In a statement on the government shutdown, Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston writes:
Governing the democracy of the United States is always a challenging task. It requires not only intelligence, expertise and experience but also a capacity to collaborate, cooperate and the willingness to consider appropriate compromise at decisive moments.
The present moment in our country is clearly decisive: the government is, at best, only partially functioning. This has caused multiple consequences: the safety of the citizenry is compromised and essential services are endangered or not being provided. While not proposing a plan for a viable effective compromise I am taken by the humanitarian impacts of the shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of government employees have had their lives upended. The vast majority of Americans depend on a regular paycheck, failure to receive that as due and expected translates into painful choices: balancing food and fuel; paying for mortgages and rent; restricting necessary transportation; rationing family health care. Imposing these burdens on individuals and families who serve the nation daily violates the social contract in a well-ordered society. It is an injustice and should be named as such.
Determination of the specific elements of a viable compromise rightfully rest with the executive and legislative officials of our government. But two moral imperatives should be preserved in any agreement: first, to end the suffering of our citizenry and second, to not use vulnerable and threatened immigrant families as a pawn in the necessary negotiations citizens rightfully expect of their government.