Cardinal Timothy Dolan, a prominent Catholic leader in the United States, said Friday there is no biblical defense for separating families, condemning the practice as “unjust” and “un-American.”
“If they want to take a baby from the arms of his mother and separate the two, that’s wrong. I don’t care where you’re at, what time and condition, that just goes against – you don’t have to read the Bible for that. That goes against human decency. That goes against human dignity. It goes against what’s most sacred in the human person,” Dolan told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo Prime Time” Friday.
On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that at least 2,000 children had been separated from their parents since the implementation of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy.
Dolan suggested Attorney General Jeff Sessions incorrectly applied scripture in quoting Romans 13 to defend the policy on Thursday.
“I appreciate the fact that Attorney General Sessions refers to the Bible,” he said. “The quote that he used from St. Paul might not be the best.”
“For one, St. Paul always says that we should obey the law of the government if that law is in conformity with the Lord’s law. No pun intended, but God’s law trumps man’s law,” he explained.
“I don’t think we should obey a law that goes against what God intends that you would take a baby, a child, from his or her mom. I mean, that’s just unjust. That’s un-biblical. That’s un-American. There could be no biblical passage that would justify that,” he said.
Dolan said that while the US has “the right to secure and safe borders,” the government should apply any immigration policy prudently.
“You can have secure and safe borders … while still maintaining that grand American heritage of welcome of the immigrant and refugee,” the New York archbishop said. “That’s just part of America and I don’t want to see that spoiled.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement earlier this week condemning family separation. Dolan said a group of bishops may head to the border to provide spiritual and emotional support.
Dolan, who gave a prayer at Donald Trump’s inauguration, said he hopes the President can work with both parties in Congress to find an immigration solution.
“Enough of blame. Enough of retribution. Enough of accusation. We need to get together and say, ‘Let’s make this work,’” Dolan said.
CNN’s Tal Kopan contributed to this report.