J/P Alert is the newsletter of the Justice and Peace office of CMSM. It is intended to inform and stimulate discussion and involvement among the members. Its contents do not necessarily represent official positions of CMSM.
In the coming months trade will be very much on the political agenda. Pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with Peru and Colombia will be debated in Congress, as will renewal of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA – sometimes called “fast track”), which allows the Administration to submit FTAs to Congress for an up-or-down vote, without allowing amendments.
Trade is not an end in itself, it is a means for furthering human development. In so far as it accomplishes that goal it is a good thing. In so far as it impedes that goal it needs to be reformed. U.S. policy has been narrowly conceived to further U.S. commercial interests rather than serve the common good – as such it needs a thorough reconsideration.
The Church has been clear that fair trade, not just free trade, is the priority. The Catholic Media Report reports on a Vatican intervention at the United Nations:
Resource List for Debt and Trade Issues
The website for Jubilee USA, the primary organization working on international debt issues in the US. An excellent resource.
The American Friends Service Committee trade campaign website. Information from a faith perspective and activist toolkits are notable aspects of this site. One can subscribe to periodic email updates on trade issues of importance to campaigners.
An active site on trade issues. Global Trade Watch (GTW) promotes democracy by challenging corporate globalization, arguing that the current globalization model is neither a random inevitability nor “free trade.” Citizens’ Trade Campaign is a well-staffed national effort, and is an excellent source of up-to-date information.
The website for the Interfaith Working Group on Trade and Investment. Updated only periodically, but good for background, interfaith principles governing trade, etc.
Suggested Reading on Trade
(Comments by Arnie Alpert, AFSC trade campaign, New Hampshire)
Joseph Stiglitz, Making Globalization Work,
W. W. Norton, 2006.
Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents,
W. W. Norton, 2003.
William Greider, One World, Ready or Not: The
Manic Logic of Global Capitalism, Simon and Schuster, 1997.
Ha-Joon Chang, Kicking Away the Ladder,
Anthem Press, 2002.
Ha-Joon Chang and Ilene Grabel, Reclaiming
Development: an Economic Policy Handbook for Activists and Policy Makers,
Zed Books, 2004.
Miriam Ching Yoon Louie, Sweatshop Warriors:
Immigrant Women Workers Take On the Global Factory, South End Press,
John Cavanagh and Jerry Mander, Alternatives
to Economic Globalization: A Better World is Possible, Berrett Koehler,
[Compiled by Christina Herman of the Oblate Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office]
Catholic Social Ministry Leaders Gather in Washington, DC
More than 600 social ministry leaders gathered in Washington, DC February 11-14, 2007 for the 19th Annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG). The Social Ministry Gathering is the major conference for Catholic social ministry leaders who are promoting human life and dignity, justice and peace throughout the country and overseas. It is co-sponsored by 19 national Catholic organizations, including the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.
The main focus of the CSMG is preparing for and conducting visits with Congressional offices on critical issues that affect human life and dignity. This year, the issue areas included:
Social ministry leaders visited more than 275 Senate and House offices and met with Members of Congress and their staff responsible for these issue areas. Congressional offices were generally receptive of the advocacy messages and committed to working with us to address these complex issues.
On comprehensive immigration reform, it was clear that Congressional offices are overwhelmingly hearing from anti-immigrant constituencies. Members and staff suggested that pro-comprehensive immigration reform advocates do more to contact their Congressional delegations to amplify their position.
In general, Congress is very supportive of the current U.S. government effort to address the global HIV crisis. Not long after the CSMG concluded, Congress actually provided additional funding for global HIV programs that were threatened because of funding shortfalls.
The Congressional visits concluded with a Catholic Relief Services-sponsored reception on Capitol Hill to which Members of Congress and their staffs were invited. Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania offered their perspectives on the Gathering’s agenda.
CSMG partners are currently compiling feedback received from Congressional offices on the four issue areas and will make this information available for those interested. Please contact Tina Rodousakis, CSMG Hill Visits Committee Chair and Catholic Relief Services Advocacy staff for more information: Email: email@example.com or (410) 951-7462.
For more information about the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering and this year’s issues areas, please visit http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/projects/csmg2007.htm.
Oscar Romero on Standing up for Peace
Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador was murdered as he celebrated mass in the chapel of Divina Providencia Hospital on March 24, 1980. Below are some of Romero’s thoughts on peace, compiled by the SHARE Foundation. More resources on Romero’s Anniversary are available through links on the SHARE website.
“Peace is not the product of terror or fear.
“If there were love of neighbor there would be no terrorism, no repression, no selfishness, none of such cruel inequalities in society, no abductions, no crimes.”
"Do you want to know if your Christianity is genuine? Here is the touchstone: Whom do you get along with? Who are those who criticize you? Who are those who do not accept you? Who are those who flatter you?"
"Before an order to kill that a man may give, the law of God must prevail that says: Thou shalt not kill! No soldier is obliged to obey an order against the law of God."
“What I want to say here in the cathedral pulpit is what the church is, and in the name of the church, I want to support what is good, applaud it, encourage it, console the victims of atrocities, of injustices, and also with courage disclose the atrocities, the tortures, the disappearances of prisoners, the social injustice…This is building up the church and carrying out the church’s duty, as imposed by the church’s identity. My conscience is undisturbed, and I call on all of you: Let us build up the true church!”
“In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression!”
"If they kill me, I will rise again in the Salvadoran people."
Jesuit Conference has provided on its web site a series of resources for thinking and praying about the Iraq war and its consequences. As Jim Stormes, SJ, says in his introductory letter to the series,
Included among the materials made available are statements of the American Bishops and Religious Orders.
I am happy and honored to send you my warmest wishes on International Women’s Day – my first one as Secretary-General of the United Nations. I hope you will all come to know me as your representative and ally in the years ahead.
This day is an opportunity for all of us -- women and men -- to unite in a cause that embraces all humankind. Empowering women is not only a goal in itself. It is a condition for building better lives for everyone on the planet.
No one can dispute the evidence that this is so. And no one can gainsay the outcome of the 2005 World Summit, when leaders reaffirmed that gender equality and human rights for all are essential to advancing development, peace and security.
Yet we are still so very far from turning this understanding into universal practice. In almost all countries, women continue to be under-represented in decision-making positions. Women’s work continues to be undervalued, underpaid, or not paid at all. Out of more than 100 million children who are not in school, the majority are girls. Out of more than 800 million adults who cannot read, the majority are women.
Worst of all, violence against women and girls continues unabated in every continent, country and culture. It takes a devastating toll on women's lives, on their families, and on society as a whole. Most societies prohibit such violence -- yet the reality is that too often, it is covered up or tacitly condoned.
That is why International Women’s Day is so important. It spells out our responsibility to work for enduring change in values and attitudes. It calls on us to work in partnership -- Governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector. It urges us to work for a transformation in relations between women and men, at all levels of society. It compels us to strengthen every means of empowering women and girls -- from education to microcredit.
The United Nations must be at the forefront of those endeavors. I pledge to do all I can to ensure that it is -- not only on International Women’s Day, but every day. I look forward to working with you in our collective mission.
The Palestinian summer celebration
– June 20-August 18th 2007
An Arabic language Course and a Modern Palestine Course are offered by Bethlehem U as apart of the program. Three credits hours will be given for each course, upon the participant’s request. Voluntary work opportunities will be available in over 50 different organizations in Bethlehem and the surrounding towns of Beit Sahour, Beit Jala and Doha, also in the three refugee camps in the vicinity Dehaisheh, Aida and Azza who have been suffering the longest tragedy in the history of humanity.
Accommodation will be in the hospitality of local families in the Bethlehem and the vicinity depending on the voluntary work place. Participants will have the chance to share the lives of the local family’s and get exposed to real life situation where they can practice there freshly learnt Arabic and Palestinian culture, experience the tasty traditional Palestinian dishes and all other aspects of Palestinian extended family life. Such an experience will give the participants the chance to build relations with their host families that may last for ever.
For more information: http://www.sirajcenter.org/courses.htm
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.
T. Michael McNulty, SJ, editor
8808 Cameron St., Silver Spring, MD 20910