Today is the feast of St. Rafael Arnáiz Barón, a Spanish Trappist who died of diabetes in 1938. (The web site, that of his monastery, San Isidro de Dueñas at Palencia, is in Spanish, but easily read. Note the photograph of Rafael holding a cigarette in the "Madrid y Toledo" section.)
According to a report from a well-connected Italian Vatican writer, Pope Benedict XVI will shortly announce the creation of a “Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization,” to be presided over by Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella. The office will be dedicated to rekindling the faith in the developed West, above all Europe and North America.
Assuming that report is correct, it’s striking for at least three reasons:
My colleagues Demetria Martinez and Mario Garcia have done a fine job calling attention to the racist and immoral anti-immigrant legislation currently awaiting the signature of the state of Arizona. I second all that they have written about this horrid act.
But, that is not the only egregious and racist act of the Arizona legislature in recent days. The Arizona House of Representatives has passed a law requiring future candidates for President to present a copy of their birth certificates to the Secretary of State before they have their names put on the ballot. The law is the outgrowth of the “birther” movement, those people who question whether or not President Barack Obama was born in the United States and, therefore, eligible for election as President.
A few days ago, Cardinal Roger Mahony denounced in the strongest terms the retrograde and dangerous anti-immigration bill passed by the Arizona state legislature. The bill if signed into law by the governor would allow local police in that state to stop anyone they suspect of being undocumented.
Cardinal Mahony joined with the Catholic bishops of Arizona and other state religious leaders in a letter urging the governor to veto the legislation.
As they noted, the proposed law could lead to widespread discrimination against Mexican Americans and other Latinos who can be stopped and asked to prove their citizenship or legal residence.
But when you think of it, what can anyone show that they are citizens or that they are legal? Few of us walk around with our passports and a driver’s license is not proof of citizenship or legal status. This clearly is an issue that can be abused by the police.
Cardinal Mahony also criticized other aspects of the bill such as outlawing day workers from congregating to look for work. The right to work should not be forbidden especially since these workers have so little.
Just got this note from our friends at Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, DC.
Today is the anniversary of the death of Cesar Chavez, the great nonviolent prophet of the United Farmworkers Movement. We beckon his intercession as we strive to exemplify his fidelity to Jesus and his untiring commitment for social justice. I read the below prayer by Chavez as we concluded our White House peace vigil today.
With love and gratitude,
Prayer of the Farm Workers' Struggle
--Cesar E. Chavez
Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people's plight.
Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.
Help me take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.
Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.
Give me honesty and patience;
So that the Spirit will be alive among us.
Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
So that we will never tire of the struggle.
Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.
The license plates in the District of Columbia say simply, “Taxation without Representation.” This is not some commemoration of the Revolutionary War. It is reality in DC. Citizens in the District pay taxes, but have no voting representation in the Congress of the United States, even though the population is larger than some states. Why? DC is not a “state” as understood in the Constitution. Whatever the legal arrangements that can overturn this hurdle, it is a rank injustice that must be changed.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'
I received this urgent call to action and prayer from Sojourners Magazine regarding the brutal anti-immigration legislation awaiting the signature of Arizona's governor. The stakes are particularly high for the church: anyone in a ministry that might involve transporting an undocumented immigrant will be at risk for arrest.
Arizona's three bishops -- Gerald F. Kicanas, Thomas J. Olmsted and James S. Walland --- and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony have joined those urging Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto legislation.
Please read this and respond.