(NAIROBI, Kenya, July 2, 2018) For our international discernment and strategy council, the Franciscan friars gathered here to reflect upon how we could best live and share our spirituality today. The eco-spirituality encyclical written by Pope Francis, Laudato Si, emerged as a recurring theme at this council. This is the most Franciscan papal encyclical ever written. It presents our founder St. Francis as a model for contemporary Catholic spirituality, and uses a Franciscan approach to analyzing our twin crises of global economic injustice and environmental degradation. With Laudato Si, Pope Francis has challenged everyone, but most especially Franciscan-hearted people, to undergo ecological conversion and to respond with creativity to the needs of all creation.
Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Bishops issued a landmark 99-page pastoral letter entitled Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the US Economy. Today, with a record number of people suffering in a flailing economy, the letter’s call to promote human dignity in economic, policy and individual actions is as relevant as ever.
We believe that each person has a right to access the basic necessities of life. We advocate for food and income security for all—especially children and the elderly. We believe in policies for decent housing and shelter, especially for farm workers. We support access to basic health care for all. We advocate for employment and promote the idea of fair wages and fair taxes. We oppose unjust discrimination, racism, torture and human trafficking.
“Who are we,” asked one detainee, “that the Church should visit us?”
That sentiment – one of humbleness and a longing for the Sacraments and fellowship – characterized a pastoral visit by seven California Bishops and others to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Adelanto, CA, last week.
More than 350 men and women housed in the high desert facility attended four Masses, flocked to the Sacrament of Reconciliation in Spanish, English and Vietnamese and enjoyed fellowship with the delegation of twenty.
The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), the Catholic bishops of California, Providence St. Joseph Health and Dignity Health have entered into a groundbreaking national partnership to develop quality palliative care programs that support and accompany the chronically and terminally ill in both clinical and parish settings.
WASHIGNTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed disappointment in today’s Supreme Court decision on Janus v. AFSCME. The 5-4 decision struck down an Illinois law that required non-union workers to pay fees that go to collective bargaining, overturning a 1977 law that required employees to pay “fair share” fees.
Bishop Dewane’s full statement follows:
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has been the subject of much discussion, by politicians, policy experts, academics, journalists and others, since it was announced in June, 2012 by President Barack Obama. While critics of the program have warned of it as an exercise in executive overreach and a violation of the rule of law, its supporters have defended it as a reasonable, compassionate concession, one which enjoys overwhelming public support, until lawmakers find a more permanent solution.
In an open letter to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy that was printed this morning in the Bakersfield Californian, Catholic leaders in California urged Rep. McCarthy to allow a House vote on critical legislation that would prevent the deportation of young people who were brought into this country as minors, but who lack formal permission to remain in the United States.
In recent months, the federal government has chosen to reverse an almost 30-year-old asylum program, leaving roughly 300,000 current residents of the US vulnerable to deportation by early 2020.
(En Español) Roman Catholic Bishops from dioceses located on the United States and Mexico border recently issued a statement (https://tinyurl.com/border-statement) expressing their “deep concern” about the militarization of the border. Bishop Jaime Soto, from Sacramento and president of the California Catholic Conference, issued the following statement in solidarity with border bishops’ sentiments and the plight immigrants face in the nation today:
SAN DIEGO - In response to announcements regarding deploying the United States National Guard to the U.S./Mexico Border, the U.S. Catholic Bishops of the U.S./Mexico Border issued the following statement:
“We are deeply concerned by the announcement that the National Guard will be deployed on the U.S./Mexico Border. The continued militarization of the U.S./Mexico Border distorts the reality of life on the border; this is not a war zone but instead is comprised of many peaceful and law-abiding communities that are also generous in their response to human suffering.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Sacramento this week to announce that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit against the State of California claiming some of its new immigration laws violate the U.S. Constitution.