REFLECTION: Ellacuria – Are we really dead?

Jim Hugby James Hug, S.J.

Are we really dead??

“The one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says this: ‘I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.’”  ~Revelations 3:1

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This line fits us more than we can imagine. We have just celebrated the 25thanniversary of the martyrdom of the Jesuits and their 2 colleagues at the UCA in San Salvador. In relation to that celebration, I read a statement from one of Ignacio Ellacuría’s last talks that brought those words from Revelations straight home to me:

“From my point of view – and this may be simultaneously somewhat prophetic and paradoxical – the United States is in a much worse situation than Latin America. Because the United States has a solution, but, in my opinion, it is a bad solution, both for them and for the world in general.” ~Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J.

What is that solution? The capitalist market system we live in and the democracy that governs it (and vice versa).

Why is that a bad solution both for us and for the world in general?…

Click here to read the entire article.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE: Call on Congress to help end violence, foster a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians

from the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy

NOTE: Pax Christi USA is a member of the Faith Forum. This is their “Third Thursday for Israel-Palestine” action for November. 

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Violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank is escalating, leaving Israelis and Palestinians dead and injured and fanning the flames for even more violence. Tensions on the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount complex have led to violence and threaten to further erupt. Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem expressed concern in a November 6 statement in which they called for protection of sites and preservation of access.

At the same time, land confiscation, settlement expansion, and home demolitions continue in the West Bank, with Israel resuming its practice of demolishing homes as a punitive measure. And in Gaza, while some restrictions have been eased, the crippling blockade continues.

As people of faith who believe in the value of every human life, we must speak and act to preserve life and prevent further suffering. We must condemn all violence and all calls for revenge. To prevent even more loss of life, it is crucial to address the underlying causes for the violence.

To that end, a Capitol Hill briefing will be held on November 24, on the issue of land confiscation, specifically the recent actions threatening Wadi Foquin and neighboring areas near Bethlehem. This is an important opportunity for members of Congress to become informed on the broader issues that end up leading to what can seem like sporadic violence.

Bethlehem District Threatened by Land Confiscation in the West Bank

  • Monday, November 24, 2–3:30 p.m.
  • 2168 Rayburn House Office Building

Guests from Wadi Foquin will speak including Mayor and Village Council President Mr. Ahmad Sukar.

For more information: http://www.friendsofwadifoquin.com/

Contact your members of Congress and ask them to:

  • Attend this important briefing, to learn more about what they can do to address root causes, stop further violence, and promote a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians;
  • Condemn all violence against civilians and calls for revenge by any person or party;
  • Oppose settlement expansion and other actions and policies that perpetuate the occupation;
  • Recognize the role of U.S. aid to Israel in enabling the Israeli occupation and take action to ensure that this aid is used in compliance with U.S. law and policy.

Use this link provided by the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns to let your elected officials know they have your support in acting to end the violence and foster a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

IMMIGRATION: Urge the president to expand deferred action for our undocumented community members

childrenattheborderbutton-smallAs President Obama prepares an executive order on immigration, urge him to inclusively expand deferred action for our undocumented community members.

Call the White House TODAY and every day until the President acts!

And tell Congress that you support the President taking action!

Immigrant rights groups and faith communities across the country have been urging the administration to take bold, concrete actions to stop the pain that families and communities face due to deportations. Such action has been promised and delayed, but it seems likely that President Obama will act soon. Every day the administration delays its executive order, more than 1,000 individuals are deported from their families and communities. The President’s action could look similar to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in which undocumented individuals who came to the U.S. as children can apply to temporarily be able to travel and work legally. Such action may condition relief on having a child who is a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), living in the United States for five or ten years, and/or other criteria. This could leave out a significant number of our community members who have lived here for less time, do not have U.S. Citizen or LPR family members, and individuals who have committed immigration infractions or crimes in the past but have accepted responsibility for their actions and turned their lives around. As people of faith, we do not define a person by how long he or she has been in the United States. We do not value family unity based on one family member’s immigration status. We believe in the power of redemption, repentance, forgiveness and rehabilitation, as all of us have made mistakes. Now is the time for the President to hear from us that administrative relief must be inclusive.

Some members of Congress have threatened to stop administrative action through legislation, legal action or blocking funding for implementation. It is important for Congress to hear from people of faith that we support the President expanding deferred action. President Obama has signed fewer executive orders than any president in 130 years. He has the authority to provide our undocumented community members opportunities to stay in the United States without fear of deportation. Deferred action is one of the many long-standing forms of prosecutorial discretion available to the Executive Branch. Indeed, every U.S. President has used their authority to offer temporary immigration relief to groups in need since at least 1956. Ronald Reagan used categorical grants of deferred action for large groups of undocumented immigrants in 1987, as did George H.W. Bush in 1990.  George W. Bush exercised prosecutorial discretion in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for over 40 percent of the then-unauthorized population.

Tell the White House that you don’t want to see your community members left out of administrative action!

And tell Congress that you support the President using his authority to expand deferred action!

Call the White House at 1-866-961-4293. You can also call the White House Comment Line directly at 1-888-907-2053.

“I’m from (City, State, Congregation/Community) and as a person of faith, I urge President Obama to inclusively expand deferred action. The President must act boldly and act now. Administrative Action should not be limited to individuals who have been in the United States for a long time, or those who have family members here. We seek broad, accessible relief for all of our community members.”

Then call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with Your Representative. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 or find your Representative’s direct line at http://www.house.gov

“I’m from (City, State, Congregation/Community) and as a person of faith, I support President Obama expanding deferred action. The President has the authority to act boldly and act now. I ask Congress to support the President’s decision to expand deferred action and to promote its implementation.”

Keep up the pressure on social media!

Ex: .@WhiteHouse As a person of faith I want you to use your authority to grant inclusive relief to our undocumented community members. #Not1More family separated

Ex:.@Raul_Labrador As a person of faith from Idaho I support the @WhiteHouse decision to expand deferred action for our #immigrant brothers and sisters (Find you Representative’s Twitter handle at house.gov)

Follow @InterfaithImm on Twitter and “like” the Interfaith Immigration Coalition on Facebook to receive up-to-date alerts.

FERGUSON: Ten illegal police actions to watch for in Ferguson

Bill Quigleyby Bill Quigley
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

When the Michael Brown verdict is announced, people can expect the police to take at least ten different illegal actions to prevent people from exercising their constitutional rights.  The Ferguson police have been on TV more than others so people can see how awful they have been acting.  But their illegal police tactics are unfortunately quite commonly used by other law enforcement in big protests across the US.

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The First Amendment to the US Constitution promises the government will not abridge freedom of speech or to prevent the right of the people to peaceably assemble or to petition to the government for the redress of grievances.

Here is what they are going to do, watch for each of these illegal actions when the crowds start to grow.

One.  Try to stop people from protesting.  The police all say they know they have to let people protest. So they usually will allow protests for a while.  Then the police will get tired and impatient and try to stop people from continuing to protest.  The government will say people can only protest until a certain time, or on a certain street, or only if they keep moving, or not there, not here, not now, no longer.  Such police action is not authorized by the US Constitution. People have a right to protest, the government should leave them alone.

Two.  Provocateurs.  Police have likely already planted dozens of officers, black and white, male and female, inside the various protests groups.  These officers will illegally spy on peaceful protesters and often take illegal actions themselves and encourage other people to take illegal action.  They will even be arrested with others but magically not end up in jail.   Others inside the groups will be paid to inform on the group to the government.  Comically, when undercover police are uncovered they often claim they have a constitutional right to be there and try to use the constitution they are violating as a shield!…

Click here to read the whole story.

TAKE ACTION: Stop the “Fast Track” sneak attack on democracy

Congress is pushing legislation right now that would “Fast Track” the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a secretive agreement negotiated behind closed doors by government bureaucrats and more than 600 corporate lobbyists. It threatens everything you care about: democracy, jobs, the environment, and the Internet.

Pax Christi USA has signed onto this effort.

Click here to add your voice.

REFLECTION: Everyone deserves a home

Tony Maglianoby Tony Magliano

Just imagine for a moment that you have no home.

What will you do for meals today? Where will you shower? Where will you sleep? If you have children, how will you provide for them?

And how will you cope with being homeless tomorrow, next week, next month?

Such imaginations are distressing. Aren’t they?

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Last winter I took imagining what it would be like to be homeless one step further. I lived one day in Baltimore as a homeless man trying to stay warm and fed. From street, to soup kitchen, to shelter I ventured.

I learned a lot that day about how rough it is to have no place to call your own. But later that night my experience as a homeless person ended. I got in my vehicle and headed for home.

But for 100 million people throughout the world, not having a home to go to each night is a hard, sad reality (61st session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights).

And in the U.S., according to the National Coalition for the Homeless (www.nationalhomeless.org), 3.5 million people – 39 percent of which are children – have no place to call home.

Recently I spoke with Ken Leslie, a former homeless alcoholic and drug addict, who is now a leading advocate for people who have no home. Based in Toledo, Ohio, Leslie founded 1Matters (www.1matters.org), an organization inviting each of us to “Be 1 that matters to 1 that matters.”

As their motto indicates, 1-on-1 relationships help break down homeless stereotypes and build community.

One major stereotype is the word “homeless” itself. Because the word “homeless” often conjures up negative images of people – which in most cases are completely untrue – Leslie prefers using the word “unhoused.”

A model project of 1Matters is “Tent City.” Every year on the last weekend of October, Tent City brings together doctors, nurses, medical students, social workers and over 500 other caring souls to serve the unhoused.

Recently – Oct. 24-26, 2014 –Tent City celebrated its 25th anniversary. On Toledo’s Civic Center Mall, under several tents, approximately 1,000 unhoused and marginally housed fellow human beings received medical treatment, prescriptions, job and housing assistance, I.D. acquisition, haircuts, food, clothing, commitment to follow-up care and lots of love.

To watch an inspiring video on Tent City go to www.1matters.org/tentcity. And then kindly consider how a Tent City could be started in your town or city. You can contact Ken Leslie for assistance at ken@1matters.org.

Another outstanding program of 1Matters is “Veterans Matter.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs there are over 49,000 homeless veterans on the streets of America. And while many of them qualify for government rental assistance, they lack the upfront deposit needed to get an apartment.

Veterans Matter has provided deposits for approximately 500 veterans to date in several states. You can help an unhoused veteran get off the street and into decent housing by making a donation at www.veteransmatter.org.

Everyone deserves a home. And National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week – Nov. 15-23 – is an ideal time to get started in helping to make a difference in the lives of unhoused people.

The social doctrine of the Catholic Church clearly teaches that safe, decent housing is a basic human right. And that individuals, governments and society in general have a moral obligation to help end homelessness.

In the spirit of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who help the unhoused, for they shall find a home in heaven.”

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. Please contact your diocesan newspaper and request that they carry Tony’s column. Tony is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings about Catholic social teaching. His keynote address, “Advancing the Kingdom of God in the 21st Century,” has been well received by diocesan gatherings from Salt Lake City to Baltimore. Tony can be reached at tmag@zoominternet.net.

REFLECTION: We must exercise our prophetic role, which can mean challenging our leaders

Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

And now, my brothers and sisters, this is just the beginning of Chapter 23, and as you can tell, it’s a very harsh judgment on the part of Jesus against the religious leaders — the scribes, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians — all of them. And as you go through the chapter, it becomes even more critical and harsh.

Just for example, just a little bit further on, Jesus says, “Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You shut the door to the reign of God in people’s faces. You, yourselves, do not enter, nor do you allow others to do. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You devour women and widows’ houses, even while for a pretense, you make all in prayers.”

What Jesus is doing is making very critical, harsh judgments about the religious leaders of his day. Now, this Gospel and especially this Chapter 23, what you heard earlier in the first lesson from the Book of Malachi, and other prophets, we discover that Jesus, as the other prophets do, is making some very harsh judgments about the leadership of the religious community of his time….

To read this entire article, click here.