Urgent Need to Educate Laity in Church Social Doctrine
VATICAN CITY, 4 NOV 2010 (VIS) - The Pope has sent a message to Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to mark that body's plenary assembly which is currently being held in Rome. The assembly is focusing on how the encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, has been received in various communities.
"Only with charity, supported by hope and illuminated by the light of faith and reason, is it possible to achieve the goals of the integral liberation of humanity and universal justice", the Holy Father writes.
Referring to the "fundamental problems affecting the destiny of peoples and of world institutions, as well as of the human family," which are examined in "Caritas in veritate," Benedict XVI points out that social and national inequalities "have by no means disappeared. ... Co-ordination among States - which is often inadequate because, rather than aiming to achieve solidarity, it aims only at a balance of power -- leaves the field open to renewed inequalities, to the danger of the predominance of economic and financial groups which dictate -- and intend to continue to do so -- the political agenda at the expense of the universal common good."
The Holy Father stresses the urgent need "for commitment to educating Catholic laity in Church social doctrine." Lay Catholics "must undertake to promote the correct ordering of social life, while respecting the legitimate autonomy of worldly institutions."
"A profound understanding of the social doctrine of the Church is of fundamental importance, in harmony with all her theological heritage and strongly rooted in affirming the transcendent dignity of men and women, in defending human life from conception to natural death and in religious freedom. ... It is necessary to prepare lay people capable of dedicating themselves to the common good, especially in complex environments such as the world of politics."
The Pope concludes his message by expressing the hope that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace may continue "to prepare fresh 'aggiornamenti' of Church social doctrine." In order to globalise this doctrine, he writes, "it may be appropriate to create centres and institutions for its study, dissemination and implementation throughout the world."
[The complete text of the Pope's message is available at www.zenit.org/article-30847?l=english]
WASHINGTON-Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), offered the prayers of the U.S. bishops and expressed solidarity with the suffering Christians of Iraq following the October 31 attack on the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad that killed 58 people and wounded 75.
"We stand with the bishops, Church and people of Iraq in their urgent search for greater security, freedom and protection," said Cardinal George in a November 1 statement. "We call upon the United States to take additional steps to help Iraq protect its citizens, especially the most vulnerable."
Cardinal George echoed the recent expression of sorrow of Pope Benedict XVI, as well as the pope's concluding message from the recent Synod of Bishops on the Middle East: "Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the indispensable condition for a life of dignity for individuals and society." Cardinal George noted that, at the Synod on the Middle East, Iraqi bishops addressed the challenges facing their people, including kidnappings, bombings and threats against businesses and livelihoods.
Cardinal George also said that, while the U.S. bishops welcomed the end of U.S. military operations in Iraq, "we share the Iraqi bishops' concern that the United States failed to help Iraqis in finding the political will and concrete ways needed to protect the lives of all citizens, especially Christians and other vulnerable minorities, and to ensure that refugees and displaced persons are able to return to their homes safely. Having invaded Iraq, the U.S. government has a moral obligation not to abandon those Iraqis who cannot defend themselves."
[The full statement can be found at www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-195.shtml]
This December will mark the 30th anniversary of the death of four U.S. churchwomen, Dorothy Kazel, Maura Clarke, Ita Ford and Jean Donovan, who were brutally murdered in El Salvador in 1980.
Ita Ford wrote about her experience in El Salvador: "Am I willing to suffer with the people here, the suffering of the powerless? Can I say to my neighbors, 'I have no solutions to this situation; I don't know the answers, but I will walk with you, search with you, be with you.' Can I let myself be evangelized by this opportunity? Can I look at and accept my own poorness as I learn it from the poor ones?"
SHARE Foundation has developed a packet for the commemoration of the anniversary. It can be downloaded (pdf format) at <www.paxchristiusa.org/Churchwomen30thAnniversaryPacket.pdf>.
Tucson, AZ --Several volunteers from both the Phoenix and Tucson branches of the humanitarian organization No More Deaths encountered the body of a deceased migrant in the Chavez Siding area just north of Sardina Well on Saturday, October 16th. The volunteers immediately contacted the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office to help recover the body. They then waited for the Sheriff, the Santa Cruz medical examiner and Border Patrol to arrive. The cause of death could not readily be determined; however, it was apparent that he was recently deceased. He had identification on him, though this is no guarantee that his family will receive word of his fate.
Laura Ilardo was among a group of six volunteers who encountered the body around 9:30am. "We are completely devastated for the family of the deceased migrant and we are outraged all the more by the situation on the border that led to his death," says Ilardo.
More than 252 remains of undocumented migrants were recovered in the Tucson Border Patrol sector between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010, according to Tucson's Coalición de Derechos Humanos. FY2010 was a record for migrant deaths, which continue to rise due to growing border enforcement. For every one of these remains found and recorded, there are dozens more that go unfound -- leaving scores of families without knowledge of their loved ones.
Says Danielle Alvarado, volunteer with No More Deaths: "The problem isn't unauthorized entry; the problem is militarization and increased enforcement. It is this continued farce that has created a humanitarian crisis on our border, causing death and suffering in the desert and the destruction of families on both sides."
No More Deaths calls on the United States to recognize the humanitarian emergency taking place along the U.S./Mexico border, and to bring an end to the enforcement practices that cause these deaths.
We, the Catholic bishops in the State of Texas, wish to express our pastoral concern for the families and communities suffering the devastating effects of violence in Northern Mexico, and along the Texas border.
We wish to recall the historic ties of communion that have marked the relations between the bishops of Texas and the bishops of northern Mexico.
Early in the last century, when violence severely afflicted the border regions, the bishops of Texas and northern Mexico worked together to help our families and clergy alleviate the suffering.
In that tradition, and in a spirit of communion and solidarity, we ask our Catholic people and all people of good will to recognize that many innocent people, many struggling families, both Mexican citizens and United States citizens, are being affected by this violence.
Secondly, we wish to call attention to the fact that immigrant families coming from Mexico are increasingly coming to the United States out of a fear for their safety and that of their families; this is exacerbating the dimensions of the humanitarian tragedy that affects immigrant families.
We also wish to thank law enforcement and public safety officials, particularly US Border Patrol, for their work in keeping the violence from spreading further. We ask Jesus, our Good Shepherd, to lead all through this dark valley of suffering. May the mantle of our Lady of Sorrows protect the lives and wellbeing of all those touched by the effects of criminal violence; and may we seek the grace to see the face of Her son in the visages of the innocent who suffer.
Torture is much discussed and debated in the media and in the courts. Questions have been raised as to what constitutes torture and whether torture is ever justified.
The Church's teachings are very clear in condemning torture. Pope Benedict XVI said in a September 6, 2007 address, "I reiterate, the prohibition against torture 'cannot be contravened under any circumstances.'"
Yes, Christ's teaching to love one's enemies is a hard lesson to put into practice, particularly when there are concerns about terrorism. Nonetheless we cannot give into fear and allow it to dehumanize us. Torture debases the human dignity of not only the victims but also the perpetrators. Torture undermines our nation's moral credibility and is contrary to international law.
To deal with this timely issue, USCCB has a resource on its Web site called "Torture is a Moral Issue: A Catholic Study Guide." This four chapter study guide, written in a lively conversational style, can stimulate discussion in your parish social action and youth groups, or in classes teaching social justice and human rights. Learn what you can do to stop torture now.
To access the guide, go to <www.usccb.org/sdwp/TortureIsAMoralIssueCatholicStudyGuide.pdf> or click on the "Torture is a Moral Issue" logo on the front page of the USCCB/JPHD Web site (http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/).
Notre Dame has established a joint Ph.D. in theology and peace studies to educate and train scholars in both theology and interdisciplinary peace research. The program is a partnership between Notre Dame's Department of Theology and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
The University introduced a Ph.D. program in peace studies in 2008. That effort was a collaboration between the Kroc Institute and the departments of history, political science, sociology, and psychology. According to Robert Johansen, director of doctoral studies at the Kroc Institute, adding a partnership with theology was a natural step.
"People's understanding of religious faith often determines if a conflict erupts into violence or instead moves toward new relationships and peaceful communities," he says. "It's exciting to receive inquiries from outstanding students who aspire to be leaders in religious thinking and teaching and who are very serious about studying the causes of war, the conditions of peace, and how to build peace."
While the promotion of peace has long been an important theme of Catholic social teaching, more recently other areas of theology have considered it a priority. "Theologians increasingly are aware that answering questions of peace and reconciliation requires a penetrating and nuanced grasp not only of diverse aspects of Catholic theology, but also of cultural, political and economic conditions in which this theology is to be brought to bear," says J. Matthew Ashley, chair of the Department of Theology. "This new track will provide an unparalleled opportunity to meet both requirements and produce scholars who will provide invaluable service to the church and to the world."
Applications are now being accepted for students seeking to begin in fall 2011, and may be submitted to the University's Graduate School.
This year's award has been given to the documentary The Garden at the End of the World, directed by Australian film-maker Gary Caganoff.
The film explores the legacy of devastation and trauma in Afghanistan and illustrates the tragic consequences of war and the widespread hunger, homelessness and lawlessness that it causes. In particular, it shows the impact on the lives of widows and orphans, who now number tens of thousands.
The Garden at the End of the World follows the work of two remarkable women -- humanitarian Mahboba Rawi, and internationally recognised permaculturalist Rosemary Morrow, who offer alternatives to international 'reconstruction' efforts that have patently not worked.
The documentary reveals how urban and rural families and communities have disintegrated after losing fathers, husbands, and brothers to 30 years of political conflict, poverty and the drug trade. Rosemary, a Quaker, brings a holistic perspective to these experiences, emphasising the links between sustainability and genuine empowerment.
Mahboba Rawi, a refugee from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, lives in Sydney, Australia. In 2001 she established a not-for-profit organisation called 'Mahboba's Promise', to assist homeless widows and orphans. She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours in recognition of her services to international humanitarian aid in Afghanistan.
Through the eyes of these remarkable women Caganoff elicits stories and images of Afghanistan rarely seen before. Neither sentimental nor sensational, the film reaches into the dark depths and complexities of war torn Afghanistan.
More information can be found at <www.thegardenattheendoftheworld.info>.
Jesuit Father Michael A. Evans has become the sixth National Director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. He succeeds Jesuit Father Kenneth J. Gavin, who next year becomes Assistant Director of Jesuit Refugee Service International in Rome.
Fr. Evans served from 1990 through 1996 as the JRS Eastern Africa Regional Director and from 2000 through 2010 as Development Director and Treasurer of the Jesuit province of Eastern Africa.
Fr. Evans recalls the letter Jesuit Father Pedro Arrupe, former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, wrote to Jesuits worldwide in 1980, asking "every Jesuit world-wide to consider how his personal life, his actions, his institutional apostolate, etc. could begin to address the world-wide refugee crisis."
For thirty years, "I have dedicated my life, my educational pursuits, and my work as a Jesuit to do just that - in the context of social ethics and economic development - to work with refugees, internally displaced and marginalized members of our society," said Fr. Evans.
[Read the full release at JRS/USA]
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network announced that effective today, their organizations have merged to create a more powerful voice dedicated to preventing and stopping large-scale, deliberate atrocities against civilians.
The merger creates the largest anti-genocide organization that combined, boasts a membership base of over 800,000 committed activists globally, an unparalleled nationwide student movement, and a network of institutional investors with over $700 billion in assets under management.
Both organizations were created in response to atrocities in Darfur, and their merger is a natural step in strengthening and growing the constituency that came together to help stop violence against civilians in Sudan. The merged organization will harness the power of its constituencies to influence actors - primarily the American government, multi-national institutions and corporations - to use their diplomatic and financial leverage to help prevent and stop large-scale atrocities.
"Joining together the Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network creates one organization that is stronger than the sum of its parts and better positioned to make genocide prevention a priority for the U.S. government and international community," said Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, Chair of Save Darfur Coalition and of the merged Board of Directors. "This union combines an impressive network of supporters, activists, and partners that we feel confident will multiply the impact of our work."
Mark Hanis, co-Founder and President of Genocide Intervention Network, will serve as President of the merged organization. Sam Bell, Executive Director of Genocide Intervention Network, will serve as Executive Director. Save Darfur Coalition's Acting President Mark Lotwis will become the Senior Director of Campaign Advocacy for the merged organization.
"This is a great day for our members, staff and supporters. With a deep history of working collaboratively together, we share the same commitment: working towards a day when genocide and mass atrocities do not occur," stated Mark Hanis. "We are excited by the prospect of combining our collective goals, talent and long-standing commitment into a single organization."
The organization's immediate priorities are to continue mobilizing its constituencies and advocating for U.S. leadership to ensure progress toward peace in Darfur and a peaceful Sudan in the lead-up to and aftermath of January 2011 referenda on Southern Sudanese independence and the future of contested oil district Abyei. The organization is also beginning a large-scale, long-term advocacy campaign to ensure that the U.S. government is better able to prevent and respond to future genocides and mass atrocities.
The new organization will be headquartered at the Save Darfur Coalition's Washington, D.C. offices. The merged organization's new brand and name will be launched in the coming months.
Protecting Human Life and Dignity: Promoting a Just Economy
Join us at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering as 19 leading Catholic national organizations explore common issues and concerns of global and domestic policy on human life, justice and peace that challenge our nation and world. Join Catholic social ministry leaders from across the United States.
Gathering meeting schedule:
Pre-Gathering meeting schedule:
On-line Registration opens mid-November 2010
Early Registration fees are $260.00 from November 2010 through December 17, 2010
Standard Registration fees increase to $310.00 from December 18, 2010 through January 20, 2011
Additional fees may apply for Pre-Gathering meetings (formerly wrap-arounds)
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