HIROSHIMA – Echoing over the crowd of some 50,000 gathered here from around the world, the bell rang eight times. The clock read 8:15 a.m. -- sixty-six years to the minute from the world’s first dropping of the atomic bomb.
Peace & Justice
HIROSHIMA -- Ten of Japan’s sixteen bishops are to arrive here tomorrow. It is not to be a synod. They are gathering Aug. 6 to commemorate humanity’s first use of an atomic bomb in an act of war.
An annual pilgrimage, the bishops will join thousands of others in marking the 66th year since the blast’s utter devastation -- and the first since the March meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.
For Bishop Paul Otsuka of the Kyoto diocese that occasion is something for careful consideration.
Speaking in a letter on behalf of his diocese to the entire Japanese church, Otsuka wrote this month that Japan, “which is the only country in the world to have been attacked with atomic weapons,” now “stands in danger of becoming a country fundamentally damaged because of atomic energy generation.”
That possibility, Otsuka wrote, should cause Japan to use the occasion to “discern whether atomic energy, which threatens mankind and the environment, comes within the acceptable limits of our legitimate use of science and technology.”
WASHINGTON -- As U.S. lawmakers continued to wrangle over a decision on the nation's debt ceiling and proposed budget cuts, representatives of faith groups held a protest on Capitol Hill and Catholic leaders urged lawmakers to remember the nation's poor and vulnerable people.
During the protest, about a dozen people prayed publicly to ask the Obama administration and Congress "not to balance the budget on the backs of the poor," according to a statement from the coalition that planned the action.
In the spring of 2009, President Obama nominated Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Some conservative Catholics objected to the nomination because of Sebelius’ pro-choice stance on abortion, but many of us defended her, noting Sebelius’ successful tenure as governor of Kansas, and arguing that her position on abortion, whether we agreed with it or not, did not disqualify her from public office.
NEW DELHI -- A rally by Christians and Muslims demanding equal rights for their dalit members blocked traffic in the main streets of the capital for several hours July 28.
More than 10,000 people, including a Catholic cardinal, bishops, priests and religious women from across India braved intense heat to march more than three miles from a park to the Indian parliament.
The political and moral battle lines around embryonic stem cell research are well-defined. However, scientific research into the medical uses of adult stem cells has taken an interesting step this past year. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture has implemented a joint initiative agreement with a U.S. publicly-traded, for-profit company, NeoStem Inc., an international biopharmaceutical company.
The joint initiative will be implemented through each organization’s charitable arm: NeoStem’s Stem for Life Foundation, and STOQ International (Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest), which is a new partnership between the Pontifical Council for Culture, the six pontifical universities and the University of Notre Dame’s Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values in Indiana.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Twenty peace activists opposing the country’s first new nuclear weapons facility in 33 years were found guilty of trespass yesterday for a May action which saw 53 arrested for a nonviolent action here.
But the convictions, handed down by Municipal Judge Elena Franco, were just part of a two-hour court drama that saw activists place their action in the context of the continued funding of U.S. nuclear weapons and a recent statement by a key Vatican diplomat questioning nuclear deterrence.
Oakland, Calif. -- When high school freshmen in Oakland and neighboring urban communities begin classes in September, they can do so with a guarantee of admission to Holy Names University here if they complete high school with at least a 2.7 grade-point average and pass a prescribed list of courses.
They will not have to take the ACT or SAT tests and they will be automatically granted a minimum scholarship of $9,000.
“Viewed from a legal, political, security and most of all -- moral -- perspective, there is no justification today for the continued maintenance of nuclear weapons.”
With these words while speaking in Kansas City, Mo., on July 1, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Vatican’s ambassador to the United Nations, reaffirmed Catholic teaching on nuclear weapons and deterrence -- teachings seemingly not widely known among Catholics and totally rejected by the nuclear-armed nations, including our own government.
An NCR Editorial
President Obama and congressional leaders are still negotiating the federal budget for next year. The difficulty of these negotiations is heightened by the need to raise the federal debt ceiling, avoiding a government default and the consequent economic nightmare that such a default would entail. Unfortunately, it appears that the nation’s political compass has veered so far to the right that any resolution is likely to harm the poor and assault the already strained sense of national community that we Catholics call the common good.