Christians should oppose American ban on refugees, says papal nuncio

Archbishop Charles Brown voices opposition to Donald Trump’s executive order

The papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown:  “We have the feeling that we are entering a new era, a different era, an uncertain era.” Photograph: Eric Luke

The papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown: “We have the feeling that we are entering a new era, a different era, an uncertain era.” Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Christians have a responsibility to oppose elements within President Donald Trump’s programme that are inconsistent with the principals of their faith, the papal nuncio has said.

Archbishop Charles Brown, an American citizen, said Christians have a duty to accept refugees “with compassion and acceptance.”

Pope Francis, he pointed out, had said that refugees were at the forefront of the crisis in the world and he had urged that they be accepted in other countries.

Speaking after giving the traditional address on behalf of the diplomatic corps at a presidential reception in Áras an Uachtaráin, Archbishop Brown said the executive order signed by Mr Trump banning Syrian refugees and citizens of seven Muslim countries were against Christian principals.

He reiterated comments made by Bishop Joe Vasquez, chairman of the US bishops’ committee on migration, who said welcoming refugees was an “act of love and hope”.

“This is the correct position,” Archbishop Brown said. “My personal feelings are reflected precisely in what the American bishops have said. We’re talking about people who are fleeing dangerous situations at home and who are looking for comfort and security.

“As Christians and Americans we need to welcome them and not turn them away.”

He accepted Mr Trump was elected by the American people and foreign governments “have to work with him as effectively as possible”, but it did not mean accepting every decision he makes.

In his address at the reception hosted by President Michael D Higgins, he did not mention Mr Trump by name, but said the centenary of the first World War showed the “tragic, unintended consequences” when countries pursue narrow national interests.

He said countries had a right to pursue their own national interests but not at the expense of other nations.

‘Uncertainty’

He recognised there was now a “strong sense of uncertainty and even apprehension throughout the world”.

The move towards multilateralism and globalisation had been stopped, he said. “The pendulum, if you will, appears to be swinging in precisely the opposite direction, towards independence, autonomy and separation.”

He added that long-established patterns of acting, “commonly accepted presuppositions, comfortable certainties, have all seemingly been overturned in the last few months. We have the feeling that we are entering a new era, a different era, an uncertain era. All of us sense it, some of us can describe it; but few of us can completely explain it.”

Dr Brown identified inequality as the root cause of global discontent. “When inequality is not effectively addressed, established government policies and even long-standing international agreements can come under political pressure.”