who has been president since 2007, announced social security and pension reforms. The changes were soon abandoned in the face of widespread, vocal opposition, but protests intensified after more than 40 protesters were killed by security forces. Peace talks (which began May 16) had been suspended May 23 for lack of consensus.
Despite the signing of the ceasefire, a family of at least six died in an arson attack on their home and business in Managua June 16. Opposition groups have said a pro-government militia was responsible for the blaze, a charge the government has denied.
Two more people in Managua were killed the same day in incidents “attributed to masked pro-government groups backed up by armed police,” the BBC reported.
At least another three were killed by para-government forces in Masaya, a city just 16 miles southeast of Managua that has become a hub for the opposition to Ortega.
“You cannot be in a dialogue on the one hand and killing and murdering on the other,” Álvaro Leiva Sánchez, the secretary of the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights, said after the violence in Masaya, according to the New York Times. “It’s not possible.
Opposition groups have said they want Ortega out of office immediately, while in their negotiations the Catholic Church has recommended that early elections be held in the country by March.
Posted on 06/20/2018 20:26 PM (CNA Daily News)
Austin, Texas, Jun 20, 2018 / 01:26 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The 23 bishops of Texas will not have to turn over emails and other communications to an abortion provider, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday.
The ruling came in response to a Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (TCCB) appeal from an order from a trial court on Sunday requiring the bishops to hand over private documents to Whole Woman’s Health, a chain of abortion facilities in the state.
Whole Woman’s Health filed suit against the State of Texas two years ago over a law that requires aborted fetal remains to be either buried or cremated. Previously, the remains were treated as medical waste and thrown into a landfill.
Although the bishops are not party to the lawsuit, Whole Woman’s Health attempted to acquire various communications from the TCCB concerning abortion. These included private email and internal communications between bishops.
The bishops had previously offered to bury aborted fetal remains for free in Catholic cemeteries in Texas.
The bishops had requested emergency protection of their emails and other documents from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which put a halt to Sunday’s order. The court ordered additional briefs to be submitted by Monday, June 25.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the TCCB, said that the bishops deserve privacy from the government in their communications.
“Government should not have unbounded power to insert itself into the private conversations of any group, much less the leadership of the Catholic Church,” said Eric Rassbach, vice president and senior counsel at Becket.
“Constant surveillance of religious groups is a hallmark of totalitarian societies, not a free people.”
Rassbach’s sentiment was echoed by Texas bishops, who reiterated the importance of being able to have private deliberations amongst themselves.
Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, from the Diocese of Austin, said that he and his brother bishops have “not just a right, but a duty to speak out on issues that concern justice, mercy, and a consistent ethic on life.”
To do this, Vasquez said, it is critical that they be able to deliberate with each other privately prior to issuing a statement on a topic. He said the court’s ruling was “vital” for the Church.
“Children are not disposable,” said Bishop Edward J. Burns from the Diocese of Dallas, comparing the lawsuit to the policy of separating undocumented children from their parents at the U.S. border.
“We believe that life is sacred from the moment of conception. We also believe that we have a right to discuss in private how to address this issue and uphold the dignity of every human life, and that while upholding the sacredness of life may seem at odds with some people, our religious liberties and religious rights should not be eroded.”
Posted on 06/20/2018 19:28 PM (CNA Daily News)
Rome, Italy, Jun 20, 2018 / 12:28 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The papal charity Caritas Internationalis hosted a lunch Tuesday in Rome with immigrants and refugees, hoping to foster a “culture of encounter” during its Global Action Week.
Caritas' June 17-24 Global Action Week is part of its two-year Share the Journey initiative. Launched by Pope Francis in September 2017, the project is aimed at encouraging a “culture of encounter” and bolstering efforts to welcome warmly immigrants and refugees.
The goal of the project is to shed light on both the challenges and effects of migration at every stage of the journey in order to promote a “shift in thinking” on the issue. It has the support of the ACT Alliance, which is a network of 145 Christian agencies and a variety of other religious congregations and civil society groups worldwide.
As part of the action week, Caritas branches in all regions of the world will organize shared meals with immigrants and refugees, including the June 19 lunch at Rome's Termini train station, as well as other events aimed at raising awareness and prompting interaction with refugees.
Korkiss Diallo, an Ivorian emigrant living in Italy, spoke at the June 19 lunch about the prejudice migrants face in their new homes.
He said he is not a bad person, but was forced to leave his home country and search for a better life elsewhere due to war.
“Many people think that Africans are bad, that they steal, that they do things that are illegal,” Diallo told journalists.
“I came here I think to have a good life and to have work,” he said, adding that each country has both good and bad people, “so not all are bad, to say that all are bad is not true.”
Diallo, 23, left Ivory Coast in 2011 when violence erupted following the election of a new president. Diallo's family had supported the losing candidate, and feared they would be targets of the violent upheaval, so he left.
He travelled to Italy from Libya by boat. He had been told the boat ride would only last five hours, but he ended up spending a week stranded at sea with other migrants before being rescued in Italian waters.
Diallo then arrived in Sardinia in 2014, where he sought asylum. He then made his way to Rome and was put in touch with Caritas, who suggested that he participate in “A Refugee in My Home,” in which families welcome migrants or refugees to live with them.
The young migrant agreed, and was placed with an Italian family, who have accepted him as part of the family. Diallo soon learned Italian, enrolled in educational courses, and took a pizza-making class.
He now works seasonal jobs at pizza restaurants in Italy’s northern province of Trentino, and every Sunday he still has lunch with his Italian “parents” who initially took him in.
Diallo said he left behind a little sister and a grandmother in Ivory Coast, and plans to visit them for a month this summer before coming back to Italy. He said he eventually wants to bring his sister to Italy with him.
Speaking of the journey he took to get to Italy, Diallo said “I would not recommend to any of my friends in Africa to do this path.”
Speaking of his decision to travel through Libya, Diallo said he did not want to go “because it's a country without a government. I entered Libya because I didn't have another choice.”
“To all my friends in Africa I have said, that path is not good to take into Italy. If you don't have another possibility, stay in Africa.”
However, Diallo said he was “surprised” by the welcome he received, and has gone on to accomplish things he did not think would be possible thanks the support he was given from the beginning of his arrival.
Tommaso, Diallo's Italian “little brother,” told journalists that Korkiss “has taught a lot to our family, and I hope we have also taught something to him.”
Raffaella, Diallo’s Italian “mother,” told CNA her family chose to accept Diallo into their home because of Pope Francis' call to welcome migrants. After hearing the pope's petition, she said she felt moved, so she talked it through with her family, and the agreed to take someone in.
Raffaella said she has tried to create a stable home environment, and to teach Diallo “the same thing I taught my children; respect for people, respect for the rules, how to be a good citizen.”
Regarding the culture of fear and suspicion surrounding migrants, Raffaella said she has experienced this first-hand, especially after they first decided to welcome Diallo into their home.
However, she said the experience of her family has been wonderful, and they have no regrets about the decision to lend a hand to Diallo when he was in need.
She said part of the process has also meant learning how to accept and interact with other cultural and religious traditions. In Europe, “we are more individualistic,” she said, whereas “in African culture they are much more communal,” and often decisions are made together.
In terms of religion, Raffaella said she has also learned to have greater respect for non-Catholics. Diallo is Muslim, so she said the family has had the opportunity to learn things about the Muslim religion they did not know before, and they have learned “to respect him … and his times of prayer.”
In a message supporting the Caritas lunch, Pope Francis urged Catholics to participate in similar events organized throughout the world as part of the action week, such as meals or other activities, which he said raise awareness “on the global scale to support migrants and refugees.”
“Today, I would like to invite everyone – migrants, refugees, Caritas workers and institutions – to grasp the features of this journey that have marked you the most: what hope does your journey lead to? Try to share this thought and celebrate what we have in common,” he said.
Posted on 06/20/2018 19:05 PM (EWTNews - 11/9/2011)
Posted on 06/20/2018 19:05 PM (EWTNews - 11/9/2011)
Posted on 06/20/2018 19:05 PM (EWTNews - 11/9/2011)