Beaumont bishop releases statement on border unrest

Bishop Curtis Guillory

Bishop Curtis Guillory of the Beaumont Diocese released a statement Thursday, June 21. The statement reads:

“My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“An estimated 2,600 children have now been separated from their parents at the Texas/Mexico border. I am encouraged that the President has signed an executive order to end this practice that had been part of the Administration’s zero tolerance policy. 

“Separating children from their parents, especially their mothers, is immoral and inhumane. Both psychologists and pediatricians tell us that these children will face long-term irreparable physical, emotional and spiritual damage.

“I remain deeply concerned on how and when these children already separated from their parents will be returned to their families. Our response to the cries of children for their parents, especially their mothers, should impel our government to act quickly. 

“Our Catholic faith teaches that the family is the domestic Church and the most basic unit of society. It is in the family that children are loved and learn how to love. It is in the family they are nurtured, and moral and religious values are passed on. 

“I ask you to join me in prayer, begging the Lord to protect these children. And, also pray that God will guide our leaders in quickly returning these children to their families and in enacting comprehensive immigration laws.

“Our country has the right and the responsibility to secure its borders and maintain the safety of its citizens. We, as a nation, can do that without undermining the protection of children.

“I ask that we educate ourselves on Church teaching on both the integrity of the family and the welcoming of the stranger.

“In regard to welcoming the stranger, let me refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“’The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

“’Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

“’(CCC, 2241)’

“Finally, I ask you to call your elected officials imploring them to first take action to return these children to their families quickly and then to enact comprehensive and just immigration laws.

“Know that you remain in my prayers as we move forward with courage to act and live out our Lord’s Gospel teaching of love and justice.”