Catholic refugee resettlement groups hoped that on day one in office, President Joe Biden would sign an authorization officially increasing the number of refugees allowed into the United States. Eighty-six days later, they're still waiting.
"During the campaign and during his first few weeks in office, President Biden really promised to welcome more refugees into the country and to restore the global leadership role that the U.S. has played in terms of resettlement," Rachel Pollock, director of resettlement services for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told NCR. "… For the past two months we haven't seen any movement and we're just waiting on the president's signature to move forward."
On Feb. 4, Biden signed an executive order aimed at building back the U.S. refugee resettlement program in an effort to "help meet the unprecedented global need” and "rebuild what has been so badly damaged" following the Trump administration. On Feb. 12, the Biden administration issued an emergency report to Congress outlining a way forward, including accepting 62,500 refugees during the remainder of 2021.
Many refugee advocates believed things were turning a corner after four years of draconian cutbacks under President Donald Trump. They now find themselves frustrated that two months later Biden has yet to resubmit what is known as a "presidential determination" to Congress, which is the statutory requirement needed to increase the ceiling for refugees for the fiscal year.
- On Nov. 12, President-elect Joe Biden vowed during a virtual 40th anniversary celebration for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA that his administration would increase the annual refugee admission target to 125,000.
Pope Benedict XVI's legacy will forever be dominated by his resignation. On his 94th birthday, NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters considers Benedict's career as a theologian and why being a great theologian is no guarantee one will be a great pope.
Joseph Ratzinger's early book Introduction to Christianity, first published in 1968, "still lives up to its title as a fine introduction to our faith," Winters writes.
"When I was a teenager dissatisfied with the offerings in CCD class, my pastor gave me his copy of Fr. Hans Küng's On Being a Christian, the reading of which I credit with keeping me in the church as a teenager," Winters continues. "As I have grown, while still finding parts of that book wonderful, I incline more to the Ratzingerian approach and style."
- At EarthBeat,
read about faith leaders meeting with Texas state lawmakers and
testifying at hearings about the winter power outages, calling on them
to mandate weatherization of the energy grid, end demand-based pricing
structures, and help residents pay for repairs and recovery.
- NCR columnist St. Joseph Sr. Christine Schenk says
the underrepresentation of faithful women leaders in lectionary texts
creates significant pastoral challenges to evangelizing 21st-century
women and men who are accustomed to seeing women serving in professional
and corporate leadership roles.
- The Catholic bishops of France have decided to create an "interdiocesan canonical criminal court" on a national scale as part of the overall response to the crime of the sexual abuse of minors.