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In talk with top diplomat, bishop stresses church concern for common good


  • Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., gestures during a March 23 meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., center, looks on as Stephen Colecchi, director of the Office of International Justice and Peace at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is greeted by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a March 23 meeting at the State Department in Washington. At far left is Stephen Hilbert, international policy adviser with the USCCB. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
  • Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., gestures during a March 23 meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department in Washington. Partially obscured at left is Stephen Colecchi, director of the Office of International Justice and Peace at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace met with the country's top diplomat, Rex Tillerson, March 23, for a policy-packed 35-minute conversation about immigration, the Middle East, Africa and the role of the Catholic Church's efforts toward building "the common good."

"After some small talk about Texas," the two spoke about the Middle East, about Iraq and Syria, reaching out to Central America and Mexico, and the situation in Africa, said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, explaining his initial meeting in Washington with Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state, who, like Bishop Cantu, hails from Texas.

Bishop Cantu said the meeting was about letting Tillerson know "that our only motive is to help build the common good, that we don't have ulterior motives," and explaining the bishops' peace and justice committee's work in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Far East.

Bishop Cantu, as the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, has spoken for a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict, against the construction of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories, for reducing the United States' nuclear arsenal, and raised concerns about an executive order that targets refugees from some countries with predominantly Muslim populations, which are odds with stances taken early by the Donald Trump administration.

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