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Peace & Justice

The priest at the center

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The sugar industry

“All roads lead to Fr. Hartley,” said attorney Benjamin Chew. “He is the source of these reports.” Though he is not named as a defendant in the defamation lawsuit Chew’s firm has brought against the makers of “The Price of Sugar,” Fr. Christopher Hartley is central to the case made in that documentary.

Eyes on G-8 meeting: Will poor be abandoned?

WASHINGTON

As the participants in the Group of Eight summit gathered in L'Aquila, Italy, July 8-10, the economic crisis gripping the world was getting lots of attention.

The worldwide recession not only has taken a toll on developed nations, but has been even more devastating to countries with high levels of poverty, according to leading development agencies.

Developing nations will be watching the G-8 meeting for signs that the world's leading economic powers will continue working to alleviate poverty, reduce hunger and maintain their commitments under the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, aimed at significantly reducing poverty by 2015.

The summit follows a late June U.N. conference that looked at the crisis and its impact on poor nations. The conference released a statement from the 192 participating delegations acknowledging that all nations must work together to address the challenges of an economy gone awry so that developing countries are not forced to bear the brunt of the crisis.

From Moscow, disappointing results on disarmament

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President Obama raised expectations for achieving a world without nuclear weapons when he said in Prague on April 5, 2009, “I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” But he only succeeded in moving the world a very small fraction of the way toward this goal when he met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow on July 6, 2009 to announce the outcome thus far of US-Russian negotiations on nuclear disarmament. A Joint Understanding signed in Moscow by the two presidents gave little cause for celebration for those who share President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons.

Ohio experiment offers lessons for task force

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As the bishop-union-health care task force discussed ways to do a better job of dealing with union-organizing drives and representation elections in Catholic hospitals, one of the things the group studied was a recent experiment in an Ohio Catholic hospital.

In December 2007 Community Health Partners Regional Medical Center in Lorain, Ohio, which is part of the Cincinnati-based Catholic Healthcare Partners system, held union representation elections under an employer-union agreement that followed many of the principles and mechanisms now recommended in the task force’s final statement.

Catholic hospitals and labor: A velvet revolution?

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WASHINGTON -- In what could mark the start of a velvet revolution in labor relations at Catholic hospitals, a national task force of bishops, labor leaders and Catholic health care leaders has proposed a new framework for employees to determine whether they wish to unionize or not.

Titled “Respecting the Just Rights of Workers,” the 16-page proposal asks Catholic health care employers and the unions seeking to represent their workers to enter a mutually binding agreement for fair and expeditious representation elections.

Torture survivors testify at human rights hearing

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Torture survivors and advocates implored Congress June 25 to investigate allegations of military torture of war prisoners, saying that the U.S. must be an example for other countries in respect for human rights.

The hearing, sponsored by Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., chair of the Congressional Human Rights Commission, was one of several programs held June 25-27 in observance of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition's annual Torture Awareness Month.

The panel members declared that Congress and President Barack Obama's administration must take concrete action in investigating and prosecuting torture in order to uphold accountability in the world.

"These are issues, not abstractions. ... We know that there is considerable value in precise information," said Felice Gaer, head of the American Jewish Committee's human rights institute.

But, Gaer added, simply gathering facts about abuse is not enough.

"Countries need to recognize these obligations and live up to these obligations," she said.

On labor issues, bishops say one thing, do another

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Opinion

On June 22, 2009, “Respecting the Just Right of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Unions” was released by a Coalition consisting of the AFL-CIO, SEIU International, Catholic Health Association and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The National association of Catholic School Teachers, a national union representing teachers in Catholic elementary and secondary schools, takes issue with the members of the Bishops’ Conference because of their negligence in the application of Catholic social teaching when their fellow bishops are involved, especially in regard to employees most directly under the bishops’ control, in particular, Catholic school teachers.

People of faith demand universal health care

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WASHINGTON -- Washington's sweltering heat did its best to discourage people of faith from gathering at Freedom Plaza to participate in the Interfaith Service of Witness and Prayer for Health Care for All June 24.

Regardless of the weather, nearly 1,000 people convened between the White House and the Capitol -- armed with water bottles, umbrellas and matching paper fans bearing a message about reform -- to ensure politicians hear their calls for universal health care.

Bishopsí labor document seen as breakthrough

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WASHINGTON

A new U.S. bishops’ document aimed at improving long-troubled labor relations in Catholic health care “is an enormous breakthrough,” said Manhattan College religious studies professor Joseph J. Fahey, chairman of Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice.

“This is a milestone event,” said union leader Gerald M. Shea, assistant for government affairs to AFL-CIO president John Sweeney.

“It’s just stunning,” said John Carr, secretary for justice, peace and human development at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “I mean, you have the highest levels of the labor movement and the Catholic Church reaching an agreement when nobody else can, and it’s a wonderful process.”

The 16-page document, released June 22 by the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, is titled “Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Unions.” It is available on the Web.

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July 18-31, 2014

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