Robert McElroy is the first San Diego bishop to take part in La Posada at the border. Photo by Chris Stone
Robert McElroy at the border wall south of San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

The head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego on Sunday called President Trump’s orders restricting the flow of travelers and refugees into the United States “a shameful moment of abandonment.”

“For the Catholic community, the Gospel mandate to ‘welcome the stranger’ is a searing responsibility, not only in our personal lives, but also in guiding our efforts to create a just society in a world filled with suffering and turmoil,” said Bishop Robert McElroy.

He said the United States has historically been a safe haven for refugees fleeing war and persecution, but “at shameful moments in our national history, prejudice, fear and ignorance have led our country to abandon” that role.

“This week is just such a shameful moment of abandonment for the United States,” McElroy said. “This executive order is the introduction into law of campaign sloganeering rooted in xenophobia and religious prejudice.”

Local members of Congress, including Scott Peters and Karen Davis, have also criticized the order, and protests have occurred at the airport.

The Diocese of San Diego runs the length of California’s border with Mexico and serves more than 1.3 million Catholics in San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.