National Catholic Reporter

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Peace & Justice

Collection focuses on helping struggling families

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WASHINGTON -- “Families are struggling. Faith is calling” is the theme for this year’s national collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which was planned for most U.S. Catholic churches the weekend of Nov. 21-22.

“This year, our call as Catholics to bring glad tidings to the poor ... to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free is more important than ever before,” said Bishop Roger P. Morin of Biloxi, Miss., who is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ subcommittee for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

'Donít just mourn for them; imitate them'

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With the fateful date of Nov. 16 approaching, the United States’ 28 Jesuit colleges and universities are preparing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the killing of six Jesuits and their coworkers in El Salvador. Lectures, films, liturgies and various other forms of commemorative events are scheduled.

Some students, faculty and staff members will be going to El Salvador for the anniversary events there; others will be headed to Fort Benning, Ga., for the 12th Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice. The teach-in has been held in conjunction with the annual gathering of the School of the Americas Watch, which advocates the closing of the U.S. Army school where 19 of the 26 soldiers who participated in the Nov. 16, 1989, killings had received training shortly before the murders.

Clearly, the memory of the murders remains strong on our campuses today. Looking even further back over the past 35 years, three major events have led to this point.

Faith leaders tell Congress to close Gitmo

More than 40 leaders of major faith groups sent a letter to Congress on Thursday (Nov. 12) urging the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

"Guantanamo is the symbol of our country's violation of our deepest values," the letter says. "Our government must close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay now to help us heal spiritually and to put an end to this dark and errant chapter in our history."

Afghan war flawed from start, says ethicist

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Religion News Service

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University ethicist Stanley Hauerwas, a self-described Christian pacifist, is an expert on just war theory. As Hauerwas sees it, not only did Iraq and Afghanistan fail to meet the criteria of a just war, but neither did World War II. Now, as the Obama administration weighs its options in Afghanistan, Hauerwas, 69, remains decidedly pessimistic not only about American prospects, but also American morality. Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Bishops revise directives on withdrawal of food, water

WASHINGTON -- A proposed revision to the directives that guide Catholic heath care facilities would clarify that patients with chronic conditions who are not imminently dying should receive food and water by "medically assisted" means if they cannot take them normally.

"As a general rule, there is an obligation to provide patients with food and water, including medically assisted nutrition and hydration for those who cannot take food orally," says the revised text of the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" proposed by the U.S. bishops' Committee on Doctrine.

"This obligation extends to patients in chronic conditions (e.g., the 'persistent vegetative state') who can reasonably be expected to live indefinitely if given such care," the new text adds.

Deleted from the directives would be a reference to "the necessary distinctions between questions already resolved by the magisterium and those requiring further reflection, as, for example, the morality of withdrawing medically assisted hydration and nutrition from a person who is in the condition that is recognized by physicians as the 'persistent vegetative state.'"

Subsidizing poor eating habits

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The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine posted on its Web site an easy-to-understand visual that shows which foods U.S. tax dollars go to support under the nation’s recently passed 2008 Farm Bill. Titled “Why does a salad cost more than a Big Mac?” it depicts two pyramids -- subsidized foods together with the recommended food pyramid for optimum nutrition and health.

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