February 19, 2017
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley
A few weeks ago, I “shared” a Facebook post. It was a brief pastoral statement issued by the president and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Gomez offered a joint message as bishops in response to President Trump’s recent executive order on refugees. The Facebook comments were so harsh and divisive that I quickly removed the post. It was painful to be reminded of how difficult it often is to engage in civil discourse without resorting to name calling and imputing motives to others.
The joint message of these two bishops was not subversive, except in the way that the Gospel is subversive to conventional thinking. Speaking about the experience of the millions of refugees fleeing their homes in the Middle East and other troubled parts of the world they said, “Our desire is not to enter the political arena, but rather to proclaim Christ alive in the world today. In the very moment a family abandons their home under the threat of death, Jesus is present. And he says to each of us, ‘whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’ (Mt 25:40).” These are truths of our faith. These are truths of which we need to be reminded.