Category Archives: Action

Ways to get involved, activities and actions to get involved with, calls for action like phone calling, emailing, sharing petitions, and links to those who are DOING something to make the world a better place.

Our Trip to Ft. Benning for the SOA Watch

By Ed and Marilyn Lorenz

On Friday, Nov. 22, Ed and Marilyn Lorenz went to Columbus Georgia with five students from the Amnesty International chapter at Alma College to participate in the School of the Americas (SOA) Watch protests at the gates of Ft. Benning.  They traveled on an United Auto Workers bus from Detroit, arriving in Georgia on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 23.  On Saturday they participated in events at the Gates of Ft. Benning.  They also met member of Pax Cristi from Washington, D.C.

The number of young people at the events was especially encouraging.  There were groups from Warren Williams College in North Carolina, Loras College in Dubuque, The College of St. Thomas and St. Catherine’s in the Twin Cities, Holy Names College in California, and Goshen in Indiana.  There were high school students that we met from as far as California and Missouri.  Of course, there also were the United Auto Worker members.

On Saturday evening there were a number – almost too many – of great presentations and films.  John Dear, S.J. gave a great talk on living the work of peace.  There were films on torture, cooperative worker enterprises and women and the military.

On Sunday we returned to the gates of Ft. Benning for the formal ceremonies recalling the martyrs of the Americas, often killed by people trained at the School of the Americas.  As we went to Ft. Benning, one of the UAW members led us in prayer, including for the soldiers put in the terrible position of following orders and killing people of good will.

Sunday was an extremely cold day for Georgia, with highs in the 40’s and a strong wind from the North.  We were glad to return to the warmth of the bus, with a diverse group of defenders of peace and human rights – workers, students, younger kids of UAW members, and some of us not so young.  We arrived back at Solidarity House in Detroit at 5:30 a.m. on Monday.  Our Alma group then drove two and half hours back to campus, arriving about 8;00 a.m., shortly before two students had 8:30 classes.

The experience, especially affirmed for us how we need to focus on finding and supporting youth to take up the challenge of building peace and justice.

Marilyn and ed

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SOA Watch founder speaks: Fr. Roy Bourgeois

SOA Watch founder speaks: Fr. Roy Bourgeois.

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Bishop Thomas Gumbleton: Woe to those who make unjust laws

Destroying unions hurts the least among usgumbleton

“We firmly oppose organized efforts, such as those regrettably now seen in this country, to break existing unions and prevent workers for organizing.”

My brother bishops and I wrote that more than a quarter-century ago in our 1986 letter Economic Justice for All. Regrettably, it rings true still today.

The right-to-work legislation that was passed by the House and the Senate in Michigan just this month is designed to break unions. It is designed to prevent workers from organizing. And we must oppose it as firmly as we did during the 1980s.

As Catholics, we believe that if the dignity of work is to remain protected, then the basic rights of workers must be protected – fair wages, freedom from discrimination and the right to organize and join unions. We believe in justice. We believe in the common good.

Right-to-work laws go against everything we believe.

Economists tell us that right-to-work laws devastate economic justice. They lower wages for all workers. They lessen benefits for all workers. They increase poverty for all people.

Workers tell us that these laws decrease cooperation, collaboration, love and solidarity.

This legislation should not just offend Catholics, but all Christians and members of all faith traditions. At the core of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and all great religions are the values of dignity and respect, values from which economic justice and the right to organize can never be separated.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s Presbyterian tradition “affirms the rights of labor organization and collective bargaining as minimum demands of justice.” Similar statements have been made by the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Union for Reform Judaism and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to name but a few.

However, we do not need statements from on high to understand what we know to be true on the ground. Right-to-work laws do not help the least among us. Rather, they profit those who already hold more power and wealth than is their fair share. They foster extreme inequality, inequality that can only lead to extreme disparities and extreme division.

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet proclaims, “Woe to those who make unjust laws.” Indeed, woe to those in the Michigan state Legislature who voted in favor of these laws. Woe to Gov. Snyder, whose pen is at the ready to sign these bills.

Just as Catholic bishops united in 1986 to speak against organized efforts to break unions, it is now time for Michigan citizens of all faiths to unite against an unjust law, passed in great haste, which will do great damage to our state. Each of us must take responsibility for speaking out and taking action to prevent a terrible injustice from occurring in Michigan.

Written by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, retired auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit


Dear Friends –
Please Circulate Widely this strong message from Bishop Gumbleton, which Pax Christi Michigan solidly endorses, in opposition to the “Right to Work” law which was sped through the Michigan State Congress and signed by Gov. Snyder on December on 11, 2013.   Besides being the product of a lame duck congress going rogue with its power – adding language that prohibits it from EVER being challenged or reversed, this decision goes against all Catholic Social Teaching which supports the Common Good and has upheld the rights of workers to organize since Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum dated May 15, 1891. For complete text of the encyclical, See  The take-over by the 1% goes on – legislating for continued escalation of a growing class of poor.  God save us from ourselves. Amen.
In solidarity,
Joan Tirak
Coordinator – Pax Christi Michigan

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Open Letter to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious from Pax Christi Michigan

Sister Pat Farrell, LCWR President

Leadership Conference of Women Religious: 8808 Cameron Street; Silver Spring, MD  20910


Dear Sister Pat,

We are writing to assure LCWR that Pax Christi Michigan stands firmly in support of your members throughout the United States AND in absolute opposition to the Vatican decree issued against you on April 18, 2012.  We are deeply saddened by the decree contents and want you to know that we stand in awe of the positions you have taken and the leadership you have given through your prophetic works over these many years.

Moreover, Pax Christi Michigan is a proud signatory of the Pax Christi International letter of support which was issued just a few weeks ago, publically declaring our solidarity with LCWR in praise of your work. PCM joined other National Sections, including Pax Christi USA, and numerous PC Regional Members as signatories of this powerful letter.  (Enclosed is Pax Christi Michigan’s summer edition of our Peace Connections newsletter in which we devoted significant space to support of the LCWR nuns. Also visit for our online coverage.)

Many of us were taught by Sister members of LCWR and some of us were former members of LCWR communities, so we know first hand the good works that you have been doing all these years – most without any significant recognition by the Church or the Vatican. And now we know why.  We believe that while the majority of American Bishops and the Vatican disapprove of core values the sisters represent, we also believe that they are threatened by the LCWR leadership and the broad support they receive.

We know that the LCWR is currently in prayerful discernment regarding your response to the Vatican.  Knowing that this a very critical time for you, please be assured that we are holding you in the light of God’s wisdom and love, And that we are prepared to stand with whatever you decide to do as a response.

Holding you in the light of God’s wisdom and love,

Joan L. Tirak, PCM State Coordinator and Mary L. Hanna, Webmaster on behalf of all Pax Christi Michigan State Council Members


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An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism

July 17, 2012

Sister Pat Farrell is the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the vice president of the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, Iowa.

In April, the Vatican announced that three American bishops (one archbishop and two bishops) would be sent to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States, to get them to conform with the teachings of the Church.

In its assessment of the group, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the leadership conference is undermining Roman Catholic teachings on homosexuality and birth control and promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” It also reprimanded the nuns for hosting speakers who “often contradict or ignore” church teachings and for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.”

In April, the Vatican announced that three American bishops (one archbishop and two bishops) would be sent to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States, to get them to conform with the teachings of the Church.

In its assessment of the group, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the leadership conference is undermining Roman Catholic teachings on homosexuality and birth control and promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” It also reprimanded the nuns for hosting speakers who “often contradict or ignore” church teachings and for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.”

In their own statement, the nuns said the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment of the group was based on “unsubstantiated accusations” and may “compromise” the ability of female nuns to “fulfill their mission.”

In their own statement, the nuns said the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment of the group was based on “unsubstantiated accusations” and may “compromise” the ability of female nuns to “fulfill their mission.”

“I would say the mandate is more critical of positions we haven’t taken than those we have taken,” says Sister Pat Farrell, the president of the Leadership Conference.

“As I read that document, the concern is the issues we tend to be more silent about when the bishops are speaking out very clearly about some things. There are issues about which we think there’s a need for a genuine dialogue, and there doesn’t seem to be a climate of that in the church right now.”

Interview Highlights

On questioning doctrine within the Catholic Church

“The question is, ‘Can you be Catholic and have a questioning mind?’ That’s what we’re asking. … I think one of our deepest hopes is that in the way we manage the balancing beam in the position we’re in, if we can make any headway in helping to create a safe and respectful environment where church leaders along with rank-and-file members can raise questions openly and search for truth freely, with very complex and swiftly changing issues in our day, that would be our hope. But the climate is not there. And this mandate coming from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith putting us in a position of being under the control of certain bishops, that is not a dialogue. If anything, it appears to be shutting down dialogue.”

On their options

“We’re not talking about the risk of excommunication or leaving the church. That’s not our intent. We’re talking about the Vatican’s dealing with a national organization, not with specific religious congregations or individual religious. The one and only underlying option for us is to respond with integrity with however we proceed. That is our absolute bottom line in this. Some of the options would be to just comply with the mandate that’s been given to us. Or to say we can’t comply with this and see what the Vatican does with that. Or to remove ourselves and form a separate organization.”

On the criticism from the Vatican regarding human sexuality

“We have been, in good faith, raising concerns about some of the church’s teachings on sexuality. The problem being that the teaching and interpretation of the faith can’t remain static and really needs to be reformulated, rethought in light of the world we live in. And new questions and new realities [need to be addressed] as they arise. And if those issues become points of conflict, it’s because Women Religious stand in very close proximity to people at the margins, to people with very painful, difficult situations in their lives. That is our gift to the church. Our gift to the church is to be with those who have been made poorer, with those on the margins. Questions there are much less black and white because human realities are much less black and white. That’s where we spend our days.”

On roles within the church

“A bishop, for instance, can’t be on the street working with the homeless. He has other tasks. But we can be. So if there is a climate of open and trusting and adequate dialogue among us, we can bring together some of those conversations, and that’s what I hope we can help develop in a deeper way.”

On women’s ordination

“The position we took in favor of women’s ordination in 1977 was before there was a Vatican letter saying that there is a definitive church position against the ordination of women. So it’s interesting to me that the document [just released by the church] goes back 30 years to talk about our position on the ordination of women. There has, in fact, been an official opinion from the church that that topic should not be discussed. When that declaration came out, the response of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was to call for a nationwide time of prayer and fasting for all Women Religious in response to that. Because our deep desire for places of leadership of women in the church be open. It remains a desire. Since then, the Leadership Conference has not spoken publicly about the ordination of women. Imposing a silence doesn’t necessarily change people’s thinking, but we are in a position to continue to be very concerned that the position of women in the church be recognized.”

On the phrase “radical feminist themes”

“Sincerely, what I hear in the phrasing … is fear — a fear of women’s positions in the church. Now, that’s just my interpretation. I have no idea what was in the mind of the congregation, of the doctrine of the faith, when they wrote that. But women theologians around the world have been seriously looking at the question of: How have the church’s interpretations of how we talk about God, interpret Scripture, organize life in the church — how have they been tainted by a culture that minimizes the value and the place of women?”

On abortion

“I think the criticism of what we’re not talking about seems to me to be unfair. Because [Women] Religious have clearly given our lives to supporting life, to supporting the dignity of human persons. Our works are very much pro-life. We would question, however, any policy that is more pro-fetus than actually pro-life. If the rights of the unborn trump all of the rights of all of those who are already born, that is a distortion, too — if there’s such an emphasis on that. However, we have sisters who work in right-to-life issues. We also have many, many ministries that support life. We dedicate to our lives to those on the margins of society, many of whom are considered throwaway people: the impaired, the chronically mentally ill, the elderly, the incarcerated, to the people on death row. We have strongly spoken out against the death penalty, against war, hunger. All of those are right-to-life issues. There’s so much being said about abortion that is often phrased in such extreme and such polarizing terms that to choose not to enter into a debate that is so widely covered by other sectors of the Catholic Church — and we have been giving voice to other issues that are less covered but are equally as important.

“Our concern is that right-to-life issues be seen across a whole spectrum and are not narrowly defined. … To single out one right-to-life issue and to say that that’s the only issue that defines Catholic identity, I think, is really a distortion.”

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Get Involved With the Movement – – Literally!

Pax Christi Michigan Supports “A Moveable Peace”

At the United States Social Forum in Detroit, representatives of peace and justice groups throughout Michigan met to discuss a problem that confronts us all: millions in Michigan care about peace and justice, but too few act, and our organizations are often too separate.

We concluded that too many people feel unheard and so don’t speak or act, and activists don’t cooperate enough in reaching out and listening.  We decided to launch an effort creating and expanding the commons, establishing times and places all over the state to advance a conversation: what does peace and justice mean in our hometowns, as well as worldwide?  How much money goes for war? And how could Michigan become more of a “state for peace?”

One of our primary goals is to listen to what people say and to develop a petition from the people, urging the creation of an official state of Michigan Commission for Peace and Justice, similar to commissions already established in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Berkeley, California, and to the proposed United States Department of Peace.

Using the Michigan Peace Network as a hub of communication and coordination, we have carried on this vision through meetings and discussions, designing the specific efforts that will make Moveable Peace a reality. We now invite groups and individuals throughout Michigan to join us in expanding the commons, and in creating a lasting culture of peace and justice.

Moveable Peace 2011 will consist of the following events:

Community Events Converging

Moveable Peace promotes community events moving the conversations on peace and justice all over the state, creating a presence in Fourth of July parades, and converging by Labor Day at the Mackinac Bridge walk and in the Detroit Labor Day march with a report on our listening and with a call for a state commission to facilitate the agenda for peace and justice coming from the communities of Michigan.

Mackinac Bridge Peace Gathering

The weekend festival and bridge walk at the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day will be a capstone event of Moveable Peace, uniting our diverse efforts so that we can send a message of peace and solidarity that will be heard throughout the state.

Budget Priorities Roadshow

The Budget Priorities Roadshow will be a mobile exhibit/performance that will travel to communities across the state to engage people in a discussion of the Federal Government spending on various projects, especially the large portion of the discretionary budget that goes to the Pentagon. Through the use of an interactive “penny poll,” participants will have a chance to compare their budget priorities to the Federal discretionary budget spending.  Communities hosting the Roadshow will also be encouraged to hold supporting events such as performances, forums, or movie showings.

Peace Walk to Lansing

From July 30 through August 9, groups will participate in a “Peace Walk,” traveling on foot to Lansing from Kalamazoo, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw.  The walk’s emphasis is on stopping in towns, cities, and villages along the way, highlighting the cost of military spending, listening to local residents, and then compiling their concerns and hopes.

Commission for Peace and Justice Petition

At many of our events, we will gather support and signatures for a petition to establish a Michigan Commission for Peace and Justice.  Our goal will be to present this petition to our governor and our state legislature as the Moveable Peace events draw to a close.

Detroit Labor Day Parade

Moveable Peace will have a presence in the Detroit Labor Day Parade.

For more information about Moveable Peace, or to get involved, click here to contact us by way of the Michigan Peace Network.  Be sure to mention that you’d like to join Moveable Peace, and let us know where you’re located.

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Haiti Update: An Eyewitness Account

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

7:00 PM

St. Blase Church

12151 Fifteen Mile Road

Sterling Heights, MI 48312


Presented by: St. Blase Justice and Peace

Featured Guest Speaker:  Bishop Tom Gumbleton


Bishop Tom Gumbleton has been travelling to Haiti for almost twenty years as a friend of the Haitian people, working to improve the lives of the poorest of the poor.  He has also worked tirelessly to tell the world the real story of why Haiti is so poor; and what really needs to be done to help Haiti survive.  Bishop Gumbleton has been back to Haiti several times since the devastating earthquake of January, 12, 2010 and will provide us with an update on conditions in Haiti since the earthquake.  We will learn why there has been so little progress for so many people, why potable water and permanent housing is still so rare, what happened to all the aid promised to Haiti – and what we can do to help.  Please join us!

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Friends –

The Michigan Interfaith Coalition for Palestine is requesting that communities of faith and goodwill designate the week of March 27 to April 2 as a time of prayer, meditation and reflection for a just peace in the Holy Land.

This week has been chosen because it includes Land Day, March 30. This day is an occasion on which Palestinians celebrate the life-sustaining gifts of the earth and mourn the loss of their livelihood and freedom of movement as a result of occupation. Most importantly, it is a day on which Palestinians invite people around the world to join them in working for peace with justice in the Holy Land.

Please ask for prayer, meditation and reflection for:

 People living under occupation, especially Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza who are seeing their homes seized and/or destroyed, their lands confiscated, and their mobility limited by walls and checkpoints placed inside Palestinian territory.

 Palestinians who are engaged in the nonviolent struggle for freedom, justice and human dignity, along with their Israeli and international counterparts.

 Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the search for a just and peaceful end to this 44-year occupation and the violence it has wrought.

 Our own elected officials, that they may be imbued with wisdom, courage and integrity as they make decisions that impact the future of Israel/ Palestine.

Thank you for joining with us and the people of the Holy Land in seeking peace and justice. May all who thirst drink from the ever-flowing stream.

~ The Michigan Interfaith Coalition for Palestine ~

  • Rev. Rani Abdulmasih …. Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA),Southeast Michigan Synod
  • Jill Baker …. Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
  • Diane Cooper …. Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
  • Larry Cooper …. Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
  • Rev. Jack Eggleston….. ELCA, Southeast Michigan Synod
  • David Sinclair Gallagher ………….. United Church of Christ (UCC) Social Justice
  • Rev. Terry Gallagher …. UCC Social Justice; CMEP Coordinator; Sacred Conversation – Detroit
  • George Garcia …. Ann Arbor Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
  • Rev. Fred Harms ….. ELC in Jordan and the Holy Land Task Force, ELCA, Southeast Michigan Synod
  • Carol Hylkema …. Middle East Work Group of the Social Justice and Peacemaking Ministry Team of the Presbytery of Detroit (PCUSA)
  • George Khoury …. Friends of Sabeel – North America, Detroit ChapterToni Mann …. Middle East Work Group of the Social Justice and Peacemaking Ministry Team of the Presbytery of Detroit (PCUSA)
  • Hasan Newash …. Palestine Cultural Office – Detroit
  • Donna Matteis …. ELCJHL Task Force, ELCA, Southeast Michigan
  • Terri Montgomery …. Detroit Peace Center
  • Kim Redigan ….. Pax Christi – Michigan
  • Dave Upmeyer …. ELCJHL Task Force, ELCA, Southeast Michigan


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Take Action: Justice For Immigrants

This site, Justice for Immigrants, offers more in-depth information, plus what YOU can do to make a difference!




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