National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Peace & Justice

Panelists connect issues of faith and economics


Franciscan Sr. Kathie Uhler has for months been working on a series of panel presentations to the United Nations that will show the damage exploitative mining has had on the indigenous populations of countries like Peru, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

As Uhler has learned in her research, inhabitants of an area are often unaware of mining–for gems, coal, or oil–that is taking place a short distance from their homes, perhaps on a mountaintop, until natural resources have already been polluted. In many cases, she said, the governments of countries where this mining occurs have allowed companies to do the work without alerting area residents or giving them a choice in the matter.

"You have a microcosm, in mining, of what's happening to the whole earth," said Uhler, one of about 400 attendees at the Trinity Institute's recent "Building an Ethical Economy" conference, a three-day event inside the vaulted chapel of the Episcopalian Trinity Church here on Wall Street and included remarks from Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, England, and Kathryn Tanner, theology professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Bolivia: a South American experiment



The government of Bolivian President Evo Morales Ayma, inaugurated Jan. 21-22 for a second term in office, sets the stage for the latest experiment in the interplay of traditional forces of Latin American Catholicism and recently insurgent indigenous religions and cultures.

It took two days for Morales’ inauguration. The swearing in on Jan. 22 followed a full day of celebrations in the ancient Andean ceremonial ruins of Tiwanaku, about 50 miles outside of La Paz.

Morales was re-elected last December with 64 percent of the vote while gaining a two-thirds majority for his Movement to Socialism Party in the new Congress. Donning ceremonial vestments of the Andean peoples, he made his inauguration the occasion of symbolically stating his party’s principles and his goals. The event underlined the Andean belief that the Pacha Mama, the “Earth Mother” of the native peoples, is the symbol of the union between humankind and nature, joining ecology, ethics and economics.

Palestinian Christians urge nonviolent resistance


The leaders of the thirteen Christian communities serving in the Palestinian territories -- including Latin and Orthodox patriarchs -- have declared the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories a “sin against God and humanity” and urged Christians everywhere to nonviolently intervene to end its injustices.

“Today, we have reached a dead end in the tragedy of the Palestinian people,” wrote the authors of the Kairos Palestine Document, which was issued last month.

“The decision-makers content themselves with managing the crisis rather than committing themselves to the serious task of resolving it," the document says. "The problem is not just a political one. It is a policy in which human beings are destroyed, and this must be of concern to the church.”

Death row survivor tells the real story


I recently said goodbye to Joseph “Shabaka” Brown, a longtime friend who relocated from Washington to North Carolina. When needing a reminder that overwhelming odds can be defied and despair defeated, or when my law school, college and high school students need reality and not theory-based information on American injustice, it’s been Brown I’ve brought to class.

He belongs to an exclusive club, one of 138 citizens since 1973 who were convicted of capital murder, but after years and years of caged torment on death row were freed on grounds of innocence or dropped charges.

Eating and the culture of death


All our religious traditions agree that animals must be treated humanely and their suffering minimized. All our traditions agree as well that human workers must be treated fairly, justly and humanely.

One out of every six people in the world works to provide the food we eat -- in the fields and in food processing and transport, in restaurants, and in food stores. We affirm their right to decent incomes, working conditions, and to organize themselves.

Eating is thus a moral act.

U.S. nuclear weapons policies headed in opposite directions


The Obama administration is moving ahead with the development of new nuclear weapons components at three key weapons facilities at the same time it is conducting a sweeping review of U.S. nuclear weapons policies that could lead to further slashing the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

For the moment, U.S. nuclear weapons policies appear to be running in contrary directions, and while some critics of U.S. nuclear policy are cautiously optimistic, they are also worried President Obama’s nuclear disarmament vision is not yet being supported by concrete policy actions.

Pro-life challenges change


WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration and a Congress narrowly controlled by Democrats present both new challenges and new opportunities for Catholic pro-life advocates on Capitol Hill.

Sr. Carol Keehan, president and CEO of Catholic Health Association and a Daughter of Charity, said in an interview that pro-life advocates have faced different strategic challenges and priorities in recent Republican and Democratic administrations.

To Save a Life


Independent Christian film aimed at teens opens Jan. 22

Jake Taylor (Randy Wayne; "Ghost Town") is a high school jock who is popular and on the fast track to college. He has a hot girl friend, Amy (Deja Kreutzberg; "Sorority Row") and life is cool. Jake’s life spins out of control when he witnesses the suicide of his childhood best friend and neighbor Roger (Robert Bailey, Jr.; "Coraline"). Roger once saved Jake’s life but they became estranged when the mostly white and cliquish high school kids pressure Jake to ignore the black kid. Jake is plagued by guilt and wonders if he could have saved his friend.

Meanwhile his girl friend pressures Jake for sex and she becomes pregnant. Drugs and alcohol are there for the taking. Jake’s family is well off and his father is distant. When Jake meets a youth minister by chance who invites him to come to a youth get-together. Jake is turned off at first but even starts going to church. For this his father mocks him. Life goes on but Jake seeks meaning and forgiveness in his life. Things come to a head when Amy chooses to have an abortion.


Feature_ad_Family synod2015_2.jpg

NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

March 27-April 9, 2015


Some articles are only available in the print newspaper and Kindle edition.