Third federal judge rules on ending DACA
By the Catholic News Service and the Catholic Advance
BALTIMORE (CNS) — A federal judge in Maryland has ruled that President Donald Trump acted legally in ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, saying “the decision to wind down DACA in an orderly manner was rational.”
In a 30-page decision handed down late March 5, Judge Roger W. Titus ruled in the case of CASA de Maryland v. the U.S. Department of Homeland Security et. al. Titus is a judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, based in Baltimore.
Titus said Trump’s executive order to rescind the program “is clear as to its purpose and reasoning,” but he also acknowledged Trump’s “occasionally disparaging remarks” about immigration. However, “as disheartening or inappropriate” they may be, “they are not relevant to the larger issues governing the DACA rescission.”
Danny Krug, director of Hispanic Ministry, said the issue has become politicized.
“It’s very concerning and alarming to hear the news nowadays and see how our country’s view on human dignity is heading from compassion and fairness to a bargaining tool for lawmakers,” she said.
“As Christians, our human values should be above and beyond any political or personal agenda. Let’s listen and see with our open Catholic Christian heart the suffering, anguish, fear, and uncertainty of the many Dreamers and their families.”
She urged the faithful to “raise their voices” and to pray for lawmakers, Dreamers, and so that a road to citizenship for the Dreamers and DACA recipients can be paved.
The Washington Times reported March 7 that Homeland Security said illegal immigrants who have applied for the DACA deportation amnesty won’t be deported even if their status lapsed during President Trump’s attempted phaseout.
Department spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton said they are complying with two court orders and accepting renewal applications from any of the 800,000 people who’d been previously approved for the program. That includes tens of thousands of people whose protections were slated to expire over the next few months — as long as they filed requests for renewal.
“DHS has repeatedly stated that, absent additional negative factors, DACA recipients are not a priority or target group for arrest or removal,” Mr. Houlton said.
He said there are some exceptions, such as those who amass criminal records, but “an individual who is a current DACA recipient, or who was a previous DACA recipient but has filed for renewal, will not be targeted for arrest nor will be removed from the United States while the individual has DACA protections or while the DACA renewal request is pending.”
In September, Trump announced his administration was ending the program, and he gave lawmakers until March 5 to find a legislative solution to protect the young adults benefiting from DACA, which was put in place in 2012 through an executive order signed by President Barack Obama.
Titus’ ruling does not impact previous decisions by two federal judges, in California and New York, who effectively blocked the March 5 deadline by saying Trump could not end the program and that the government must continue to accept renewal applications for DACA beneficiaries already in the program. Congress so far has failed to pass any measure to keep DACA in place.
The Trump administration appealed to the Supreme Court to hear and rule on the California federal judge’s ruling in an effort to bypass the appeals court process.

Christian activists warn of certain Syrian slaughter
AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — Christian activists warn that 1 million Syrian civilians will face certain slaughter in northwestern Afrin, where they allege Turkey and its militant allies have already carried out “war crimes” and “ethnic cleansing.”
They have appealed to U.S. President Donald Trump and top U.S. officials to stop the bloodshed, warning that failure to act jeopardizes the hard-fought U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic State in Syria.
Civilians from other parts of Syria and outside the country have reportedly offered to stand as “human shields” between the Kurdish-backed fighters and Turkish forces set to storm Afrin.
Cardinal Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Syria, said, “I have never seen so much violence as in Syria.” In remarks March 9, he likened the situation to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

No parking zone: Christians need to journey, take risks, pope says
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — True Christians take risks to constantly seek out Christ, because they know that receiving God’s grace is just the beginning of a lifelong journey toward real joy, Pope Francis said.
Settling and being content with the first grace one receives from God is like filling up on the appetizer and leaving the restaurant unaware that the best was yet to come, he said in his homily March 12 at morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
“There are lots of stationary Christians, who do not walk, bogged down by everyday things,” he said. They are good people, he said, “but they do not grow, they stay small.”
They are like “parked Christians — they park themselves. Caged Christians who do not know how to fly with the dream of this beautiful thing the Lord calls us to,” he said.
The pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St. John in which a royal official asked Jesus to heal his dying son. The pope said that while Jesus performs the miracle, he seems impatient that “unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe,” reads the verse.
The miracle led the royal official and his household to believe in Jesus; this should be not be the end, but rather the beginning of a constant journey seeking to find God, encounter him and be joyful with him, the pope said.
God is inviting everyone to keep going and seek the joy and delight of being with the Lord, as can be seen in the day’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah, the pope said.
“Do I seek the Lord this way? Or am I afraid? Am I mediocre? What is the measure of my longing? The antipasto or the whole banquet?” he asked.

Confessors should seek to bring penitents closer to Jesus, pope says
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A good confessor is a good listener, Pope Francis said.
By truly listening to the penitent during confession, “we listen to Jesus himself, poor and humble; by listening to the Holy Spirit, we put ourselves in attentive obedience, becoming listeners of the Word” in order to know what God wants to be done, he said.
This is how priests can offer “the greatest service” to all penitents, especially the young, because “we put them in touch with Jesus himself,” he said March 9.
The pope spoke to hundreds of confessors and other participants attending an annual course on the sacrament of reconciliation, sponsored by the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court that handles issues related to the absolution of sin.
He warned confessors to avoid the temptation of becoming “masters” over other people’s consciences, especially the young, who are very easily influenced.
A confessor must never forget his is not the source of mercy or grace, but he is, however, an “indispensable instrument, but always just an instrument,” the pope said.
Being a conduit between the Holy Spirit and the penitent does not diminish this ministry, rather it leads to its fulfillment, he said.
The more the priest “disappears and Christ, the supreme and eternal priest, appears more clearly,” the more the priest fulfills his vocation as “unprofitable servants.”
In light of the October Synod of Bishops on young people, faith and vocational discernment, the course this year looked at the relationship between the sacrament of reconciliation and helping others discern their vocation.
The pope said young people should be able to hear what God is saying to them, both in their own conscience and by listening to the word. To achieve this, young people need wise accompaniment by a confessor, he added.
With priest and penitent both prayerfully listening to God’s will, confession can become an occasion for discovering God’s plan for the individual, he said.

Catholics, Muslims urged at dialogue to look inward first in interreligious efforts
MUNDELEIN, Ill. (CNS) — Taking on the issue of religious prejudice, the National Muslim and Catholic Dialogue met for the third time at University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary March 6-8.
Announced in February 2016, the national dialogue, which is sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, aims to show public support for Islamic American communities.
It builds on three regional Catholic-Muslim dialogues — mid-Atlantic, Midwest and West Coast — that have taken place for more than 20 years.
Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich co-chairs the dialogue with Sayyid Syeed, national director of the Islamic Society of North America’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances.
During the March 7 public portion of the dialogue, Rita George-Tvrtkovic, associate professor of theology at Benedictine University in Lisle, and Irfan Omar, associate professor of theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, delivered remarks around the theme “One God, One Humanity: Confronting Religious Prejudice.”
Delivering remarks from a Catholic viewpoint, George-Tvrtkovic addressed rooting out prejudice inside Catholic and Muslim communities, in nonreligious or non-Catholic or Muslim communities and between the two religions.
“We have to begin with our own attitudes — not just Catholics who are prejudiced, but I also mean my attitude towards my fellow Catholics who I may perceive as Islamophobic.”

The pope’s intention
Here is Pope Francis’ prayer intention for this month:
Evangelization: Formation in Spiritual Discernment That the Church may appreciate the urgency of formation in spiritual discernment, both on the personal and communitarian levels.