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Peace & Justice

Dutch want nuclear disarmament on the table



When President Obama meets today with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, the urgent issue of nuclear disarmament should be on the agenda. While President Obama is taking the lead on non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, our country is falling behind and needs some encouragement in finally sending obsolete U.S. nuclear weapons home.

Cardinal criticizes expanded NIH funding rules for stem-cell research

WASHINGTON -- The head of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities said final guidelines for funding human embryonic stem-cell research are "even broader" than the draft guidelines issued by the National Institutes of Health and he asked Americans to contact their members of Congress, "urging them not to codify or further expand this unethical policy."

In a statement issued late July 7, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia also criticized NIH for ignoring "the comments of tens of thousands of Americans opposing the destruction of innocent human life for stem-cell research."

Afghanistan defies military solution


Tragic, pathetic and blood-soaked is the president’s escalation of his war in Afghanistan. Congress, war-enabling but far from war-weary as long as body counts remain relatively low, is supplying the money. In June, the latest supplemental spending bill doles out $100 billon-plus, enough to make it through the end of September. Then it will be more stay-the-course money.

In the fall, the number of soldiers posted in Afghanistan will have risen from the current 28,000 up to a projected 68,000.

Encyclical signals church not pulling out of politics


In Caritas in Veritate, Benedict honors Paul VI's Populorum Progressio as the "Rerum Novarum of the present age" and takes up his own responsibility to bring Catholic social thought to bear in a much changed economic and political landscape.

The title expresses Benedict's distinctive concerns. He proposes caritas as a virtue with the moral, intellectual, and political force desperately needed in our globalizing world. Caritas -- grounded in God's Trinitarian life -- impels us to seek the good of the other. Just as God refuses to leave humanity suffering in its sinful state, so charity prevents us from accepting the myriad ways that our economies dehumanize and despoil. Just as God saves humankind within history, so charity impels us to realize the positive potential of economic life for human communion and mutual flourishing.

Blood, sweat and tears


The sugar industry: Film Review

Vanity Fair’s February 2001 article by Marie Brenner, “In the Kingdom of Big Sugar,” was an exposé on the business and labor practices of the Fanjul Family’s Florida sugar industries (that includes Domino Sugar). Brenner’s article generated several documentaries revealing the disturbing hidden reality of human rights violations that include trafficking in persons, the slave trade, child labor, deprivation of citizenship and other illegal work practices. The sugar triangle, where these practices continue with little reform since slavery was introduced to the Americas, includes Florida, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Two documentaries in particular, “The Sugar Babies” and “The Price of Sugar,” both released in 2007, make it clear that it is the blood, sweat and tears of cane workers that put the sugar on our tables, and into almost every processed food product in the United States.

The priest at the center


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?


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


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.



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August 15-28, 2014


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