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Home | Tag Archives: bishop of el paso

Tag Archives: bishop of el paso

Guest Contributor: It is 2017 – Is There a Reason for New Year’s Joy?

On December 31st many of us gathered with family and friends counted down the seconds to a new year we call “2017”.  A few of us will have gone to bed hours well before the countdown calculating that the new year is quite capable of beginning without us.

No matter the group to which we belong it is safe to say we will all take note that a new cycle of days has begun.

The beginning of a year is rightly understood not simply as an excuse to celebrate but an occasion for reflection.  In order to truly celebrate we need to be able to point to a reason for our joy.  What is it that brings us joy at the beginning of a new journey around the sun for planet earth?

No one who pays any attention to events in this world of ours can fail to discern many concerning trends and reasons for feeling unsettled about what may unfold in 2017.  The life and dignity of people throughout the world is being violated in horrifying ways.

The Middle East continues to be a place of instability with the potential to draw the world’s great powers into direct confrontations.  Climate change and other environmental concerns are showing their effects.  In the United States it is hard to imagine a time since the Civil War when we have been so polarized.

No matter where you may find yourself on the political spectrum one thing we all have in common is that we are very concerned about the direction of our country and of our society.

As we honestly reflect about our own personal lives and our families we can be confident that challenges will lie in store for us in the coming year.  What will become of your ailing parent?  What about your sibling with the troubled marriage?  What will become of your adult child who is addicted to drugs?  What are the prospects for your dead end job?

So I return to my earlier question: What is it that brings us joy at the beginning of this new journey around the sun?  What is the reason for hope in the face of so many ominous realities?  It should be clear that humanity is not going to save itself.  To put our trust in science, as impressive as its progress has been, is not prudent.  Technology can be used for both good or ill and humanity has not shown itself capable of pursuing only the good in a world of nuclear proliferation.

Must we simply close our eyes to these trends and suggest the only answer is to ‘eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die?’  I think not!

Remember why it is that we call this year “2017”.  We begin our counting of the years based upon the event upon which all history turns: the entrance of the Son of God into the world.  Without this unimaginably good news history would only be a meaningless cycle provided with only one escape, death.

Because God has entered our life to save us; since he has revealed his mercy and unfolded his saving plan, we have every reason to celebrate as a new year begins.  Hope has been born! Joy has a reason!

Bp. Mark J. Seitz
Bishop of El Paso

(Editor’s Note: this piece originally appeared on the Diocese of El Paso website, and is republished here with their permission.)

Bishop of El Paso reminds Congress of ‘Golden Rule’ on immigrants

 

In testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee October 21, Bishop Mark J. Seitz, Bishop of El Paso, Texas, testified that the United States has a moral obligation to protect unaccompanied children and families from persecution in Central America.

The humanitarian outflow, driven by organized crime in the northern triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, continues, with nearly 40,000 unaccompanied children and an equal number of mothers with children having arrived in the United States in Fiscal Year 2015.

“If we do not respond justly and humanely to this challenge in our own backyard, then we will relinquish our moral leadership and moral influence globally,” Bishop Seitz stated.

Bishop Seitz pointed to the human consequences of U.S. policies which are designed to deter migration from the region, including U.S. support for Mexican interdiction efforts which are intercepting children and families in Mexico and sending them back to danger, in violation of international law.

Bishop Seitz recommended an end to these interdictions and the introduction of a regional system which would screen children and families for asylum in Mexico and other parts of the region.  He also called for Congress to approve and increase a $1 billion aid package proposed by the Administration.

“If we export enforcement,” Bishop Seitz argued, “we also must export protection.”

Bishop Seitz recalled the words of Pope Francis before Congress in September, when the Holy Father invoked the Golden Rule in guiding our nation’s actions toward those seeking safety in our land.

Quoting the Holy Father, Bishop Seitz repeated to the committee, “’The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.’”

“Mr. Chairman, I pray that time, and history, will conclude that we honored this Rule in meeting this humanitarian challenge,” Bishop Seitz concluded.

Author: Diocese of El Paso

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