Pope supports U.S. bishops' criticism of 'immoral' immigration policy

IMAGE: CNS photo/Adrees Latif, Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said he stands with the
U.S. bishops who recently condemned the Trump administration’s policy on
immigration that has led to children being held in government shelters while
their parents are sent to federal prisons.

“I am on the side of the bishops’ conference,” Pope
Francis said in an interview with the Reuters news agency, published online June
20. “Let it be clear that in these things, I respect (the position of) the
bishops’ conference.”

On the first day of their June 13-14 spring assembly in Fort
Lauderdale, Florida, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, read a statement on behalf of the bishops denouncing
the government’s zero-tolerance policy.

“Families are the foundational element of our society,
and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is
important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find
other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not
the answer and is immoral,” the statement said.

The political rise of populist movements in both the United
States and in Europe has led to a severe crackdown on men, women and children
trying to escape war, violence, poverty and persecution.

In Italy, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini banned the NGO
rescue ship Aquarius, with more than 600 migrants aboard, to dock and has vowed
to stop any foreign boats carrying rescued migrants into the country.

Pope Francis said the current wave of populist rhetoric
against migrants was “creating psychosis” and that people seeking a
better life should not be rejected.

Europe, he added, is facing a “great demographic
winter” and, without immigration, the continent “will become

“Some governments are working on it, and people have to
be settled in the best possible way, but creating psychosis is not the
cure,” he said. “Populism does not resolve things. What resolves
things is acceptance, study, prudence.”

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