The Day after the terrorist attacks in Paris, Pope Francis said of Syrian refugees in Europe: “Behind these statistics are people, each of them with a name, a face, a story, an inalienable dignity which is theirs as a child of God.”
Today, I am proud to stand with my fellow Catholic bishops who serve in Maryland to issue the following statement:
“The Catholic bishops of Maryland join their voices with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and state Catholic Conferences throughout the country in calling for our nation and our state to welcome those fleeing persecution in other countries, including refugees seeking asylum from Syria. To deny certain groups access to a safe haven based on their religion or country of origin is contrary to the principles of fairness and compassion that have been the foundation of our nation’s character. Upholding these principles does not conflict with maintaining the safety of our nation, which has always been a paramount priority of the U.S. refugee resettlement process.
“Maryland is home to the national headquarters of Catholic Relief Services, which has a rich history of serving potential refugees in their native land, and firsthand knowledge of the brutal oppression that innocent families endure at the hands of terrorist groups such as ISIS. In solidarity with the many Catholic agencies that serve the persecuted throughout the world, the Catholic Church in Maryland, through our Catholic Charities agencies and other ministries, stands ready to offer our assistance to these families. We urge all Marylanders to consider their plight with an open heart, and to learn more about the multiple layers of interviews and security checks these refugees must undergo in order to resettle in our country.
“We offer our heartfelt sympathy and prayers for the residents of Paris who suffered the horror of the recent ISIS attacks, and pray that the true spirit of human fraternity and nobility will inspire our country and nations around the world to triumph over this dreadful example of viciousness against our brothers and sisters.”