Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Bishop Charles C. Thompson, Diocese Of Evansville, Responds To Jan. 27 Executive Orders


On Jan. 30, Bishop Charles C. Thompson of the Diocese of Evansville issued the following statement regarding the Jan. 27 executive orders impacting immigration and foreign travel, issued by President Donald Trump:

“Americans are not accustomed to seeing their nation close its doors to those in need of asylum, protection, defense or opportunities to live without fear or oppression. It has been noted that more than 65 million people around the world have been forcibly displaced from their homes.

“I urge President Trump, Vice President Pence and everyone in the new administration to respect the dignity of every human life, including those fleeing persecution in foreign lands and seeking better lives in the United States – regardless of their country of origin or their religious beliefs.

“Although they may be generations removed, the vast majority of Americans are descendants of immigrants – many of whom arrived at Ellis Island in New York and were greeted by the Statue of Liberty. At the base of the statue we find these words: ‘Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’

“That lamp of welcome must continue to shine; America’s golden door must remain open. As Pope Francis has reminded us on many occasions, we are called to go to the peripheries and minister to all.

“The 12 counties of the Diocese of Evansville serve as the collective home to people from around the world – Latin American countries of Central and South America, Haiti, the Philippines, Cuba, Russia and elsewhere. The Church in Southwest Indiana was founded on the shoulders of French-immigrant Bishop Simon Bruté, and it grew strong through the efforts of immigrants from Germany and other nations.

“Our Catholic faith calls us to serve and welcome all, and to respect life from conception to natural death. We are pleased by the new administration’s position on life, as evidenced by Vice President Pence’s address at last week’s March for Life and President Trump’s social media posts offering his full support to those who marched.

“We believe that if the administration truly is pro-life, its focus on the dignity and sanctity of life must apply to all – including those who are directly impacted by the recent executive orders regarding immigration.

“It is my hope that these orders will end as soon as possible – and that Congress and the President will work together to pass more comprehensive immigration reform that seeks to build bridges rather than walls – so that our great nation can return its focus to shining the lamps of freedom and hope through the golden door of welcome … to all.”