Wednesday, December 31, 2008

National Religious Campaign Against Torture

Reminder: From January 11-20, we are asked to participate in 10 days of prayer in a countdown to end torture. Click here to access all the information you'll need to make these 10 days prayerfully meaningful, including bulletin inserts, worship materials, and prayers. We'll post another reminder next week.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Action Alert on Gaza

According to the "End the Occupation" website, the December 27 Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip killed over 200 people using F16 fighter jets and missiles provided by the taxpayers of the United States. Visit the website by clicking here to find out what you can do to make your voice heard.

Monday, December 29, 2008

An Interview Worth Hearing

On December 26, NPR aired an interview with two Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore, the first Roman Catholic community in America to accept Black women as Sisters. Should you be interested, click here to listen (about 12 minutes of audio).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Let There Be Peace on Earth

Here's a version of the song by the Choirboys:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Convention for the Common Good Follow-Up

Seeing the tangible results of a convention I attended is kind of nice. NCR Online has the story of the representatives of 15 Catholic organizations who met with the Obama transition team last week. It's worth the minute it will take you to read it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Prayers and Wishes for Bethlehem

Pax Christi/World Council of Churches' appeal: Prayers and Wishes for Advent and Christmas in Bethlehem 2008
For the 9th consecutive year, Christmas celebrations will take place in a difficult climate for people in the Holy Land. Pax Christi and the World Council of Churches invite you to email Advent and Christmas 2008 wishes and prayers for justice and peace to their partners in Bethlehem.
Please e-mail your Christmas messages and prayers for peace before the 25th of December 2008 (Western Christmas) and/or the 7th of January 2009 (Eastern Christmas). Messages can be emailed to the Arab Educational Institute at the following address: Read all messages at More languages at: (in English, French and Spanish).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Thirty Years of Speaking Peace to Power"

Click here for the NCR article on Dominican Sisters Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert, who were "incorrectly identified as involved in terrorism during . . . [a] Maryland state police surveillance in 2005 and 2006."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fighting Poverty to Build Peace

Click here for the Holy Father's World Day of Peace Message for January 1, 2009, "Fighting Poverty to Build Peace."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's On Your Heart?

JUBILEE USA'S "WHAT'S ON YOUR HEART?" CAMPAIGN: Now that President-elect Obama has chosen his Treasury Secretary, Jubilee USA wants to welcome him to his new position and put Jubilee's issues on his radar screen. The campaign is designed to remind Secretary Geithner that "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Jubilee offers three easy ways for people to participate:
  • DO IT YOURSELF: Make a heart telling Secretary Geithner "what'son your heart" with your own message (e.g. "drop the debt," "stop vulture funds," "debt cancellation for Haiti," etc.) Sign it with your name, address, and e-mail address and mail your heart to Jubilee USA Network/212 E. Capitol St. NE/Washington, DC 20003.
  • ORDER postcards to sign and send. Order from or 202-546-4470.
  • SEND a message online. Go to


Monday, December 15, 2008

Ban the Cluster Bomb

BAN THE CLUSTER BOMB: As you may be aware, more than 120 nations met in Oslo last week to sign a global treaty banning cluster bombs. While nearly all US NATO allies signed the treaty, the United States, China, Russia, and India did not. The Bush administration claims that cluster bombs are needed to protect American soldiers. The reality is that cluster bombs have killed and injured U.S. soldiers and that most of the victims are children. To sign a petition to Secretary of Defense Gates, go to

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sad News from Mosul

From the LCWR:
This week the Dominican Motherhouse in Mosul, Iraq was hit by a e-car, TNT laden bomb which badly damaged the entire streetside of the building. The sisters were not injured, but, sadly, 27 people died in the shops across the street, which seem to have been the actual target. Please keep in prayer the Dominican sisters and those tragically affected by this latest bombing.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sign for Peace

American Christian leaders and congregants of the Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox and Protestant traditions are joining together to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and urge President-elect Obama to make Israeli-Palestinian peace an immediate priority of his Administration.

If you would like to add your name to the Christian Call for Holy Land Peace today and join your fellow American Christians in supporting vigorous diplomatic efforts to secure a just and lasting two-state solution, go to the Churches for Middle East Peace website. There you will see a letter which was signed by national Christian leaders -- including the President of the LCWR -- and sent to key members of the Obama transition team and his national security team on December 1, 2008.

The final letter, signed by Christian leaders and congregants from across the nation (including you, if you so choose), will be delivered to President Obama during the time of inauguration. The last day to add your name is January 16, 2009.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Let's keep an eye on the situation in Zimbabwe, where -- according to -- the annual rate of inflation is 231,000,000% and the hospitals lack personnel to handle basic medical care, let alone the projected 60,000 people who may contract cholera, if projections can be trusted.

Lesley-Anne Knight, Caritas secretary-general, calls the situation in Zimbabwe "poverty at its most dehumanizing." Knight further states, "The international community must maintain the pressure on Zimbabwe for an end to this crisis. We must also prepare ourselves for the implosion of the country and the catastrophe that will mean in terms of human suffering across the region. Zimbabwe's neighbors must address the xenophobia directed at Zimbabwean refugees in their own countries." For more information, and for ways to help Caritas help Zimbabwe, go to the Caritas website.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Human Rights Day

Today marks the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For more information, a calendar of events, and additional resources, click here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

40th Anniversary of the Death of Thomas Merton

On November 21 the PBS show, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, profiled Thomas Merton in anticpation of the 40th anniversary of his death tomorrow. How fitting that it occurs on the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights!

Click here to access the PBS show from 11/21, and here to link with the website of the Thomas Merton Center.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Slideshow of SOA 2008

Thanks to Sister Mary Irene for sharing her pictures from the SOA for this slideshow. Thanks to all the Sisters for representing us at Fort Benning this year! [Subscribers: If you cannot view the slideshow from your Inbox, click here to go to the blog to view it. ]

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christian Ecology Link

Thanks to Sister DeSales for alerting us to this:
The "Christian Ecology Link" has a daily prayer guide for December focusing on the Integrity of Creation. Click here to access the prayer guide, which can be downloaded in Word or pdf format.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sister Dorothy Stang to be Honored at the UN

Sister Dorothy Stang, SND-N, will be among the seven who will be awarded the 2008 UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights on December 10, 2008. The date marks the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The award will be received posthumously by her brother David Stang.

In the words of the UN,
The honorary award is given to individuals or organizations once every five years for "outstanding achievements in the field of human rights." It represents an opportunity to give public recognition to the achievements of the awardees themselves, as well as to send a clear message to human rights' defenders the world over that the international community is grateful for, and supports, their efforts to promote human rights for all. The responsibility for the selection of the awardees is entrusted to a special committee composed of the President of the UN General Assembly, the president of the UN Economic and Social Council, the President of the Human Rights Council, the Chair of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and the Chairman of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

With Jon Sobrino at the SOA Protest

Click here to Read John Dear's article, "With Jon Sobrino at the SOA Protest." Father Sobrino is the sole surviving member of the Jesuit community massacred in El Salvador in 1989.

Also, check out the interview that Pax Christi International Co-President Marie Dennis conducted with Father Sobrino. You can click here to view the video on the Pax Christi web site, or click on the video below (if the video is visible to you -- not sure if it will show up in subscribers' Inboxes). This is Part I; the second part will follow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Advent Resources

Go to the Pax Christi USA homepage to access its numerous Advent resources. Just click on "Advent 2008 Preparation and Witness" from the homepage.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In Remembrance of the Four U.S. Churchwomen

From Pax Christi USA:

In remembrance of Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan (martyred December 2, 1980 for working for the liberation of the impoverished of El Salvador):

Loving God, we ask for mercy for the hardness of our hearts, as we encounter the truth of injustice, social violence, poverty and the death of your martyrs for the cause of your truth. We ask that our hearts may be changed from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. Creator God, we ask for mercy for the fear and denial that shields our souls from the encounter with truth, especially when it means that we must change our lives, our preconceptions and assumptions, our understanding of the world and the place of the United States in that world. We ask for the courage to open ourselves to truth and its consequences in our lives. Tender God who cries out in the hearts of the persecuted and the suffering, we ask for mercy for the times we close our hearts to our own liberation, when we refuse your loving offer of redemption, freedom and joy because we cherish security built on our own terms more than yours. We pray that we may be healed from our fear, hear the cries of your people, and allow ourselves to be set free. O God, in this Advent season make us instruments of liberation and witnesses to truth. This we ask in the names of our four sisters who gave their lives for the truth that sets free. Amen.

Monday, December 1, 2008

World AIDS Day Prayer

Thanks to Sister Mary Joan for sharing this prayer for World AIDS Day:

God of all compassion, comfort Your sons and daughters who live with AIDS. Spread over us all Your quilt of mercy, love and peace. Open our eyes to Your presence reflected in their faces. Open our ears to Your Truth echoing in their hearts. Give us the strength to weep with the grieving, to walk with the lonely, and to stand with the depressed. May our love mirror Your love for those who live in fear, who live under stress and who suffer rejection.

Mothering, Fathering God, grant rest to those who have died and hope to all who live with HIV. Give them encouragement to begin each day anew, and may every person with HIV throughout the world soon gain access to life-giving medications. Bless all doctors and nurses who devote themselves to caring for people with HIV.

God of life, help us find the cure now and help us build a world in which no one dies alone and where everyone lives accepted, wanted and loved. Amen.

(Adapted from a prayer by the Maryknoll AIDS Task Force.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

More photos from the SOA/WHINSEC

Check out the SCC Generalate website for more pictures of our Sisters at Fort Benning. The link takes you to the JPIC page. Scroll down for the pictures.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

From the SOA/WHINSEC Protest

Thanks to Sister Mary Irene for sharing this photo from the weekend at Fort Benning. Kneeling in front: Sister Elizabeth Kovacs. Standing (L to R): Sister Mary Irene Sorber, Father John Dear, SJ, Sister Juliana Miska, Sister Janice Boyer, Sister Monica Cormier. Note that Sister Mary Irene is holding John Dear's most recent book, A Persistent Peace, which was our blog's feature book for September. Your blogger just finished reading it this weekend and highly recommends it! Check out the SOAW website for more information and news about last weekend's protest.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

SOA Prayer

For those protesting at Fort Benning today: O God, send us forth as your witnesses. Help us to testify to who you are in this moment in our history. Help us to take up the cause of the poor, the rejected, the outcast, the oppressed and violated as our own. Let us not fear what is asked of us, but rather fear infidelity to your word. Make us prophets to our world. Amen.
-Prayer service available at:

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Stay informed about the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA):

Click here for information from the USCCB website.

Click here for the "Fight FOCA" website, which includes an opportunity to sign the petition, which will be sent to members of Congress and President-Elect Obama.

FOCA is purported to guarantee "reproductive freedom" for American women by eradicating the restrictions and regulations placed on abortion over the years since the passage of Roe v. Wade. Additionally, it would have far-reaching implications on the ability of Catholic healthcare and social services to refrain from offering services contrarty to Catholic morality.

According to Cardinal George, president of the USCCB:
"FOCA would have an equally destructive effect on the freedom of conscience of doctors, nurses and health care workers whose personal convictions do not permit them to cooperate in the private killing of unborn children. It would threaten Catholic health care institutions and Catholic Charities. It would be an evil law that would further divide our country, and the Church should be intent on opposing evil … Abortion kills not only unborn children; it destroys constitutional order and the common good, which is assured only when the life of every human being is legally protected. Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion.'"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Close the SOA

Prayer for our Sisters who head out to Fort Benning next week: We gather this day, O God to remember and celebrate that you are a God of Liberation and justice. As Creator, we know you to be one who rejoices with us in the beauty and bounty of all creation; as Redeemer, we trust you to be one who weeps with us over the violence of human suffering; and, as Sustainer, we understand you to be one who is angered with us at human indifference. Weave your power and presence into our hearts and minds this day as we struggle to be a people who comfort your human family with celebrations, tears, and action. Amen.
- Prayer service availabe at

To Sisters Elizabeth, Mary Irene, Janice Boyer, Juliana, and Monica: We are with you in Spirit!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Reminder: Jubilee Sunday is December 14

Thanks to Sister Joseph for alerting us to this:

Jubilee Sunday annually provides an opportunity for communities of faith to hold a Sunday service focused on the principles of Jubilee. Join Jubilee Congregations around the United States in dedicating part or all of your time together to pray for global economic justice, deepen the communities understanding of the debt issue, take concrete action for debt cancellation for all impoverished countries, and receive a special offering to support the work of the Jubilee USA Network. Click here for more information and liturgy resources on Jubilee Sunday, December 14.

Another reminder will be posted closer to December 14, but it might be good to check out the resources now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

International Day for Abolition of Slavery

Thanks to Sister Joann Marie for sending this our way:

The United Nations established the International Day for Abolition of Slavery in 1949. This day, observed on December 2 each year, was established as a means of commemorating efforts to abolish all forms of slavery throughout the world. We know that there are millions of people living in a state of servitude in all corners of the world today - most of whom are women and children.

The Frederick Douglass Family Foundation (FDFF) is pooling efforts among those who work against slavery today. Click here to sign up to receive e-mail updates about the work of FDFF toward observing December 2 this year.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sign the Petition to Close the SOA

Go to the SOA Watch web site to sign the petition asking President-Elect Barack Obama to issue an Executive Order to close the SOA. You can sign the petition online or print a form to get others to sign with you. Remember to keep the vigil in your prayers.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Anti-Christian Violence in India

First, I want to express my gratitude to Lisa for filling in as my "guest blogger" during my retreat. She did a great job of keeping everyone posted on the Troy Davis case -- more to follow in the days to come.

As we move on, the violence against Christians in India grabs our attention. The LCWR has sent information and an action alert. First, the information:

Since August 23, following the murder of Vishwa HinduParishad leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four of his associates, reportedly by Maoist groups in the state of Orissa, Christians have been under siege. Christian leadership has unequivocally condemned the killings and sympathized with the bereaved family members and spoken out against all violence. However, the government of Orissa has allowed some fascist and fundamentalist forces to terrorize the poor and minorities of the State. Churches and houses in Christian communities have been destroyed, shops burned, nuns raped, and many Christians have fled to the jungles for survival. Hindu radicals have targeted relief camps to shelter harassed Christians. By September 20, there were 45 killings, 4,000 destroyed homes and 56 churches, 11 schools, and 4 NGO offices destroyed, 18,000 wounded and attacks on 300 villages. Recently, a Catholic priest in Delhi wrote a letter to friends in the U.S. describing a procession on October 2 to the tomb of Mahatma Gandhi, apostle of nonviolence, led by theArchbishop of Delhi, to express solidarity with persecuted brothers and sisters in Orissa and to protest the ethnic cleansing of Christians. He also referred to a report that documents links between the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), a Maryland- based charity, and certain violent and sectarian Hindu supremacist organizations in India seeking to create a Hindu Rashtra (an ethnically "pure" Hindu Nation). Increased awareness and prayers are requested on our part.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


On Sunday, November 9, 2008, human rights activists will march on the United States Southern Command (U.S. SOUTHCOM) Headquarters of the US military. They will demand an end to the training of terrorists and torturers in the U.S. & the direction of SOA “graduates” by the U.S. Southern Command. SOUTHCOM is located in Doral, Florida. It is responsible for all U.S. military activities in South America and Central America (including Guantanamo). Click here for more information.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We pray in a special way today for the Presidential Election. Whatever you do, don't forget to vote and pray, pray and vote! (What a time to be in retreat! Luckily, I voted as an absentee back in October!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another Update: Execution of Troy Anthony Davis

On Friday, October 24, 2008, a federal appeals court temporarily stopped the execution of Georgia deathrow inmate Troy Anthony Davis who was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection.
The federal appeals court order marks the third time a stay of execution has been issued in this case, an unusual occurrence according to most legal experts. While each stay offers the hope that justice will be served, each stay so far has been followed by another legal setback and has put Davis another step closer to obtaining a new trial and proving his innocence.
This stay has been issued pending Davis' attorney's ability to prove to the Court that no jury today would have found him guilty based on the evidence available including the recanted testimony of significant witnesses and the identification of another person as the shooter who killed Atlanta police officer Mark MacPhail. Davis insists that he was not at the scene of the crime when the shooting took place and evidence continues to grow asserting Davis' claim. If Davis' attorney is able to convince the Court of the merits of the case and the Court agrees to a hearing, then the stay will extend beyond 25 days. If the Court does not agree to a hearing or if the Court agrees to a hearing but does not rule in Davis' favor, then the State of Georgia once again may seek a death warrant and set a new execution date.
Click on this link to access an article in The New York Times that discusses the latest development in this case in further detail.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Close the SOA

The November 2008 organizing packet is available here. Please pray for the SCC's who will be participating this year (November 21-23): Sister Elizabeth, Sister Mary Irene, Sister Janice B., Sister Juliana, and Sister Monica.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Close the SOA

SOAW resources (sample letters and fliers, for example) are available here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Close the SOA

From the SOAW web site (

SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement that works through creative protest and resistance, legislative and media work to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America, to close the SOA/WHINSEC and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that institutions like the SOA represent. We are grateful to our sisters and brothers throughout Latin America and the the Caribbean for their inspiration and the invitation to join them in their struggle for economic and social justice.

For more information, go to the web site listed above.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Troy Anthony Davis

The State of Georgia has issued a death warrant for Troy Davis. The warrant is dated October 27, 2008. While the date of the execution itself has not been confirmed, the warrant is only "good" for one week and typically the execution is set for the first date of the warrant. Feel free to visit this link for more information, further updates, and additional details on prayer and suggested action steps.

Stand Up Against Poverty (Second Reminder)

October 17 is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Stand in solidarity with those who continue to face poverty with hope and supportof the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Last year over 43 million people Stood Up to demand that world leaders keep their promise to end poverty and inequality. Join the global movement of people who refuse to stay seated in the face of increasing inequality and broken promises.

From October 17-19, 2008, we are asked to STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY and FOR THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS. See the STAND UP website for more information.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Regarding Troy Davis

Today the United States Supreme Court announced that it would not hear the matter of Troy Davis, paving the way for the State of Georgia to proceed in its intent to to request a death warrant to execute Troy Anthony Davis despite significant new evidence that Davis may, in fact, be innocent.

As summarized at, “ Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Authorities failed to produce a murder weapon or any physical evidence tying Davis to the crime. In addition, seven of the nine original state witnesses have since recanted or changed their initial testimonies in sworn affidavits. One of the remaining witnesses is alleged to be the actual perpetrator.”

AlterNet reporter Liliana Segura reports that, “The Supreme Court's decision this morning -- in which the judges refused to consider whether executing a potentially innocent person violates the 8th Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment -- could mean that Davis will be executed as soon as two weeks from now. He is out of legal avenues, and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied clemency. There is no execution date scheduled yet; the Georgia DA must seek a new death warrant first.”

Additional information on this case including information on how to take part in communication efforts to get the State of Georgia to drop its petition for a death warrant in this case is available here and here .

Novena for Faithful Citizenship - Week 7

Remember to pray the Novena for Faithful Citizenship.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Close the SOA

From the SOAW web site (

In an attempt to deflect public criticism and disassociate the school from its dubious reputation, the SOA was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in 2001. The name change was a result of a Department of Defense proposal included in the Defense Authorization Bill for Fiscal 2001, at a time when SOA opponents were poised to win a congressional vote on legislation that would have dismantled the school. The name-change measure passed when the House of Representatives defeated a bi-partisan amendment to close the SOA and conduct a congressional investigation by a narrow ten-vote margin. (See Talking Points, Critique of New School, Vote Roll Call.)

In a media interview, Georgia Senator and SOA supporter the late Paul Coverdell characterized the DOD proposal as a "cosmetic" change that would ensure that the SOA could continue its mission and operation. Critics of the SOA concur.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Take Action Against Poverty

Thanks to Sister Joseph for the following:

October 17 is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Stand in solidarity with those who continue to face poverty with hope and supportof the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Last year over 43 million people Stood Up to demand that world leaders keep their promise to end poverty and inequality. Join the global movement of people who refuse to stay seated in the face of increasing inequality and broken promises.

From October 17-19, 2008, we are asked to STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY and FOR THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS. See the STAND UP website for more information.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

NRCAT and CVT Organize Event on Torture in Dayton, OH

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture works closely with Evangelicals for Human Rights and the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) in a Campaign to Ban Torture. CVT has organized an event on torture at the Universityof Dayton on October 13 from 7-9 p.m. in the Kennedy Union Ballroom. One of the featured speakers is Archbishop Pilarczyk. For further information visit

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Partial Update on Troy Davis

As noted earlier today, the Court has not ruled yet on the Troy Davis motion; however, here is an article on the case that appeared in today's edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Our prayers continue.

Troy Anthony Davis

Although your blog author is sequestered in retreat, she asks you to please stay aware of the Troy Davis situation in Georgia. According to the web site, the Supreme Court's decision was delayed by the Jewish holidays and could be made today. Remember Troy in your prayers.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Catholics United Issues Pro-Life Flyer

Catholics United, the media arm of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, has developed a flyer titled "Pro-Life Means Action on Behalf of All Human Life" just in time for October 5, Pro-Life Sunday, but relevant beyond Sunday in light ofthe November elections. Some groups are bombarding Catholics and others with the message that all that matters in this election is a candidate's stated position on the legality of abortion. To help inform Catholics about the fullness of our Church's teaching on life, Catholics United has developed this flyer and encourages dissemination. C.U. also issues a caution that before distributing the flyer on any Church property, have the permission of the pastor. For more information, go to the Catholics United web site.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Close the SOA

Once a week from now until the annual vigil to close the School of the Americas/WHINSEC, this blog will bring you bits of information about the SOA.

From the SOAW web site (

About the School of the Americas / Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation

The US Army School of Americas (SOA), based in Fort Benning, Georgia, trains Latin American security personnel in combat, counter-insurgency, and counter-narcotics. SOA graduates are responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses in Latin America. In 1996 the Pentagon was forced to release training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Among the SOA's nearly 60,000 graduates are notorious dictators Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia. Lower-level SOA graduates have participated in human rights abuses that include the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the El Mozote Massacre of 900 civilians. (See Grads in the News).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Anti-Militarization Gathering in Honduras

The Second Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization will take place in Honduras from October 2-6, 2008. Delegates of over twenty countries confirmed their participation. Pablo Espinosa Ruiz from Chile, who has been part of the campaign to close the SOA/WHINSEC for many years, will represent SOA Watch at the gathering. For more information, visit

Monday, September 29, 2008

Conscience and the Catholic Voter

An insightful article by Mary Ann Walsh, RSM -- director of media relations for the USCCB -- appears in the October 6 issue of America. Entitled "Conscience and the Catholic Voter," this article offers 10 things Catholic voters should consider during the November election. One blogger (Rocco Palmo) has called this, "Faithful Citizenship, Cliffs Notes." It is worth taking the time to read. An excerpt follows:

2. You have to work to become informed. A Catholic must be informed both intellectually and morally. Getting one’s head around an issue means gathering information. A key
source of information is the U.S. bishops’ Web site (, which includes the text of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political
, by the Catholic bishops of the United States. The statement explains the teachings of the church that can help Catholics form their consciences in order to make
moral choices in public life.

Other good sources of information include the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its companion, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults also provides updated teaching on issues such as justice and poverty. Many Catholic colleges offer programs and lectures on Catholic social thought, and church periodicals explore contemporary issues.

Principles of social justice ought to guide decision-making. Among them is the principle that people have a right to jobs that pay a living wage and a right to join a union. People have a right to affordable and accessible health care. In 1935, when the elderly were facing an economic crisis in the wake of the Depression, the government under President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized a basic right to a decent life, which led to the creation of the Social Security
system. There is a comparable need today for access to health care.

Opposition to unjust discrimination is another principle of social justice. Racial, ethnic and religious discrimination, both overt and subtle, have no place in society. Catholics are
called to defend against discrimination, whatever its roots. All are children of God, and all fellow citizens are our brothers and sisters. A society that discriminates unjustly diminishes not only the victims of discrimination but the society itself. Such discrimination seems to rise up whenever people feel economic or other pressures in society.

Our current immigration system violates those principles related to opposing discrimination, respecting the dignity of every person, defending the family and protecting the dignity and rights of workers. We need to replace a dysfunctional system with a system of immigration laws that work and can be enforced.

Being informed requires keeping up-to-date with developments in church teachings, such as what constitutes a just war or whether there is such a thing as a “legitimate preventive
strike.” Catholics must work to avoid war. People and nations have a right to defend themselves, but any response to aggression must be proportionate. If someone shoots you, you cannot annihilate his or her whole family or country to send a message. The Catechism of the Catholic
Church also points out that the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. Given the power of nuclear weapons at a nation’s disposal today, it is hard to conceive a justification for their use.

Church teaching on the death penalty also has developed in recent decades. The catechism states that the death penalty is not acceptable if there are alternative means to
keep a criminal from harming others. Penal sentences, such as life sentences without parole, protect society and make the death penalty seem to be based more on a desire for
vengeance than for justice.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

November Vigil and Action to Close the SOA

November 21-23, 2008 Vigil and Direct Action to Close the School of the Americas

Five SCC's will be joining the protest. Perhaps others wish to join them:
Join thousands at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, this November. Speak out for justice and take a stand against the School of the Americas and the foreign policy that this shameful institution represents. The vigil will take place just two weeks after the presidential elections. It will be an opportunity for the progressive movement to set our agenda for justice and peace, whatever the results of thatelection will be.Visit the SOA Watch webpage at for updates about the organizing and for the latest information about hotel availability, transportation,accessibility issues, translation, the schedule of events, and more...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Catholic Charities Action Alert

WHAT: Congress and the Bush Administration are working to craft a rescue package for the American financial services industry. As proposed the financial services recue would allow the Treasury Secretary to buy back bad mortgage debt and increase regulation of the investment banking sector. The proposed rescue package would cost taxpayers $700 billion dollars and legislation authorizing the plan is scheduled to be completed before Congress adjourns on September 26th.

ACTION NEEDED: Click on "Take Action Now" and enter your zip code to contact President Bush and your Members of Congress and:

• If Congress is going to spend $700 billion on Wall Street they can spend $50 billion of that on programs will assist low and middle-income Americans cope during these difficult economic times.
• The economic challenges facing our nation require an expedient and comprehensive response that includes both Wall Street and Main Street. This comprehensive economic recovery package is necessary to boost our economy and assist American citizens and businesses during this economic crisis.

BACKGROUND: For Catholic Charities USA's joint letter with the Catholic Health Association and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop's, click here
For more information, please contact Desmond Brown, Senior Director of Government Affairs, at or, Joseph Devine, Policy Analyst, at .

"Let's Play Bailout" -- Worth Watching

From Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Troy Davis: Stay of Execution

Two hours before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection, Troy Davis was issued a stay of execution by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will meet on Monday to decide whether to hear the appeal of the Georgia Supreme Court's ruling. For more information, read this article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Hurricanes Gustav and Ike: How to Help

Go to the Catholic Charities USA website to learn how you can help ease the pain of the destruction caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. From a Catholic Charities Press Release: Misery abounds: 2 million people were displaced by Hurricane Gustav. 1.9 million people are still without power because of Hurricane Ike. 51 people are dead. Power may not be restored for a month, many still do not have clean water, and food and gas lines are long. The rebuilding will take years.
For some, Catholic Charities has been the only source of help.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Novena for Faithful Citizenship - Week 4

Remember to continue to pray the Novena for Faithful Citizenship.

The Situation in Vietnam

Please be aware of the situation facing the Catholic church in Hanoi. Click here to read the Associated Press article by Ben Stocking, who has been beaten by Vietnamese authorities for attempting to report on and photograph the protests. Let's pray for the Catholics of Vietnam.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Developments on

Do you want to brush up on your German or Spanish? How about having your students work on the symbols for elements or their English grammar? Now, offers these subjects and more! As before, each correct answer donates rice to the UN World Food Program. Go to as you have been doing, but click on "Change Subjects" to see other possibilities.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

International Day of Peace

As we commemorate the International Day of Peace, let's try to remember to be peaceful in all our relationships -- today and every day of the year. May Peace Prevail on Earth! For more information on the International Day of Peace, click here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bishops ask Homeland Security to Drop Raids

Thanks to Sister Joann Marie for alerting us to this:

Speaking on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Bishop John C. Wester, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Migration, urged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and President Bush to reexamine the use of worksite enforcement raids as an immigration enforcement tool.

“The humanitarian costs of these raids are immeasurable and unacceptable in a civilized society,” Bishop Wester said. “While we do not question the right and duty of our government to enforce the law, we do question whether worksite enforcement raids are the most effective and humane method for performing this duty, particularly as they are presently being implemented.”

The statement, released September 10, addresses the increase in worksite enforcement raids across the nation over the last year, in which DHS has targeted employers who hire unauthorized workers by using force to enter worksites and arrest immigrant workers. During the process of these raids, U.S. citizen children have been separated from their parents, immigrants arrested have not been afforded the rights of due process, and local communities, especially relatives including legal permanent residents and U.S. citizens, have been left to cope with the aftermath.

For more information, go to USCCB's Office of Migration and Refugee Services website.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Message from the USCCB and NCEA: Faithful Citizenship

From the NCEA, via Sister Joseph:
The recent publication of the guidance document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, by the Catholic Bishops of the United States, sends out a strong call to all of us to participate in public life guided by the values of our faith. In addition to our personal efforts to meet this goal, we can also engage in helping children and youth, through our educational ministries, to form faith-filled consciences that will guide their future decisions and help them become informed and engaged citizens in their daily lives.

With that privileged position in mind, we encourage you to make full use of the Faithful Citizenship website by incorporating its ideas and lesson plans into your programs and activities. The web site and its interactive, multimedia materials are helpful for:
religious education programs
elementary and secondary Catholic school classes
independent research and study projects
youth ministry programs
intergenerational family settings
Boards and Parent Associations

You will find specific suggestions for the pre-November weeks of the new school year at the following links:

Click here for Elementary lesson plans.

Click here for Junior-Senior High lesson plans.

Click here for High School lesson plans.

Click here for the "Young Catholic" link, which includes hands-on activities, a coffee discussion guide, and videos to encourage young Catholics to consider how they can make a difference.

Adult Formation Sessions are available here.

The Family Guide for Faithful Citizenship is available here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Troy Davis - Clemency Denied!

Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed on September 23 for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia, yet serious doubts of his guilt remain and compelling evidence of his innocence has not been heard in court. On Friday, September 12, the Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles denied clemency to Davis -- we must urge them to reconsider their decision. Take action at the Amnesty International USA web site.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Father Louis Vitale, OFM Anti-Torture Speaking Tour

Franciscan priest Louie Vitale is currently conducting a nationwide speaking tour following his March 14 release from prison after serving 5 months forhis nonviolent action of crossing the line at Fort Huachuca, AZ, training center for Army Intelligence Officers in "enhanced interrogation" (i.e.torture) techniques. This is also where the School of Americas torture manuals were written. He also served 3 months in Columbus, GA for crossing the line at the SOA in 2005. Father Louie is a Pax Christi USA Ambassador ofPeace and co-founder of Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service where he currently serves as the Nonviolent Action Advocate. Those interested in organizing a speaking event for Father Louie, or learning where current events are scheduled can contact Ken Preston at 510-268-8765, or

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

SOAW Urges Action on Bolivia

Bolivia is facing a critical moment in which the survival of a new era of hope is gravely threatened. After suffering decades of military dictatorships followed by years of economic dictatorship, Bolivia heralded in a new moment of dignity with the election of its first indigenous president, Evo Morales. However, just one month after a recall referendum gave Morales 67% of the vote, Bolivia's secessionist movement has unleashed unprecedented violence throughout the country. After three days of riots,8 people have died, several government institutions have been destroyed and Bolivia´s gas pipeline has suffered millions of dollars in damage. OAS SecretaryGeneral José Miguel Insulza has called for the violent actions of opposition groups to end. Citing involvement with the opposition movement, Bolivia´s president Morales declared US Ambassador to Bolivia, Phillip Goldberg, persona non grata and asked him to leave the country. Among Ambassador Goldberg´s closest friends are Croatian businessmen in the city of Santa Cruz who lead the city´s powerful separatist movement. Washington responded by asking Bolivia´s ambassador to return to his country. South America´s presidents have united their voices in declaring support forBolivia´s democracy and Evo Morales. Venezuela, in solidarity with Bolivia, asked the US Ambassador to leave the country and recalled their ambassador from theUnited States. Venezuela is also citing US involvement in recent destabilizationattempts in Venezuela.

Unfortunately, as we know too well form our campaign to close the SOA/WHINSEC, the US has a long history of US intervention in the region. Morales has called for restraint by the military, a markedly different response fromthat of Bolivia´s military dictatorships. SOA Watch founder, Fr. Roy Bourgeois was one of the many recipients of the torture and random detention which was commonplace under the dictatorship of General Hugo Banzer, an SOA graduate. Thousands of Bolivians were tortured and hundreds disappeared under the Garcia Meza dictatorship leading military command were SOA graduates. Last year PresidentMorales announced his decision that Bolivian troops would no longer train at theSOA/WHINSEC. Venezuela was the first to make this announcement in 2004, and since then a total of 5 countries have followed step.

The SOA Watch urges you to take immediate action. Please call the White House with the message to please stop interfering in Bolivia and other Latin American Democracies. Please call the capital switchboard and ask for your Senators and House Members. Ask them to immediately investigate if the White House is trying to destabilize the democraciesof Bolivia and Venezuela.

Phone numbers: White House (to reach the President): (202) 456-1414
Capitol Switchboard (to reach your Senate or House Member): (202) 224-3121

Novena For Faithful Citizenship - Week 3

Remember to pray the Novena for Faithful Citizenship. The text of the Novena can be found here. A podcast of the prayers is also available on the web site.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Million Doors for Peace

On September 20, 2008 thousands of people from across the nation will talk to our neighbors about ending the Iraq war and ask them to sign a petition to their member of Congress.
The goal is to knock on one million doors, so we need all the volunteers we can get. NETWORK has joined with other organizations - Pax Christi USA, Catholics United, Peace Action, United for Peace & Justice, and others - to sponsor this activity and help recruit volunteers.
So gather a couple of friends and sign up now at

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Platform for the Common Good

This is a reminder that signatures to the Platform for the Common Good are still sought, as well as sending the Platform to elected officials. For a summary of the Platform and to contact Congress visit the NETWORK website. To sign the Platform, go to The full document can also be downloaded. (The Platform for the Common Goodwas adopted at the Convention for the Common Good held in July in Philadelphia. Many women religious were involved in the process.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stay of Execution: Dennis Skillicorn

Check out the website of Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty for the Dennis Skillicorn story. A 30-day stay of execution was granted for Skillicorn, who had been scheduled to die on August 27, 2008.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Clemency Hearing for Troy Davis Today

At 9 am today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles is scheduled to hear evidence in support of Troy Davis's petition for clemency. Currently, his execution date is set for September 23, 2008. Troy Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia. All but two of the state's nine non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis. Take action by going to the Amnesty International USA website. To learn more about this case, see or the Free Troy Davis website.

Fighting Poverty with Faith

In addition to activities noted previously, Catholic Charities USA offers additional activities for the September 10-16 Week of Action, including an on-line letter to elected officials and candidates for office. Go to Catholic Charities USA, click "Interfaith Week of Action," click "Catholic Charities Activities." To get the letter, click "Tools and Resources."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We Remember 9/11/01

See this YouTube video (Sorry, it cannot be embedded!) which uses Michael Crawford's version of Kim Boyce's "Not Too Far from Here" to remind us that "somebody's hurting not too far from here."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fighting Poverty with Faith

The week of September 10-16 has beenhighlighted by NETWORK, Catholic Charities and other organizations as atime to e-mail candidates up for election in the House and Senate with a challenge to speak about their plans for cutting poverty in half in 10years. You may use poverty data for 2007 from the Census Bureau (click on "Poverty"). To review and send a letter, also visit NETWORK (see "Action" on the right side of the page).

Poverty on the Rise

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans living in poverty increased in 2007. Go to the Catholic Charities USA web site for an analysis of the new poverty numbers.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Novena for Faithful Citizenship - Week 2

Remember to pray the Novena for Faithful Citizenship. The text of the Novena can be found here. However, a podcast of the prayers is also available on the web site.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Persistent Peace

The blog "book of the month" selection for September comes from John Dear, SJ: A Persistent Peace: One Man's Struggle for a Nonviolent World. What a book it is! From the Loyola Press website:

"A Persistent Peace, John Dear’s autobiography, invites readers to follow the decades-long journey and spiritual growth of this nationally known peace activist, and to witness his bold, decisive, often unpopular actions before government officials, military higher-ups, and even hostile representatives of the Church. With heroes such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela, it should come as no surprise that John’s activism has taken him to many places—including war zones—all over the world.

Dear’s incredible story will touch anyone who believes in the power of peace. Perhaps most important of all, readers will come to understand through John that the most important disarmament of all is the one that happens inside each heart—when we finally let go of our own self-righteousness, resentment, and anger."

Thanks to Lisa for pointing out Father John Dear's speaking and book tour schedule. (Click on "Schedule" on his site.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Novena for Faithful Citizenship

The USCCB has posted a "Novena for Faithful Citizenship" and has asked all Catholics to join together beginning September 2 (nine weeks before the Presidential election) to pray for justice, peace, and life. Click here to access multiple resources, including the novena.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sister Catherine Pinkerton at the DNC

Sister Catherine Pinkerton, CSJ, delivered a Benediction at the Democratic National Convention. Sister Catherine is a lobbyist for NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, and a member of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Here's Sister Catherine:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Catholic Health Association Joins "Harry and Louise" Ad Campaign

Following the resolution of the Catholic Health Assocation (CHA) board to partner with others to advance health care reform, CHA hasjoined with AHA (American Health Association), the American CancerSociety Action Network, Families USA, and the National Federation ofIndependent Business to announce an ad campaign featuring the return of"Harry and Louise" (ads during First Lady Hillary Clinton's campaign to reform health care), this time to promote health care reform as the top domestic priority for the next president and Congress. The ad will be featured on the Sunday network talk shows and national cable networks throughout the two-week period of the national party conventions, and onTV news programs in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Go to "Harry and Louise return" for more information.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Common Good Platform Signers Needed

One of the goals of the Conventionfor the Common Good held in Philadelphia July 11-13 (a very successfulevent in itself) was to have 10,000 signers to the Platform in time forthe Democratic Convention. To date, there are approximately 5000 signers. Please spread the word and encourage people to sign as soon as possible:

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Million Doors for Peace

From Pax Christi USA:

Yesterday, Pax Christi USA helped to launch what promises to be the single most extraordinary effort this Fall to end the war in Iraq. We are working with USAction/True Majority, United for Peace and Justice, Win Without War, Catholics United and others to make Saturday, September 20 a national day of outreach to identify and organize the massive anti-war, pro-peace constituency in our country. This day -- Saturday, September 20 -- thousands of volunteers in every state will knock on a Million Doors for Peace.

This action, which promises to be the largest anti-war mobilization this Fall, is truly one of the most ambitious and innovative anti-war activities to date. And it has the added power of expanding the organized grassroots base of our movement at a time when we can make the issue of the war highly visible in the midst of the 2008 elections. So instead of gathering together en masse in Washington, D.C. or some other location, we are urging each one of you to help put thousands of people out into the streets in thousands of communities throughout the nation! Click here to become part of this effort now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Reverse Trick or Treating" for Fair Trade

What a novel idea! The Second Annual Reverse Trick-or-Treating will be held this Halloween. Sponsored by Global Exchange, this event seeks to raise awareness of poverty and child-labor problems in the cocoa industry and to introduce people to Fair Trade products. Go to the Global Exchange web site for more information. Thanks to Sister Joann Marie for alerting us to this possibility.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Stop Trafficking Newsletter

Click here for the August 2008 issue of the Stop Trafficking Newsletter. Notice the SCC statement on human trafficking on page 9.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Another Issue Facing Healthcare in the US

What do you do if you are an acute care hospital with a patient who is an undocumented immigrant? How about when he or she requires long-term care and no other facility will accept him or her? Out of desperation, some hospitals are choosing to send these patients back to their home countries, where the care is poor or non-existent. Check out this thought-provoking NY Times article, "Immigrants Facing Deportation by U.S. Hospitals," for more information.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

International AIDS Conference

The International AIDS Conference will take place from August 3-8 in Mexico City. Click here for more information.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 21 Call-in Day on Iran

On Monday, July 21, there is a nationalcall-in to Congress to coincide with a lobby day in Washington coordinated by Peace Action. Please let your elected representativesknow that there is strong opposition to military action against Iran. Further information can be found on the website of Pax Christi USA, inaddition to a new resource, "Nonviolence and Dialogue with Iran," byDave Robinson. See for more information.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Convention for the Common Good (Conclusion)

Sunday, July 13 involved the commissioning of the delegates. John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO, addressed the assembly and Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ -- author of Dead Man Walking and The Death of Innocents -- provided much food for thought. The delegates left the convention with a renewed sense of spreading the word on voting the common good in the upcoming Presidential election.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Convention for the Common Good (Continued)

On Saturday morning, July 12, breakout sessions were held regarding ecology, immigration, war/peace, economy, and health care. The statements and questions generated at these sessions will be available on the web site soon. Stay tuned . . . In the afternoon, conversations were held with elected officials. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Democrat from Ohio's 9th District, and representatives of other elected officials answered specific questions raised by the morning breakout sessions. The affirmation of the Platform occurred in the afternoon. The evening's Presidential Election Forum was led by Washington Post Op-Ed writer, E.J. Dionne, author of Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics after the Religious Right. John Podesta, former Chief of Staff to President Clinton, and John Dougherty, former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives (from Pennsylvania) served as panelists.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kristof on Mortenson

Remember Three Cups of Tea, this blog's recommended book from April? Nicholas Kristoff wrote an Op-Ed piece about it in Sunday's NY Times. Click here to access the piece. And -- if you haven't read the book yet, perhaps now is the time!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Signing the Platform

Check out for information about the Platform for the Common Good and to sign the Platform.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Faith Can Move Mountains: Vote the Common Good

What a convention! About 800 of us descended on Philadelphia for this inaugural event. On Friday we were greeted by Sister Simone Campbell, NETWORK Executive Director and Alexia Kelley, Executive Director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. welcomed us to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with some inspiring words, reminding us (as does the prophet Micah and the hymn, "We are Called") that WE ARE CALLED TO ACT WITH JUSTICE, TO LOVE TENDERLY, TO SERVE ONE ANOTHER, AND TO WALK HUMBLY WITH GOD. The keynote speaker on Friday evening was Dr. M. Shawn Copeland of Boston College. Dr. Copeland's entire speech was inspiring, and I'm sure it will be available in other formats, so I won't repeat it here. However, here are some important points:

  1. Our world cannot change if we do not.
  2. We should cultivate the virtue of hope.
  3. We should draw on the theological literacy, spiritual resources, etc., that we have.

She also strong encouraged us to pray and fast for the common good to be carried out in the November elections.

More to follow . . .

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Convention for the Common Good

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and NETWORK are leading the Convention for the Common Good in Philadelphia this weekend, July 11-13. Stay tuned to this blog for more information during the weekend. Depending on Internet availability, reports will be posted during or immediately after the Convention. Click here for more information. If you're attending the Convention, I'll see you there!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

USCCB Study Guide on Human Torture

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has released a study guide, "Torture is a Moral Issue," which looks at church teaching as it relates to the use of torture by government authorities around the world. The study guide can be used by discussion groups, classes, individuals, and families. Click here to access the study guide through the USCCB web site.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Partnership for Global Justice

You may recall the reports provided by Sister Mary Irene from the Partnership for Global Justice Annual Meeting. Now, the talks from the Annual Meeting are available online by clicking on "Annual Meeting" at

Monday, June 30, 2008

Access to Medical Care in the US

From the Center for Studying Health System Change:

"The number and proportion of Americans reporting going without or delaying needed medical care increased sharply between 2003 and 2007, according to findings from the Center for Studying Health System Change’s (HSC) nationally representative 2007 Health Tracking Household Survey. One in five Americans—59 million people—reported not getting or delaying needed medical care in 2007, up from one in seven—36 million people—in 2003. While access deteriorated for both insured and uninsured people, insured people experienced a larger relative increase in access problems compared with uninsured people. Moreover, access declined more for people in fair or poor health than for healthier people. In addition, unmet medical needs increased for low-income children, reversing earlier trends and widening the access gap with higher-income children. People reporting access problems increasingly cited cost as an obstacle to needed care, along with rising rates of health plan and health system barriers." Click here to read more.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Letter from European Bishops to G8

The European bishops have urged the heads of G8 countries to recommit to reducing global poverty and tackling climate change. Click here for further information

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Action for Zimbabwe

There is an emergency ad campaign calling for an emergency summit of Southern African countries to broker a legitimate government in Zimbabwe -- and end the campaign of terror that Robert Mugabe has unleashed. Click here to enter the web site that will allow you to sign the petition.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Human Trafficking Article in The Economist

Click here to read an article on human trafficking from the June 14 edition of The Economist, "Human Trafficking: A Horrible Business." Thanks to Sister Joann Marie for alerting us to this article.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

2008 Trafficking in Persons Report Released

The U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 has been released. This report tracks country's efforts to combat trafficking. According to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "We are pleased that in the seven years since the creation of the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, the United States and our friends and allies have made important strides in confronting the reality that human beings continue to be bought and sold in the twenty-first century. It has been gratifying to witness the determined governments, human rights and women’s groups, faith-based organizations, and many brave individuals who are dedicated to advancing human dignity worldwide. Trafficking and exploitation plague all nations, and no country, even ours, is immune." Click here to access the report.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Immigrant Situation in Postville, Iowa

Click here for an article from the Diocese of Davenport which gives an update on the status of the immigrants who have been detained in Postville, Iowa. If you missed the initial story, here is the original article from the NY Times.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Virginia Governor Commutes Death Sentence

See the June 9 NY Times article for coverage of Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine's actions in commuting the death sentence of Percy Lavar Walton. Let's continue to pray that more states will follow New Jersey's lead in abolishing the death penalty!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

June Stop Trafficking Newsletter

Access the June Stop Trafficking Newsletter here.

Project H.O.M.E.

Check out this inspiring video of Sister Mary Scullion, RSM, a co-founder of Philadelphia's "Project H.O.M.E." The video's from November, 2005, but the issue is still as important as ever.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

National Call-In for Diplomacy with Iran

A reminder from the LCWR: The Campaign for a New American Policy on Iran, which the LCWR endorses, is organizing an event in Washington, DC, "Time to Talk to Iran." Also, there is a national call-in to congressional leaders on Tuesday, June 10 to urge congressional leaders to work for direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks between the U.S. and Iran. Call 1-800-788-9372 to remind our congressional leaders that the U.S. and Iran share a common interest: a stable Iraq, Middle East, and Afghanistan. Current U.S. threats of military attacks, while refusing to talk to Iran until they stop enriching Uranium, are only heightening tensions, not alleviating them.

Monday, June 9, 2008

UN HIV/AIDS Meeting Begins

The UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on HIV/AIDS begins this week. Click here for the Calendar of Events and other information regarding this high-level meeting.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

FAO Food Summit Concludes

The high-level conference on world food security convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN has concluded. Go to the FAO web site to learn more.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Newark Coalition Against Human Trafficking

Click here to access pictures of the May 21 vigil held in Newark's Military Park. Thanks to Sister Joann Marie for the pictures!

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Beautiful Tribute: The Life and Death of Sister Hildegarde

Click here to read Fr. John Dear's tribute to Sister Hildegarde Smith, SCC, who died on April 25.
This picture was taken almost a year ago. Sister Hildegarde is in the center and is surrounded by Sisters and postulants from the Eastern Province. Thanks to Sister Karen Marie for the photo!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Partnership for Global Justice - Part Three

We thank Sister Mary Irene, SCC, for her detailed report of the Annual Meeting. The final installment of her report follows:

At the UN, we met with a panel at the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium. The panel was entitled, "The Spirituality of Politics: A Religious and Social View." The participants of this panel were: Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations; Elmira Nazombe, Co-Executive Secretary for Racial Justice of the Women’s Division, responsible for assisting United Methodist Women through the development of advocacy strategies and biblical and theological reflection materials on racial justice; and James Edward Jones, Associate Professor of World Religions and African Studies at Mahattanville College, Purchase, NY, whose personal and professional work has been focused on conflict resolution within families, communities, and across national and cultural boundaries. As can be seen from these wonderful people the panel was extremely interesting. Each person encouraged us to think of the common good as visioning people made in the image and likeness of God, developing the community itself, looking to provide health, food, clothing, etc., searching for peace, practicing compassion, and balancing “which allows us to negotiate the multifaceted nature of our lives without sacrificing our most cherished goals and ideals”.

A beautiful Saturday dawned with the participants convening for a panel and questioning time with Dr. Barbara Wall, PhD and Sister Pat Sieman, OP, JD. Summarizing the prior three days, all of the participants felt they were sent home in the power of the Spirit with renewed vigor, courage, hope, and fire for the kingdom of God.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Partnership for Global Justice - Part Two

Continuing Sister Mary Irene's report:

The keynote for Friday, entitled "The Spiritualit of Politics: An Ecological and Legal View," was given by Dominican Sister Pat Sieman, JD. Sister Pat is the director of the Center of Earth Jurisprudence. The mission of this group is to re-envision law and governance in ways that support and protect the well-being of the entire Earth community. In her talk, Sister Pat pointed out that we are living in a time of great urgency. To describe this urgency, Sister spoke of “tipping points” which are slow, gradual changes that becomes irreversible and then proceed with gathering pace. It is derived from the example of a rigid solid object being lifted to a point where it begins to topple.

A spirituality of politics that is most needed to deal with this is one that begins with knowing oneself and the ability to let go of control of a situation, especially in the face of fear. The second practice is to develop an awareness and experience of belonging to a single, interconnected and interdependent, community of being. It is this sense of belonging to a larger reality that can be a source of great hope and creativity. We are not alone; the other members of the world community support and sustain us.

We humans have caused the climate change, build-up of toxic chemicals in the environment and their accumulate effect. We must take seriously the environmental fragility, become aware of the failing civilizations in our world, establish relations with them, and vote for quality political leadership and the social responses to challenges.

Sister Pat closed with practical solutions for religious communities, namely:

  1. Those communities entrusted with land should create land trusts to be protected for generations;
  2. We need to ask ourselves, “How much financial security do we need?” Are we supporting youth for the good of the whole – whether or not they are entering our communities?
  3. Spend time with the arts and nature; and
  4. Share Eucharist in all ways.

After a break, we boarded buses bound for the U. S. Mission connected with the UN. The US Representatives to the United Nations met with us to discuss our hopes and concerns regarding the US/UN political systems.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Partnership for Global Justice Annual Meeting

Thanks to Sister Mary Irene for her report from the Annual Meeting of the Partnership for Global Justice, held from April 24-26, 2008. Part One (of three) follows:

Thursday, April 24, 2008, marked the beginning of a three-day conference sponsored by the NGO group called the Partnership for Global Justice held at Xavier Center on the campus of St. Elizabeth’s College in Convent Station, NJ. Religious women and men, and associates from various communities all over the country as well as Canada, Mexico, and the Philippines gathered for this examination of politics at its deepest level of serving the needs of peoples and Earth as we choose leaders for the 21st century.

After the welcome, opening prayer, and introductions, the keynote speaker, Dr. Barbara Wall, PhD from Villanova University gave a very insightful talk entitled, "The Spirituality of Politics: a Philosophical View." In this analysis she spoke of three concepts that intersect in the title of the conference: Spirituality, Politics and Common Good. With these in mind, she pointed out that the human person is integral to the community and vice versa. Integral to the human person is the understanding that s/he is understood as social (needing community) and political. Quoting from Gaudium et Spes (n. 35), she asked us to think about an evaluation of the common good by looking at the quality of life of the least among us, including the environment. We looked at the common good as “power.” Dr. Wall encouraged us to help our “world” see how to avoid the destructive use of power and domination: “Recognize that within each of us there is the possibility of being seduced by forms of destructive power; be on the watch for competition directed solely at winning and relationships that can be characterized as adversarial; turn off the chatter and artificial stimulants; develop the skill of interior silences; unmask the desire for domination, reflect on our own prejudices, biases and at times hatred of one another; and learn about issues.” She also encouraged us to “develop proficiency by: desiring to know and love the world, learning skills essential to the spiritual life, studying issues, promoting a desire for community, and practice hope.” Needless to say, all participants were challenged and encouraged to keep hope.

That evening, Dave Robinson, the executive director of Pax Christi USA, spoke about the works and philosophy of Pax Christi. Mr. Robinson encouraged everyone to have a spirituality of vulnerability by “putting our hands in the wounds”, have contact with people who are suffering, and see vulnerability with a positive attitude. Also, “We must live simply so others can simply live.”

Stay tuned for Part Two!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


The Ecological Search Engine:

Ecoogler is a search engine that uses Yahoo technology and helps reforesting trees and safeguard water resources in the Amazon region, which constitute today one fourth of the fresh water reserves of our planet. For every search in Ecoogler, you contribute symbolically to reforest one leaf. For every 10,000 searches, Ecoogler and Aquaverde plant a tree in the Amazon. Check it out at and help to plant trees!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center

For updates on current and pending U.S. legislation, go to the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center. The site allows you to customize your e-letters to your legislators and pass the information along to your colleagues.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Stop Trafficking Newsletter for May

The Stop Trafficking Newsletter for May is now available. Click here for access to the pdf file.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Human Trafficking Awareness Vigil

The Newark Coalition Against Human Trafficking invites you to its Human Trafficking Awareness Vigil on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 5:00 pm in downtown Newark's Military Park on Broad Street, between Rector Street and Raymond Boulevard. The theme of the vigil is "Break the Chains."

The vigil will include a testimonial from a victim of human trafficking and a variety of opportunities to learn more about the problem of human trafficking in our communities.

Consider attending this vigil and help to spread the word!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Help for Myanmar

A message from the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, who have seven communities in Myanmar:

"As we pray in solidarity with the people of Myanmar , if anyone would like to make donations for the relief effort, donations gathered by GS across the world will be sent by bank transfer through the Good Shepherd Generalate directly to our sisters in the disaster zone. I have no doubt it will be used directly for basic relief of food water and shelter. We may not obtain much information however, communication being difficult in the best of times."

Donations may be sent to:
Sister Clare Nolan
211 East 43rd St. , Rm 302,
New York , NY 10017

Make checks payable to Sisters of the Good Shepherd and note that the donation is for "Myanmar Relief."

Sister Clare will send the money to the Generalate.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Book Recommendation: A Banqueter's Guide . . .

From the Liturgical Press web site: "When Jesus spoke at the table he provided instructions for his disciples to follow. A Banqueter's Guide to the All-Night Soup Kitchen of the Kingdom of God views those teachings as a set of guidelines for us to follow in all areas of life. Through the study of metaphors commonly used to describe the Eucharist, this book connects the Eucharist and Jesus’ words and actions with current issues in society. Each chapter defines a metaphor associated with the Eucharist and explores its moral, social, and ethical implications. Readers will become more aware of the need for social justice as they identify with the parables and guidance of Jesus. Chapters are: 'Take and Eat,' 'Breaking Bread,' 'This is My Body,' and 'An Unbloody Sacrifice.'" The author, Patrick T. McCormick, S.T.P., is associate professor of Christian ethics at Gonzaga University.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ten Days in May: Day 10

Let there be peace on earth . . .

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ten Days in May: Day 9

Thanks to Sister Josita for sharing the following:
Six Principles of Christian Nonviolence
Based on the writings and words of Martin Luther King

1. Nonviolence offers a way of life for courageous people. It is passive physically, but
strongly active spiritually. It is no passive nonresistance to evil; it is active nonviolent
resistance to evil.

2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. Nonviolence uncovers and
builds up the beloved community of humanity. As the way of God, it redeems, reconciles,
and leads us to nonviolent Kindom of God on earth.

3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people. It looks on evildoers as themselves
victims, rather than as evil people. Nonviolence recognizes that every human being sins,
that every human being does evil, that every human being commits violence. Active
nonviolence seeks to halt evil and to heal the human family.

4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform. Nonviolence struggles
actively for justice and peace, but instead of inflicting violence and death on others, it
accepts suffering without retaliation. In the nonviolent way of life, we refrain from
violence, no matter how just the cause. We never inflict violence on others or ever
advocate it, but if necessary, we suffer it with redemptive love that seeks to open the
eyes of our opponent to the truth of justice and peace. Redemptive suffering love, which
insists on justice and peace, is the doorway to conversion and transformation.

5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate. It resists violence of the spirit as well as of
the body. This love flows spontaneously, unselfishly, creatively, sacrificially and
unconditionally. Active nonviolent love risks a return of hostility. Such active love never
ceases to forgive but continues to insist on the beloved community of humanity.
Nonviolence recognizes that all life is interrelated, that all is one. Love, agape, is the
only cement that can hold the broken community together. When I am commanded to
love, I am commanded to restore community, to resist injustice and to meet the needs of
my brothers and sisters.

6. Nonviolence is a way of live that flows from a deep belief that the universe stands on
the side of justice. One who practices nonviolence knows that God reigns, that God is nonviolent, that God’s reign is a reign of nonviolence, and that God’s way of nonviolence
will eventually transform everyone into God’s Kindom of justice and peace. The universe itself bends toward justice. The deepest meaning in life is to side with God in God’s nonviolent transformation of the world into a Kindom of justice and peace.

“Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” -Mohandas K. Gandhi
“We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools."
- Martin Luther King