National Catholic Reporter

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Peace & Justice

Catholic activists arrested at Kansas City nuclear weapons facility


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Singing choruses of “we shall not be moved” while scattering sunflower seeds, 14 activists were arrested here Aug. 16 after blocking an earth moving vehicle on the site of a proposed nuclear weapons manufacturing facility.

The acts of civil disobedience came at the end of a three-day conference which drew peace activists here from around the nation. The efforts were aimed at building awareness of and resistance to the construction of the weapons plant, which will replace an existing plant here.

The new plant, which will make non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons, is set to be the nation’s first new major nuclear weapons production facility in 32 years.

Before their arrest the protestors walked onto a soybean field being plowed by several earth moving vehicles as part of the plant building preparation effort. The group, walking in a single file, held hands; some carried large signs. They approached and surrounded one of the vehicles, forcing the driver to stop her work, and eventually leading 20 other vehicles to halt theirs as well.

Monks sue for the right to build, sell caskets

NEW ORLEANS -- When St. Joseph Abbey decided to open a woodshop on All Saints Day 2007 to sell handcrafted caskets to the public, the hope was that the sales would pay for the medical and educational needs of the abbey's 36 Benedictine monks.

The board regulating Louisiana's embalmers and funeral directors, however, would have none of it.

Humanitarian concerns in Iraq must be addressed


WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The ancient Christian communities that once thrived in Iraq "now face potential extinction," said U.S. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, urging the United States to develop a postwar plan to help Iraq resolve the humanitarian consequences of the seven-year war.

The fact that U.S. combat forces are expected to leave by Sept. 1 "is good news for our American servicemen, their families and the nation," the cardinal said. "But this departure should not be accompanied by a withdrawal of our support for the Iraqi people, particularly for the millions of displaced Iraqis."

Hiroshima Day marked by Kansas City activist sentencing


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Offering the U.S. magistrate judge hearing her case a tiny box from Japan carrying a tightly folded peace crane, a Catholic activist here was sentenced to eight hours of community service for having blocked the entrance to a local nuclear weapons manufacturing facility.

The civil disobedience sentence in federal court came on the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

Jane Stoever, a local peace activist, had pleaded no contest to the disorderly conduct charges stemming from an action with three others June 18. The others agreed to pay fines and were not called before the judge.

Stoever, who was represented by her husband, attorney Henry Stoever, had asked for community service in lieu of a fine.

In her statement to Judge John T. Maughmer, Stoever called attention to a speech given by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kan. May 8.

In that speech Gates noted that the last decade has seen an explosion of defense spending almost like a ‘gusher’ and promised that “the gusher has been turned off, and will stay off for a good period of time.”

The weight of violence



No act is more violent than taking another’s life. Four years of my life were defined by training to commit, attempting to commit or committing these very acts of violence. During this period I was one of the unfortunate Marines put into situations where murder seemed to be my only option. For me, this taking of lives was only half of the sad and violent story that was my life from ages 18 to 22.



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