I had the opportunity to travel to Jeju Island off the coast of South Korea in the East China Sea from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4. I previously spent four days in Manila, Philippines, where I was invited to speak at the first Asia Pacific Dialogue on Human Rights and Respect for the Dignity of Life with the theme: "No Justice Without Life." I left an amazing community in Manila standing for life and justice and saying "No" to state-sponsored killing.
Peace & Justice
Commentary: Today, it wouldn't be Gandhi's notions, but an advanced form of nonviolent conflict burnished by the experience of hundreds of social movements in Gandhi's wake.
Making a Difference: Just imagine for a moment that you have no home. What will you do for meals today? If you have children, how will you provide for them?
This week, I was on a panel about solitary confinement at the "Architecture for Social Justice" national conference. The conference was for Academy of Architecture for Justice, the subgroup of the American Institute of Architects that designs courthouses, jails, prisons, police headquarters, etc.
Mention the concept of "nonviolent resistance" and two names immediately come to mind: Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian leader who led his nation to independence from British colonial rule, and Martin Luther King Jr., who led the struggle for civil rights in America. Tragically, both champions of nonviolence were assassinated: Gandhi in 1948 and King 20 years later. Today many people throughout the world revere both advocates of nonviolence.
Hundreds of people who gathered at a public square here for a rally against the death penalty lit candles and joined in singing "Heal the World" to close a historic dialogue on human rights and respect for the dignity of life.
It may have ended months of work for the first Asia Pacific dialogue on the theme "No Justice without Life." But Mayor Benjamin Abalos Jr. and other speakers pointed out that much work remains for Filipinos to foster dialogue on the death penalty and ensure that the country's laws do not again allow executions.
The death penalty "offends my faith," one pastor said. "It doesn't deter crime, and it puts vengeance ahead of justice. It is an international embarrassment.
Conversations with Sr. Camille: "All humans have human dignity and inmates have needs, desires and issues similar to all those outside the prison or jail."
Making a Difference: "War never again. It is peace, peace which must guide the destinies of peoples and of all mankind."
Fr. Larry Snyder's 10 years of service as president of Catholic Charities USA are made up of countless "moments," he said, that illustrate how the national network of local agencies are working to "bring about a society that cares for all God's children."
The priest made the comments during the annual Catholic Charities gathering Oct. 4-7 in Charlotte.
Snyder will leave the post in February to become vice president for mission at the University of St. Thomas in his home St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese.