Reflections on White House Executive Order

(CNS photo/Jamal Nasrallah, EPA)

(CNS photo/Jamal Nasrallah, EPA)

Earlier today, I sent the following letter to the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington regarding the recent White House executive order.

Today, I write to you regarding the recent White House executive order which suspended entry into the country of foreign nationals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, for 120 days, reduced the number of refugees to be admitted to the United States, indefinitely suspended the resettlement of Syrian refugees, and calls for heightened review procedures for these peoples. A version of the order can be read here.

At this time, the legal situation is still fluid and news reports are sometimes confusing, but in the meantime, real people and real humanitarian concerns are being affected. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement on the matter, which you can review here.

My hope is that you might find helpful these additional thoughts. As I recently noted, we are called to care for one another, whether it be our longstanding neighbor down the street, or a newcomer to our nation seeking relief from brutal religious and political persecution. It was earlier this month that our Holy Father reminded us that “Biblical revelation urges us to welcome the stranger; it tells us that in so doing, we open our doors to God, and that in the faces of others we see the face of Christ himself.”

Here in our Church of Washington, we strive to do just that every day, through our pastoral care, through our many services at the parish level and at Catholic Charities, and in some cases, by simply raising our voices to confirm the dignity of every human life. Last Friday at our Rallies and Masses for Life, and at the March for Life, our voices – our presence – could not be ignored in the defense of the unborn and life at every stage. So too now do we raise our voices in support of all refugees, especially those fleeing religious persecution.

As the federal government pursues any legitimate national security concerns, we hope that it will do so not at the expense of innocent people who are in need, and that it will take all necessary actions to ensure that their safety is protected and that it will expedite all processes to address the need for humanitarian relief.

Through organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians, we must continue to make our voices heard, urging the U.S. government to welcome in a particular way Christian refugees, who have been the object of genocide, and all men, women and children fleeing persecution, that they be protected and welcomed after swift but appropriate screening. Through our immigrant and refugee outreach programs, we must continue to serve as a visible sign of God’s mercy and our solidarity with our brothers and sisters no matter how far they may have traveled.

The political debate, which is complex and emotionally highly charged, will continue, but we must do our best to remain focused on the pastoral and very real work we undertake every day for the vulnerable and most in need … for the strangers at our doors.


Tags: ,

10 Responses to “Reflections on White House Executive Order”

  1. Belen Deño says:

    Dear Father Wuerl,

    Thank you for raising your voice, that encourage all of us Catholics to
    Go out of the churches into the encounter with our brothers to show them the face of the Compasionte and caring Christ who we follow and serve!

  2. Hunter D Kimble says:

    Your Eminence:

    This political debate is NOT complex: you either care about your fellow man, or you do not. You wordsmith to get around the most basic of our Lord’s teachings: “Love one another as I have loved you.” I fear that you are simply straddling the fence on this issue (not unlike Pius XII before and during the Second World War). I pray that St.Maximilian Kolbe will intercede on your behalf and grant you both the courage and the ability to lead during these dark hours. In the meantime, I will be redirecting my contributions to The Cardinal’s Appeal to the American Civil Liberties Union; it is what Christ would do.

    Praying for you!

    Hunter Kimble

  3. “That they be protected. AFTER swift and appropriate screening” that is the key. When I arrived here from England years ago I was checked for Tuberculosis, had to carry my x-rays on my person for airport security and had a criminal background check. I am praying hard for President Trump. He should be given his chance. He is trying to protect the US from evil. He is not against LEGAL immigrants. If we pray the Rosary every day and say the Divine Mercy our Blessed Lord WILL take care of it. Unfortunately, we always like to handle situations by ourselves because our Divine Saviour is ‘too slow’ Pray, Pray, Pray incessantly.

  4. Frank says:

    Where are the bishops I am lifting the ban Mexican order on Abortion.

  5. Christine Tantisunthorn says:

    Thank you, Cardinal Wuerl, for your calming and thoughtful words.


    Our Archbishop quotes the words of Our Pope: “…we open our doors to God, and that in the faces of others we see the face of Christ himself.” Basta! Enough said. Let us pray that our political leaders hear and understand those words, Gonzalo T. Palacios, PhD

  7. Sharon V. Molineaux says:

    Dear Cardinal Wuerl,

    I read your letter to the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington regarding the recent White House Executive Order addressing the U.S. refugees to be admitted to the United States. I am very pleased that you addressed your flock (the priests). That sentiment needs to be passed on down to the larger flock (the parishioners) by having prayers in the Prayers of the Faithful.

    I went to several masses on Sunday and at the beginning of this week, not one prayer for the refugees. I also was informed that it is up to each parish to put something in or not. That’s too bad.

    We pray for our officials but what about our brothers and sisters that are persecuted for their faith, especially those fleeing religious persecution. Every parish needs to show support by having a prayer for our refugees instead of remaining silent.

    Last year was the year of Mercy. Where is our evangelizing? Our parishes should be showing compassion and mercy. Jesus Is Counting on Us the priest and the parishioners. Your Eminence I know that you are too.

  8. nady regresado says:

    Your Eminence,
    Why is is it that you were very fast in issuing statement about President Trump’s action on Refugees and immigrants but were silent about the Christians that were massacred in the Middle East particularly from Syria.The Christians there were being massacred and displaced and we know that it is very hard or nearly impossible for them to leave their country as compared to their Muslim counterpart.As we know,mostly refugees from those countries are mostly Muslims,what about the Christians?
    I wish to have heard from you the same particular interest in defending the rights of our our Christian brothers if there were still left.
    Thank you.

  9. Andy says:

    I am always amazed at the speed and efficiency in which the Church responds to injustice, sin and scandal when it is a left-leaning political position. At the same time, in hundreds if not thousands of parishes around America, pastors are doing all sorts of crazy things in total disregard for Church teaching, morality and Gospel truths, and they go unchecked by our bishops. The sad reality is that an immigration ban is entirely a political position, and is fully within the right and responsibility of the President. He is the President of the United States after all, not foreign nations, and his responsibility is to American citizens, not immigrants. If these nations had better living conditions, and dare I say..Christian principles, their citizens would be clamoring to come to the US.

  10. Fr. William P. Felix says:

    Dear Bishops of the USA,

    Instead of verbally defending immigrants and refugees and criticizing the present administration for recent actions, why don’t you do like the bishops did in the 1840’s when 3.1 million immigrants descended upon the USA in a ten year period. They mobilized the Church in the USA to establish parishes and parish schools in abundance for various ethnic groups, staffed with them native speaking priests and sisters, and helped the entire nation assimilate them into a diverse but unified society. Offer the president the Church’s help to monitor and assimilate Hispanics and other Catholic immigrants. Gather the nation’s religious leaders (Imams) to do the same. Perhaps his administration would be open and appreciate the support of religious leaders rather than making this a religious oppression.