The Syrian refugee crisis has been a concerning issue for countries around the world since the start of the Syrian civil war in mid-2011. As American Catholics what are we to do when faced with the moral decision of whether or not to let refugees into the U.S.?
At a minimum: We must be informed.
Pope Francis delivered a heartwarming speech to Congress in his visit to America in September. Although moved by his powerful words, I don’t think the U.S. has truly grasped Pope Francis’ message on the refugee crisis we are facing today.
“Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War.”
The Holy Father goes on to state that all countries should abide the “Golden Rule” despite the number of refugees and how troublesome we might perceive them to be. However, in light of the Paris attacks on November 13, matters have become progressively more dangerous.
According to French police, one of the suspects in the attacks, who was killed by suicide bomb, possessed a Syrian passport. This, of course, indicating that he was a refugee that traveled through Greece, eventually settling in France. The passport found at the tragic scene in the Paris suburb of St. Denis, was found near the attacker but did not belong to him. The passport belonged to a man named Ahmad al-Mohammad, who is reported to be dead as of a few months ago. Are Syrian refugees a threat to us?
This is not meant to scare you into action, but rather inform you on what is truly happening outside our own private lives. We cannot walk aimlessly through life without the facts. To live out our Catholic Faith we are called to be charitable. This is a theological virtue. As Americans, most of us cannot even fathom the gravity of the situation surrounding civil war in our own country. Pope Francis was right when he said the refugee crisis is one of magnitude proportions, and what are we to do now?
Fear will only set us back.
We cannot deny access to innocent Syrian families because we are afraid of a minuscule possibility of terrorism.
We must act out of love.
Propaganda videos will continuously be released by this terrorist group, but we cannot be shaken. There is a viral video of a Frenchmen whose wife died in the Paris attacks and he said he did not hate the people who have caused him this horrible pain. What an example of courage and faith! Hatred is what they seek, yet love is what they’ll get!
In September, the Holy Father issued an appeal to all Catholics in Europe to take in one Syrian family for every parish, monastery and religious community. It is now time for us, as Americans, to get our toes wet and take in refugees. Unfortunately, 26 U.S. governors have refused to accept Syrian refugees in their states, all being Republican. This is actually not a legal course of action for the Governors, but it smacks of the current midset. Surprisingly, President Obama has mentioned the words of Pope Francis’ as an argument to have all states participate in the housing of these refugees. How terrible when the leader we oppose for supporting liberal access to abortion has to quote the Pope to get his point across!
“When Pope Francis came to visit the United States and gave a speech before Congress, he didn’t just speak about Christians who were being persecuted, he didn’t call on Catholic parishes just to admit those who were of the same religious faith, he said protect people who were vulnerable,” President Obama said.
For the first time, as Catholics we should all be with President Obama on this one. He’s right. These refugees have nothing but hope; hope in us to not only save them from their distress but to bring back their sense of safety. We all have loved ones and to picture our own families in danger would push us to seek help, but what if no one wanted to help us in that dire need?
We must help.
- See if your state is supporting or rejecting Syrian refugees: https://www.vox.com/2015/11/16/9746456/map-syrian-refugees-governors
- Contact your governor if you disagree, voice your First Amendment right for the greater glory of God.
- Pray for our leaders, that they make prudent decisions that respect the dignity of refugees AND protect their own people.