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What does it actually mean for a priest to be ‘laicized’?

March 15, 2017 CNA Daily News 8

Rome, Italy, Mar 15, 2017 / 02:50 am (CNA/EWTN News).- When reports came out recently about Pope Francis’ decision to modify the penalties for several priests found guilty of abusing minors, the question arose as to whether the Pope was being too merciful in his decision.

Another concern was whether priests found guilty of abuse of minors would continue to be dismissed from the clerical state, or “laicized.”

To address these issues and clear up some of the grey area on this topic, CNA spoke with a canonist, Fr. Damián Astigueta, SJ.

A professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University with a specialty in criminal proceedings, Fr. Astigueta offered insights on what dismissal from the clerical state is, why the Church doesn’t always choose to dismiss from the clerical state priests who are guilty of abuse, what those condemned to a life of prayer and penance actually do, the role of bishops in abuse cases, the lessening of sentences, and more.

What is dismissal from the clerical state?

While frequently used in the media, the term “laicization” doesn’t really exist anymore among canonists, Fr. Astigueta said, and has been widely replaced by the term “loss of the clerical state.”

When a priest loses his clerical state, either because he requested it or because it was taken from him, he is “‘dismissed from the clerical state,’ because this is a juridical status,” Fr. Astigueta explained.

“He remains in a situation judicially as if they were a layperson. This is where the term ‘laicization’ comes from.”

He clarified that when this happens, it doesn’t mean that a priest is no longer a priest: “the sacrament of Holy Orders isn’t lost; it imprints an ontological sign on the being of the priest that can never be lost.”

What happens instead is that exercising the rights proper to the clerical state are prohibited, such as saying Mass, hearing confessions, and administering the sacraments; as are the obligations, such as that of reciting the Liturgy of the Hours and obedience to their bishop.

However, since a man dismissed from the clerical state remains a priest, there are times at which the Church continues to oblige him to act as a priest.

For example, if he finds someone in danger of death who asks for the sacraments, even though he is no longer in a clerical state, he “must hear (the person’s) confession because the most important thing is the salvation of that person.”

Fr. Astigueta also emphasized the importance of not misinterpreting the process to mean a “reduction to the lay state.” This phrase is not correct, he stressed, since it inaccurately treats laity “in a derogatory way, as if they were lesser.”

Why not all priests guilty of abuse lose the clerical state

For Fr. Astigueta, the answer to the question of why not all priests found guilty of abuse are dismissed from the clerical state has two primary components: not all acts of abuse are the same in terms of severity, and the situation of the priest himself varies.

“Why doesn’t the Church dismiss from the clerical state all abusers? Because not all abuses are the same entity,” he said. Even civil law recognizes a difference in severity between pedophilia – which involves prepubescent children – and ephebophilia – which involves mid-to-late adolescents. In other cases, there may be the appearance of consent with an older teen, he said, which can further complicate the matter. The penalty assessed to the priest takes these factors into account, he added.

When it comes to priests who are found guilty of abuse, there are different types of punishments, including dismissal from the clerical state, or a life of “prayer and penance,” depending on the situation.

“There are certain cases in which dismissal would be the just punishment,” Fr. Astigueta said.

But there are also cases – even with several instances of serious abuse that have caused a lot of damage – when the Church decides against this dismissal, he said, pointing to Legion of Christ founder Fr. Marcial Maciel as an example.

Fr. Maciel was a person “who was proven to have committed a series of very serious crimes, a person who when one knows what he did truly realizes they are in front of a very disturbed person,” the priest said. “Can a disturbed person be punished with the maximum penalty?”

At times the Church prefers to use a different system, prohibiting the person from ministry, particularly in public. Instead, the person is isolated at home, dedicated to prayer “and nothing more.” This means no visits from people, at times not even friends or their congregation.

In the case of Fr. Maciel, even his funeral, for which he had saved enormous funds, was closed to the public.

“Is it a gilded prison? In a certain way, yes,” Fr. Astigueta said. However, he said the Church at times chooses this punishment, which is less strong, because at a certain point, “when I give a person a sanction that destroys them, it’s not a sanction, but revenge.”

Fr. Astigueta also spoke of the importance of mercy in the process, particularly when it comes to elderly priests and the Church’s own responsibility toward her members.  

Even in a tragic case when a child has been abused, “the Church is still a mother, and mercy is used for the victims and the priest,” he said, noting that abusers often have serious psychological problems that require treatment.

If a priest chooses to renounce his clerical state, he is often inserted into society without a problem; but when it comes to those who have been dismissed, it can be a lot harder, Fr. Astigueta said, explaining that there is a canon (c. 1350 §2) establishing “that there exists a duty of charity toward them.”

This means “helping them and taking care of them in the measure that the person lets themselves be helped,” he said.

If an 80-year-old priest is dismissed from the clerical state, “where do we send him? Can he find work? He’ll end up living on the street as a homeless man. How long will he last? He won’t last anything,” he observed.

To put a man on the street in this circumstance, unless he has relatives ready to take him on, “is practically to kill him.”

Often, despite the harm done, something good in the person remains, he said, explaining that because of this, sometimes a more just penance is to let him “live with his conscience.” While a life of prayer and reflection might sound comfortable, Fr. Astigueta asked: “reflecting with whom? With your memories before God, with your regrets.”

He noted that in order to avoid pressure from the media in these cases, the Church “is obliged at times to punish, in my view, more seriously than it should.”

Offering help to victims and bringing about justice is always the Church’s top priority when it comes to clerical abuse, but concern must also be shown to the sinner, he said, explaining that if the Church were to immediately dismiss from the clerical state every abusive priest, it could cause more harm.

“Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that if these people are thrown out on the street, I am leaving a possible serial killer,” Fr. Astigueta said, referring to pedophiles. The Church, he said, must also take this into account.

Fr. Astigueta stressed that when it comes to mercy in abuse cases, it “never goes against justice,” and that the first act of mercy is “to tell the truth.”

Once the truth is known, the measure in which the offender can be sanctioned must be taken into account “in order to avoid that the penalty is a revenge,” because this helps no one.

“The pain of the victim is never cured with revenge; the only way to heal the victim’s pain is forgiveness offered freely,” he said, noting that “this can never be forced on anyone; but certainly neither can the spirit of revenge be forced.”

What a life of prayer and penance actually means

Many priests found guilty of abuse, instead of being dismissed from the clerical state, are instead sentenced to a life of “prayer and penance.”

But while the sentence is fairly common, among elderly priests in particular, what it actually involves is at times a bit obscure to the public eye, and it can seem like the priest is getting off easy despite committing heinous crimes.

Fr. Astigueta explained that on a practical level, “the person is isolated, sometimes more, sometimes less.”

Often “the person is isolated, possibly without having direct access to the telephone or the TV, and must dedicate himself to reading, praying and walking around inside the house.”

At times the person might even be barred from leaving the house without permission, under pain of incurring further punishments.

He pointed to the recent case of Luis Fernando Figari, a layman and founder of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, who was found guilty of an extreme, authoritarian style of leadership as well as several accounts of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse.

As a punishment, the Vatican didn’t expel Figari from the community, but ordered that he live alone, and barred him from any contact with the community’s members and from receiving people.

If a priest who receives this sentence doesn’t want to follow the rules, the Church in this case “can impose the full dismissal” from their clerical status, Fr. Astigueta said, noting that the majority of priests who choose to this life are people who “want to be helped and recognize that this penalty is a table of salvation for them.”
 
“It’s strong, yes, but at least I have something to eat and I can live my final years in peace,” Fr. Astigueta said, noting that in general it is elderly priests who end up in this situation, whereas younger ones with some sort of major mental health disorder are typically sent to a therapeutic communities.

At times they are able to celebrate Mass with others, but “always with the very clear ban that ‘from here, you cannot go away without permission.’”

The Church, Fr. Astigueta said, “is not a prison … it doesn’t have penitential system like a state, but someone must keep watch over those removed from ministry.”

And this implies “a very heavy duty for the Church, because who is the one that supervises? Who is responsible for him? It’s not so easy, it implies a lot of obligations.”

Fr. Astigueta also noted that there’s a different canonical process for lay founders such as Figari, versus priests who abuse.

“Technically speaking, the case of a layman doesn’t enter into the canon on abuses like the priests,” he said.

Clerics who commit sexual abuse are charged under a canon (c. 1395 §2) which criminalizes those offenses against the sixth commandment which are committed by force or threats or publicly or with a minor below the age of 16.

But when it comes to the laity specifically, “this lack in the code must be thought of,” because unfortunately “the times are those in which we can’t only think about priest founders, but of many laity who have a position in the Church … who can abuse minors,” such as school directors or professors.

In these cases, he said, the Church applies a canon (c. 1399) which covers the situation in which the criminal “goes against a divine or ecclesiastical law with harm or danger of grave scandal.”

Cases in which the victims are mentally disabled must also be taken into consideration, he said, as well as many other forms of abuse “that should be considered crimes,” and are in many states.

The role of the bishop in cases of abuse

When it comes to the responsibility of bishops in abuse cases, Fr. Astigueta said that while expectations might have been murky in the past, they are clear now, and require the bishop to act immediately.

“When the bishop is informed, when he receives the news that an abuse has been committed, he has the obligation, a serious obligation, to intervene.”

A bishop must first intervene on a judicial level, alerting civil authorities, but also on the pastoral level, he said, explaining that the process looks different for every nation.

On a pastoral level, bishops must from the start turn their immediate attention to the victims “in order to welcome them and to help them understand that we are not against them and we are looking for the truth,” he said.

After the initial investigation has begun, the bishop may, but is not obliged to, apply a “precautionary measure,” which is a type of disciplinary measure enforced in order to avoid “the process from being polluted.”

Giving a theoretical example, Fr. Astigueta said a priest might try to pressure a victim into retracting their statement, so the bishop could decide to “distance” the priest from the process. This choice might also be made in situations where there is risk of a serious scandal, he said.

Once a priest is found guilty, the bishop will have to carry out the sentence, and it may even be the bishop himself to enforce the decree of dismissal from the clerical state with the authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Fr. Astigueta explained.

Victims must be helped to live a “process of reconciliation, of accompaniment” and one in which they are made to feel that “they are part of the Church,” he said, but stressed that this is at a pastoral level, which must always remain separate from the judicial level.

Fr. Astigueta also spoke on cases of negligence on the part of a bishop, which Pope Francis in his 2016 motu proprio Come una madre amorevole established as grounds for removal from office.

The canon behind the rule (c. 1389 §2), the priest said, states that “A person who through culpable negligence illegitimately places or omits an act of ecclesiastical power, ministry, or function with harm to another is to be punished with a just penalty.”

The issue is also dealt with in a canon (c. 193 §1) which speaks of removal from office “for grave causes.” Removal from office, he explained, is “the act through which a person loses a series of rights which are part of an office.”

“So this person who was the bishop had rights and duties regarding the community. As he has not fulfilled them, this office is removed,” Fr. Astigueta said.

Removal in this sense can either be for disciplinary or penal reasons, Fr. Astigueta said, explaining that in the case of penal removal for negligence, the bishop is dismissed because “he didn’t act as he should have.”

While in the past bishops moved abusive priests around in part because they didn’t understand the severity of the problem, “today no one can say that they don’t know what abuse is and the magnitude of the problem.”

In cases of abuse, then, “it’s already so severe that there is no need for another cause, negligence is enough.” Part of this negligence, Fr. Astigueta explained, could be moving priests, not acting immediately, or letting time pass until more accusations arise: “Here we would have a case of negligence.”

Another instance, he said, would be failing to take precautionary measures against a priest accused of abuse, and it is later discovered that the priest had committed other abuses during that time. Other reasons for removal of office due to negligence could be that the bishop didn’t follow the protocol requested by the state.

He noted that there are a variety of situations, but “the Pope wanted to say that this negligence in itself so important because the damage to the other produced due to negligence, which is almost – even if it can’t be said in a clear way – an act of complicity due to negligence.”

Stronger punishment isn’t always the best way to prevent abuse

No matter the situation of the priest or the bishop, Fr. Astigueta stressed the importance of pursuing the just punishment given the particular situation, and warned against the temptation to immediately impose the maximum punishment – dismissal from the clerical state – on all cases.

To do so, he said, “would be an injustice, it would be a type of witch hunt, and this produces fugitives. If everyone is punished with the maximum, with this you resolve nothing.”

It’s a fact, he said, that all states which have attempted to toughen the penalties in order to prevent further crimes “have failed to do so.”

The only thing that actually makes the crimes diminish, he said, are preventative measures and “the consciousness of the people, the intervention of the people,” specifically through education.

“If the people within the Church were all to work so that there were a healthy environment, not one of suspicion, but healthy and prudent,” these delinquent act would diminish. “Not because the maximum penalty is applied.”

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New Mexico bishops admonish pro-choice Catholic legislators

March 14, 2017 CNA Daily News 0

Santa Fe, NM, Mar 14, 2017 / 05:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- New Mexico Bishops released a statement last week discouraging public advocacy from Catholic legislators for abortions and assisted suicide on behalf of their Catholic faith.

“We are concerned by public statements by some legislators that seem to say that a faithful Catholic can support abortion or doctor-assisted suicide,” New Mexico’s bishops stated March 6.

“Support for abortion or doctor-assisted suicide is not in accord with the teachings of the Church. These represent the direct taking of human life, and are always wrong.”

State Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero invoked her Catholic faith earlier this month as a factor in her decision to oppose a bill that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

And last month State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, also Catholic, introduced a bill which would force religious hospitals and individuals to act against their conscious and perform abortions.

The bishops wrote that “It is not appropriate for elected officials to publicly invoke their Catholic faith and to present their personal opinions as official Church teaching. This misrepresents Church teaching and creates a public scandal for the faithful.”

The bishops upheld Catholic teaching that “all human life is sacred, from the moment of conception to natural death, and must be protected,” and emphasized that “support for abortion or doctor-assisted suicide is not in accord with the teachings of the Church.”

“Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in His own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect,” the bishops stated, repeating the words of Pope Francis.

“It is not morally permissible for a Catholic to support abortion or doctor-assisted suicide,” they emphasized.

Recognizing Catholic legislators who support laws directed at supporting immigrants and the impoverished, the message applauded “their work giving voice to the voiceless.”

Citing the damages done to the soul by receiving, performing, or supporting abortions, the bishops acknowledged that “God’s forgiveness is always available to us if we seek it, so that we may heal our soul and be reconciled with God, the Church and others.” They promoted the sacrament of confession and the Project Rachel ministry for men and women who are in need of support after participating in an abortion.

“We want to be clear,” the bishops concluded. “Individuals and groups do not speak for the Catholic Church. As bishops, we do.”

“We visit the New Mexico Legislature when it gathers and host a time when together the priorities of the Church are made known to the legislators. We take the Gospel to the public square in public meetings and hearings as well as in private meetings and conversations with elected officials.”

“We pray for all legislators and through the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops are here to aid in the formation of consciences,” they noted. “We will continue to collaborate with many others to uphold the dignity of the human person through a consistent ethic of life from conception to natural death.”

[…]

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Porn leaves men dissatisfied with real relationships, study finds

March 14, 2017 CNA Daily News 0

Washington D.C., Mar 14, 2017 / 04:28 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A recent analysis of 50 studies found that pornography was negatively associated with sexual and relational satisfaction among men.

 

The paper, entitled Pornography Consumption and Satisfaction: A Meta-Analysis, concluded that “Pornography consumption was associated with lower interpersonal satisfaction outcomes in cross-sectional surveys, longitudinal surveys, and experiments.” Specifically, pornography was linked to significant “lower sexual and relational satisfaction” among male viewers.

 

The analysis included a combined 50,000 participants across 10 countries, and contradicts another recent study that claimed that pornography has a positive impact on its consumers.

 

“Pornography is sex-negative,” Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), said in a statement about the new analysis.

 

According to their website, the NCOSE is a national organization dedicated to opposing pornography by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, and addiction.

 

“Pornography rewires an individual’s sexuality to pixels on a screen rather than to a real person, which is inherently inconsistent with healthy, organic relationships. A wide body of research is bringing attention to the various ways pornography negatively impacts both women and men, and this latest meta-analysis contributes important findings to that on-going dialogue.”

 

Hawkins noted that the analysis contradicted a recent study,  Porn Sex Versus Real Sex: How Sexually Explicit Material Shapes Our Understanding of Sexual Anatomy, Physiology, and Behaviour, which claimed that pornography positively affected relationships and sexuality after asking participants about the perceived impact pornography was having on their life.

 

“Those researchers asked survey participants questions about the effects of their pornography consumption using a faulty methodology which could only yield positive results, and then presented the results as unbiased and valid despite the skewed methodology,” Hawkins added.

 

Pornography has been receiving increasingly negative attention as more groups and individuals highlight its destructive effects on people’s well-being and relationships.

 

Last year, the GOP at the Republican National Convention declared pornography a public health crisis as part of their platform, a few months after the state of Utah declared the same.

 

British comedian Russel Brand, actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Rashida Jones, and former NFL player and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actor Terry Crews are just some of the celebrities that have recently spoken out against pornography, its addictive properties and its harmful effects on relationships.

 

Smartphones and other technology have made pornography more accessible than ever before, increasing the prevalence of pornography addiction. However, in response, numerous online community groups, smartphone apps and educational videos – both secular and faith-based – have launched, with the goal of helping people quit porn.

 

Still, despite scientific evidence to the contrary, strong biases in favor of pornography as a healthy part of sexuality still exist.

 

“Pornography is so pervasive today that many individuals grew up watching it and therefore assume it is a normal and healthy part of sexuality,” Haley Halverson, director of communications for NCOSE, told CNA.

 

“Yet, like cigarettes in the 1950s, we know that just because a practice is popularly accepted doesn’t mean it is healthy or beneficial.”

 

There have also been recent arguments made that pornography simply needs to be produced more ethically. However, Halverson said, it is not possible to make an “inherently unethical” practice more ethical.

 

“Pornography inherently involves dehumanizing a person by reducing them to a mere collection of body parts for one’s own selfish sexual pleasure. This is an inherently unethical way to view or treat another person,” she said.

 

“Some people may try to make pornography ‘less’ unethical in different ways, but but such attempts can never change the fact that pornography objectifies human beings. Only a society that rejects pornography can fully respect the human dignity of each person.”

 

 
 

 
 

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How Pope Francis’ sincere humanity has shaped his pontificate

March 14, 2017 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Mar 14, 2017 / 04:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Rather than a weakness, Pope Francis’ humanity – and his acknowledgment of it – has been a source of strength and impact during the four years of his pontificate, said Vatican’s press office director.

“The Pope says something which is very impressive, which is: ‘I am a sinner,’” Greg Burke told EWTN News Nightly. “And I think he says that in every interview he does, that none of us is without fault. I think that’s been part of his strength: how human he is.”

“Yes, he is the Vicar of Christ and yet at the same time he’s a human being like the rest of us.”

Burke reflected on one small moment from Francis’ pontificate that stands out in particular as hugely impactful: which was “when the Pope got down on his knees to go to Confession himself, in front of the cameras.”

The way that Pope Francis leads by example “has done a great service to all of us,” Burke said.

Burke was appointed Director of the Vatican’s press office in July 2016, after just under six months as vice director. Formerly a Rome correspondent for Fox News Channel and Time Magazine, he has worked in the Vatican since June 2012 when he was appointed senior communications advisor to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

March is the month of anniversaries, with March 13 marking the fourth anniversary of Pope Francis’ election as pontiff, and March 19 the anniversary of the start of his pontificate.

Burke said that in these four years there have been many significant moments, but one that stands out to him is the Year of Mercy, “because it wasn’t just that year it was the whole spirit of mercy which I think the Pope has helped remind everyone of.”

“That God is waiting there to forgive us, something he said from the first week of his pontificate, and people knew perhaps, but it’s been a great reminder.”

A few of the trips Pope Francis has taken “where he wasn’t supposed to go” were also important moments, he pointed out. For example, when Typhoon Haiyan – the deadliest typhoon on record – hit the Philippines in November 2013, Francis “insisted on going,” saying “I’m not going to leave those people alone.”

“That was impressive,” Burke said.

The Pope also went to the war-torn Central African Republic, “despite the risks,” Burke noted, because he thought it was important that he go there, “so he did.”

In general, Burke said that he believes the Pope’s impact on the Church the last four years “has been huge.”

“The Pope has helped people rediscover the joy of what it means to believe. That despite anyone’s limitations, despite their sins, despite the crosses one might have to carry, there is an inherent joy in the Christian life.”

His impact on the world at large has been much the same, he said. “Much of what makes a Christian a better Christian also makes a human being a better human being. In terms of taking care of the poor, visiting the lonely or the sick.”

“And I think the Pope has been a huge wakeup call in that sense, for all faiths, of taking better care of their neighbors,” Burke noted.

Despite confusing or misleading headlines at times, Francis’ message has been consistent the last four years, Burke said: “the Pope’s main message is simple and that remains: God loves you, God forgives you, and you just have to be willing to ask for that forgiveness and share God’s love with others.”

A lot of people think that the pace of activities Francis keeps are what makes it a “break-neck papacy,” Burke said, but in reality, what has changed the most is communications.

“I think we keep up with it just like everybody else does. Though it’s not always easy,” he said.

Personally, Burke said that Pope Francis has impacted him in many ways over the last four years, one of which is in how he pays attention to the person right in front of him.

“He has somebody in front of him and for that moment it’s that person and that person is all that counts and I think there’s a lot to learn from that,” he said.

“Quite frankly, most of us are busy with a million things, we’re busy with our cellphones. We’re talking to people and yet at the same time we’re checking Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and maybe that’s what saves the Pope – that he’s not there with his cellphone.”

Mary Shovlain contributed to this story.

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Conversion is a journey of action, Pope says

March 14, 2017 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Mar 14, 2017 / 04:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis urged Catholics in Tuesday’s homily not only to avoid evil, but to pursue good in concrete actions, likening the Lenten conversion to a journey.

“Avoiding evil and learni… […]

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Mexico’s bishops launch ‘the migrant is a gift’ campaign on social media

March 14, 2017 CNA Daily News 0

Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 14, 2017 / 12:08 am (CNA/Europa Press).- The Mexican Bishops have launched a #elmigranteesundon (the migrant is a gift) campaign on social media to show their dissatisfaction with the immigration policy of United States president Donald Trump.

Bishop Alfonso Miranda Guardiola, auxiliary bishop of Monterrey, called on Mexicans “to protect the dignity of migrants not just with economic resources, but also with time and actions they can take within their different spheres.”

The bishop warned that Trump’s immigration policy, especially its deportations, will cause families and communities to be separated.

Bishop Miranda also indicated that the Church in Mexico “is seeking to strengthen relations with the U.S. bishops in order to mutually support one another.”

“Mexico is a transit country, a temporary or permanent place for migrants coming from other countries, but it is also a place of return which takes in our compatriots who have be repatriated; we’re not going to get into a fight, but we do have to defend the dignity of our people,” he stated.

During a March 1 press conference, the prelate  highlighted the 70 migrant centers in Mexico that provide temporary lodging and assistance to people seeking to pass through the country

“Economically, the migrant centers are supported with donations from the communities where they are located, but the disposition to build peace and the common good among us is the best way to strengthen our unity,” he added.

Bishop Miranda estimated that in the coming days there will be a greater number of migrants and so the way forward “must be that of peace, justice and solidarity to intelligently and creatively solve the great challenges that are going to be presented.”

The permanent council of the Mexican bishops’ conference encouraged the faithful to take advantage of “this time of grace in Lent to be sensitized to the difficult situation we are going through.”

In a March 8 statement, the bishops on the permanent council expressed their concern about the social situation the country is going through, “particularly regarding the migration issue that many of our compatriots are facing as a result of the policies implemented by the government of the United States, including the unacceptable possibility that Mexican families maybe separated when returning to this country.”

“In face of a possible humanitarian emergency,we bishops repeat our invitation to faithful Catholics, and society in general, to join the work being done in the parishes, in the more than 70 migrant centers, administered by the Catholic Church or in those supported by sister Christian churches, civil organizations or the government. This is the time to get involved in this great effort and service and brotherhood,” they encouraged.

The bishops informed that “the will soon broaden their stance on the consequences of the immigration policies adopted by the government of the neighboring country.”

[…]