Tag Archives: National Catholic Reporter

RACISM: Churches can lead the fight against racism

from NCR

People of faith who want to move beyond the horror and outrage caused by the June 17 slaying of nine people in the basement of the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., must learn two hard lessons.

Black Lives MatterTo dismiss this tragedy as a solo event, without context and the work of a “nutcase,” feeds into a lie that perpetuates the racism that is engrained in American culture. The Wall Street Journal tried to make this claim in an editorial the day after the shooting, taking President Barack Obama to task for drawing parallels between Emmanuel today and the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963, as “a dark part of our history.” The Journal said, “Today the system and philosophy of institutionalized racism identified by Dr. [Martin Luther] King [in 1963] no longer exists.” And that’s the lie we tell ourselves: that in the United States, race doesn’t matter.

On anniversaries this year marking great events like the march on Selma or the passage of the Voting Rights Act, it is easy to congratulate ourselves for the progress we’ve made and shut our eyes to the facts about promises broken and dreams deferred. We lie to ourselves when we refuse to act on dismal education rates for minority students, on the hyperincarceration of black men, and on the barriers to adequate housing that minorities still face.

TV commentator Jon Stewart spoke eloquently of this June 19, saying our country has “a gaping racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend doesn’t exist.”

Removing Confederate flags from state properties and license plates is one symbolic way of beginning to correct the lie we tell ourselves, but we also need bold public policy initiatives to continue the march toward equality that was at its zenith in the civil rights era but has stalled…

Click here to read the entire editorial.

ON THE LINE: April 2015 edition includes resources for Earth Day, news from around the nation!

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. 

TWO RESOURCES FOR EARTH DAY: Check out these two resources for today’s celebration of Earth Day from Pax Christi Florida member Mary Ann Holtz and the Pax Christi USA Store: http://paxchristiusa.org/2015/04/22/earth-day-two-resources-to-observe-earth-day/

PC ST. LOUIS HOSTS ANTI-RACISM TRAINING: (from Laura Kent) Thirty-five bold St. Louisans from many different neighborhoods and parishes gathered this past Saturday at the Catholic Student Center at Washington University to discuss how to address racism in the St. Louis Metropolitan area (which includes Ferguson). The workshop, “What will WE do? Anti-Racism Training and an Introduction to Organizing,” was moderated by Pax Christi’s Tom Cordaro and Cathy Woodson. Participants learned about the many forms of racism including Internalized Racist Superiority and Internalized Racist Oppression. They discussed misconceptions about what is and isn’t racism and the problem with the reticence of the white majority to address white privilege. Many personal stories and family anecdotes were shared and attendees were challenged to not let this new learning end with themselves. Read more at http://paxchristiusa.org/2015/03/28/regional-event-pax-christi-st-louis-hosts-anti-racism-training/

Tom Cordaro presents the history of racism in the United States with a timeline posted on the wall to which all participants were invited to add important events.

Tom Cordaro presents the history of racism in the United States with a timeline posted on the wall to which all participants were invited to add important events.

PC PHOENIX-TEMPE EDUCATES ON IMMIGRATION, NONVIOLENCE: (from Dave Zabor) Pax Christi Phoenix-Tempe welcomed Fr. Sean Carroll, Director of the Kino Border Initiative (a binational organization that works in the area of migration and is located in Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico), for a presentation on migrants and the work that KBI is doing. Kino is doing wonderful humanitarian work and well as education, research, and advocacy on behalf of migrants. Attendees were moved by hearing stories of families struggling to survive, often tragically separated, and enduring the abuses of government officials and police on both sides of the border. Fr. Carroll took back to Nogales cash, clothing, and supplies donated by the group. That same weekend, the PC Phoenix-Tempe group continued its tradition of offering parishioners at St. Benedict Parish in Phoenix an opportunity to take the Pax Christi Vow of Nonviolence. This is the 4th consecutive year that the parish has offered the vow, and this time approximately 300 people participated.

PC LONG ISLAND HONORS PEACEMAKERS: (from Mary Beth Moore) More than sixty guests joined to honor The National Catholic Reporter on April 11th in Manhasset, NY when the Long Island Chapter of Pax Christi presented its annual “Peacemaker Award” to NCR on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. The honor cites the paper “[F]or telling painful truths, in ink, on paper and online. For reporting on nonviolence, in ways that other do not. For standing up for nuns, for abuse victims and the poor. For 50 years of prophetic words.” Mercy Sister Camille D’Arienzo, who writes a bi-monthly blog for NCR, accepted the award on behalf of Editor Dennis Coday. In remarks read by Sr. D’Arienzo, Coday noted, “The first NCR editorial against the Vietnam War came in early 1966; the editors then were prescient enough to see the futility of that war — and all others since.” Yanira Chacón-Lopez, lay minister of St. Bridget Church in Westbury, NY was also honored at the event for her work in “easing the perilous journey of immigrant families.”

Accepting PC-LI awards are Mercy Sister Camille D’Arienzo (L), on behalf of NCR Editor Dennis Coday and Yanira Chacón-Lopez, lay minister of St. Bridget Church in Westbury, NY.

Accepting PC-LI awards are Mercy Sr Camille D’Arienzo (R), on behalf of NCR Editor Dennis Coday & Yanira Chacón-Lopez, lay minister, St. Bridget Church, Westbury, NY.

first vigil at the Moakley courthouse in Boston. The people: Katie Flaherty, Scott Schaeffer-Duffy from the SS Francis and Therese Catholic Worker in Worcester, MA, me, Suzanne and Brayton Shanley of the Agape Community.

PC-MA members at the first vigil at the Moakley courthouse in Boston during the Boston Marathon Bombing trial.

PC MASSACHUSETTS MEMBER PENS OP-ED REGARDING THE DEATH PENALTY IN MARATHON BOMBER CASE: (by Kathleen Schatzberg) Last week in Boston, a federal jury convicted the surviving brother of the two men who planted bombs at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three, injuring hundreds, and in the police manhunt that followed, killing a university policeman. The elder brother also died during the police pursuit. Now that same jury must decide whether to sentence the surviving brother to death or life in prison without parole. Massachusetts has not executed a convicted criminal since 1947, and a State Supreme Court ruling in 1984 effectively outlawed capital punishment in this state. This trial, however, was in federal jurisdiction, where the death penalty is allowed. A vigorous debate about capital punishment has inevitably ensued. There is no debate about the shocking heinousness of the crimes, nor about the guilt of the surviving brother who was convicted last week – his attorney admitted his guilt at the outset of the trial. But debate abounds for and against the death penalty in this case… Read the entire piece at http://www.barnstablepatriot.com/home2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=38846&Itemid=32

Photo by Zach Gibson. Over two dozen PCUSA groups took part in Way of the Cross events from Newark, NJ to Springfield, MO to Los Angeles, CA. This photo is from the Economic Justice Way of the Cross in Washington, D.C.

(Photo by Zach Gibson.) Over two dozen PCUSA groups took part in Way of the Cross events from Newark, NJ to Springfield, MO to Los Angeles, CA. This photo is from the Economic Justice Way of the Cross in Washington, D.C.

PC ILLINOIS HOSTS NATIONAL STAFF FOR ANTI-RACISM PRESENTATION: (by Nancy Oetter) On March 14, 2015, West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition of Illinois held their 12th Annual Gathering and Fourth Annual Rev. J. Robert Sandman Lecture Series. “Taking on the Silence:  Daring to Explore the Sin of Racism” was presented by Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN, Director of Programs. Pax Christi Illinois folks attended the gathering in support of the Sisters. They both have extensive experience on antiracism teams and they provide a perspective from a person of color and from a person of white privilege. They first asked the audience of 45 to tell how they felt talking about racism. They then discussed the definition of racism, and what steps we could take in our own lives to begin to defeat it. Besides Pax Christi Illinois, other groups represented were Occupy Naperville, First United Church, and Christi the Servant Parish. After the workshop, PCIL hosted Srs. Patty and Anne-Louise for dinner at the Greek Islands restaurant and had a great visit.

West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition of Illinois held their 12th Annual Gathering and Fourth Annual Rev. J. Robert Sandman Lecture Series. “Taking on the Silence:  Daring to Explore the Sin of Racism” was presented by Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN, Director of Programs.

The Fourth Annual Rev. J. Robert Sandman Lecture Series. “Taking on the Silence: Daring to Explore the Sin of Racism”  with Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of PCUSA and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN, Director of Programs.

NEW OFFERINGS FROM AUTHORS WITH PAX CHRISTI USA TIES: A number of recent books have been published by authors with ties to Pax Christi USA. We encourage you to check out Live Peace, Teach Peace: Best Practices and Tools, by PCUSA Teachers of Peace MJ and Jerry Park at http://paxchristiusa.org/2015/03/23/resource-new-book-on-peace-education-for-hearts-and-minds-by-pax-christi-usa-teachers-of-peace/; Listen Here! The Art and Spirituality of Listening by PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Megan McKenna, Ph.D., http://paxchristiusa.org/2015/04/09/resource-new-book-from-pax-christi-usa-ambassador-of-peace-megan-mckenna/; and Seizing the Nonviolent Moments: Reflections on the Spirituality of Nonviolence through the Lens of Scripture by PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Nancy Small; http://paxchristiusa.org/2015/01/23/news-new-book-on-nonviolence-from-pcusa-ambassador-of-peace-nancy-small/. All are great resources!

Pax Christi Texas members Sr. Ceil Roeger and Dave Atwood participate in "Fight for $15 Rally" in Houston.

PC Texas members Sr. Ceil Roeger & Dave Atwood participate in the “Fight for $15 Rally” in Houston.

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

Apr. 22: Earth Day

Apr. 24-26: Peace and Planet Mobilization for a Nuclear-Free, Just and Sustainable World, http://www.peaceandplanet.org/

Apr. 26-27: Global Wave of Action to Say Goodbye to Nukes, http://www.globalwave2015.org/

May 2: Gospel Nonviolence conference with Fr. Charles Emmanuel McCarthy, Atlanta; contact Joe Goode of PC-Atlanta at cpatchat92@aol.com for more info or to register, go to http://www.stjudeatlanta.net/PaxChristiEvent

May 2: PC Maine assembly in Orland, ME, http://mainetalk.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/PCM-Assembly-flyer-2015.pdf

May 3: The Challenge of Peace anniversary, http://www.usccb.org/upload/challenge-peace-gods-promise-our-response-1983.pdf

May 9: Dan Berrigan’s birthday, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Berrigan

May 10: Mother’s Day

May 13-17: Pax Christi International World Assembly in Bethlehem, http://paxchristi2015.net/

May 15: International Day for Conscientious Objection, https://www.wri-irg.org/campaigns/co_day

May 24: Pentecost Sunday

May 30: Pax Christi Southern California conference with Kathy Kelly at Loyola Marymount University, http://www3.paxchristisocal.org/

June 1-30: Torture Awareness Month, http://www.tortureawareness.org/


College of the Holy Cross Pax Christi displayed a poverty tree on campus, where they hung facts about worldly environmental social issues on its branches as part of the college’s series of events on sustainability. The group also had a carbon footprint calculator to show students how as individuals they impact the environment … Pax Christi Indianapolis members and other faith activists in Raise the Wage Indiana led a 72.5 hour fast to bring attention to the issue and urge the legislature to act … Dan Peitzmeyer of Pax Christi-Phoenix debated Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery on the local PBS affiliate regarding alternatives to the death penalty … Watch video from CBS covering Pax Christi Metro New York’s Way of the Cross … PC New Orleans was quoted in an article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune in support of the Obama administration’s decision for deportation relief for 5 million undocumented immigrants … PC Northeastern Pennsylvania published a letter to the editor protesting Israeli PM Netanyahu’s speech before Congress as well as calling on assistance for victims of war in Gaza … Watch this video capturing the Pax Christi Florida retreat on “Living the Nonviolent Life” … Pax Christi USA member Jacqueline Haessly has a new website for her organization Peacemaking Associates whose purpose is to empower adults and children to value and image peace … Former Pax Christi USA National Chair Judy Coode published this article on Haiti for the PCI Peace Stories blog … Pax Christi Atlanta member Cathy Crosby is being inducted this year into the MLK Jr. College of Ministers and Laity … Watch video of Pax Christi Michigan’s keynote speaker David Swanson’s address at their recent retreat … The Spring 2015 edition of Kerux, the newsletter for Pax Christi Metro New York, is now online … Pax Christi International has launched the “Disarmament for Sustainable Development Campaign”Pax Christi International’s April 2015 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Spring 2015 edition of The Peace Current

REFLECTION: Vatican diplomatic successes with nuns, the U.S. and Cuba


by Thomas Reese, S.J., NCR

Diplomatic skills were on display at the Vatican this week when it issued its report on the U.S. sisters, hosted a visit from John Kerry, and midwifed an agreement between the United States and Cuba.

First, the nuns.


Maryknoll Sisters at the SOA Vigil and Action.

A sigh of relief echoed through convents all over the United States as the Vatican report on the life and ministry of religious women was released this week. The six-year visitation of religious communities, which had all the trappings of an inquisition when it began, turned into an affirming dialogue by the time it concluded.

The key players in this transformation were Pope Francis, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Mother Mary Clare Millea and Immaculate Heart of Mary Sr. Sharon Holland. Without their diplomatic skills, this could have been a disaster.

The apostolic visitation began in 2008 under Cardinal Franc Rodé, then prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (aka Congregation for Religious), who was concerned about “feminist spirit” among American sisters as well as “irregularities or omissions in American religious life.” He clearly expected to find lots of problems and failings among the sisters, which he had heard about especially from “an important representative of the U.S. church,” whom he did not name…

Read the entire article by clicking here.

ON THE LINE: December 2014 edition highlights members and groups across the nation

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. 

VOTE FOR MARIE DENNIS FOR THE PUBLIC PEACE PRIZE BY TOMORROW NOON: Pax Christi International Co-President Marie Dennis is a candidate for the 2015 Public Peace Prize. Her profile appears on the PPP web site, Facebook and Twitter accounts through December 17 at noon, and they’ll be counting the number of visits to her page as well as “Likes” and “retweets”. Go to this link to find out how you can vote for Marie: http://publicpeaceprize.org/marie-dennis/

Pax Christi International Co-President meets with Pope Francis in October at the Vatican.

Pax Christi International Co-President meets with Pope Francis in October 2014 at the Vatican.

PAX CHRISTI MEMBERS IN SOUTH DAKOTA HOLD 6TH TAKE BACK THE SITE VIGIL: (from The Argus Leader) A group of about a dozen people huddled in a circle on the wilted grass of Sabrina White’s apartment to remember and mourn their loss. “We’re here because this is a site where violence has struck one more time in our city,” Harold Christensen of Pax Christi said. “I’m sorry for that.” They sang “Amazing Grace” while covering their lit candles to keep the bitterly cold wind from blowing them out. Twice, they paused for silent moments of remembrance, each lasting about a minute. They reflected on the violent incident that took place inside White’s residence and hoped for change. Many of the people attending the vigil sponsored by the Southeastern South Dakota chapter of Pax Christi outside the duplex where White lived at 523 S. Western Ave. didn’t know her long… Read more at http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2014/12/04/vigil-murder-victim-held-tonight/19883307/

PAX CHRISTI METRO NY COORDINATOR INTERVIEWED IN NCR: (from NCR) Sr. Camille (asks PCMNY Coordinator Rosemarie Pace): You have been the face and energy of Pax Christi Metro for 14 years. What brought you into this arena? Rosemarie Pace: I don’t remember when I read in The Tablet of a group of Catholics who were engaged in some kind of peace activism. Intrigued, I was curious to know more, but it was years before I inquired about them at St. John’s University, where I worshipped on Sundays. The sister in charge of the choir directed me to a Fr. Jim Reese, who taught at SJU. He was a member of Pax Christi Queens. He directed me to Elaine L’Etoile, another member of the group, who invited me to a meeting one Sunday evening in September 1987. I dragged along a friend so I wouldn’t be a lone stranger in the group. I was immediately drawn in and have been a member ever since, even though at that time, I knew nothing of Pax Christi beyond that little local group. That’s when and where my education began… Read the full interview at http://ncronline.org/blogs/conversations-sr-camille/pax-christi-leader-peacemaking-and-catholic-social-justice-are

Rosemarie Pace of Pax Christi Metro New York

Rosemarie Pace of Pax Christi Metro New York

PAX CHRISTI FLORIDA CO-HOSTS VIGIL FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AWARENESS: (from The St. Augustine Record) On the evening of Dec. 7 candle and solar-lantern lit vigils will take place all over the world. People are gathering to show their concern about climate change. Building on the momentum from the People’s Climate March where they mobilized tens of thousands of participants, faith groups are holding vigils in 13 countries to pray for progress towards an international agreement to address climate change. The vigils will take place as leaders are gathered for the Lima climate talks. As part of the project #LightForLima, St. Augustine will host a vigil from 8 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church. Participants are invited to gather at 7:45 p.m. “We want our leaders to hear the moral imperative for action,” said Nancy O’Byrne of Pax Christi Florida. “These vigils represent the voices of the human spirit, expressed through our religious and spiritual traditions and through many people’s personal convictions. The vigils show love and concern for our children, vulnerable people and our precious planet.”… Read more at http://staugustine.com/living/religion/2014-12-04/vigil-st-augustine-set-st-cyprians-episcopal-church#.VJCC0CvF_Cs

PAX CHRISTI MEMBERS IN SEATTLE-AREA TAKE THE VOW OF NONVIOLENCE: (from Deacon Denny Duffel) Pax Christi members in the Seattle-area will be participating in a special ceremony to take the Vow of Nonviolence with Bishop Eusebio Elizondo on December 28 from 2-4 pm. People interested in joining them can contact pc.centralseattle@gmail.com or denny@stbridgetchurch.org for more info. Join them in making a one-year commitment to strive for peace in our lives, our relationships, and our world. They also welcome those who desire to come as witnesses in support of those who take the Vow of Nonviolence.

PAX CHRISTI HOLY CROSS OBSERVES ANNIVERSARY OF JESUIT MARTYRS: (from The Catholic Free Press) The College of the Holy Cross commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Nov. 16 murder of six Jesuits, and their cook and her daughter, in El Salvador. Among commemorations at Holy Cross this week and last week was a display of crosses, with the victims’ names and photos, which the Pax Christi campus chapter set up. Associate chaplain Marty Kelly with Pax Christi members Anthony Yakely, Sloane Burns, Ozzie Reza, Mary Kate Vanecko and Risako Iida, takes students on January immersion trips to the site of the murders and other “sacred sites” in El Salvador. “We sort of walk in the footsteps of those who gave their lives as a result of their faith,” he said. Jesuit Father Philip L. Boroughs, Holy Cross president, attended commemorations in El Salvador for the anniversary.

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

Dec. 25 – Christmas

Jan. 1 – World Day of Peace, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Jan. 4 – Feast of the Epiphany

Jan. 11 – Witness Against Torture Annual Fast in Washington, D.C.; http://www.witnesstorture.org/blog/2014/11/20/join-us-in-dc-1-5-13/

Jan. 19 – MLK Day

Jan. 23-25 – Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare, Princeton, New Jersey: http://www.peacecoalition.org/component/content/article/39-cfpa/233-interfaith-conference-on-drone-warfare.html


Sr. Patty Chappell, Executive Director of PCUSA, was quoted in this article from Catholic News Service following the release of the torture report … Monsignor Neil Connolly, associate pastor at St. Francis in New York City, is hoping to make St. Francis an official “Peace Parish,” as part of Pax Christi, the Catholic peace movement … Pax Christi Florida member Jim Rucquoi took this video of PC Florida’s Rally in Tally Against The Death Penalty … Bob Cooke and Bob More have been elected the new co-coordinators of Pax Christi Metro D.C.-BaltimoreDr. Shannen Dee Williams, one of our Advent 2014 authors, published an article holding up the lives of black women and children … Sr. Patty was featured in the newsletter of the National Black Catholic Congress in November … The new regional coordinator for Southern California is Alice Soto. Thanks to Sharon Halsey-Hoover for her years in service as coordinator … Pax Christi’s Marie Dennis and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN spoke at the Ignatian Family Teach-in in DC in November … Pax Christi at St. Maurice Parish in Ft. Lauderdale (FL) helped sponsor a rally for the homelessPax Christi Burlington (VT) participated in a benefit concert to benefit the people of Gaza … Pax Christi International’s December 2014 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Winter 2014-15 edition of The Peace Current

REFLECTION: The idolatry of U.S. military might

from NCR


Twenty-five years ago this month, a Salvadoran military unit entered the Jesuit residence at University of Central America in San Salvador, shot six priests in cold blood and killed the priests’ housekeeper and her daughter.

It was one of the last of the massacres of a long civil war that would soon exhaust itself. Each priest was shot in the back of the head. It was as if the government was making one last effort to silence the most consistent, authentic and powerful counterforce to an oligarchy’s reign of terror.

They died because they refused to stop talking about the demands of justice, of the great imbalances in systems that brutally oppressed the most vulnerable, of the inherent rights and dignity of all humans. They were among those in Latin America whose understanding of the Gospel increasingly compelled them to speak up for the marginalized and disenfranchised.

On that score alone — the integrity of their lives and the circumstances of their deaths — it is worth commemorating them. We would betray a gross deficiency in understanding the meaning of their lives, however, if we were to stop there, placing them now apart from the community, reverently compartmentalized, a relic of some bygone era to be taken out on occasion and admired…

Click here to read the entire article.

REFLECTION: Dysfunctional partisan politics


by Thomas Reese, S.J., NCR

Thanks to Tuesday’s election, the Republicans now control both the House and Senate, giving them a strong hand in Washington. Simply controlling the House allowed them to block any Democratic initiative without having to take responsibility for governing. Now with both houses in their control, they will be judged not by what they stop, but by what they do.

v4Will they fulfill promises to the pro-life community and put restrictions on abortion? Will they cut federal programs and balance the budget? Will they cut back on government regulations? Will they repeal Obamacare? Will the business community respond to their victory by creating more jobs?

Republicans did well by blaming President Barack Obama for all the country’s problems and linking Democratic candidates to him. Like almost all presidents after six years in office, Obama has lost his appeal, and we see his poll numbers as low as President George W. Bush’s at the same time in his presidency. Obama no longer inspires hope and enthusiasm among Hispanics and the young. Democrats also faced an uphill battle with so many of the Senate seats in red states that voted for Mitt Romney.

It was not surprising that Democrats lost the Senate, but the loss of purple-state Senate seats and blue-state governorships should teach Democrats that they need a new game plan. If their only strategy is to scare women by painting Republicans as opposed to abortion, they will continue to lose. That might have worked in 2010, but not today, especially when Republican candidates avoid saying stupid things. Young people and women are worried about jobs, not abortion. It is worth noting that while Democrats lost badly, ballot initiatives favoring a rise in the minimum wage did well, even in four red states…..

Read the entire article by clicking here.