Cardinal Sean O’Malley Urges Kindness Toward Syrian Refugees

O'Malley urged people to show mercy and reject prejudices, and invoked the parable of the Good Samaritan.

With a nasty debate over terrorism, Islam, and refugees in the United States reaching a level unseen since after 9/11, Cardinal Sean O’Malley issued a strong call on Thursday to reject fear and hatred in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

Writing in the official newspaper of the archdiocese, the Boston Pilot, O’Malley urged people to remain vigilant but not be consumed by hate and fear when confronted by the horrors of radical Islamic terrorism.

“Fear can cause us to do terrible and stupid things. We cannot afford to be sloppy about security, but we must guard against letting the darkness of hatred and prejudice poison our own hearts,” wrote O’Malley.

The cardinal warned against repeating the mistakes of the past, reflecting on how the country reacted to the horrors of World War II and interned the Japanese community in camps out of fear and suspicion.

“This was a very un-American reaction,” said O’Malley.

O’Malley called to mind the parable of the Good Samaritan from the Gospel of Luke, encouraging people to show mercy to those fleeing war-torn areas overrun by terrorism and destruction, and issuing a strong rebuke to the outspoken people in the country who currently want to turn their backs on those in need.

Some in the United States, O’Malley suggested, want to reject refugees from war-torn lands in the same way innkeepers denied the Holy Family in the Gospels.

“As we mull over the debate about refugees, let us remember the doors that were closed in the face of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. We must ask our leaders to be vigilant and protect our citizens, but at the same time we cannot turn our back on so many innocent people who are hungry, homeless, and without a country,” wrote O’Malley.

O’Malley suggested that Americans can be both “vigilant and compassionate” when dealing with the refugees fleeing Islamic State terrorism.

“America is truly great when we do not succumb to fear and prejudice, but rather when we walk boldly in the path of the Good Samaritan,” O’Malley concluded.