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Cardinal Dolan Weighs In on Separated Immigrant Children Crisis

Posted on June 29, 2018 by Catholic Charities Admin  |  Share

"Taking Children Away is Unbiblical & Un-American"

Dear friends in the Lord:

I write to you on a matter of serious pastoral, moral and humanitarian concern to our Church, and to me personally: the forced separation of children from their parents. 

A week ago on Friday, I visited some of these children – now, for the time being, living safely in the former convent of a Bronx parish and being well cared for by one of our Catholic Charities agencies. My reason: to bring the love of Jesus Christ and the solidarity of his Church to these children, who must deal with the chaos and trauma of have been taken away from their parents.  

It was heart-wrenching to see these children without their parents, and heartwarming to meet the compassionate and competent professionals who are providing for them and see the good care they are receiving. I thank God for that. I brought each a cross blessed by Pope Francis and invited them to Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 

Yesterday I visited the Catholic Charities Immigration Center in downtown Manhattan where other services – legal, English classes, civics, and social services – are being provided to immigrant children, adults, and families. I visited a classroom where eight children were receiving instruction on their legal situation and rights. The expertise of the legal services of Catholic Charities is particularly essential at this time, and within the past five years has been provided to more than 10,000 unaccompanied minor children and their families, long before the newly created current crisis of separated children. It is a reminder that the Catholic Church has often been on the scene long before the media and others find an issue topical.

Cardinal Dolan speaks with Catholic Charities Immigrant & Refugee Services Director Mario Russell

I want to also let you know that a week ago, at my request, a small delegation of priests, religious, and laity from the archdiocese went to McAllen, Texas, on an interfaith mission of prayer, support, and solidarity to those suffering from recent shifts in immigration enforcement policies. I am grateful that Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Fr. Eric Cruz, Fr. Esteban Sanchez, Sr. Carol Barnes, SC, and Luz Tavarez visited with the children and families at a Catholic Charities respite center a few miles from the border and were an important sign of our accompaniment in a time of anxiety and pain. Our Catholic Church is always there!

My concern and involvement in this crisis is as a pastor, not a politician. I am not an expert on the intricacies of legislation, executive orders, and policies that seemingly change from day to day. But I do know policies that take children away from their families on one pretext or another are both un-biblical and un-American. I also know that damage once done will take much effort over time to undo and heal. We must be vigilant and attentive to ensure the right response. There will be updates on this situation, how the Church is responding, and ways that you might help on the Catholic Charities website.

This archdiocese has long been a welcoming mother to immigrant children who seek New York as their new home. As I visit the parishes and schools in every one of the 10 counties, I see that spirit of welcoming still alive and well and witness the faith and vibrancy of immigrants to our Church and communities. May we always be so!

I ask your prayers for the families who are torn apart, especially for the separated children, and for those faithfully serving the children and families suffering in this crisis.I ask your prayers for our Church and our nation that we might faithfully live up to best of our values.  

Faithfully in Christ,

Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan

Archbishop of New York