by Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director

Welcoming the stranger is at the center of who we are as Catholics, as followers of Jesus, and Pax Christi USA welcomes efforts like Immigration Sunday during which the Minnesota Catholic bishops encouraged Catholics to ‘show their commitment to welcoming migrants and refugees in our communities’ and to show immigrants and refugees ‘that we welcome Christ in them.’ How disappointing it is then when a Minnesota priest instead uses the pulpit that Sunday to tell his congregation that ‘we should not be allowing large numbers of Muslims asylum or immigration into our country’ and that ‘Islam is the greatest threat in the world’ to Christianity and the United States. After a great deal of blowback on his remarks, the priest apologized yesterday, stating, ‘I realize now that my comments were not fully reflective of the Catholic Church’s teaching on Islam.’ Indeed Father. Nor does it reflect the Church’s teaching on immigrants and refugees.

In this climate when immigrants and refugees are under assault, children are being separated from their parents at our borders, and war and violence are causing our sisters and brothers around the world to seek refuge, Pax Christi USA is proud of the Church’s unequivocal support for the plight of immigrants and refugees. No matter where they come from or what religions they practice, we see in them the faces of the Holy Family, refugees themselves, and we support and encourage all efforts by the Church and others to uphold their human dignity.

Take action and tell Minneapolis archbishop to condemn priest’s anti-Muslim sermon.

3 thoughts on “Statement from Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, on the Minnesota priest who attacked the dignity of Muslim refugees and immigrants

  1. Not enough to condemn the sermon. We need to know who’s (or what’s) been feeding Father those ideas that resulted in that sermon. Who’s in his parish passing such fabulous nonsense to him? We also need to lean over backwards in charity towards him. I recall a good priest recalling his seminary days thus: “We were taught that any homily with fewer than 7 material heresies is a good homily” and I think that sentiment holds water. Let’s pray, put down our rocks and pick up our crosses. Time IS running out.

  2. Thank you for this thoughtful statement and the ability to make my voice heard. We must continue to speak out whenever we see such terrible acts of discrimination especially within our own church. If we believe we are all members of one human family created by God how can we treat each other this way?

  3. I am immensely grateful to you for this clear and appropriate message of condemnation (a strong word, I know, but such a cruel action requires a very direct response …). I had already signed a. petition circulated by Faithful America but I am truly proud that a Catholic organization of the standing of Pax Christi has also expressed dismay and disagreement. Something seems very wrong in the way priests are educated if one can make such anti-Catholic, anti-Jesus, anti-humanity comments in a homily. Thank you for speaking out for the truth that Jesus spoke about love and non-judgmental acceptance and welcome.

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