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Immigration and gun control discussed by Catholic bishops in Baltimore


The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is holding its annual fall meeting in Baltimore this week. The meeting entails three days of prayer, reflection and politics, as top church decision-makers weigh in on the same issues being debated across the nation's capital, including immigration and gun control.

"(Immigrants) who are often fleeing horrible violence, terrorism and disaster. Their journey is our journey," said Bishop Vasquez.

Bishops advocated for inclusion by embracing immigrants and migrants. That stance is in direct opposition to the Trump administration.

"We have resources for our local churches, our diocese, to be able to pursue policies. We try to work out, sometimes, in terms of legislatures or Congress or the administration," said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, USCCB president.

A small but dedicated group of protesters demanded the Roman Catholic Church designate one "sanctuary church" in every diocese in America.

"To protect immigrants facing deportation. There are a lot of Catholics, immigrants who are Catholic. And the Protestant churches are actually the ones supporting them," said Felix Cepeda, a Catholic protester from New York City.

What are the chances it will happen?

"We have provided resources to help a local diocese make some decision relative to sanctuary city. The conference itself does not go there," DiNardo said.

Gun control was also discussed at the meeting, and the USCCB is in favor of what the conference president calls "commonsense gun legislation."

"We think that this is the time for a good, national discussion and no doubt it will involve debate, we hope, with some change that would come," said DiNardo.

The gathering, which began Sunday with a Mass at the Basilica, runs through Wednesday.

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