CV NEWS FEED // Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana this week issued a statement arguing that faith-driven ministries should be free to “meet the basic human needs of migrants.”
Rhoades’ statement comes shortly after Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso criticized Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s attempt to shut down a Catholic-run nonprofit migrant shelter. Rhoades is the chairman of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty.
“It is hard to imagine what our country would look like without the good works that people of faith carry out in the public square. For this, we can thank our strong tradition of religious liberty, which allows us to live out our faith in full,” Rhoades stated in a February 26 USCCB press release.
Rhoades praised the Catholic bishops of Texas for their February 23 statement defending migrant ministries operated by Catholic volunteers.
The Texan bishops “[expressed] solidarity with ministry volunteers and people of faith who seek only to serve vulnerable migrants as our nation and state continue to pursue failed migration and border security policies.”
The Texas bishops’ statement also supported Bishop Seitz and his defense of the migrant shelter that TX AG Paxton aimed to shut down through a recently-filed lawsuit.
Seitz wrote on February 22 about the “impossible situation” El Paso currently faces as a borderland community.
“On the one hand, we are challenged by serious federal neglect to provide a safe, orderly and humane response to migration at our southern border,” Seitz wrote:
On the other hand, we are now witnessing an escalating campaign of intimidation, fear and dehumanization in the state of Texas, one characterized by barbed wire, harsh new laws penalizing the act of seeking safety at our border, and the targeting of those who would offer aid as a response of faith.
Seitz defended the work of the migrant shelter and added that the church will continue to “defend the freedom of people of faith and goodwill to put deeply held religious convictions into practice.”
Rhoades’ February 26 statement expressed solidarity with Seitz, the other bishops of Texas, and the faith-driven volunteers at the border.
“As the tragic situation along our border with Mexico increasingly poses challenges for American communities and vulnerable persons alike,” Rhoades stated, “we must especially preserve the freedom of Catholics and other people of faith to assist their communities and meet migrants’ basic human needs.”
“I join my brother bishops in the State of Texas in expressing solidarity with those seeking simply to fulfill the fundamental biblical call: ‘whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me,’” Rhoades concluded.
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Author: McKenna Snow
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