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Peace & Justice

House panel rejects abortion ban in health reform

WASHINGTON -- Despite the support of a U.S. cardinal and its own initial approval, the House Energy and Commerce Committee July 30 rejected an amendment to a House health care reform bill that would have prohibited any mandated abortion coverage, except in cases of rape, incest or life-threatening danger to the mother.

To see our opponents as neighbors

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As guides along a path to peace, I want Jesus of Nazareth, Mohandas Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to point the way. Each of them taught, through word and action, that we should intentionally cross barriers between ourselves and our adversaries. When we encounter the enemy as a person, like ourselves, then we can believe in and appeal to that person’s capacity for goodness.

How can we apply this belief to the currently escalating U.S. warfare in Afghanistan and Pakistan where, we are told, groups of Taliban fighters pose a threat to U.S. security and abuse people in the villages and towns that they control? Who are these people we’re now being taught to fear and hate?

These questions were on my mind when I and several other activists with Voices for Creative Nonviolence traveled to Pakistan in late May.

Teaching the 'golden thread' of Gospel nonviolence

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Here’s the challenge: When you’re enrolling your child in Catholic school for the coming year, or perhaps for parish religious education classes, take a moment to look through the curriculum to see how many classes are spent on the topic of Gospel nonviolence.

For that matter, spend a moment and think back over your own education if you went to a Catholic high school or college. Was much time given over to exploring the nonviolent Christ or the implications of his preaching on love of enemies?

Peg Burns Kerbawy of Kansas City, Mo., has a hunch that you won’t find much material on those subjects. Of course, it’s more than a hunch. Apart from the occasional teacher who might want to emphasize the matter, nonviolence and peacemaking are subjects easily sidelined as formal areas of study in Catholic education. They move into deep and difficult waters quickly, running up against societal presumptions about power and the use of deadly force.

A world without nukes

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Speaking last month in Moscow before a group of graduating students, President Barack Obama called for a world without nuclear weapons. No one thinks it will be easy.

For Obama, the goal of a world without nuclear weapons is not just one among many. It is, he says, “the core challenge of the 21st century.”

Archbishop O'Brien: 'Nuke abolition a moral imperative'

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OMAHA, NEBRASKA
With a message aimed at the heart of the U.S. nuclear command, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore July 29 called for a world free of the threat of such weapons.

Speaking to an audience of U.S. military and diplomatic officials here, the former head of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services gave the following abolitionist challenge: “A world with zero nuclear weapons will need robust measures to monitor, enforce and verify compliance. The path to zero will be long and treacherous. But humanity must walk this path with both care and courage in order to build a future free of the nuclear threat.

“Nuclear war-fighting is rejected in church teaching,” he said, “because it cannot ensure noncombatant immunity and the likely destruction and lingering radiation would violate the principle of proportionality. Even the limited use of so-called ‘mini-nukes’ would likely lower the barrier to future uses and could lead to indiscriminate and disproportionate harm. And there is the danger of escalation to nuclear exchanges of cataclysmic proportions.”

Nuclear Weapons and Moral Questions: The Path to Zero

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The following address was delivered by Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O’Brien July 29 at the 2009 Deterrence Symposium sponsored by the U.S. Strategic Command, Omaha, Nebraska.

It is an honor and pleasure for me to offer some modest reflections on “Nuclear Weapons and Moral Questions: The Path to Zero.” I am grateful to General Kevin Chilton and the U.S. Strategic Command for hosting this first annual Deterrence Symposium and for inviting me to be part of this impressive gathering.

I have been asked to speak at the end of what has been a long day for many of you. Believing in a merciful God, I will try to keep my reflections to a merciful length.

Since this is a dinner speech, starting with a joke is a basic expectation, but I should warn you that archbishops are rarely funny. But here goes.

A soldier, a marine, a sailor and an airman went on a hike. The path wound higher and higher up a mountain. From time to time they stopped to admire the view from the ledge of one of the many sheer cliffs along the way.

Latest on stem-cells: No need to kill embryos

The work of two teams of Chinese scientists who created live mice from induced pluripotent stem cells is "another demonstration that researchers don't need to destroy embryos" to achieve stem-cell advances, according to a pro-life official at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The research done by separate teams in Shanghai and Beijing and published July 23 in the scientific journals Nature and Cell Stem Cell showed that the so-called iPS cells have "the full range of uses that embryonic stem cells are proposed for," said Richard M. Doerflinger, associate director of the bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

Palestinians watch as Israeli settlements grow

BEIT SAHOUR, West Bank
Growing up in the pastoral outskirts of Beit Sahour, Juliette Banoura, 23, watched as the Jebel Abu Ghanem hill across the valley, where her family owned a parcel of land and often picnicked on weekends, was transformed from an island of greenery into the bustling Israeli settlement of Har Homa, with its stone apartment buildings and paved roads.

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September 12-25, 2014

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