January 30, 2017
Shining a Light in this “Dark Moment” - A Message from CTU President Fr. Mark Francis, CSV
Dear Friends of CTU:
Like so many of you, I witnessed the tumult of a weekend in which President Trump’s new executive order regarding refugees and immigrants was met with great resistance all across our nation. As a U.S.-based American, but more importantly as a Catholic Christian, I was heartened to see so many people exercising their right to stand against injustice and in solidarity with the oppressed and vulnerable.
I was also heartened by the courageous message of the Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, in which he referred to this past weekend as a “dark moment in U.S. history,” and described the “executive order to turn away refugees and to close our nation to those, particularly Muslims, fleeing violence, oppression and persecution” as “contrary to both Catholic and American values.”
Our other recently appointed U.S. Cardinal, Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, has expressed a similar prophetic warning when he said “Closing borders and building walls are not rational acts. Mass detentions and wholesale deportation benefit no one; such inhuman policies destroy families and communities.”
Now is certainly a “dark moment.” But as Cardinals Cupich and Tobin both teach us, this moment is not a time to lose hope, but to vigorously re-embrace it. “It is time,” Cardinal Cupich exhorts us in his message, “to put aside fear and join together to recover who we are and what we represent to a world badly in need of hope and solidarity.”
In a little more than one month’s time, Cardinal Cupich will be coming to Hyde Park as the Catholic co-convener of the annual National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue to take place here on the campus of CTU where, among other things, Catholics and Muslims will be discussing ways to cooperate for the common good in these trying times.” As many of you know, for more than 15 years CTU has been dedicated to forging relationships of mutual understanding, respect, solidarity, and love with our Muslim sisters and brothers. This is why I am thankful to God for CTU’s opportunity to host this important event as just one of the many ways that CTU, as a school preparing candidates for priesthood and lay ministries seeks to live out its ongoing mission in immediate and tangible ways.
The mission of CTU is as clear and simple as it is challenging: “to prepare effective leaders for the Church, ready to witness to Christ’s good news of justice, love, and peace.” This mission is rooted in our deeply held conviction that, especially in moments like this, the Church—together with our Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers, people of all faiths, and all women and men of good will—must not remain silent or inactive. We must be more attentive than ever to God’s call for us to strive tirelessly for justice. At the same time we must deepen our commitment to reconciliation and the sacred solidarity of the entire human family and not allow ourselves to fall prey to the spirit of divisiveness that seems to have so many of us in its viselike grip.
Please keep CTU in your thoughts and prayers. Be assured that we have you in ours.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Dr. Mark Francis, CSV
Catholic Theological Union