The College of Bishops of the Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA) would like to make clear our position that any attempt to take children and separate them from their parents is grievously wrong. The present situation that exists on our southern border should be immediately stopped and the children returned to their parents. These are not criminals, nor are their parents who have followed the laws and sought asylum.
From both a secular and religious perspective what is presently happening is wrong and damaging to children. Psychology has shown the enormous impact of lack of bonding and attachment on the later life of children. Bruce Perry, PhD and MD (2018) from the Child Trauma Academy states “many researchers and clinicians feel that the maternal-child attachment provides the framework for all subsequent relationships that the child will develop.” Breaking the bond between parent and child is not only cruel when it is forced, but will create many problems later for the child and for society.
From a political point of view it is egregious to use children as pawns to frighten away immigrants or for negotiation purposes so the President can get something he wants from Congress. Children are precious commodities, not bargaining chips.
From a religious standpoint, there could be nothing more abominable than to hurt children by taking them away from their only support and love. Jesus was very clear on his teachings about the value of children and the consequences for hurting them. He said, “Whoever receives this child in My name, receives Me, and whoever receives Me, receives the One who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great” (Lk 9:48). In Matthew, Jesus says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of my father who is in heaven” (18:10) and a few verses later has this severe command, “So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish” (8:14). Any time there are attempts to justify the present government’s actions biblically are a misuse of scripture and an abomination of Jesus’ intent. Thus, we the Bishops of CACINA feel that the immigration policies of the United States government are severely unjust, and in particular, the separation of children taking place on our southern border and the negligent treatment of these children. We implore the government to change these policies immediately for the sake of these children who are being so hurt, and the damage not be irreparable.
We urge our own people of CACINA to write their representatives, legislators, Congress and even the president to put the needs of children first, which is what a just society would do. At the same time, the Bishops continue to pray and to join with the many Christian groups across this country who oppose what is happening. We add our voice to theirs.
Most Rev. Ronald Stephens
Catholic Apostolic Church in North America