Faith leaders’ ongoing reaction to Trump ban on refugees

A woman holds a sign during a protest in front of Trump International Hotel Jan. 29 in Washington. (CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard)

A woman protests outside Trump International Hotel Jan. 29 in Washington. (CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard)

UPDATED Feb. 10.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — This morning the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration welcomed the federal appeals court ruling Feb. 9 that upheld a temporary restraining order against President Donald Trump’s travel ban on refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries that also temporarily suspended the country’s refugee resettlement program.

And here’s more reaction to Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order intended to restrict the entry of terrorists coming to the United States in the guise of refugees:

—  Bishop Edward C. Malesic  of Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Alaska’s Catholic bishops.

— Catholic colleges and universities all over the country also have weighed in. The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities has a statement here. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities website has links to statements from individual schools here.

Right after Trump’s issued his order,  the action brought quick response from Catholic and other religious leaders. Trump’s executive action suspends the entire U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days and bans entry of all citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia — for 90 days. It also establishes religious criteria for refugees, proposing to give priority to religious minorities over others who may have equally compelling refugee claims.

After a federal judge in Seattle Feb. 3 temporarily halted Trump’s denial of entry to those traveling to the U.S. from the seven majority-Muslim countries, the administration appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, based in San Francisco. The circuit court heard oral arguments late Feb. 7 and a decision was still pending. Court battles will continue in the days ahead.

Statements of reaction from Catholic bishops and other faith leaders have continued to pour forth. Here are links to many of them:

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president and vice president, respectively, of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a joint statement. Archbishop Gomez also discussed Trump’s action in a column on the Los Angeles archdiocesan media platform, Angelus. Even before Trump was inaugurated, Archbishop Gomez on Jan. 20, the eve of the new president’s swearing-in, urged a new recognition of the humanity of immigrants.

Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration.

— Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of Springfield, Massachusetts, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico — chairmen of bishops committees on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Religious Liberty (ad hoc) and International Justice and Peace. Archbishop Lori also wrote an open letter to Catholics in his archdiocese addressing the new reality for refugees. Bishop Rozanski also issued a separate statement. And in his diocese, Bishop Cantu led a prayer service.

— Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago.

— Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey. Besides that statement on the Newark archdiocese website, the cardinal wrote an opinion piece (updated yesterday) that appeared on The Record daily newspaper’s website,

— Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, who wrote a blog post on the issue and an opinion piece in the Boston Globe, headlined “Doing What Is Just for Immigrants.” The cardinal also joined Muslim leaders and public officials in solidarity and prayer Feb. 2.

— Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington.

— New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan writes in the New York Daily News about the Catholic Church’s consistent ethic of life and how it holds lessons for both Trump, whose executive action closing America’s door to refugees the cardinal called “impetuous and terribly unfair,” and for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has proposed a “radical extension” of abortion in the Empire State.

— In Louisiana, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond; Baton Rouge Bishop Robert W. Munch; and Houma-Thibodeaux Bishop Shelton J. Fabre.

— Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit issued a letter of support to area Muslim leaders. Also in Michigan, Bishop Paul G. Bradley of Kalamazoo issued a statement.

— In Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik and Erie Bishop Lawrence T. Persico.

— Arizona’s bishops issued a joint statement.

— Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas.

— Here are statements by other California bishops: Monterey Bishop Richard J. Garcia, Monterey; Orange Bishop Kevin W. Vann, writing as chairman of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, or CLINIC; San Bernardino Bishop Gerald J. BarnesBishop Robert W. McElroy, San Diego.

—  Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Hartford, Connecticut.

— In Florida, Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of St. Petersburg presided over a prayer service for migrants and refugees.

— Here are statements from Indiana bishops: Evansville Bishop Charles C. Thompson; Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades; Gary Bishop Donald C. Hying; and Lafayette Bishop Timothy L. Doherty.

— In Iowa, Davenport Bishop Martin J. Amos and Des Moines Bishop Richard E. Pates.

— Bishop John E. Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky.

— Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Portland, Maine.

— Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts.

— In Minnesota, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Bishop Donald J. Kettler of St. Cloud.

— Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz of Jackson, Mississippi.

— In Missouri, the state Catholic conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops issued a statement , as did St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson.

— Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

— In Texas, in the Star-Telegram newspaper, Bishop Michael F. Olson wrote this opinion piece.

— In Washington state, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle issued a joint letter.

Many Catholic and interfaith organizations also have issued statements in reaction to Trump’s executive action on refugees. Here’s a sampling: Catholic Charities USA; Catholic Theological Society of America’s board of directors: and more than 3,500 religious leaders have signed a letter to Trump and Congress supporting refugee resettlement.


People attend a Feb. 1 vigil for immigrants and refugee rights in Nashville, Tenn. (CNS photo/Theresa Laurence, Tennessee Register)

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5 Responses to Faith leaders’ ongoing reaction to Trump ban on refugees

  1. Edward J Hearn says:

    It is time to end simplistic politically motivated statements positioning one on the side of correctness and begin acting as a moral force to clarify the issues and bring the light of the gospel and church teaching to help form consciences in making moral decisions. Three principles are at stake in judging Trump’s ban on immigrants: the right to migrate, the right to control borders, and a humane policy of receiving refugees.

  2. James Lee says:

    I agree with Edward Hearn. It is very easy to misconstrue concise statements on any policy. In this country, we have seen how misreporting is used as a truncheon against the other in the political demonizing debate. Everyone in positions of influence, Church or Secular, has a responsibility to help discern all the issues. It is an ill service to make a strong point without considering all the factors.

  3. Randy McRay says:

    I know Scripture calls us to welcome the immigrant. But I don’t think that means we should blindly let everyone in. This was simply a 90 day suspension until they can figure out a way to properly vet these people. I know the church is trying to be fair to all people, but I feel like people in the church today have forgotten their history. Islam always has and always will be on a mission to wipe out Christianity. It is been their goal since the inception of their religion to convert everyone and take over. I know it sounds like a movie where the madman thinks he can take over the world. This is actually the goal of the Muslims. They actually want to take over the world. This is real life. Did we forget what happened in Europe centuries ago? No matter how much we embrace them, they will not except us as equals. They want to wipe us out or convert us.

  4. Denise Smith says:

    The Church has received $1.6 Billion from the US Federal Government over the past several years to ‘take care’ of refuges. Are Bishops immune to ‘conflict of interest’? We have laws. They have NOT been followed….and I didn’t hear the Bishops complain about that. We must take a pause and get this whole system under control. The government has the right to this. If not, when, pray tell, will the Vatican walls be coming down? #weary

  5. P Jermov says:

    People, especially Christians and Jews, will want to understand the history of our Muslim neighbors
    and the Roman Catholic Church regarding immigration to the USA.
    I suggest be required reading to get a handle on what we are up against.

Comments are closed.