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Columns | Wednesday, October 22, 2014

God shows no partiality - nor should we

Archbishop Wenski's column for the October edition of the Florida Catholic

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St. Peter in Acts 10:34-35 says: “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” God shows no partiality but sometimes we do. We like our own kind and we mistrust or are suspicious of the one whom we see as the stranger. Diversity � rather than being seen as a gift � is often feared and sometimes blamed for the discord that divides the human family.  

But what divides us is not our diversity. What divides us is sin. As Catholics we belong to our world’s first truly globalized institution. Our Church is a universal church that embraces men and women of every race and nation � since all are children of the one Father, all are brothers and sisters to one another. Our unity is not founded on race or language or nation of origin but on Christ: We acknowledge one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism. Indeed the diversity of languages, cultures and races within the Catholic Church witnesses to the “catholicity” of the Gospel message of salvation, and enriches all. Before his return to the Father, Jesus confided to us his “Great Commission” to bring the good news “to all nations.” 

Today, the entire world is increasingly globalized: goods and merchandise made in one continent are bought and sold in another, half a world away; information and money can cross borders in an instant; and, in a globalized world, people also increasingly move across borders � often in dramatic ways. But, as Pope emeritus, Benedict XVI remarked, globalization has made us all neighbors but it has not made us brothers. It is the Church of Jesus Christ � a Church that is truly “catholic” because it brings in its communion people of every race, language and culture � that must teach the world how to live as brothers and sisters. If we, Catholics, are to reflect the light of Christ to people then we must model � in the way we live in our families, in our parishes and in our communities � what a reconciled world looks like. 

Part of the globalization we experience today is the fact of migration. In the face of this reality, the Church teaches us not to fear the migrant � and the Church warns us not to mistreat the migrant. In a way, just as we call Jesus the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, we can also refer to him as the Migrant of Migrants. In becoming a man like us, he “migrated” from heaven. He became a citizen of our world so that we in turn might become citizens of the world to come. And those who will enter into his heavenly homeland will do so because, as he himself will tell us, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” 

This is why the Church will continue to speak out on behalf of migrants everywhere. We speak out in defense of those, especially the young, who are trafficked across borders to be exploited in the sex trade. We will continue to advocate for a just and equitable reform of a broken immigration system that continues to separate families for unacceptable periods of time and that provides no path to citizenship for millions who work in jobs that otherwise would have gone unfilled. We will defend the rights of refugees and asylum seekers for a safe haven from persecution and violence. 

And, while we wait for Congress to act and pass into law fair and just immigration reform, we urge the Obama administration to protect � within the lawful limits of its executive authority � those individuals and families who though undocumented have built equities in this country from deportation and exploitation.  

God shows no partiality � nor should we. We cannot remain indifferent to the human suffering caused by our current inadequate and antiquated immigration system. As Pope Francis says, the antidote to the “globalization of indifference” must be the globalization of charity.  

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