The new director of the Franciscan Action Network, Patrick Carolan, is fast becoming a familiar face at inside-the-beltway gatherings of Catholics concerned about social justice. One day he is at a lunch hosted by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Another day finds him attending a conference on immigration reform at The Catholic University of America. Carolan goes to briefings at the bishops’ conference offices. One night, he is at the hip downtown hangout Busboys & Poets for an education event cosponsored by the Franciscan Action Network and Alta Gracia Apparel, an organization that created a fair trade apparel factory in the Dominican Republic.
Peace & Justice
American Jews recently heard the Torah story of the 12 scouts who entered the land of Canaan before the rest of the Israelites -- a cautionary tale about the importance of paying attention to detail.
Seeing enormous fruit, the scouts warned that the inhabitants of Canaan were so large and powerful that any effort to inhabit the land would surely fail. Joshua, however, thinks the large fruit signify bounty and recommends entering the land.
The moral of the story is that what may on its face seem dangerous may actually be benign. By the same token, what may appear harmless or desirable may actually be destructive.
Former Secretary of State George Shultz, at a gathering at Stanford University in California, called on religious leaders to envision a world free of nuclear weapons. Shultz, a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, joined a dozen religious leaders and policymakers at the May event.
Nuclear weapon issues, as presented at the gathering, can be divided roughly into four categories: changes in the international climate as they affect nuclear weapons; disarmament successes to date; new and growing nuclear weapons threats; and, finally, possible initiatives to be taken.
The Nuclear Question: The Church’s Teachings and the Current State of Affairs
Remarks by Archbishop Francis Chullikatt
Kansas City, 1 July 2011, Courtesy of the Kansas City - St. Joseph Human Rights Office
Thank you, Bishop Finn, for the opportunity to join you in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and address a very critical question that has such particular relevance here. The “nuclear question” is at once complex and straightforward: what do we do with the Cold War legacy of thousands of the most destructive weapons humankind has ever created? For more than 60 years since the dawn of the nuclear age, the world, and particularly the Church, has grappled with the role of these weapons, their legality and the moral implications of their production, deployment and intended use.
What I would like to do here is to share how the development of the Church’s teachings have advanced over the years and what those teachings say to us today. I will then explore the current status of efforts to address these unique weapons and specifically, the position of the Holy See.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Saying that civil unions "promote an unacceptable lifestyle, undermine the faith of the church on holy matrimony, and cause scandal and confusion," Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin reminded Catholics that they may not participate in such ceremonies.
"To do so is a very grave violation of the moral law and, thus, seriously sinful," he said in a statement June 30, the day after passage of legislation that will give same-sex couples who enter into civil unions the same rights and benefits as marriage in Rhode Island.
The state Senate agreed to the bill, which the House had already approved, on a 21-16 vote late June 29 and Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, an Independent, has said he will sign it. Some proponents of same-sex marriage in the state opposed the bill, however, saying it did not go far enough and allowed overly broad religious exemptions.
The unprecedented assault on workers’ rights now spreading across the country betrays our nation’s commitment to serve the common good and defend the dignity of work. But the National Labor Relations Board has recently taken a small but important step in leveling the playing field for workers.
From Wisconsin to Ohio to New Hampshire, political leaders have demonized unions and stripped workers of basic rights that give them a voice at the bargaining table. Teachers, nurses and first responders are the victims of an ideological agenda that hurts hardworking Americans who simply want a voice on the job.
This is nothing less than a moral failure that undermines values at the heart of our democracy and diverse faith traditions.
SILK HOPE, N.C. -- The Wild Goose Festival experiment began with big dreams and big hopes. In the festival program organizers wrote: "we want to change the world, of course; but that will only happen when we change ourselves."
As the inaugural festival wrapped up Sunday, many of the more than 1,500 who made the trek to Shakori Hills Farm, not far from Chapel Hill, may not have noticed global changes, but most left with a sense of mission accomplished.
Wild Goose dreamer and founder Gareth Higgins, who has been part of the Britain’s Greenbelt Festival -- Wild Goose’s British mother goose so to speak -- satisfied a lingering question for skeptics: “Would U.S. Christians support a gathering as eclectic and diverse as Wild Goose?”
Organizers wondered, in the U.S. -- where less tolerant, less inclusive manifestations of Christianity are abundant -- would there still be room for a festival that championed religious diversity, pluralism, the inclusion of gays and lesbians, and many open mic events where people could simply tell their stories of love, pain, rejection, faith, joy and hope?
SILK HOPE, N.C. -- After their interfaith panel discussion Saturday afternoon, Rabbi Or Rose and Muslim chaplain Abdullah Antepli walked side-by-side talking quietly. It was quite a site in the South -- long known as the “Bible Belt.” The pair, Rose wearing a yarmulke, had just spent an hour together in a tent with former Catholic priest and scholar Paul Knitter discussing interreligious dialogue, and what it is they admire -- even love -- about each other’s faith traditions.
The only time that the U.S. military was used against American citizens occurred for five days in late August and early September 1921, at Blair Mountain, Logan County, W.Va. Police and strikebreakers fought coal miners who were trying to unionize. Warren Harding ordered the U.S. Army to intervene against the coal miners. Fifty to 100 striking miners were killed and almost 1,000 arrested, many of whom were tried for treason against the state of West Virginia or indicted for murder or conspiracy.
There are times when the past seems prologue. History, contained in its specific context, shatters time’s boundaries and assumes an unanticipated reincarnation. This appears to be the situation confronting our sister, Elizabeth Johnson.
As the keynote speaker at assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious on Aug. 2, 2008, Johnson, a Sister of St. Joseph, spoke of the universal need to extend and accept forgiveness. Its healing grace, she asserted, enriches community.