Guided by the Statement of Future Direction from our most recent congregational chapter, which calls us to work toward an inclusive church and society, the Congregational Leadership Team has sent a letter to Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, asking him to reconsider his well-publicized praise and support of President Trump.
May 1, 2020
Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
452 Madison Ave
New York, New York, 10022
Dear Cardinal Dolan,
We write to you as the Congregational Leadership Team of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet. Aware that you shoulder great responsibility as the metropolitan of one of the largest archdioceses in the United States, we assure you that we remember you in each Eucharistic prayer when we ask God’s guidance for our Church leaders.
As your sisters in Christ, we also feel impelled to say that we are concerned about your unqualified praise of President Trump as demonstrated during your appearance on Fox News on April 26. We have read various reports and listened to your Fox interview, and we find ourselves very discomfited by your praise of his leadership.
This is not a political disagreement. We know that good and faithful people have very different political opinions, and that people in opposing camps can explain their positions on the basis of Gospel principles. But the current president of the United States is notorious for his consistent lying to the public and for poor judgment. His stances on immigration and migrants are directly opposed to what the USCCB espouses in documents like Welcoming the Stranger and recent pronouncements by Archbishop Gomez and Perez, and Bishops Tyson, Cantú, and Doronsville, among others. Instead of welcoming or even simply tolerating the “other,” our bishops themselves have said that the president sows “polarization and animosity.” Instead of offering moral leadership, he is a philanderer whose business activities like Trump University have taken advantage of the poor and vulnerable. The current president exemplifies much of what John the Baptist condemned in the ruler of his day—a prophetic task for which he lost his head but not his integrity.
The Congregational Center of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet is in your hometown, St. Louis. You may therefore be aware that we have served the People of God in the United States for 186 years. We are sure you know how we and other apostolic women religious built the educational, health, and social welfare institutions of the Catholic Church in the United States. We are faithful women of the Church. Because of that, we believe we must ask you to reexamine your public pronouncements in favor of a president whose verbal support of one or two religious causes is designed to create the impression that he supports Catholic values.
As your sisters, we ask you to reconsider your well-publicized praise and support of this president. It gives the impression that the Church itself stands with him. The scandals of the past few decades call us to a much higher standard. May God bless you with the wisdom and courage necessary to serve in these times.
Congregational Leadership Team
CORRECTION: Cardinal Dolans remarks aired on April 27, not April 26.
As we begin 2020 faced with the United States’ targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani of Iran, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are praying for peace and nonviolence, and we remain committed to promoting it in every way we can. The precipitating actions are complex, yet we fear escalating violence leads to more violence and indescribable suffering for our dear neighbors without distinction.
Pope Francis, in his 2020 World Day of Peace Message, shared that peace is “the object of our hope and the aspiration of the entire human family.” Our entire community is committed to Catholic social principles of peace and active nonviolence as a way of life. We turn to the God of peace and compassion to give us the strength and wisdom needed to be instruments for change and messengers of unity and reconciliation.
We invite all people of good will to contact their elected members of Congress to promote peace-building efforts with Iran and not an escalation towards war. We must join together in seeking ways to promote peace, to build a culture of nonviolence that begins with each and every one of us, and to pray together for peace and nonviolence especially at this time.
As part of the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph, we echo their call for the United States to act to counteract climate change.
We, the U. S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph join with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious ( LCWR) in expressing our deep disappointment regarding President Trump’ s promise in 2017 to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. We are profoundly troubled by the decision to formally request U. S. withdrawal from this critically important international agreement.
We, the U. S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph who are compelled by the Gospel and by our heritage to be responsive to the ” dear neighbor” without distinction, are concerned for all of God’ s creation and our sisters and brothers everywhere. Catholic teaching is clear… climate change is a grave moral issue that threatens our commitment to protect human l ife and dignity, exercise a preferential option for the most vulnerable, promote the common good, and care for God’ s creation. The failure of the United States to fulfill its 2015 commitment dishonors our nation and threatens our common home. We will continue to raise our voices against climate policies that harm Earth and its people and to advocate for climate justice.
As part of the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph, we echo their call for action to end gun violence.
As Sisters of St. Joseph, we share in the communal heartbreak of our nation in the face of unthinkable violence. The recent mass shootings in our country impel us to once again demand that all citizens and elected leaders end the rage and division that all too often results in mass, indiscriminate violence. We seem unable to stop the epidemic of hate that has overwhelmed us. ¶What we are witnessing today is a terrorism that uses mass public communication against a particular individual or group. This incites acts of terrorism that happen seemingly at random. We are called to confront rhetoric that stokes racism and hatred of anyone perceived to be “different.” We are all responsible. Let us monitor our own language and actions and call attention when the language and actions of others cross the line. ¶While mass shootings capture our attention, we cannot forget that they are only part of the violence perpetrated by use of firearms. Homicides, suicides, domestic violence and accidents caused by guns are pervasive in all parts of the country, traumatizing families and communities every day. In the short term, we implore all legislative bodies to pass legislation that ban assault weapons, require universal background checks for all gun sales, provide funding for gun violence prevention research, and make the trafficking in weapons a federal crime. At the same time, we must continue examining the root causes of violence and working to change our culture. ¶The Sisters of St. Joseph pledge our support to end the scourge of rage and hatred, and we will consistently call for legislation to end gun violence.
We, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and our partners assembled for our Congregational Chapter, make public our concern about the disturbing state of politics in the United States. We are appalled and saddened at the growing polarization, which is intensified by incivility, bigotry, racism, intolerance, and deception.
Our Catholic faith calls us to live in right relationship with all peoples and with creation. We join our voices with all others who desire a world where every person is treated with respect and dignity. This is a responsibility from which no one is exempt. We intend to use our resources and energy to work toward a society built on unity and reconciliation.
Words matter. We challenge President Trump, members of Congress, all elected officials, and all persons to cease using rhetoric and language that belittles and disrespects the sacredness of any person and group. We call for civil and respectful discourse to address the differences among us and reach just solutions.