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.