Catholic Theological Society of America Issues Statement Against Trump Executive Order on Refugees and Immigration

By Lucas Sharma SJ

At the end of last month, the Board of Directors of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) released a statement in support of refugees and immigrants journeying to the United States. The release opens noting that the Board judges "President Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees and Migration to be morally unjust and religiously dangerous. We call for it to be withdrawn and for its implementation to be stopped."

 Protesters outside The White House stand up against Trump's Executive Order. Photo Courtesy of  Geoff Livingston  of the Flickr Creative Commons. 

Protesters outside The White House stand up against Trump's Executive Order. Photo Courtesy of Geoff Livingston of the Flickr Creative Commons. 

The statement lists both Christian and pragmatic reasoning for the CTSA's denouncement of the Trump Executive Order. From a Roman Catholic Perspective, the CTSA notes that the Bible calls for "welcoming the stranger" thirty six times. From a world peace perspective, the CTSA argues that banning persons from nations could harbor increased resentments in the Middle East, thereby threatening security and stability around the world.

On behalf of the more than 1,300 CTSA theologians, President David Hollenbach SJ of Georgetown University commented that the statement issued reflects the mission of both the Gospel and the Society of Jesus: 

Our response to plight of refugees today is close to the heart of our fidelity to the gospel. The statement of the Board of the Catholic Theological Society of America on President Trump’s proposed refugee policies is inspired by values central to the vocation of Jesuits: the service of Christian faith and the promotion of justice for those most in need. With Pope Francis, the Theological Society calls all of us to work to replace walls of division and exclusion with bridges of understanding and respect.

Since their statement, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 3-0 decision, ruled not to remove a temporary restraining order. Because the Trump Administration decided not to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, the Trump Executive Order is essentially null. That being said, the Trump Administration has pledged to circumvent the Supreme Court by issuing a new executive order. 

With a new potential executive order coming soon, the call of the CTSA is more important than ever, especially at Jesuit colleges and universities: in our schools, let us continue to engage in difficult conversations about how we can build bridges of understanding and respect - creating a learning environment for all persons regardless of identity, religion, or country of origin. 


 

Visit the CTSA's website for information about the statement issued and the theological work of the Society.