Catholics respond to election with calls to protect the vulnerable
In the days after the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, Catholics across the country — from students to bishops — expressed their concern for immigrants, people of color and others whose futures were cast in doubt by his statements during the campaign.
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles called for mercy and an end to deportations as he led religious leaders in an interfaith prayer service Nov. 10 for peace, solidarity and unity at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
"In this country, we need to start building bridges and bringing people together," he said. "We need to reach out to those who are hurting. Now is the time to build unity and heal communities, through our love for our neighbor and our care for those in need."
Many students at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland came to school the morning after the election "feeling frustrated, confused and powerless," according to a statement from the school.
"We made a decision to create an open, yet bounded space for students to gather at 9:30 a.m.," the statement said. "Many students chose to leave class and we allowed them to assemble on the Quad. Many students felt the need to gather with other students in an expression of emotion."
The school reported that students returned to their regular class schedule about an hour later.
"Our students are to be commended for their hopeful messaging, prayer and calls to work together on issues of inclusion, love and respect," the statement said.
A day later, students at Holy Names High School left their campus at 12:55 p.m. "We are walking in an effort to spread the message of solidarity and peace within our divided country," Caree Carneiro, of the Class of '17, told her fellow students.
As the students walked, HNHS marketing director Dallas Nelson wrote in an email, "…we heard plenty of car horns honking in solidarity, drew several people out of their houses to cheer us on and saw a number of Hillcrest students run to the fence and cheer us on. One jogger even joined our march!
"By the time we came back to campus, the mood was noticeably different. There were even glints of optimism and faith that we will all be able to move forward as one country so long as we make our voices heard," he said.
The California Catholic Conference of Bishops "is extremely disappointed that Proposition 62, which would have ended the use of the death penalty in the state, was not successful," Ned Dolejsi said in a statement.
"While it is disappointing that Proposition 66 prevailed and the death penalty was upheld, we give thanks for the passage of Proposition 57, and that restorative justice will be a focus in California's prisons," he said.
The California bishops had also advocated against Proposition 64, which legalizes marijuana, under state law, for use by adults 21 or older. Voters approved it, 56 percent to 44 percent.
The national election was a topic of conversation at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 14-16.
The chairman of the bishops' Committee on Migration, Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo of Seattle, in a letter read Nov. 14, called on President-elect Trump "to continue to protect the inherent dignity of refugees and migrants."
In a television interview Nov. 13, Trump said he is looking at a plan to deport 2 million to 3 million people whom he described as "criminal and have criminal records" and entered the country without permission.
A day later, the U.S. bishops affirmed Bishop Elizondo's letter encouraging efforts "to work together to promote the common good, especially those to protect the most vulnerable among us."
Bishop Elizondo asked for the protection of the family unit, as "the cornerstone of society," and asked that the new administration recognize the contributions of refugees and immigrants "to the overall prosperity and well-being of our nation."
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, outgoing president of the bishops conference, asked his brother bishops to support Bishop Elizondo's statement, repeating the words to our brothers and sisters who come to the country seeking a better life: "We are with you."
Additionally, the bishops broke from tradition during this year's fall assembly by celebrating Mass at a West Baltimore church known as the "Mother Church" of black Catholics, rather than Baltimore's historic basilica.
"I pray our presence will convey the church's solidarity with you," said Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori in opening remarks Nov. 14 to a few dozen parishioners attending the Mass with more than 250 bishops filling nearly every pew of the small church.
The bishops chose the church, named for St. Peter Claver, the patron saint of slaves and ministry to African Americans, to show support for parishes in neighborhoods that have seen rising violence.
Pupils have questions for the president-elect
|Copyright © 2016 The Catholic Voice, All Rights Reserved. Site design by Sarah Kalmon-Bauer.|