The United States bishops gather each year in Baltimore, the home of the first diocese in our country, for their Fall General Assembly. Here they hold discussions and presentations on very important issues for Catholics in the United States of America. The Most Reverend Bernard Hebda, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, recently returned from Baltimore and joined Morning Air to discuss some of the big topics to which our bishops turned their attention on November 13 and 14.
“There was a lot of concern about how it is that we can give witness to the Gospel in the public square and certainly in terms of outreach for those who are immigrants and refugees. That has an impact on the budget but also other legislation as well. So there were a number of workshops and presentations concerning what we can do pastorally and what we can do in terms of advocacy for assisting our brothers and sisters who find themselves outside of their homeland for a whole host of reasons,” explained Archbishop Hebda.
“I think the meetings in the course of the conference really managed to get the bishops excited about the possibilities that we as Catholics have to have an impact on public policy, but in a way that always is focused on pastoral care – how do we see Jesus in those on the periphery, how to do we respond as Jesus would to those on the periphery?”
The bishops also discussed the pastoral challenges of communicating with the faithful on controversial issues such as immigration. “The bishops, as a body, were very unified in saying that what we need is more education to help people to understand the issues, and how it’s not really a political issue but it’s an issue about reaching out to a brother and sister in Christ. So to be able to explain to people how central this is to our tradition and it’s not something that’s just in 2017 but part of the way in which we understand the dignity of the human person.”
“We realize we have to be maybe more intentional in also echoing Church teaching on the nation state and the importance of being able to protect borders. Sometimes people think that the bishops aren’t in favor of allowing a country to protect itself and that certainly isn’t the case. So to be able to do some more instruction I think it going to be important.”
Listen to the full interview here.