National Catholic Reporter

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Peace & Justice

Faith drives activism for gay rights supporters

WASHINGTON -- As thousands of gays and lesbians prepare to march on the nation's capital to push for equal rights, leaders from a range of faiths say it's time to stop using religion as a weapon to oppose same-sex marriage.

What's more, advocates for gay rights say their faith and a sacred belief in justice are what actually form the foundation of their support for gay and lesbian unions.

Health care is a fundamental right

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For those of us on the front lines of Catholic health care delivery, health care is everyone’s right as surely as the right to breathe and the right to eat. It is why we so strongly believe healthcare reform is necessary now.

And while not every American believes health care is a right, no righteous person would deny emergency medical care to anyone needing it. It is this contradiction that is resulting in one of the most politically controversial fights in our nation’s history.

Catholic Charities aid growing in hard times

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ALEXANDRIA, Va.

Catholic Charities agencies that responded to a national survey served more than 8.5 million people last year, said Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA.

Addressing journalists at CCUSA offices in Alexandria and Catholic Charities leaders across the country through phone and Web connections, Father Snyder reported a 10 percent increase in clients served by Catholic Charities nationwide in 2008.

He predicted the 2009 level of services would be even higher -- growing unemployment and other major effects of the current recession have placed increased demands since January on the 171 main diocesan Catholic Charities agencies across the country and their 1,668 branches and affiliates.

The 2008 figures only include the first three months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and near-disintegration of AIG, the Wall Street investment giant bailed out by the government, Father Snyder said. Although the recession was already pretty well entrenched before that, the Lehman and AIG events in September 2008 sealed the recession as the signature economic event of the year.

'One year after the collapse we need bold solutions to poverty'

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The first anniversary of the economic collapse is not one anyone wants to mark, but we note it this week.

A year ago the news of Lehman Brothers’ collapse and AIG’s near collapse stunned our nation, led to a global economic crisis and was followed by an infusion of hundreds of billions of bailout dollars to preserve the country’s financial system.

Our Catholic Charities’ clients had made us well aware that an economic downturn was already underway, but we could not have fathomed what was about to occur last September. Nor could we envision the thousands of families who would seek assistance for the first time: they were now poor.

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Catholic Charities aid rose in 2009 and still rising in 2010
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Saving food 'not pretty enough to sell'

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Ministries

KANSAS CITY, MO. -- Late summer and fall is a busy time for Lisa Ousley and Bernard Schneider. They have green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, melons, cucumbers and zucchinis to rescue. Tons of them.

Ousley and Schneider aren’t farmers. They’re gleaners. They take teams of volunteers into fields and orchards to pick fruit and vegetables that otherwise would be left to rot. Then they distribute the produce to food banks and agencies that serve the hungry.

Ousley and Schneider are the executive director and program coordinator respectively of the Society of St. Andrew’s Western Headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.

“Basically our goal is to get produce that is not marketable for cosmetic reasons and get it to people who cannot afford to buy produce,” Ousley said.

Commercial food producers have exacting standards for size, color and appearance. Zucchinis that grow too large, potatoes that didn’t grow big enough, blemished tomatoes or oddly shaped cucumbers can’t be sold.

In an epic time for workers, the labor movement is dying

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Commentary

I know honesty is dangerous, but let’s try it: I know it’s Labor Day and time for salutes to American labor and workers. But the American labor movement is dead or dying, take your pick, and American workers have, in the main, little power, often none. And the thing is, nobody -- well, almost nobody -- cares or, at the least, pretends what I say is untrue or exaggerated.

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September 12-25, 2014

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