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Bishop Conley boldly stands in solidarity with immigrant families


Jeffrey Bruno

Philip Kosloski - published on 03/02/17

Offers touching prayer for migrants and refugees

In a column featured in the Southern Nebraska Register, Bishop James Conley of the Diocese of Lincoln shared a touching prayer for immigrants as well as strong remarks regarding the need for immigration reform in the United States.

“The Catholic Church’s teaching on immigration is based on three clear principles: that families have the right to migrate for economic opportunities, for freedom, or for safety; that nations have the right to security, to fixed borders and ordered policies for immigrants; that as an obligation of justice and mercy, nations who can receive immigrants without detriment to the welfare of their citizens should do so. By those standards, the immigration policy of the United States is in serious need of reform.”

Specifically Bishop Conley pointed out how yes, it is true entering a country illegally is a crime, but that is not the end of the story.

“The government has an obligation to uphold the rule of law, and to punish those who commit crimes. But the crime of illegal immigration must be considered in light of other factors: the rights of parents to provide for their children, the poverty and danger families face around the globe, and the injustice of American laws and policies governing immigration in the first place. Many immigrants who have been exiled by the circumstances of their homelands want to follow the law, but our broken system makes that impossible. The consequences of illegal immigration should be determined in light of the sovereignty of the family, and the inhumanity of separating children, often US citizens, from their parents. My friend, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, says that today’s immigration policy reflects ‘indifference and cruelty.’ None of us can be indifferent, or turn a blind eye to suffering. Human beings, made in God’s image, deserve better than that.”

He goes on in his column to explain the tragic situation many families are in and how a massive deportation of illegal immigrants will do more harm than good. In the end, Bishop Conley is asking the United States to reconsider their actions and to reform their immigration policy, putting the human family above any other interests. Until then, Bishop Conley is standing in solidarity with theses families and asking all Catholics to do the same.

“I stand in solidarity with immigrant families living in fear of what might be coming for them. I stand in solidarity with American citizens, looking for real security, instead of political showmanship and rhetoric. I stand in solidarity with those politicians and law enforcement agents working to find fair and humane solutions to complex problems. I stand in solidarity with those living in poverty or danger, seeking some promise of safety, and opportunity for their children. I ask all Catholics in the Diocese of Lincoln to join me in that solidarity. As Catholics, we must continue to call for real, comprehensive, safe, and just immigration reform. But we cannot accept the panacea of mass detention and deportation. Americans, immigrants, and the Church should expect something better than that.”

Conley then offered a touching prayer that summarizes his feelings about the issue and asks God to help bring about a good end to the current situation.

Prayer for Migrants and Refugees:
Heavenly Father, no one is a stranger to you and no one is ever far from your loving care.
In your kindness, watch over migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, those separated from their loved ones, those who are lost, and those who have been exiled from their homes.
Bring them safely to the place where they long to be. Send your Holy Spirit over our government leaders, that they may enact laws and policies in accord with the dignity of every human person. Grant us the grace of holy boldness to stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable among us and to see in them the Face of Your Son.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, who too was a refugee and migrant. 
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

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