In an impassioned presentation to the US Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements held in Modesto, Calif. from Feb. 17-19, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy reminded the social justice activists, some of who were not Catholic, of Pope St. John XXIII words from his 1961 encyclical Mater et Magistra to “see, judge, and act” when reading the “signs of he times.”
Specifically referring to threats of the current administration in Washington “to deport the undocumented, to rip mothers and fathers from their families” to take away medical care, food stamps and nutrition assistance from the mouths of children, Bishop McElroy said now we must become “disruptors.” He went on to say, “We must disrupt those who portray refugees as enemies rather than our brothers and sisters in terrible need. We must disrupt those who train us to see Muslim men, women and children as forces of fear rather than as children of God.”
And Bishop McElroy said we also need to be rebuilders, “We cannot merely be disruptors, we have to be rebuilders. We have to rebuild this nation so that we place at its heart the service to the dignity of the human person and assert what that flag behinds us asserts is our heritage: Every man, woman and child is equal in this nation and called to be equal. We must rebuild a nation in solidarity, what Catholic teaching calls the sense that all of us are the children of the one God, there are no children of a lesser god in our midst.”
The meeting was organized by PICO National Network, the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Vatican’s office for Promoting Integral Human Development. 700 activists attended the event.
Bishop McElroy will give an address at the NFPC annual Convocation on Thursday, April 27 on the Pastoral Theology of Pope Francis.
For Bishop McElroy’s entire presentation, click here.
For a Commonweal commentary by John Gehring, click here.
For the Catholic News Agency (Feb. 22, 2017) report, click here.