November 2011 (en Español)
Towards Reforming the Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority (excerpts)
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
[The full text of the document can be found at www.news.va/en/news/full-text-note-on-financial-reform-from-the-pontif. Two very different takes on the release are Vatican to Issue Radical Document on Economy, by Fr. Tom Reese, SJ; and The Pope, Chaplain to OWS? Rubbish, by George Weigel. A response from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility can be found at www.iccr.org/issues/subpages/10.28.11iccrresponsetovatican.pdf.]
“The world situation requires the concerted effort of everyone, a thorough examination of every facet of the problem – social, economic, cultural and spiritual. The Church, which has long experience in human affairs and has no desire to be involved in the political activities of any nation, ‘seeks but one goal: to carry forward the work of Christ under the lead of the befriending Spirit. And Christ entered this world to give witness to the truth; to save, not to judge; to serve, not to be served.’”
With these words, in the prophetic and always relevant Encyclical Populorum Progressio of 1967, Paul VI outlined in a clear way “the trajectories” of the Church’s close relation with the world. These trajectories intersect in the profound value of human dignity and the quest for the common good, which make people responsible and free to act according to their highest aspirations.
Every individual and every community shares in and is responsible for promoting the common good. Faithful to their ethical and religious vocation, communities of believers should take the lead in asking whether human family has adequate means at its disposal to achieve the global common good. The Church for her part is called to encourage in everyone without distinction, the desire to join in the “monumental amount of individual and collective effort” which men have made “throughout the course of the centuries ... to better the circumstances of their lives.... [T]his human activity accords with God’s will.”
1. Economic Development and Inequalities
The grave economic and financial crisis which the world is going through today springs from multiple causes. Opinions on the number and significance of these causes vary widely. Some commentators emphasize first and foremost certain errors inherent in the economic and financial policies; others stress the structural weaknesses of political, economic and financial institutions; still others say that the causes are ethical breakdowns occurring at all levels of a world economy that is increasingly dominated by utilitarianism and materialism.
2. The Role of Technology and the Ethical Challenge
The great economic and social development of the past century, with their bright spots and serious shadows, can also be attributed in large part to the continued development of technology and more recently to advances in information technologies and especially their applications in the economy and most significantly in finance.
3. An Authority over Globalization
In a world on its way to rapid globalization, the reference to a world Authority becomes the only horizon compatible with the new realities of our time and the needs of humankind. However, it should not be forgotten that this development, given wounded human nature, will not come about without anguish and suffering. Through the account of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), the Bible warns us how the “diversity” of peoples can turn into a vehicle for selfishness and an instrument of division. In humanity there is a real risk that peoples will end up not understanding each other and that cultural diversities will lead to irremediable oppositions. The image of the Tower of Babel also warns us that we must avoid a “unity” that is only apparent, where selfishness and divisions endure because the foundations of the society are not stable. In both cases, Babel is the image of what peoples and individuals can become when they do not recognize their intrinsic transcendent dignity and brotherhood.
The spirit of Babel is the antithesis of the Spirit of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-12), of God’s design for the whole of humanity: that is, unity in truth. Only a spirit of concord that rises above divisions and conflicts will allow humanity to be authentically one family and to conceive of a new world with the creation of a world public Authority at the service of the common good.
WASHINGTON - The 11 religious leaders arrested on July 28 while praying on behalf of the nation's most vulnerable in the Capitol Rotunda were in court this morning to discuss the misdemeanor, "Intention to Disrupt Congress," charge brought against them. The United States Attorney agreed to dismiss the charges against the "Rotunda 11" if each religious official stays out of the Capitol Building for next six months.
The faith leaders' peaceful and faithful act of civil disobedience was the highlight of a public policy campaign launched by the American faith community during the height of debt ceiling debate this summer to ensure the administration and Congress do not reduce the deficit by placing an undue burden on the poor while shielding the wealthiest from additional sacrifice.
The faith community's campaign, the Faithful Budget Campaign www.DomesticHumanNeeds.org is seeking to encourage the administration and Congress to maintain a robust commitment to domestic and international poverty programs by lifting up faithful voices on behalf of the nation's most vulnerable. In July, the campaign organized high-level meetings with policymakers, a Washington fly-in of religious leaders, daily prayer vigils near the U.S. Capitol Building and culminated with the arrest of 11 faith leaders after praying for 90 minutes and refusing to leave the Rotunda after repeated requests from U.S. Capitol Police. The arrest of the faith leaders came just days before Congress passed the debt ceiling compromise.
Since the arrest of the Rotunda 11, the American faith community has extended the Faithful Budget Campaign into the hometowns of the "Deficit Super Committee" members. As a result, numerous churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship in the states and districts of members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, as well as congressional leadership, are hosting prayer vigils and other demonstrations to encourage "Deficit Super Committee" members to recommend a fair deficit reduction plan that exempts programs from budget cuts that assist the most at-risk families and children in the U.S. and abroad.
The faith community has worked alongside the United States government for decades to protect those struggling to overcome poverty in the U.S. and abroad. The faith community fears without a sustained federal commitment to these programs, houses of worship will not be able to solely support the country's most vulnerable in their time of need.
Additional details about the Faithful Budget Campaign can be found on the campaign's website, www.DomesticHumanNeeds.org.
VATICAN CITY, 19 OCT 2011 (VIS) - "Migrations and New Evangelisation" is the theme chosen by Benedict XVI for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2012, which will be celebrated on 15 January 2012. Extracts from the English-language edition of the text are given below:
"Proclaiming Jesus Christ the one Saviour of the world 'constitutes the essential mission of the Church. It is a task and mission which the vast and profound changes of present-day society make all the more urgent'. Indeed, today we feel the urgent need to give a fresh impetus and new approaches to the work of evangelisation in a world in which the breaking down of frontiers and the new processes of globalisation are bringing people and peoples even closer. This is both because of the development of the means of social communication and because of the frequency and ease with which individuals and groups can move about today."
"Internal or international migration, in fact, as an opening in search of better living conditions or to flee from the threat of persecution, war, violence, hunger or natural disasters, has led to an unprecedented mingling of persons and peoples, with new problems not only from the human standpoint but also from the ethical, religious and spiritual viewpoints. The current and obvious consequences of secularisation, the emergence of new sectarian movements, widespread insensitivity to the Christian faith and a marked tendency to fragmentation are obstacles to focusing on a unifying reference that would encourage the formation of 'one family of brothers and sisters in societies that are becoming ever more multiethnic and intercultural, where also people of various religions are urged to take part in dialogue, so that a serene and fruitful coexistence with respect for legitimate differences may be found'.... Our time is marked by endeavours to efface God and the Church's teaching from the horizon of life, while doubt, scepticism and indifference are creeping in, seeking to eliminate all the social and symbolic visibility of the Christian faith.”
"Asylum seekers, who fled from persecution, violence and situations that put their life at risk, stand in need of our understanding and welcome, of respect for their human dignity and rights, as well as awareness of their duties. Their suffering pleads with individual States and the international community to adopt attitudes of reciprocal acceptance, overcoming fears and avoiding forms of discrimination, and to make provisions for concrete solidarity also through appropriate structures for hospitality and resettlement programmes. All this entails mutual help between the suffering regions and those which, already for years, have accepted a large number of fleeing people, as well as a greater sharing of responsibilities among States.
"Christian communities are to pay special attention to migrant workers and their families by accompanying them with prayer, solidarity and Christian charity, by enhancing what is reciprocally enriching, as well as by fostering new political, economic and social planning that promotes respect for the dignity of every human person, the safeguard of the family, access to dignified housing, to work and to welfare."
The Holy Father sent the following message to Jacques Diouf, director general of the United Nation's Rome-based Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) for World Food Day (16 October).
"The theme of this year's World Food Day, is a timely reminder that everyone needs to make a commitment to give the agricultural sector its proper importance. Everyone - from individuals to the organizations of civil society, States and international institutions - needs to give priority to one of the most urgent goals for the human family: freedom from hunger. In order to achieve freedom from hunger it is necessary to ensure not only that enough food is available, but also that everyone has daily access to it: this means promoting whatever resources and infrastructures are necessary in order to sustain production and distribution on a scale sufficient to guarantee fully the right to food.
"If the international community is to be truly 'united' against hunger, then poverty must be overcome through authentic human development, based on the idea of the person as a unity of body, soul and spirit. Today, though, there is a tendency to limit the vision of development to one that satisfies the material needs of the person, especially through access to technology; yet authentic development is not simply a function of what a person 'has', it must also embrace higher values of fraternity, solidarity and the common good.
"In this context, FAO has the essential task of examining the issue of world hunger at the institutional level and proposing particular initiatives that involve its member States in responding to the growing demand for food. Indeed, the nations of the world are called to give and to receive in proportion to their effective needs, by reason of that 'pressing moral need for renewed solidarity, especially in relationships between developing countries and those that are highly industrialized.'"
As the global population hits 7 billion this month, ActionAid has today warned that a triple crisis of climate change, desolated natural resources and rocketing food prices, could dwarf the world’s ability to feed them all.
Based on new research in 28 poor countries, ActionAid’s report On the brink: Who's prepared for a climate and hunger crisis reveals which poor nations are most prepared for this triple crisis and which are burying their head in the sand. The 10 countries ranked most vulnerable –- DRC, Burundi, South Africa, Haiti, Bangladesh, Zambia, India, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Rwanda -- account for a quarter of the world’s population. Countries most ready to face the triple crisis include Brazil, Malawi, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
ActionAid warns that the world is coming to the end of an era of cheap food; that large scale agriculture has depleted the natural resources that sustained it; and that food prices -- driven by rich nations’ insatiable demand for biofuels and food commodities -- will continue to rise, unless urgent action is taken.
Washington, D.C. -- Pax Christi USA announced today that Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, has been hired as the national Catholic peace organization's new Executive Director. Sr. Chappell begins her tenure following Pax Christi USA's recent relocation of its national office to Washington, D.C.
"This is an exciting time for Pax Christi USA as we explore new opportunities under Sr. Chappell's leadership," stated Sr. Josie Chrosniak, HM, National Council Chair of Pax Christi USA. "Sr. Chappell brings a wealth of experience in working with religious communities, youth and young adults, and marginalized communities which will enhance and grow our work for peace and justice in the world."
Sr. Chappell is a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Connecticut unit, and served on the Provincial Leadership Team for her community. She holds a Master's degree in Social Work from the Catholic University of America and was the Director of Youth Ministry at Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Parish in Washington, D.C.
“We're delighted Sr. Chappell has joined PCUSA as its new leader,” stated Ronaldo Cruz, who has been serving as the Acting Executive Director for the past 4 months. “Her vision and experience will lead the Catholic peace movement into its second forty years as the conscience of our Church and society.”
Sr. Chappell was trained by Crossroads in anti-racism training and organizing and serves as the national co-chair on her community’s anti-racism team. She was the full-time president of the National Black Sisters’ Conference, from 1996-2001, and is on the Board of Trustees for Trinity University in Washington, D.C.
“I am most humbled and pleased to have been offered the position of Executive Director of Pax Christi USA,” stated Sr. Chappell. “I look forward to continuing and deepening Pax Christi's commitment to transforming itself into an anti-racist, multicultural movement for peace with justice.”
Sr. Chappell began her work at Pax Christi USA on November 1, 2011.
Purpose: The conference will look at state and local immigration issues across the country and discuss methods for opposing enforcement initiatives and supporting comprehensive immigration reform. An update on progress on immigration reform on the federal level will be included.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 4:00 PM - Friday, January 13, 2012 1:00 PM Mountain Time
IWJ Publishes an Interfaith Prayer Service for Occupy Together
Interfaith Worker Justice published a Prayer Service designed to help people reflect on a moral economy within the context of their religious tradition. Written for clergy and religious leaders, the prayer service is aimed for those Occupying Wall Street and other cities, and for congregational use.
Many people of faith are seeking to understand how their tradition calls them to respond to the movement.
Joe Hopkins, a young adult missionary of the United Methodist Church, working with IWJ's Workers' Center Network, was one of 175 arrested on Saturday in an act of non-violent civil disobedience at an Occupy Chicago site in Grant Park. The crowd chanted together, "We are unstoppable; another world is possible."
Hopkins said, "Imagine that world: families live together in their houses, the sick and elderly receive care, workers receive payment before the sun sets. I invite you to take a moment of silence to reflect on the voices so often ignored. Then when you've listened to those voices, break the silence. Join us in that possible world. We are building that world together right now, and you can build it with us."
Kim Bobo, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice, told the National Catholic Register, "The core issues here are the growing inequality in the nation, the lack of responsiveness to that and the job crisis."
"There is a growing frustration," Bobo said, "with what people have witnessed in Congress, which almost had a total meltdown this summer and couldn't get anything done at all. People are just like 'What are our options right now?' We've got to get attention from our policymakers on these issues."
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