PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL: October 2015 newsletter now online

pcilogoThe September Pax Christi International Newsletter is now out and available! Included in the newsletter is information from Pax Christi International sections and member organizations around the world. The newsletter highlights inspiring projects for peace undertaken by our colleagues on six continents. This month’s issue also features Pax Christi USA’s statement on Pope Francis’ visit to the USA, local groups’ involvement in Campaign Nonviolence, links to articles in the media featuring the work of PCUSA, and reflections from our Bread for the Journey blog.

Click here for more from the Pax Christi International newsletter.

BOOK REVIEW: Recognizing everyday miracles

by Loretta Nemeth

maglianoCracks in the Sidewalk, by Tony Magliano. Eastern Christian Publications (Fairfax, Va., 2015). 28 pp., $9.95.

Tony Magliano, best known as an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist, enters the children’s book genre with Cracks in the Sidewalk. In it, Magliano stays true to his vocation by instilling the seeds of social justice, “sharing, fairness and love for life,” into the minds and hearts of young readers, inviting them to “deepen their awareness of the many wonders that surround them.” Magliano says the book will “help young children better appreciate the goodness of God, who showers us with wonderful blessings everyday!” The book leads the child from recognizing the work of God in nature to recognizing it in the caring people in the child’s life. A great gift book, when shared between adult and child, Cracks in the Sidewalk can be a reminder to the adult to stop and see God’s everyday miracles around us, too.

The delightful childlike crayon illustrations by Lynn Armstrong give young readers a sense of familiarity and comfort.

Cracks in the Sidewalk can be ordered under New Titles in the Online Catalog of Eastern Christian Publications, ; (703) 691-8862 for $9.95 plus $5 shipping and handling.

Loretta Nemeth is director of communications for the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy (Diocese) of Parma and editor of Horizons, the eparchy’s newspaper.

STATEMENT: Pax Christi USA official statement on the shooting massacre at Umpqua Community College in Oregon

It is impossible for anyone to be stunned anymore when the media reports another shooting massacre in our country. It is a profoundly sad reality that gun violence, like the shooting which occurred at an Oregon community college yesterday, is now so commonplace that it is difficult to remember and recall all of the mass shootings which have taken place in our nation over the past few years. It is time that we shake off our collective lethargy and root ourselves in a deep, sustaining and holy anger which will fuel a movement to end this insanity once and for all.

Every single death from Sandy Hook to Charleston to Oregon could have been prevented if our nation implemented reasonable, common-sense policies regarding firearms. This is a plain and indisputable fact; any debate on this point is an insult to our children, our parents, our sisters, brothers and neighbors who have died as a result of efforts to frustrate any limits placed on guns and the sale and manufacturing of firearms.

Today let us grieve with those families who lost their loved ones in yesterday’s massacre. Let us feel the full force of that grief today, but tomorrow let us turn that grief into a righteous anger that will propel us past all of the obstacles that stand in the way of ridding our nation of the violence attributed to our easy acceptance of gun culture. Let us remember each and every victim as we confront the mostly tone-deaf leaders of the National Rifle Association. Let us remember each and every victim as we confront politicians greedy for the donations that come from the radical gun lobby. Let us remember each and every victim as we challenge every single institution that financially benefits from our nation’s addiction to guns. Today we grieve, we mourn with all those affected directly by the tragedy at Umpqua Community College. But tomorrow we organize and mobilize and demand that what happened in Oregon yesterday never happens again.

As we wrote in our statement in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, “We are devastated by the sheer madness of it all.” The madness that continues to frustrate even the most common-sense limits placed on firearm sales and ownership. The madness that grips our elected leaders when they are more concerned about the green of donations for their campaigns than they are about the red of the blood spilled from the people they are elected to serve. The madness that such events can occur in our nation with alarming frequency because our outrage at such tragedies fades long before we have accomplished what needs to be done to assure it never happens again.

It is time to reform our culture. It is time to turn away from the idolatry we practice toward our weapons. It is time to value life—the lives of all those affected by gun violence—more than we value our guns. The choice is that stark. As it reads in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 30, verse 19: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live…”

Every time our nation experiences a tragedy like the one that occurred in Oregon, the choice is put before us again: Life or death, blessing or curse. We cannot continue to choose death and curse. Let each of us commit ourselves to the choice of life and blessing. And let us be committed to do whatever it takes to force our elected leaders to do the same.

SYRIA: Pax Christi USA signs onto letter to help Syrian refugees

refugeesPax Christi USA recently signed on to an organizational letter to help Syrian refugees being circulated by the Refugee Council USA. The letter was sent to President Obama.

The letter reads, in part:

Our recommendations are as follows:

1. In light of the continuing escalation of the dire refugee crises in the Middle East, contributing to the largest number of refugees since World War II, we urge the United States to increase the number of refugees that we resettle to 200,000 for FY 16, with 100,000 of them being Syrian. This would not be the first time that the United States proudly carries out our historic tradition of welcoming refugees in large numbers. After the end of the wars in Southeast Asia, the United States resettled 111,000 Vietnamese refugees in 1979 and then essentially doubled that number to 207,000 in 1980. The United States’ rising to the occasion now would both encourage European nations to live up to their refugee protection obligations, and help to prevent further deterioration in the protection climate in the countries bordering on Syria that are currently hosting millions of Syrian refugees…

To read the entire letter, click here.

CARE FOR CREATION: Endorse the Clean Energy/Green Jobs bill

from People Demanding Action

Ed. Note: Pax Christi USA has endorsed this.

Having Representative Grijalva introduce the Clean Energy/Green Jobs Resolution can have a significant and historic impact in making climate change a top priority in Congress. This Resolution will serve as an organizing vehicle to educate elected officials, congressional staff, other policymakers and the general public.

The chief purpose of the Clean Energy/Green Jobs Resolution is to stop climate change and to create millions of green jobs throughout the United States by supporting a policy of net zero greenhouse gas emissions (fossil free) and 100% renewable energy by 2050.

We are inviting both organizations and individuals to add their names as endorsers to this historic legislation.

The United States, as the biggest emitter of legacy greenhouse gases and as an economic, military and technological superpower, has a moral duty to lead the world in stopping climate catastrophe that is in our future if major reductions in fossil fuels do not begin immediately…

Click here to read the petition or sign on.

PETITION: Tell Governor Brown to sign the Racial and Identity Profiling Act

Ed. note: Pax Christi USA has signed this petition.

skin_color_michael_fleshman_flickrIn California, black people and Latinos are searched by police at three and two times the rate of whites, respectively—due to the harmful and unjust practice of racial and identity profiling.

But the California state legislature just voted through a landmark bill, AB 953, that will help eliminate racial and identity profiling, and improve law enforcement transparency and accountability.

The bill is on Governor Brown’s desk right now. This is an incredible opportunity to make concrete change in California’s criminal justice system. Let’s make sure Governor Brown seizes it.

Sign the petition: Governor Brown, help eliminate racial and identity profiling and improve law enforcement transparency and accountability. Sign AB 953 into law.

Click here to sign the petition.