Gráinne McEvoy is an independent scholar based in South Bend, Indiana, and is currently writing a book on American Catholic social thought and immigration policy in the 20th century.
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.
The California Senate has created a new Select Committee focused on the social determinants of health – the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. Science is increasingly showing that children’s well-being, in particular, is linked to their social determinants. As an example, nearly a quarter of young children in California live in poverty – a fact that has profound educational, health, and economic repercussions now and in the long term in that they create inequities that could be mitigated. The Committee is looking at people from birth through age 26.
During National Migration Week, the Church asks us to reflect on the conditions faced by migrants around the world. Traditionally, the Pope issues a statement for World Day of Migrants and Refugees but this year, at the request of bishops around the world, that day has been moved to September 29, the feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Until then, here is a brief thought from Pope Francis’ 2018 message:
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently approved a new pastoral letter - Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love – examining the “persistent” history of racism in this nation. The report is particularly timely in that the FBI recently reported that hate crimes increased by 17 percent in 2017 with the most common bias being “race/ethnicity/ancestry.” Fr.
Last month, the Trump Administration announced a dramatic change to long-standing definitions of what constitutes a “public charge” for legal immigration purposes. Bishop Vasquez, Chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ migration committee said that the changes, if enacted, would “undercut decades of administrative policies and guidelines on how immigrants are treated…it is likely to prevent families from accessing important medical and social services vital to public health and welfare.”
Last week more than 1,600 migrant children were quietly moved during the night to a new tent facility in Tornillo Texas. After a national outcry over the separation of children and parents during the summer, the number of separated children remains high with no remedies in sight. Dr. Gráinne McEvoy, a regular contributor on the history of migration, looks at the ongoing situation:
“Children are not instruments of deterrence but a blessing from God.” - Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Chairman of USCCB Committee on Migration
All too often, it is only when facing serious and life-threatening illness that people discuss their wishes. But, it’s at this time that a dizzying array of health care choices materialize, concerns over health predominate every waking moment and worry about family and other concerns can become overwhelming.
Better. Talk about your wishes ahead of time. Learn about the options and let your loved ones know your needs.
Last Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security released a proposed rule change to the inadmissibility on public charges ground which would impact immigrants attempting to change their immigration status. This rule does not apply to refugees or people granted asylum. A public charge is a term used by U.S. immigration officials to refer to a person who is or could become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence through certain public benefits. The proposed rule change would shift from considering only cash benefits to now considering noncash benefits.
(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.
“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.