January 31, 2017
Bishop Doherty of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana released this comment on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, concerning the upset over the President’s Immigration Order of Friday, January 27, 2017. It is posted at his diocesan website. His text follows:
The temporary order affecting parts of the immigration and refugee offices, and the interpretations of the order, remain fluid. Disagreements about matters of fact and of media coverage have added to the anxiety of many. It is difficult to make a statement about facts that may change by the time you read my comments – and there is a torrent of commentary around us that is not all helpful.
As all this resolves, know that the Catholic leaders and communities maintain an openness and a support for refugees. We support efforts to uphold the safety of all who live here. We have always encouraged people to act within the law, and to be adequately represented in matters of rights and responsibilities.
Our attitudes are shaped by our discipleship in Jesus. Many of the key attitudes and initiatives are reported in our papers and at the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website. We have been insistent, persistent, and consistent.
In my first year here, Archbishop Buechlein and I were part of a demonstration at the Indiana statehouse on behalf of the Dreamers, non-citizen children who have grown up in the United States. We were part of a group that included the state’s attorney general and many other religious and civic leaders.
In my third year, the diocese supported the certification and opening of an immigration aid office in Lafayette. Operating out of Lafayette Urban Ministries (LUM), the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) national legal resources are available here and in conversation with other offices in our state. This one effort is among many educational and healthcare services that Catholic-sponsored institutions provide in north central Indiana.
Last November, our diocesan office for Family Life and Hispanic Ministry reached out to all our communities after a deportation scare affected immigrant communities across the United States. Facts were in short supply, and social media fanned fears that hurt families. News of our efforts were sent to each pastor and parish and were covered in The Catholic Moment, as well. I personally talked to many bishops who verified reports about damaging speculation, even among people who have been citizens in the U.S. for four or more generations.
There are positive things happening in our parishes and in networks of faith and civic communities -- carried out in the spirit of faith and prayerful discipleship.
Most Rev. Timothy Doherty