I was arrested protesting Trump’s border policies. The Gospel calls us to do more.

Catholic leaders and advocates protest the Trump administration’s handling of detained immigrant children during a “Day of Action” on July 18 in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)Catholic leaders and advocates protest the Trump administration’s handling of detained immigrant children during a “Day of Action” on July 18 in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

We prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries as 70 of us were arrested at the Russell Senate Office Building last Thursday for protesting the detention of immigrant children at the border. The decisions that allow their detention, their being torn from families and left in crowded facilities without access to a shower, are indeed a sorrowful mystery. But what I saw as my hands were locked tightly into wasted-plastic zip-tie handcuffs was a Luminous Mystery.

As I stood in the building’s rotunda with lights streaming from high windows and saw rows of Catholics around me and above on a balcony, I felt the presence of the Communion of Saints. It was not unlike sitting in church, where layers of saints and angels are depicted around us. We stood in a threshold, a liminal space where the demands of the Gospel were felt and where the vast difference between the reign of God and the reign of principalities was clear.

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What I saw as my hands were locked tightly into wasted-plastic zip-tie handcuffs was a Luminous Mystery.

Across the rotunda was a young Dominican sister dressed in white. Next to her, an old Franciscan Friar in brown. Connecting us were many others: sisters, laypeople, priests, young and old, black and white. They were praying, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death,” as I was told, “You are under arrest.”

“So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God,” St. Paul wrote the Corinthians.

The author, at far right, is arrested with members of the D.C. Catholic Worker House in the Russell Senate Office Building. Demonstrators wore placards with pictures of children who have died in U.S. detention. (Ignatian Solidarity Network)

I caught a glimpse of such ambassadoring as I sat next to Kathy Boylan, from the D.C. Catholic Worker, while we were processed by the U.S. Capitol Police. “We need a contact person,” she was told. “All of my ‘contact people’ are in here with me,” she replied. She lives in a house with other Christians who were called to bring their bodies to the diplomacy table between heaven and earth. They see little room for compromise, think nary of success, but are hellbent on fidelity. They try as they can to implore the world to join them in “putting off the old ways” and “putting on Christ.”

Putting off the old ways and imploring reconciliation does not always require that one be arrested. It does require something dramatically different than what the world offers. The witness of people like Kathy, who lives in voluntary poverty and was quick to tell me all the ways I can fight nuclear proliferation, abortion, white nationalism and war, taught me once again that the Christian life asks a lot.

We are called to stand in the threshold between the church and the world and expose policies for which Christian consent is impossible.

This is why Catholics have always been engaged in such acts of resistance: to illuminate the incompatibility between the Gospel and tragedies like those Kathy encouraged me to oppose. We have also, it should be noted, been guilty of supporting such things.

I am under no illusion that being arrested while praying the rosary in an air-conditioned building in Washington will free immigrant children from detention. It should not receive more attention than the hundreds of Catholics at the border providing direct service to migrants fleeing violence. I am, however, under the illusion—or, rather, illumination—that we are called to stand in the threshold between the church and the world and expose policies for which Christian consent is impossible.

The action we took in Washington was a symbolic one. Nevertheless, it was sincere resistance to a state that enforces such horrific treatment of children. I chose to be arrested because what is being done to children in this country, born and unborn, is suffocating the soul of the Body of Christ. We placed our bodies in the rub between the Gospel and the state to remind ourselves that we will not blend in or be identified with these practices, that something else is demanded from us.

The fantasy that the Gospel is business as usual

I cheat the Gospel everyday. I fail to really love my enemies, fail to give from my poverty and not my surplus, fail to practice hospitality or take the lowest place, fail to love others as myself, fail to love God with my whole heart.

It can be easy for us Americans to live in the fantasy that the Gospel means convenience, business as usual. But where it concerns eternity, the Gospel means conversion, inconvenience; it means business not as usual. It means a new life marked by reckless love; it means mercy.

I chose to be arrested because what is being done to children in this country, born and unborn, is suffocating the soul of the Body of Christ.

Living up to that is hard. It can seem irrational to expect such conversion in ourselves and from our communities. Dorothy Day wrote, “I know it seems foolish to try to be so Christlike—but God says we can.”

Is it foolish to ask the United States to try to be Christlike?

In a letter to young Jesuits written on the feast of St. Ignatius in 1971, Father Daniel Berrigan wrote, “You know too that the old comfortable arrangements between church and state are helpless to generate newness…. The peace of Christ, it goes without saying, is not won by such complicity. That way of peace is something else; necessarily a humiliated via crucis today—no less than in the year of our Lord.”

After one set of handcuffs was removed from my wrists, and every part of me had been patted down by some officer searching for who knows what, I was brought to another line for a new set of handcuffs. Behind me came strolling a short, 80-something Dominican sister in a T-shirt that read, “Be Peace.” She smiled, saying, “Billy, it does give you some small sense of how Jesus was treated, humiliated.” She spoke not with anger or sorrow but with gratitude. She then told me of once reading the Acts of the Apostles all through the night in a jail with feces and bugs covering the floor. She was in the slammer for protesting nuclear weapons.

She told a group of us later that evening: In every age, God sends us opportunities to live the Gospel and to grow in holiness.

The introit to an early morning prayer with her and a few other Dominicans, Franciscans and other holy laypeople before last week’s action was: “We adore you Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ, here and in churches throughout the world, and we praise you because by your cross you have redeemed the world.”

This continues to be my prayer: That Jesus be praised and that in the form of immigrant children at the southern border, he be released from detention into the custody of families or shelters with adequate supplies and conditions suitable to the dignity of sanctity.

Christ gave us a luminous mystery that does not offer security but salvation. It will arrest us in our comfort and complicity. His is a mystery that offers a new framework of reality where power is found in weakness, triumph seen in service and primacy grasped in surrender. As such, he decided to be detained in our bodies as bread.

So Dan Berrigan wrote:

Why do you stand? they were asked, and

Why do you walk?

Because of the children, they said, and

Because of the heart, and

Because of the bread.

Because

The cause

Is the heart’s beat

And the children born

And the risen bread.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Opting Out
3 months ago

Billy, why now? Why did you not do far more when Obama did far worse?
You are calling attention to a specific moment in time (during Trump) but you turned a blind eye for 8 years. Why now?

This can't possibly be new information to you, hence your salt strikes as very flat, nay, partisan. God is neither Democrat nor Republican, Billy. The US government does not have the mandate to evangelize and do good works. We do all year round no matter who is President.

Trump isn't matching Obama deportation numbers
Under the Obama administration, total ICE deportations were above 385,000 each year in fiscal years 2009-2011, and hit a high of 409,849 in fiscal 2012. The numbers dropped to below 250,000 in fiscal years 2015 and 2016.
Under Trump, ICE deportations fell to 226,119 in fiscal 2017, then ticked up to over 250,000 in fiscal 2018 and hit a Trump administration high of 282,242 this fiscal year (as of June).

https://www.axios.com/immigration-ice-deportation-trump-obama-a72a0a44-540d-46bc-a671-cd65cf72f4b1.html

J Jones
3 months ago

Immigration protests by Catholic religious men and women and other faith leaders in 2014, during the Obama administration: - http://immigrationimpact.com/2014/08/01/over-100-faith-leaders-arrested-in-protest-against-record-deportations/#.XTZEG-hKjIU

Nora Bolcon
3 months ago

l

J Jones
3 months ago

Look at this man's photos. He looks like he may be in his mid-to-late 20s, early 30s at most. That humans need medical providers (you) and social workers (me) was surely evident to both of us long long before we began to train to perform these roles and even longer before we were prepared to fulfill those roles. I was 26 before I finished my first graduate training and could begin professional services. How old were you?

Billy, welcome to the ranks of new and new-ish servants. 99.9% of us recognized the need before we could begin to address it. Blessed are the peacemakers, said the Lord Jesus Christ ... and every Christian since.

Because of your witness, I am borrowing back one by one from a group of friends forming a new peace study group my books by Rosalie Riegle, my Berrigan books, my John Dear books, my Romero books, my Day books, my Catholic Worker books, my Marie Denis books, my Mary Lou Kownacki books, my Wes Howard Brooks books, my Borgeous and Dorothy Stang books.

THOMAS E BRANDLIN, MNA
2 months 3 weeks ago

Great point! If the immigrants are so special then so are the vulnerable children in the womb; the frail elderly, the disabled, and the men and women on death row. Did he protest the abortion, euthanasia, and capital punishment policies of his state or this nation? Did he stand-up for the Little Sisters of the Poor or the Christian baker who was acting on his presumably informed conscience? Before you sanctimouniously tell us how to be good Catholics, Mr. Critchley-Menor, try looking at all of the issues and what the rest of us are doing.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

I wonder if the author understands why the migrants feel they have to come. The irony of these protests is that they are fleeing Catholic countries that have oppressed their populations for centuries.
There is a movie about Dorothy Day which I highly recommend. She was a person of incredible will. However, Dorothy Day had almost zero effect on reducing poverty in the world. But poverty is rapidly disappearing anyway from the world and it has nothing to do with anything Catholics have done as Catholics.

Michael Gerrity
3 months ago

Oh yatta yatta J. The suffering at the border is happening now. Who cares what the irony is, who cares who oppressed who? Would you care that poverty is decreasing in the world overall, but you can't feed your family? Those fine folks in the rotunda are trying to do good. They are raising their voices. It might catch on.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

Those fine folks in the rotunda are trying to do good

But they are doing harm with their virtue signaling and haven’t a clue what the problems are and if you don’t know what the problem is you cannot solve the problem. Your comments indicate that you don’t care either. And by the way there is enough food. People aren’t starving to death. However, Venezuela has much more serious problems and the Jesuits were part of the problem.

J Jones
3 months ago

J Cosgrove, Accusations of "virtue signaling" are implicit "virtue signals". It implies "my grasp of true virtue is so, well, true and virtuous that I have been imbued with an intuitive sense of when another's moral or ethical act or word is genuine or a load of bs, fake, for public consumption, show-offy, just for the society pages, the obituary, the certificate of participation." I heard my profoundly kind and trusting best friend use it the other day to refer to the four Catholics who lay on the rotunda floor in the shape of the Cross, pictures of tiny children on their chests. "Virtue signalers, all of them!" We sat in the quiet of her kitchen, both of us a little shocked, I think, by the uncharacteristic ugliness of her tone. We long ago agreed not to talk about politics but we do talk about our shared Catholic lives and the sisters and priests we both have learned from and grown with. I reminded her of the beautiful community of sisters who welcomed me as a discerner; she had come to love these generous, faithful, good, selfless women through my stories. She converted to Catholicism in small part because of them and in large part of the accompaniment of a sister from another community. I told her that among the group lying on the floor and gathered round them were sisters from the two communities that had loved and guided both of us. We sat in silence again, not sure where to go. After a while, my friend, "I disagree with them, and with you. But I don't doubt your prayer...or theirs. I am sorry." THAT is the person I know and love. THAT is the conservative Catholic Republican I know and love and she is not a person who, using language of FOX news, doubts the sincerity of another's act of conscience or prayer.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

If advocating using analysis and logic is virtue signaling, I plead guilty. You seem to equate using evidence/ reasoning with other’s false accusations of immoral behavior based on their unsubstantiated emotions. That is what they are doing, saying others are less moral with no understanding of the other's reasons. I don’t deny anyone’s right to grandstand, I just believe this instance is misguided and counterproductive. I will change “virtue signaling” to “self righteousness grandstanding.” So is your friend right?

J Jones
3 months ago

J, I agree it is more productive to speak in plain terms: you think these 70 people engaged in "self-righteous grandstanding". You believe they have "no understanding" of and acted "on false unsubstantiated emotions" about, I presume, the larger issues. You mention some: the sociopolitical histories of Central and South America, the conditions inside the detention centers, racism as a cultural and structural dynamic in the US, civil disobedience, RCV responsibility for conditions in Venezuela.

I sincerely doubt, J Cosgrove, that you have enough verifiable information about even one of these 70 participants to present a fact-based, logical analysis of even just one protester's understanding of the larger issues, and why I should accept your assessment that their protest is NOT based on THAT person's fact-and-experience-based, logical analysis and understanding of one or all of those issues, analysis and understanding further grounded in their Christian study, prayer and informed conscience, with all of that coming together in a conscientious and humble decision to gather in peaceful Christian witness of prayer in the Rotunda, our rotunda, the people's rotunda?

You disagree with them, J Cosgrove. You think their personal public Christian witness and prayer in the people's rotunda is ineffective. Understood. That is perfectly fair.

My friend is right: she doesn't have any just cause to doubt that the Christian witness of these 70 Catholic women and men is grounded in conscientious and humbly held Christian conviction.

And she is right: we disagree on the politics.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

If I have not seen one logical evidence based analysis by anyone who participated, then I will assume they do not have the evidence and logic. This article hasn't and no commenter has ever done so. Also the demonstration is implicitly saying that those who disagree with them are on a lower moral level. None of which has anyone ever demonstrated in the nearly 200 articles on immigration posted here.

J Jones
3 months ago

Thanks for clarifying the assumption you have decided to run with re: the backgrounds of these 70 people. In all sincerity, you strike me as too thoughtful and too aware to really believe that.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

I believe that and can provide the rationale for my beliefs. I have been commenting here for 12 years. I started when one of my classmates said to me, you can’t believe what the Jesuits are saying. As a Jesuit graduate I thought I would contribute an alternative point of view.

J Jones
3 months ago

That helps me better understand your attitude toward this publication. Thank you. This Jesuit author, a young intern, is but one of 70 protesters. He mentioned no other Jesuit participants, and all those did he mention are women.

J Jones
3 months ago

Duplicate

J Jones
3 months ago

Duplicaye

J Jones
3 months ago

Duplicate

Mike Macrie
3 months ago

I do agree with Mr. Cosgrove on his point of “ Why are Migrants leaving Central America
” and what is anyone doing about it. This is the heart of the problem that’s not being tackled by Catholic Bishops, Latin American Countries and the US Government. I support Trump’s policy for cutting off Aid to these Countries. This Aid never gets to the people that need it. Instead of using US Aid to create meaningful Manufacturing and Agricultural Jobs, it’s taken by the crooked Politicians and the Military that protects them. What little Aid that reaches the Poor People it’s confiscated by the Street Gangs. But I do understand why Catholic Priests and Bishops are afraid to speak out in these countries because of fear of reprisals. But where is the US Conference of Bishops, the Vatican, and the US Government ? Where are the countless organizations of Latin America and Caribbean States Organizations on solving the problem of Central America Migration. If US holding back Aid helps to open up a dialogue for honest Central America Development to create jobs, I’m for it. Throwing Money at these Countries for the purpose of keeping US friendly Corrupt Politicians in Office will not help correct the Central America Crisis Migration.

J Jones
3 months ago

History and the tightknit community of committed United States Catholic peace and Central/South American activists actually provide strong reason to expect that these 70 activists represent - through their own ministerial experience, in-depth study, direct action and retreat and prayer communities - one of the primary repositories (or "brain trusts") of United States Roman Catholic expertise on the very issues and concerns you and JCosgrove raise. For the same reason (the history and culture of the US Catholic peace community in the 20th and 21st centuries), it is also reasonable to expect that these 70 have ministered with, studied with, lived with, engaged in direct action with, retreated with, prayed with, written with and gone to jail and court and prison with some of the most influential American Catholic peace activists of the 20th and 21st century who were not there because they have died or were engaged in their Roman Catholic peace ministered and activism elsewhere:

- Nobel Peace nominee Father John Dear, put forward by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a former Jesuit of 32 years, an internationally known and revered peace activist, one of the activists who, among dozens of other peace ministries, tirelessly challenged the Jesuit community and Jesuit universities for hosting war recruiters and training programs;
- Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest for approx 40 years, founder of the ongoing protest against the School of the Americas, the US-located, -run and -founded program that trained political and military leaders of US-funded murderous Central and South American regimes. His leadership led to protests of the Jesuit community and their Jesuit universities who provided US Jesuit educations and academic positions to some of the leaders of those regimes (or their children) whose US-funded oligarchies and wars created the current conditions migrants have been fleeing for generations through to today. Roy trained and inspired generations of American peace activists focused on the US contribution to the violence in and destruction of Central and South American people's and countries
- Roman Catholic religious sisters (recently deceased) Anne Montgomery RSCJ and still living Mary Lou Kownacki OSB (Erie) who are past presidents of Pax Christi USA, an internationally known and revered and influential Christian peace group;
- Roman Catholic sanctuary parishes and churches that studied, prayed, discerned, ministeted, travelled to serve as human shields during US -funded, US-trained military, political and economic civil wars in Central and South American countries, ultimately resulting in those parishes housing refugees of those US-funded and facilitated murderous regimes;
-sister Dorothy Stang SND, murdered in Central America for her protest of the destruction of the US-involved economically-essential forests.

I could expand that list for
days by naming the hundreds and hundreds of Roman Catholic sisters, priests, brothers, laywomen and men who ARE informed, experienced, past and current residents and ministers in Central and South America who have a solid understanding of and history of advocating for a change in the direct involvement of the RCC and US government and military and citizens and corporations in the destruction these Central and South American migrants are escaping.

I think you get my point.

"The bench" of American Roman Catholic peace activists who are long-involved and long- knowledgeable about these issues is, in fact, a profoundly experienced and faithful and deep bench.

J Jones
3 months ago

duplicate

Mike Macrie
3 months ago

I do agree with Mr. Cosgrove on his point of “ Why are Migrants leaving Central America
” and what is anyone doing about it. This is the heart of the problem that’s not being tackled by Catholic Bishops, Latin American Countries and the US Government. I support Trump’s policy for cutting off Aid to these Countries. This Aid never gets to the people that need it. Instead of using US Aid to create meaningful Manufacturing and Agricultural Jobs, it’s taken by the crooked Politicians and the Military that protects them. What little Aid that reaches the Poor People it’s confiscated by the Street Gangs. But I do understand why Catholic Priests and Bishops are afraid to speak out in these countries because of fear of reprisals. But where is the US Conference of Bishops, the Vatican, and the US Government ? Where are the countless organizations of Latin America and Caribbean States Organizations on solving the problem of Central America Migration. If US holding back Aid helps to open up a dialogue for honest Central America Development to create jobs, I’m for it. Throwing Money at these Countries for the purpose of keeping US friendly Corrupt Politicians in Office will not help correct the Central America Crisis Migration.

J. Calpezzo
3 months ago

Where were the lazy, over-fed bishops?
Where is Cardinal Burke in his flowing red dress?

Nora Bolcon
3 months ago

He and his Bishop pals are campaigning and raising money for Trump for 2020! Where else would they be? If Catholics don't like Trump's various torture practices, why ever do they keep voting people like him in? I didn't vote for this moronic president but plenty of white, catholic women did per our self-righteous bishop's pushing them to do so.

Mike Macrie
3 months ago

Yes that’s true but also true is many are life long bread and raised Republicans and needed no help from the Bishops. Many are strong will Single Issue Pro Life Voters. The real meaning of the Good Samaritan Gospel as it relates in today’s world never reaches the Pews for fear of alienating the Republican Church Parishioners. I have yet to hear a Homily from our Pastor and Priests on the Catholic Church support of Migrants at the Border for asylum in the US.

Opting Out
3 months ago

Nora Bolcon: I didn't vote for this moronic president but plenty of white, catholic women did per our self-righteous bishop's pushing them to do so.

In other words, Nora Bolcon, like Hillary “throw Bill Clinton Rape victims under the bus” Clinton, believes Republican women are too stupid to think for themselves so they depend on the US Bishops to tell them what to do. No wonder Hillary and her Left Wing nut cases lost the election TWICE!!! because they loathe diversity of opinions and they seethe at the thought of Americans thinking differently.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 4 weeks ago

Nora
You can always be trusted to engage in the deprecation of women who do not agree with your views as being toadies, unthinking sheep, or just plain dumb.

J Jones
3 months ago

Billy, thank you for your personal witness: in the Rotunda Thursday, in this article today, in your prayer every day and every night, in the part of your inventory you so generously share here, in your gratitude for all the other witnesses gathered with you Thursday, in your love for each of us, in your awareness that today is the day we begin again in our relationship with Christ and one another and that today is the day Jesus reaches out to us and asks us to be present and accounted for in his Kingdom on earth. I met Kathy Boylan and some of the other DC Catholic Workers, on a May day in 2013, as they stood outside the Capitol, dressed in orange prison jump suits, some still wearing black sacks over their heads as they protested the Obama Administration and our continued operation of Guantanomo. They were exhausted and friendly and warm and were headed home for a meal with the previously homeless family with whom they shared the Catholic Worker house. My mother and I were heading to Christ House and The Potter's House by cab; we offered a ride to a protester in her 70s or 80s to her senior housing complex in Adams Morgan. The entire ride, she implored us to join in action and prayer and speech for the list of Gospel issues Kathy spoke of to Billy, each mentioned with the passion of love for every being, the confidence of justice on the horizon, trust in Christ's companionship and the generosity of hope that surely we could not help but join her and the other Catholic Workers in their ministries. I had just left a CW community and was discerning my next ministry, My mother was on her way to Palestine and Israel with a peace study group. The memory of that elderly woman, sweaty and from another day in an orange prison jumpsuit and black sack over her head, has inspired me to pray and hope again and again. Blessed be the peacemakers.

Kevin Murphy
3 months ago

You lost me at fighting ""white nationalism.". I'm tired of the Left's obsession over race, particularly that convenient bogeyman, "white people." Why alienate people?

J Jones
3 months ago

I have never met a person who was arrested for an act of civil disobedience who was not engaged in other ways with that issue. Resources for those interested in learning about Catholics who risk arrest to speak the Gospel:
- any book or article by or about Dorothy Day and Oscar Romero, saints of the Roman Catholic Church
- Any article or book about Sister Ann Montgomery RSCJ
- Any book or article about Father John Dear (https://www.amazon.com/Sacrament-Civil-Disobedience-S-J-John/dp/1879175169
-https://www.globalsistersreport.org/news/selma-effect-catholic-nuns-and-social-justice-50-years-21201
- Any book or article about the Berrigan brothers, both priests (https://www.amazon.com/At-Play-Lions-Den-Biography/dp/1626982481)
- "Let Peace Begin with Me", Sr Mary Lou Kownacki OSB, Pax Christi
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006E5JMO/?tag=prabook0b-20
- Doing Time for Peace by Rosalie Riegle (https://www.amazon.com/Doing-Time-Peace-Resistance-Community/dp/0826518729)
- Crossing the Line by Rosalie Riegle (https://www.amazon.com/Crossing-Line-Nonviolent-Resisters-Speak-ebook/dp/B00BHLH7HA/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1)
- Any other article or book about Catholic Workers
- Sr Megan Rice, https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-nuclear-nun-goes-to-jail, for Obama era protests
- Any article or book about Father Bix Bischel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._Bichsel
- Any article about the School of the Americas and Roy Bourgeois
- http://immigrationimpact.com/2014/08/01/over-100-faith-leaders-arrested-in-protest-against-record-deportations/#.XTZEG-hKjIU
- Jim Forest, Holy Disobedience, https://www.uscatholic.org/articles/201608/holy-disobedience-30744
- https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/us-bishops-prepare-catholics-civil-disobedience-we-may-need-witness-truth-resisting-law

Alan Johnstone
3 months ago

Dorothy Day not saint.
Civil disobedience neither necessarily holy nor Christlike.
Poverty natural and normal, all arrive at birth with no clothes, no stuff, no land and no power.

J Jones
3 months ago

Thanks for correction on DDay. Correct also about "not necessarily holy or Christlike". Agreed on last. This was peaceful civil disobedience in which people prayed.

Kevin Murphy
3 months ago

John Dear got tossed out of the Jesuits. You've got to be pretty extreme to get thrown out from the the Society.

J Jones
3 months ago

First, an article about Saint Oscar Romero and his transformation to "extremism": https://www.uscatholic.org/articles/201810/oscar-romeros-saintly-struggle-justice-31521. Yes, compared to most of the rest of us, John Dear is "extreme". So extreme that Archbishop Desmond Tutu nominated him for the Nobel Peace prize. His extreme love for the Christian message of peace - and as one of the most influential Jesuits ever - will live on for generations of peacemaking Catholics. https://blog.franciscanmedia.org/sam/blessed-are-the-peacemakers

An America article on John Dear and his departure: https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/peace-activist-leaves-jesuits (read the comments)

More on John Dear https://fpif.org/tale-two-jesuits/

John in 2017 ---Https://www.thecatholictelegraph.com/ijpc-hosts-peace-activist-and-catholic-priest-fr-john-dear-and-launches-nonviolent-cincinnati-initiative/45128

https://www.denverpost.com/2008/08/14/spirited-peacenik/

Christopher Lochner
3 months ago

I'm not at all impressed with John Dear. The businesses in America should folow his example in the creation of his own brand and how he is marketing it. Check his website. It is "all about me" and "buy my books". I'm certain he views Christ as a means to his own earthly glory but the burden which he carries is in his ignorance to the same, the cross of being unaware of his own astounding egoism. This is why I never go anywhere near someone like this as they are much more of a cult like leader seeking adherents to a supposed moral superiority than individuals engaged in the world and seeking solutions.

J Jones
2 months 4 weeks ago

"individuals engaged in the world seeking solutions". Christopher, I would put all the money in the world on the likelihood that Fr Dear's Jesuit leaders would agree that that is EXACTLY who John Dear is ..... however difficult hierarchical obedience and, Jesuit life, may have been for him at times. He and they seem to agree on that. The man isn't important; his prophetic voice is, and thus his books and ideas are. The rub, Christopher, is that prophetic voices are embodied.

Robin Vestal
3 months ago

Thank you!!! My heart has been hurting on the deafening silence of too many of my Catholic Brethren. We must do more. One of my agnostic friends shared that she was sure now that there was no God because otherwise those who professed to follow God would be tearing down the gates to free the children (and everyone else). Never Again and you give me hope. I visit weekly at a local detention center (since 2012) and my heart is just breaking.

Christopher Scott
3 months ago

“The Gospel calls us to do more”.... Yep, and Mary chose the better part!

The problem with the Church today is It runs around trying to be a bunch of Martha’s and it’s not feeding souls.

Alan Johnstone
3 months ago

In the US, when a woman with a small child is arrested for stealing from a shop, do you know what happens to the small child?
Do you think the child should go in the cells with the woman?
Do you think a woman thief should be immune to arrest if she takes a small child with her?
Does every lock-up have a children's room with a sweet social worker to look after the children of people arrested for breaking a law?

What a self-glorifying dreamer you must be; open your eyes to the world of reality packed with sinners, wall to wall.

Before Sinai, the Jews taught that there was a set of laws which all living humans were under following th flood.

Do establish laws.
Don’t curse God.
Do not practice idolatry.
Do not engage in illicit sexuality.
Do not participate in bloodshed.
Do not rob.
Do not eat flesh from a living animal.

The Obligation to Create a System of Laws, the first one!

According to the medieval philosopher and codifier Maimonides,
the legal system which Noahides are required to set up is specifically
to establish punishments for infractions of the other six Noahide laws
(Laws of Kings 9:14).

J Jones
3 months ago

Alan, I think you have said you live in Australia. Tell us about your ministry there.

Christopher Lochner
3 months ago

Why would he have to explain his ministry to you? Goodness, how you have such an elevated and super-superior holiness about yourself. You claim others cannot judge the hearts of the protestors at the Rotunda but then ask for verification of the heart of those who are in diagreement with yourself!

J Jones
2 months 4 weeks ago

Thank you for the feedback. Will watch my tone.

Alan Johnstone
2 months 3 weeks ago

Unarmed doctor to refugees in Vietnam during war ending by taking orphans to Australia when peaceniks destroyed the US victory and briefly captured by Vietcong, unarmed doctor to the powerless in East Timor during the revolution and decolonisation and deported just before murderous Indonesian invasion. unarmed barefoot doctoring in Bangladesh in aftermath of murderous Pakistan partition
...
at retirement moved with my doctor wife to poorest area of our state to provide general medical service to area without any GP and still working at 76
...
enough virtue signalling for you?

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 3 weeks ago

Alan
👍👍👍👍👍👍

Randal Agostini
3 months ago

There is a pretty good non partisan article in this issue of America about Journalism, which I enjoyed reading for it gave me hope for the future. But this article began with a title, like a punch in the nose - the author is clearly partisan, so why should I read further? If we model ourselves as Christians, then surely we should use Christ as our guide. No matter how much Christian zeal anyone possess it is useless unless it is directed in a Christlike fashion. Christ came to save us, but the modus was to remodel our hearts, not our minds. When he entered a room it was to bring peace, not conflict. He was politically misunderstood even after he died, until the hearts of the Apostles and disciples were softened. For all his zeal the first lesson that Paul learned was humility - he never lost his energy, but he channeled it all through love. We often find ourselves chafing at the bit to cure the world, but more often the Holy Spirit reminds us - it is not about me. If you want to cure the world reach out your hand to the neighbor that does not agree with you and before you know it you will find Christ in him or her.

William Juliano
3 months ago

Absent amid so many symbolic protests are tangible solutions? Everyone agrees that conditions at border detention facilities should be better. But, the current conditions are not about willful neglect by the current Administration. The problem is a culmination of politically driven policies that have encouraged mass flows of illegal immigration. The result has been the overwhelming situation that exists today. There are simply too many people crossing the border at the same time, mostly because they are being induced to illegally enter the country. So, what's the solution? Simply opening the border is not the answer, and there is no Christian imperative to do so. The initial priority should be to both stem the flow and increase resources, but Congress has refused to take that action. Unfortunately, Democrats benefit from the scenes of suffering that they have done much to promote. Once those actions are taken, increased border security should be implemented, followed by a compassionate plan for those already residing in this country illegally and finally increased quotas for legal, need-based immigration. Instead of engaging in hysterical protests, the Church should be advocating for these practical solutions that both protect U.S. sovereignty and compassionately address the needs of those on our borders. Unfortunately, it seems as if it's easier and more fulfilling to get yourself arrested in a protest and then pat yourself on the back for doing so.

Steve Newton
3 months ago

I was one of the seventy and I was there to demonstrate against the condition of the children being held at the border. I was not there to protest for open borders or against the fact that we have an immigration policy. It was not about the laws, but the ways the law is being enforced. There was a very focused purpose for this event. By the way, I imagine Billy was 10 or 12 years old 8 years ago.

Opting Out
3 months ago

I imagine Billy was 10 or 12 years old 8 years ago
Talk about pride, Steve. Obama was president less than 3 years ago. Where were you then? Or are you going to tell us you were 5 or 6 years old back then? No wonder the Nones and millions of Ex-Catholics have walked away from the Church. With partisans like you who needs enemies? Suddenly you feel the need to get arrested....to save immigrants or because you needed attention? Immigrants have been arriving at the US Shores of Florida for half a century like me. I arrived in Florida with my family as a refugee. Where were Catholic “activists” 10 years ago? 20? 30? 40? Hypocrites.

All of us are called to serve year round, 24/7 no matter who is President. Hillary did nothing for immigrants when she was Secretary of State nor did Obama, other than deport them en droves with the Left not even caring. Now you do? Next you'll be arguing the US Bishops are Shepherds. Forgive my disgust at your attention seeking behavior. Refugees have been dying in the Florida Straits for decades....just like Archbishop Wenski of Miami stated plainly

NEW YORK - Reflecting on Pope Francis’s recent Mass on the 6th anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa - the small Italian island where he remembered the estimated 20,000 migrants who have died crossing the Mediterranean - Miami’s archbishop says “Lampedusa has been happening off the coast of Florida for the past 50 years.”
“It merely ebbs and flows from our consciousness,” he sighed. In an interview with Crux upon his return, Wenski said one of the local Florida papers recently published the numbers of individuals interdicted off the Florida coast where “several thousand” Cubans and Haitians had been picked up on the high seas in recent months. He lamented that this has been an “ongoing crisis” that only gets periodic attention. Wenski recalled the pope’s Mass with recently arrived refugees as “very impressive” and “less formal” than most Vatican liturgies - and he noted that at one point he observed a refugee woman nursing a child during the liturgy, which “was something Pope Francis has encouraged before,” adding that it enhanced the welcoming environment.

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2019/07/13/miami-archbishop-says-trump-rhetoric-causing-fear-in-migrant-community/

J Jones
3 months ago

Immigration protests by Catholic religious men and women and other faith leaders in 2014, during the Obama administration: - http://immigrationimpact.com/2014/08/01/over-100-faith-leaders-arrested-in-protest-against-record-deportations/#.XTZEG-
Billy looks like he may be in his mid-to-late 20s, early 30s at most. That humans need medical providers (you) and social workers (me) was surely evident to both of us long long before we began to train to perform these roles and even longer before we were prepared to fulfill those roles. I was 26 when I served my first client. How old were you, Jose?

Thanks for your witness, Steve.

Barry Fitzpatrick
3 months ago

"Hellbent on fidelity." The whole tenor of this article gives me pause and makes me examine how little I, a sinner, do to reconcile. I loved the story telling and the call to conversion within the same piece. Men like Billy and women like Kathy and the Sisters mentioned disturb me in the best way possible, they interrupt my complacency. Dan Berrigan too was ridculed and attacked for his witness, yet he too was "hellbent on fidelity." I will now ask myself with more urgency, "Why do I stand, why do I walk?" Surrender and service will indeed be our lasting gift. Thanks, Billy.

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