Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas says the 2016 election has left Catholics without real political alternatives, arguing both parties promote equally violent platforms — like abortion or deportation.
“In diverse ways each [party] promotes a power structure that leaves the vulnerable and defenseless aside,” he told Charles Camosy of Crux, a Catholic news outlet.
“I consider supporting the sending of an adult or child back to a place where he or she is marked for death, where there is lawlessness and societal collapse, to be formal cooperation with an intrinsic evil, not unlike driving someone to an abortion clinic,” he added. (RELATED: Pope Francis: Rejecting Refugees Is Like Crucifying Jesus)
Flores said deportation often involves forcing immigrants to return to violent or unstable situations, particularly in Central America and parts of Mexico, which are rife with cartels.
“We are dealing with placing them in proximate danger of death,” he said, explaining that the situation has political as well as spiritual consequences. The bishop said thousands of children in his diocese are effectively left in abeyance by their family’s illegal status, precipitating the possibility that adolescents will retreat to cynicism and, eventually, crime.
“Young people can get discouraged,” he said. “I always say a young person decides by 14 if he or she thinks life is a cruel game or a beautiful gift. If they think it’s a game, a culture falls apart.”
Flores leads one of the most diverse dioceses in the nation. The district straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, hugging the meandering banks of the Rio Grande. It is overwhelming Hispanic, bilingual, and economically depressed.
Flores was made bishop of Brownsville by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.
Tempering his political annotations, Flores further said the Catholic Church has always been realistic about politics. “We neither expect it to usher in the eschaton, nor do we consider it useless,” he said. “We try to work with it, participate in it, promote its progress, and oppose proposals that harm the human good.”
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