Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HHS Mandate: Updated Action Alert

The USCCB has issued another action alert based on Friday's tweaking of the HHS Mandate. Please click here to be directed to the USCCB website, where you will have the opportunity to gather information and take action.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

HHS Mandate: What's next?

As you may know, President Obama announced changes to the "contraceptive mandate" on Friday. What does this mean? According to the USCCB (whose statement is available here), it's too soon to tell. Let's continue to remember civility in dialogue and let's try to stick to the facts when discussing this. Making it liberal vs. conservative or Democrat vs. Republican is divisive and tends not to serve the cause of peace in our hearts.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Scholarship Program for Girls in Rwanda

Partners in Health is involved in a Women and Girls Initiative Scholarship Program to send 41 young women and girls back to school in rural Rwanda. Click here for more information.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Help for Battered Immigrant Women

On February 8, the Washington Post published an article by Pamela Constable, "For battered immigrant women, fear of deportation becomes abusers' weapon, but 2 laws can overcome that." This is an important and informative article about legal protection for immigrant women -- even undocumented immigrant women -- who suffer the trauma of abuse. Click here to read the article.

February Edition of "On the Line"

Pax Christi USA had issued the February edition of its newsletter, "On the Line." Click here to read it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

USCCB: Six Things Everyone Should Know About the HHS Mandate

Click here to visit the USCCB blog and to read the post, "Six Things Everyone Should Know About the HHS Mandate."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Civility in Discourse

The LCWR Global Concerns Committee's Winter 2012 "Resolutions to Action" focuses on "Civility in Discourse: A Franciscan Approach." It includes the Franciscan Action Network's F.R.A.N.C.I.S Commitment to Civility in Discourse -- Facilitate, Respect, Audit, Neutralize, Collaborate, Identify, Support. Click here to read the complete resolution and for personal reflection and action suggestions.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Women Religious: SOA Watch Needs You!

The School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) is looking for someone to represent women religious on their Council.

The Council makes major policy decisions for the SOA Watch organization, with input from the organization's regional groups, working groups, and staff. In addition, the Council provides administrative leadership to the SOA Watch organization, trying to include the voices of all those who have committed themselves to the goals of SOA Watch in its decisions and activities. The council functions somewhat like a board of directors, making policy and financial decisions, and the power to hire and fire.

Each council rep is expected to work on at least one sub-committee (such as finance, agenda, or personnel). The council and the staff make decisions using the Consensus Model.

The Council meets face to face twice a year (usually April and September), and via telephone conference call several times in-between, and also electronically via the council list-serve. Recently it has meant approximately one phone call a month, usually 60 to 90 minutes. Council does not meet formally at the November vigil.

There are regional reps, elected by members of their region and representatives representing special constituency group that have been important to the movement to close the SOA, such as Veterans for Peace, Torture Survivors, Immokalee Workers, and Women Religious. These representatives have full voting and participation rights. There is no specific term of office, but many reps have aimed for a 2 year term minimum. There are currently 14 filled seats, and 5 empty seats.

If you are interested in serving or learning more about the SOAW Council please contact Ken Crowley at

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Indiana Passes Human Trafficking Law in Time for the Super Bowl

Click here to read the Fox News report on the new Indiana law which makes it against the law for anyone to arrange for a person to participate in any forced sexual act. Before, Indiana law only prohibited forced marriage and prostitution. Also, the new law makes it easier to prosecute those who sell children into sexual slavery. It reduces the burden on a prosecutor to prove coercion. Before, prosecutors had to prove a victim was threatened or physically forced into sexual slavery. Traffickers could escape prosecution by claiming the victim wasn't being held against his or her will. Congratulations to the eleven congregations of women religious who continue to work in Indiana and elsewhere to raise awareness of the potential for human trafficking at major sporting events.

Also, click here to read an Op-Ed in Friday's Chicago Tribune by Sister Pat Bergen, a member of the leadership team of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in LaGrange Park, IL.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Military Spending

A message from Pax Christi USA:

ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress they must cut military spending!

Senator John McCain wants to keep us from bringing military spending under control.

Don't let him do it.

Under last year's deficit deal, military and domestic programs are supposed to be cut equally over the next ten years. The Pentagon has barely been nicked. Its budget will shrink for one year, then start growing again. But domestic programs have suffered massive cuts.

Now McCain wants to stop the clock, suspend next year's cuts, and establish the principle that military spending cannot be touched.

It's up to us to say: NO!

McCain is just one loud voice in a huge pro-war choir. The whole military-industrial-Congressional complex is rejecting limits on military spending. They've churned out a distortion-packed video, filed "stop the cuts" legislation in the House, and released a study on the economic impact of Pentagon cuts.

If they succeed, we're cooked. The Pentagon will keep growing and eating up more of the federal budget. There is no way we can recover from the recession if we don't cut military spending and shift hundreds of billions of dollars to the jobs and services we need in our communities.

The hawks are drawing a clear line. It's the Pentagon or us. Let's help Congress make the right choice.

1. Write your Senators and Representative. Click here for a sample email to your Senators and Representative. Tell them to speak out for real Pentagon cuts and real domestic spending increases.

2. Write a letter to the editor. Click here for a sample letter, talking points, a fact sheet, and tips for writing letters to the editor. Click here for a link to your local newspaper.

And please forward this to everyone you can. Together we can win this. Almost half of Americans say we can cut military spending safely. Let's get that message to Congress and into the media.

Friday, February 3, 2012

WSJ Op-Ed on Religious Freedom

Click here to read the January 25 Wall Street Journal Op-Ed on Religious Freedom by Cardinal-designate and USCCB President, Timothy Dolan. Here's an excerpt: "Last August, when the administration first proposed this nationwide mandate for contraception and sterilization coverage, it also proposed a "religious employer" exemption. But this was so narrow that it would apply only to religious organizations engaged primarily in serving people of the same religion. As Catholic Charities USA's president, the Rev. Larry Snyder, notes, even Jesus and His disciples would not qualify for the exemption in that case, because they were committed to serve those of other faiths."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Urgent Action Alert: Conscience Protection

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the USCCB, sharply criticized the decision by the Obama administration in which it "ordered almost every employer and insurer in the country to provide sterilization and contraceptives, including some abortion-inducing drugs, in their health plans....Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights."
He urged Catholics and the public at large to speak out in protest.

Click here to go to the USCCB website, which will give you the link to write to Congress.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Celebration Without Exploitation

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) has published "Celebration Without Exploitation," a toolkit for planning trafficking-free sporting (and other) events. Click here to access the toolkit.