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.

INTERVIEW: Martin Sheen reflects on life, Catholic faith


Interview with Martin Sheen, actor, producer, director

by Sr. Camille D’Arienzo

SR. CAMILLE: What follows is a summary of a recent conversation I had with Martin Sheen in May. It was not our first. Fr. Daniel Berrigan brought us together for the first time about 40 years ago. After attending Mass we went for breakfast on Manhattan’s West Side. My cousin Sr. Stella Auricchio, CSJ, was with us, as was Martin’s wife Janet and a man who had just published a book about AIDS, a disease that was new at the time.

We’ve reconnected now and then, at Pax Christi’s sponsored Good Friday Stations of the Cross along 42nd Street and at assorted celebrations. I count myself among his many fans as he takes on interesting roles. One of my favorites was his portrayal of a U.S. president on “The West Wing.” As we have this conversation (in the middle of May) we’re waiting for the playing of “Grace and Frankie.” I asked him what this one’s about.

SHEEN: The show features two male law partners, specialists in divorce, who fall in love with one another and decide to leave their wives.

SR. CAMILLE: That role, compared with your portrayal of President Bartlet, suggests the range of your talent.

Remembering your connection with Dan Berrigan reminds me that real life drama often exceeds that created for television or the silver screen. When were you drawn to him?

SHEEN: It was in 1968 when he was hiding from the police … They were after him because of his involvement with the Catonsville Nine. With them he burned draft cards to protest our nation’s involvement in the Vietnam War. 

To read the entire interview, click here.

IMMIGRATION: Pax Christi USA signs onto solidarity letter in support of pro-immigrant policies

Pax Christi USA has signed onto this letter being circulated by the Immigrant Justice Network.

Justice and dignity for all immigrantsOur organizations stand behind the hundreds of state and local policies protecting localities from intrusive collusion, monitoring, and policing by federal immigration authorities.

These policies emerged after years of reasonable discussion and debate amongst community groups, local officials, and police and sheriff departments, as hundreds of cities, towns and states grappled with the harm of deportation programs, like the failed Secure Communities (S-Comm) now renamed the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). Our communities rightly concluded that local pro-immigrant policies not only protect public safety and constitutional rights—they are integral to fostering diverse and thriving communities.

The scapegoating of immigrant communities and attacks on local pro-immigrant policies and the officials who enacted them reflects a hardening racism and xenophobia in American politics that we must eliminate, not foster. These attacks may score some political points in the short-term but strike against good governance and inclusive democracy…

Click here to read the entire letter.

REFLECTION: Days of anonymity are no more for Merton, Day

by Patrick O’Neill

Following his speech before a joint session of Congress last Thursday, Pope Francis had plenty of people turning to their internet search engines to find the identities of two Catholics whose names the pontiff mentioned in the same sentence with Lincoln and Martin Luther King.

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton

Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton — two of the most influential and inspiring American Catholics of the 20th century — are rarely mentioned in major speeches by Catholic leaders or from the pulpits of the world’s thousands of Catholic churches. That ended when the Pope said of Day: “In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.”

The lead Internet story on Friday’s Yahoo News was headlined: “The pope’s favorite American Catholic troublemakers: Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.”

Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day

Day, a Catholic pacifist, who is being considered for sainthood, died Nov. 29, 1980 in New York City where she founded the first Catholic Worker House, a place of hospitality and refuge for the down and out who lived in the Bowery section of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. At her funeral, just around the corner from Mary House, where Day lived and died, mourners were greeted at the church door by Terence Cardinal Cooke of the Archdiocese of New York. Also there were Abbie Hoffman, I.F. Stone, Caesar Chavez, Fr. Daniel Berrigan SJ, among many others.

Until more than two decades after her death, Day was an outlier in the U.S. Church, too radical in her anti-war, pro-worker, anti-government views to be taken seriously. As the years passed, however, Day’s story, which she chronicled in her autobiography, “The Long Loneliness,” which included her regret over an abortion and her conversion to Catholicism, began to gain followers among Catholic educators and seminary students. Her studies of the lives of the saints fed her love of the Church.

Arrested many times for nonviolent direct action, Day attended mass daily and never strayed from Church doctrine, holding Church leaders accountable for their actions whenever they strayed from Jesus’ injunctions or Catholic Social Teaching. An accomplished journalist, Day also published, The Catholic Worker newspaper, which first appeared in 1933 for “a penny a copy,” which is still the price today. Her writings against World War II, the Vietnam War, in support of civil rights, workers rights and about the suffering of the poor, were often told in first-person accounts of Day’s meetings with those Jesus called “outcasts.” Day said, “It’s the little works we do,” but she also said: “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system.”

Merton, a Trappist monk and mystic, was also a Catholic convert. He died in an accident on Dec. 10, 1968. A contemporary of Day’s and better known of the two, Merton’s 1948 autobiography, “The Seven Storey Mountain,” which the pope quoted in his speech, was an international best seller, and is still highly regarded. Like Day, Merton maintained a disciplined prayer life, a reverence for the sacraments; he vehemently opposed war, the nuclear arms race, segregation, and various forms of social injustice. Both shared the distinction of having to endure almost unending efforts — mostly from fellow Catholics — to stifle their “radical message” that essentially called on humanity to recognize the primacy of Love in a world that was spending more and more of its resources on war making. In their writings, Day and Merton often questioned their own motivations, expressing a depth of humility that helped their readers feel spiritually joined with them in the struggle to fulfill God’s will.

Merton’s prayer for all people is oft quoted:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.”

In so many ways Pope Francis is maintaining the status quo when its comes to Church doctrine, but his points of emphasis are unprecedented when it comes to making people think in new ways about scripture and Church teachings — an effort that links the pontiff intimately with the lives of Day and Merton.

The days of anonymity for the two “American Catholic troublemakers” are no more, and our world will be a better place because of it. A quote from Day says it all: “The only solution is love.”

Patrick O’Neill and his wife, Mary Rider, are cofounders of Garner’s Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker House, an intentional pacifist, Christian community that offers hospitality to people in crisis. O’Neill attended Dorothy Day’s wake and funeral.