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Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany
November 20, 2015
For immediate release

Bishop Scharfenberger Issues Statement
on Syrian Refugee Crisis

Following is a statement of Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany:

You cannot open a newspaper or turn on the TV or sign onto social media without being confronted by the heartbreaking reality of a world in danger of losing sight of our common humanity in the gravest way. As Syrian refugees run for their lives with little more than the clothes on their backs, shadowed by the constant threat of persecution and genocide, politicians here at home resort to rhetoric – and policies – that appeal to our darkest fears. We cannot give in to xenophobia and misplaced blame!

The fact is that this will not stop unless the destabilization that drives the refugees to flee is addressed effectively. The responsibility for that falls on statespersons from around the globe, but especially from countries such as our own, to which the world turns for leadership.

National security remains, first and foremost, a responsibility of our political leaders. At the same time, recognizing that refugees of all faiths and nationalities are our brothers and sisters, most people are naturally drawn to welcome and assist them, not only because our faith tells us so, but also because human decency demands it. Many Catholic organizations, locally and throughout the country, stand ready to assist refugees who have arrived after a rigorous screening process.

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, gathered around tables laden with food and family and faith, we simply cannot turn our backs on those who have lost everything, in some cases their lives, because of their faith. We are one, and when we forget that, we slip dangerously toward becoming more like the people we fear than the people we were created to be.

We have a choice: Will we be people of hope or people of despair?


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