- Apr 7, 2020
President Donald Trump has until October 1st to set a deadline as to how many refugees the United States will allow this coming fiscal year. The president is reportedly looking to cap the number at 50,000 – a historic low. Meanwhile, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is advocating for at least 75,000 refugees to be admitted.
Catholic bishops may have a lot of bureaucratic duties to perform, but that doesn’t mean bishops believe the solution to the Church’s problems is always bureaucratic. Pressed for an example of evangelical creativity, for instance, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, points to a lawyer who sets up tables at Husker football games every weekend, handing out rosaries and answering questions about Catholicism.
Given the mushrooming presence of undocumented immigrants in Colorado, one might think church leaders risk extra blowback when they speak out on immigrant rights. Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, however, says there’s precious little, in part because Catholics see these immigrants in their parishes and know they’re almost all “really good people.”
Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, who served as president of the U.S. bishops during the white-hot period of the American abuse scandals in 2002-2003, says Pope Francis “gets it,” but cannot have the same understanding of the repercussions as someone from a culture where it’s been as intense as here. Gregory also called for deescalating rhetoric on immigration, and for defusing the bomb before it goes off with regard to racial tensions in America.
John Garvey, President of the Catholic University of America, wants to take a new look at the famed “Land O’Lakes Statement” from 50 years ago, which amounted to a declaration of independence for Catholic universities from ecclesiastical control. He says that’s easier to do under Pope Francis, because his teaching is so interesting and relevant that universities more readily understand why it should be part of their conversations.