Wednesday, April 11, 2018

TRUMP IMMIGRATION INITIATIVES DEVASTATING

Statement of Roger Cardinal Mahony
Archbishop Emeritus  of Los Angeles
on

RECENT ENFORCEMENT INITIATIVES BY THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION  

April 12, 2018

As archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with the largest immigrant population of any metropolitan area, I strongly oppose recent actions announced by the Trump administration to target our immigrant brothers and sisters with new enforcement initiatives that undermine the due process of law and sow fear within immigrant families and immigrant communities.

This fear was illustrated on Easter Sunday when two teachers told me after Mass that increasingly young boys and girls just start crying during class.  The reason?  They are terrified that when they return home either their mother or father will be gone.  How can we do this to innocent children?

In the FY 2018 omnibus budget bill recently passed, the administration failed to win funding for additional border patrol and ICE agents, detention beds, and for the construction of a new border wall.  These funding decisions represented the will of Congress and the majority of the American public, as a majority of US citizens oppose mass deportation schemes and a 2,000-mile wall along our southern border.

Regardless, the administration has announced new steps to militarize the border and to remove due process protections from asylum-seekers searching for protection in our nation, including the use of National Guard troops at the border, the detention of all asylum-seekers until their court hearing, and annual quotas for cases for immigration judges.

Moreover, the administration is intending to introduce legislation to remove protections from unaccompanied alien children arriving at our border and otherwise restrict asylum-seekers in their ability to win asylum protection.  And, of course, the administration continues to pursue an ill-advised border wall, which will drive desperate migrants into remote portions of the desert and possibly to their deaths.

Taken together, these steps could severely weaken our standing as a safe haven for the world’s persecuted and a nation based upon fairness and the due process of law.
This is in addition to the administration’s ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for numerous at-risk populations, and weakening of the US refugee programs, among other initiatives.  It is clear that this administration is pursuing a war on immigrants, both the undocumented and legal immigrants.

Enough is enough.  Catholics and all Americans of good will should stand up against these policies as contrary to America’s values and interests.  We should not be transformed from a welcoming society, which has benefited our nation for centuries, to one which is intolerant and hostile to those seeking protection and a better life in our nation.  This is not the American way.

In his recent Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), Pope Francis teaches us that being open to and welcoming migrants is a path toward holiness.  He also states that migration is not a secondary issue but should be a primary concern for Catholics and others who seek holiness.

Along with many of my fellow brother bishops, I call upon Catholics and all who cherish our nation’s immigrant heritage to oppose these draconian immigration policies and to stand against rhetoric which dehumanizes our immigrant brothers and sisters.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ teaches us to “welcome the stranger,” as in the face of the migrant we see the face of Christ.  We are at a pivotal point in our country’s history, where we can follow the call of Christ or remain silent and complicit in policies which cause suffering among our fellow human beings.

Let us work together with all religious groups to proclaim the truth that immigrants and refugees who arrive in our nation are not criminals, but are contributors to our great country, and, like all Americans, are drawn to the values we all share:  liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness. 


Thursday, April 5, 2018

BISHOP-ELECT MARC TRUDEAU

It is a joy to thank God for the appointment of Monsignor Marc Trudeau to serve as an Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles!

It was my privilege to ordain our Bishop-Elect to the Sacred Priesthood in 1991, and to have worked closely with him over the years.

His pastoral heart has always been in serving as a parish priest, and he has done that so well over the years.  His two pastorates, St. Pius X in Santa Fe Springs, and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in Lomita, is where he wanted to spend all of his priestly years. 

In between those two pastorates, I was privileged to have him as my priest secretary in service to the entire Archdiocese.  His pastoral experience and his great love for people endeared him to everyone who had contact with the Archbishop’s office.  He was a great support during those tumultuous years when the clergy scandal was in its settlement phases.

While serving with me, the doctor’s discovered cancer.  Fortunately, he had a form which was curable.  However, those many weeks of chemotherapy were very difficult.  We were blessed to have him with us at the Cathedral residence during his treatment protocol.  He showed great humility, patience, and lessons in how to suffer after the manner of Jesus.  His witness touched all of us in the residence.

It was not long before Archbishop Jose Gomez recognized Bishop-Elect Trudeau’s gifts and talents, and he was assigned to St. John’s Seminary to prepare to take over as the Rector.  His priestly and pastoral gifts were a great grace in the ensuing years in the formation of young men for the priesthood.

When I spoke with the Bishop-Elect about his appointment, he stated “I would prefer to be going back to serve in a parish.”  I responded—you are, except there are many more parishes in your Pastoral Region than in just one parish!!  


May Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd, continue to shape the heart and ministry of Bishop-Elect Marc Trudeau!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

OLDER PERSONS TO SUFFER FROM ANTI-IMMIGRATION POLICIES

Sadly, there are enormous anti-immigrant rhetoric and threats coming forth from President Trump and other government leaders every week.  But the rhetoric and threats rarely mention the unintended consequences:  those people who rely upon immigrants for assistance.

In this blog I will focus on the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who provide special care for our older members of society--those in special care homes, or those receiving special care in their own homes.  These senior citizens are already learning that their beloved caregivers may be deported, and there are no Americans willing to take their places.

These caregivers work long hours and very difficult work caring for people with many physical disabilities, incontinence, illnesses, and other challenges.  Working 60 to 70 hours a week is normal.  They receive minimum wage salaries:  the median wage for personal care attendants and home health aides is only $10.66 an hour.  Those persons certified as nursing assistants may earn $12.78 an hour.  No overtime, no health care for them, and no paid leave or vacation.

Our older Americans depend totally upon these caregivers, but since the vast majority are immigrants, threats are looming.  Many are here without proper documents.  Others came in under the TPS [Temporary Protected Status] provision for immigrants facing a disaster at home, such as earthquakes and tornadoes.  But the Trump Administration wants to halt the TPS program and deport all of these people.

Another immigrant group under dire threat are relatives of people who are legal citizens of our country.  The Trump Administration calls these people beneficiaries of what they disdain as "chain migration."  In our Gospel perspective, we call it family reunification.  The Administration wants to halt family reunification, and focus entirely upon a "merit based" policy--a policy which basically excludes all people of color, and everyone without an advanced degree or skill.

Professor Paul Osterman from Massachusetts Institute of Technology predicts a shortfall of 151,000 direct care workers by 2030 (12 years from now), and a shortfall of 355,000 by the year 2040.  And those are conservative estimates.  Many populous states, such as California, will face far more disastrous losses because of the large population of immigrants involved in senior care.

Some groups who believe that Americans would take these jobs if the pay were doubled or tripled, and with all the usual employee benefits, don't understand that our seniors live with very tight fixed incomes--and they could never afford such care at those costs.  And with Social Security and Medicare on the brink of become insolvent, there are no increases coming.

It is sad that when people--especially ones who are supposed to be leaders--continue to propagate venom towards our immigrants, invite us all to fear them, and to work hard to drive them out of the country.  It is a phenomenon we have witnessed since the early 1800s, and it goes in cycles.  Political leaders and others can be counted on to drag forward our brother and sister immigrants to blame for whatever ails our country.

As Catholics, our approach is rather simple:  "For I was a stranger, and you welcomed me!"  That approach brings with it all the blessings that we will ever need to care for each other!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

POPE FRANCIS PRAYER: WAY of the CROSS, GOOD FRIDAY

 O Christ crucified and victorious,Your Way of the Cross is the summary of your life,the icon of Your obedience to the will of the Father,and the realization of your infinite love for us sinners. 

It is the proof of Your mission. 

It is the final fulfillment of the revelation and the history of salvation.The weight of Your cross frees us from all of our burdens. In Your obedience to the will of the Father,we become aware of our rebellion and disobedience.

In You, sold, betrayed, crucified by Your own people and those dear to you,we see our own betrayals and our own usual infidelity. 

In Your innocence, Immaculate Lamb, we see our guilt.In Your face, slapped, spat on and disfigured,we see the brutality of our sins.In the cruelty of Your passion,we see the cruelty of our heart and of our actions.

In Your own feeling of abandonment,we see those abandoned by their families,by society, by attention and by solidarity. In Your body, sacrificed, ripped and torn,we see the body of our brothers who have been abandoned along the way,disfigured by our negligence and our indifference. 

In Your thirst Lord, we see the thirst of Your merciful Father,who desired to embrace, forgive and save all of humanity.

 In You, Divine Love, we see even today, before our very eyes,and often with our silence and complicity, our persecuted brothers and sisters,decapitated, crucified for their faith in You. 

Imprint in our heart, Lord, sentiments of faith, hope and charity,of sorrow for our sins, and lead us to repent for our sins that have crucified You.Lead us to transform our conversion with words into a conversion of life and works. Help us to preserve within us a living memory of Your disfigured face,so that we may never forget the terrible price You paid to free us. 

Crucified Jesus, strengthen in us a faith that does not collapse in the face of temptations; awaken in us the hope that does get lost Following the temptations of the world.Preserve in us the charity that is not fooled by the corruption of worldliness. 

Teach us that the cross is the way to the resurrection. 

Teach us that Good Friday is the way to the Easter of light. 

Teach us that God never forgets any of his children,and never tires of forgiving us and embracing us with His infinite mercy. 

But also teach us to never tire of asking Him for forgiveness and believing in the boundless mercy of the Father. 

Soul of Christ, sanctify us!Body of Christ, save us! Blood of Christ, inebriate us! Water from the side of Christ, wash us! Passion of Christ, comfort us! O Good Jesus, hear us! Hide us in your wounds! Do not allow us to separate from You! From the evil enemy defend us!In the hour of our death, call us! And command us to come to You,so that we may praise You with Your Saints forever and ever.

AMEN.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

STATEMENT OF ARCHBISHOP JOSE H. GOMEZ REGARDING PRIESTLY STATUS OF CARDINAL ROGER MAHONY AND BISHOP THOMAS CURRY

STATEMENT OF ARCHBISHOP JOSE H. GOMEZ REGARDING PRIESTLY STATUS OF CARDINAL ROGER MAHONY AND BISHOP THOMAS CURRY


February 1, 2013


Questions from the faithful and some members of the news media indicate that it would be helpful for me to clarify the status of Cardinal Roger Mahony and Bishop Thomas Curry.

Cardinal Mahony, as Archbishop Emeritus, and Bishop Curry, as Auxiliary Bishop, remain bishops in good standing in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with full rights to celebrate the Holy Sacraments of the Church and to minister to the faithful without restriction.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

White House Immigration LEADERSHIP Desperately Needed!!!

I'm writing these thoughts at LAX as I prepare to depart for Rome to assist in the celebration of the World Day for Migrants and Refugees on Sunday, January 14, 2018.

It is with a very heavy heart that I make this journey with the desperate situation facing two groups of immigrants living in our midst.  Both groups have been here for years, and are settled into our society, working, paying taxes, and contributing to our economy.  They are:

A.   DACA Students.    These young people were brought here to our country as minors.  They did not choose to come here; they were brought by family or others.  They have grown up here, and they know no other country.  They have been educated here, they speak primarily English, and they serve in our armed forces  They have jobs and they help build up our economy.  They remember little of their country of origin, they do not know the language or culture, and they would be bewildered if forcibly return to their home countries.

Our DACA residents are a positive addition to our communities and country; they are part of us.  They are Americans in every sense.  

But they are at great risk of being deported because President Trump has decided to terminate their legal status effective in two months--March of 2018.

Sadly, the President has tossed this issue to Congress to resolve.  Congress is involved in so many political posturing schemes now that they are incapable of giving leadership to resolve national problems.  It's all about the 2018 November elections, and which party will have a majority in the House and the Senate.

Nothing else is of any importance or value, regardless of the incalculable human suffering that could result because of their inaction and gravely misplaced priorities.

The President needs to step forward and explain to the American people the value of these 800,000 young adults, and demand a path forward to give them full legal status, and the opportunity to become American citizens.  Only a small piece of paper is keeping them from massive deportation.  Many of them have children who are USA citizens.  

President Trump and Congress:  you have a moral obligation to recognize the presence and value of these young adults, and you have the authority to end this uncertainty and give them a safe and secure path forward as fellow citizens.

B.    TPS Residents.   This group of 200,000 Salvadoran people came here because of the horrific and demonizing forces present across El Salvador, as well as others from Honduras and Guatemala.  Some of those forces were natural, such as earthquakes, drought.  Others, as always, man-made:  ruthless gangs, lawlessness, atrocious murder rates, no employment opportunities, depressing economy, and similar.

President Trump is ending this TPS program, and threatens to deport at least 200,000 people who have come here under duress and have established their lives and families here.  Most of their children are USA citizens, as with the DACA young adults.

Their forced deportation results in a horrific choice:  return home with their children who know nothing of El Salvador, or leave them here and go back home--total breakup of these families.


We as Catholics have a moral obligation to stand up for these two groups of immigrants and to proclaim their enormous positive contribution to our society and economy, and to demand that the President and Congress confirm through legislation what all national polls have confirmed:  these people deserve to remain in our midst and to have a path forward to full legal status.

Leadership means exactly that:  the person holding the highest position in the land needs to step forward and to proclaim a positive path forward, rather than slink into inaction worried about "supporters."  In our country, that person is President Trump.

It is irresponsible for President Trump to toss this situation to Congress and to wait for them to find a solution.  

Pope Francis has shown dramatic leadership on behalf of migrants, immigrants, refugees, and displaced persons.  That leadership is based on God's plan for all created peoples across the globe, on the teaching and example of Jesus Christ, and the moral imperatives proclaimed by the Church over the centuries.

Let us pray that Jesus, the Light for all Peoples, will bring about an enlightenment of our President and Congressional leaders!


Monday, October 23, 2017

GOOD DESCRIPTION OF OUR NATION'S REALITY

Recently, there was an insightful paragraph in the daily Magnificat which summed up well the reality which our nation is experiencing at this time:

"History attests that when those in power concentrate on their own survival out of personal ambition, turning away from the common good, it is the time of decline.  Marginalizing Christianity from the public sphere is a sign, not of intelligence, but of fear.  It is failing to see, through the dark clouds of prejudice, that society cannot help but benefit from Christianity.  Yes, society can benefit from Christianity....  The more one seriously studies the origins of humanism, and the more he recognizes the existence of something that is not only spiritual, but distinctly Christian."

That was written by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the Archbishop of Genoa, and while he was focusing on the issues plaguing Europe, his insights speak loudly to our own reality here in our country.

The loss of a sense of the common good, and an exaggerated focus on me--individualism--runs totally counter to the message and witness of Jesus in the Gospels.  The two great pillars which Jesus taught us remain crucial to discovering a new path forward in our nation:  God's love for us must be lived out through compassion for one another, and God's mercy for us must be lived out through generous forgiveness among all of us.

Those strong pillars are taught through the person of Jesus Christ, the Gospels, and lived out in a bold proclamation of our Christian identity and commitment to all peoples.  Unfortunately, humility, personal ambition at all costs, and the neglect of the common good of all peoples, converge to stifle God's plan for all of us.