The nation’s two top Catholic bishops released a statement on Monday pledging solidarity with Muslim refugees, and called on Catholics to take action to support migrants.
“The bond between Christians and Muslims is founded on the unbreakable strength of charity and justice,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the conference, and Archbishop José Gomez, the vice president, said in the statement.
President Trump said in an interview this past weekend that Christian refugees should be given priority over people of other faiths, a position the bishops seemed to reject in their statement.
“The Church will not waiver in her defense of our sisters and brothers of all faiths who suffer at the hands of merciless persecutors,” the archbishops said.
The executive order gives priority to “religious minorities” experiencing persecution who are seeking entry into the United States.
The statement comes after a weekend of protests and statements from other Catholic officials who expressed concern over the executive order that bans Syrian refugees from coming to the United States and which places a temporary hold on resettling migrants from other countries.
“Over the past several days, many brother bishops have spoken out in defense of God's people. We are grateful for their witness,” the archbishops said in their statement. “Now, we call upon all the Catholic faithful to join us as we unite our voices with all who speak in defense of human dignity.”
They said that their desire was to steer clear of politics, but said the issue of welcoming refugees is at the heart of the Christian faith.
“Welcoming the stranger and those in flight is not one option among many in the Christian life. It is the very form of Christianity itself,” they said. “Our actions must remind people of Jesus.”
“The actions of our government must remind people of basic humanity,” they continued. “Where our brothers and sisters suffer rejection and abandonment we will lift our voice on their behalf. We will welcome them and receive them. They are Jesus and the Church will not turn away from Him.”