Immigration principles offer chance to examine our hearts

 

On Oct. 1, Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan and I published a joint pastoral letter on immigration, an issue that matters greatly to the future of our country and one that can also stir up intense, impassioned debate.

In that letter we set forth seven principles, all rooted in the Church’s social teaching, that are intended to help guide the national discussion of immigration.

I invite you to read these seven principles and reflect on your reaction to them. Ask yourself: “What does my reaction tell me about what is in my heart? Is my response to immigrants a Catholic one? How does my reaction correspond to the Church’s teaching?”

As Catholics we have an obligation to seek remedies to policies that do not respect the God-given dignity of immigrants. This especially applies to laws that break up families through deportation, which sometimes means a mother or father is separated from their children.

The seven principles are:

1. The principle of the common good: The Second Vatican Council defines the common good as “the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment.”

2. The universal destination of the world’s resources and the right to private property: In Catholic teaching, the right to ownership has always been understood as being qualified by the duty to use property in a socially responsible way, in a way that supports the common good, especially the good of the poor. This responsibility arises from a theological truth: when God created the universe he intended the earth with all its resources for the use of everyone.

3. The dignity and rights of all migrants should be respected and protected: Because of every person’s God-given dignity, the Christian response to immigrants should be one of hospitality that rejects all sentiments and manifestations of xenophobia and racism.

4. The creation of nations and the right to control borders are legitimate: Governments have the difficult and important task of developing border control policies that both respect the dignity of the immigrants and their families, and safeguard the spiritual, material and cultural wellbeing of their nation.

5. The right to emigrate and respect for local laws: The Church has continually taught that people have a natural right to emigrate, that is, to leave their country in search of better economic and social conditions for themselves and their families.

6. Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection: Because of the serious dangers refugees face, the international community has a more serious obligation to accommodate their requests for asylum than it does for those who emigrate from countries that have a more stable social situation.

7. Authentic integration of immigrants and the enforcement of laws: Experience shows that when a society is too ethnically and culturally diverse it can give rise to political instability. Therefore, when politicians make decisions about immigration policies, the question of integration cannot be overlooked.

To read the entire letter, click here: http://archden.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Immigration-and-future-bilingual.pdf

COMING UP: Team Samaritan cyclist goes ‘Everesting’ for the homeless and hungry

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When it comes to the daily sufferings of those who are homeless, there’s nothing like a 29,029-foot bike ride to keep things in perspective.

That’s exactly what Corbin Clement will be doing this Saturday, June 19, with a couple of his riding buddies as they attempt an “Everesting” ride to raise money for the Samaritan House homeless shelter in Denver. Starting at Witter Gulch Road in Evergreen, the three riders will climb Squaw Pass Road to a point in Clear Creek County and ride back down the hill for over eight laps, which amounts to roughly 190 miles in distance and the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing – hence the name “Everesting.” Their goal is to complete the feat in 20 hours or less.

Oh, and they can’t sleep. It is, indeed, just as crazy as it sounds. Those who aren’t avid cyclists might be wondering, “How in the world do you train for something like this?” 
 
“For training, it’s been just more or less ride as much as possible,” Clement told the Denver Catholic. “The training is structured around endurance, and that’s of course what Everesting is. It’s just a lot of peddling. So, a lot of my training so far has just been trying to ride as much as possible and ride longer high elevation rides.” 

In March, an Irish cyclist set the world record for Everesting when he completed the feat in six hours and 40 minutes. Clement isn’t trying to set a record, but regardless, it’s quite a feat to undertake, even for a seasoned athlete like him, whose pedigree includes snowboarding and rock climbing. 

“Our ride will be the same thing, but it’ll be pretty different,” Clement said. “We don’t have any sort of special bikes or super focused diet or a really regimented plan or a crew that’s very well-instructed on how we’re going to tackle this. I’ve read a couple of things to just kind of make it into a party — have friends come out to support you, get people to join you on certain laps…that’s kind of the approach we’re taking.” 

Clement has already raised $5,200 for Samaritan House, with a current goal of $8,000. This is Clement’s first year riding for Team Samaritan, but his dad, Kevin, has ridden for the team for several years. When his dad offered to give him an extra kit and uniform, Clement accepted, but didn’t want to take it without doing something help the cause. He could’ve simply opted for a nice ride in the countryside, but he chose to do something a bit more challenging.  

Corbin Clement used to experience the challenges that homeless people face on a daily basis when commuting through downtown Denver to work on his bike. This Saturday, he will raise money for Samaritan House homeless shelter by “Everesting,” a 190-mile bike ride that is the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing. (Photo provided)

“For some reason, the Everesting idea popped into my head,” he explained. “I think it’s one of those things that has a little bit of shock value for people who hear about it. It’s certainly something that’s gained more popularity and visibility in the last couple of years with endurance athletes. I wanted to choose something that would actually be a challenge for myself and something that I’d have to work towards.” 

Clement currently resides in Utah, but he used to live in Denver and commute by bike to work every day. During those rides to his office, which was located near Samaritan House, he would pass many homeless people and have conversations with them. This experience was also a motivating factor for his Everesting attempt for Team Samaritan. 

“It’s very different when you’re on a bike versus in a car because you’re right there,” Clement said. “If you stop at a stoplight and a homeless person is on the corner, whether or not they’re panhandling or something like that, you hear the conversations, or you’ll have a conversation with them. There are things you smell or you hear or you see that you just never would if you were in a car. So, it kind of made sense, too, with the biking aspect. It’s part of my community that I’ve lived and worked in for a very long time.” 

Clement’s Everesting attempt is one event in a series of endurance event’s he’s doing over the summer that culminates with the Leadville 100, a single-day mountain bike race across the Colorado Rockies. In that race, he will be riding to support young adults diagnosed with cancer by raising funds for First Descents.  

Both causes are near to Clement’s heart, and he said that while his Everesting attempt will be a form of “suffering,” it pales in comparison to what the homeless face day in and day out. This is ultimately why he’s riding and raising funds for Team Samaritan. 

“Any time we see a homeless person or people who have to live on the streets,” Clement said, “That is true suffering — true endurance — with no end in sight.” 

To learn more about Corbin’s fundraising efforts or to donate, click here.