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Catholic World News

Popular movements call for sanctuary, disruption; blast racism, ‘all forms of human hierarchy’

February 23, 2017

Participants in the First US Regional Meeting of Popular Movements issued a “message from Modesto” following a four-day meeting in the California city.

Cardinal Peter Turkson and two dozen US bishops attended the meeting, which was cosponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the US bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and PICO National Network.

“We believe that every human is sacred with equal claim to safe water, education, health care, housing and family-sustaining jobs,” participants said in their message. “Racism and all forms of human hierarchy, whether based on skin color, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, arrest and conviction records, immigration status, religion or ethnicity are immoral.”

“Racism is stripping Black, Latino, Asian, Muslim, Native people of their humanity and fueling police abuse and mass-incarceration, and fueling a crisis of homelessness and displacement,” the message continued. “Raids and Trump Administration Executive Orders are scapegoating immigrants and ripping families apart.”

The participants added:

We understand that a small elite is growing wealthy and powerful off the suffering of our families. Racism and White Supremacy are America’s original sins. They continue to justify a system of unregulated capitalism that idolizes wealth accumulation over human needs. Yet too often our faith communities and religious leaders fail to heed the mandate to denounce greed and stand with the poor and vulnerable.

In response, the message proposes several actions, including

  • “sanctuary”: “we urge every faith community, including every Catholic parish, to declare themselves a sanctuary for people facing deportation and those being targeted based on religion, race or political beliefs”
  • “disrupting oppression and dehumanization”: “we must put our bodies, money and institutional power at risk to protect our families and communities, using tools that include boycotts, strikes, and non-violent civil disobedience”
  • “bold prophetic leadership from faith communities”: “we ask our Catholic Bishops to write a covenant that spells out specific actions that dioceses and parishes should take to protect families in the areas of immigration, racism, jobs, housing, and the environment”
  • “political power”: “to defend our families and protect our values we must build political power”


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  • Posted by: nix898049 - Feb. 26, 2017 11:22 PM ET USA

    Well, since some bishops believe keeping God's commandments is beyond the capability of modern man, this is all the Church can expect of anyone. Keep preaching that Social Gospel, boys.

  • Posted by: claude-ccc2991 - Feb. 25, 2017 2:54 PM ET USA

    This is the Jesuit mindset faced by JPII: the work of the Church was acquire political power & reconfigure social structure (the latter = vocation of the laity. The above language is cleverly dehumanizing of "the other side" by cloaking itself in victimhood & gross omissions. E.g., a policeman is 18 times more likely to be shot by a black person than a black person with a gun is to be shot by a policeman (data published by Heather McDonald, Wall Street Journal).

  • Posted by: rpp - Feb. 24, 2017 9:00 AM ET USA

    Stick to liturgy and stay out of politics.

  • Posted by: Archpriest - Feb. 24, 2017 12:52 AM ET USA

    We now have a whole bevy of "new think" bishops who speak up on every issue except the spiritual advancement of the flocks entrusted to their care. Meanwhile other bishops keep quiet, bullied by the now enfranchised church-politique. Please "Come, Holy Spirit... do not delay."

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Feb. 23, 2017 10:02 PM ET USA

    So hijack the Church to displace Presbyterians and Episcopals as the religious wing of the Democrat party?

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Feb. 23, 2017 8:46 PM ET USA

    Where is all the sound and fury against abortion, Planned Parenthood, assisted suicide,child prostitution, illegal Actions regardless an alien or citizen. The Church bishops need to be more about disrupting those who threaten Church doctrine and religious freedom. Be a bulwark against those like Pelosi and Biden not allies. We need another St. Paul. God help us and direction we are headed.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Feb. 23, 2017 7:07 PM ET USA

    This sounds like Nancy Pelosi's catholic church.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Feb. 23, 2017 10:37 AM ET USA

    Where were the cries to boycott, disrupt, build political power, in a word--produce anarchy--when Catholic health care and outreach to orphans were being systematically dismantled by an atheist political environment characterized by hatred of Christianity, the Catholic Church in particular? I do not disagree that many aspects of modern corporate politics and hierarchical dynamics operate in a manner diametrically opposed to Catholic principles, but you ought to have a better system in hand befor

  • Posted by: garedawg - Feb. 23, 2017 10:29 AM ET USA

    "Racism and White Supremacy are America’s original sins." Those are bad, yes, but how about abortion?