Tag Archives: Pax Christi

Bishop Angaelos to the Terrorists: ‘You Are Loved’

| 31 MAY 2017

Reflection By His Grace Bishop Angaelos on the recent terrorist attacks in Egypt and elsewhere

Bishop Angaelos to the Terrorists: ‘You Are Loved’
Bishop Angaelos (Flickr/Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

 

Once again, we find ourselves experiencing pain before which words seem insufficient.

I have previously addressed victims of terrorist acts; I have addressed their families; I have even addressed those who may have had an opportunity, even in some small way, to advocate for or support those most vulnerable.

This time, however, I feel a need to address those who perpetrate these crimes.

You are loved. The violent and deadly crimes you perpetrate are abhorrent and detestable, but you are loved.

You are loved by God, your creator, for he created you in his image and according to his likeness, and placed you on this earth for much greater things, according to his plan for all humankind. You are loved by me and millions like me, not because of what you do, but what you are capable of as that wonderful creation of God, who has created us with a shared humanity. You are loved by me and millions like me because I, and we, believe in transformation.

Transformation is core to the Christian message, for throughout history we have seen many transformed from being those who persecuted Christ himself and Christians to those who went on to live with grace. We believe in transformation because, on a daily basis, we are personally transformed from a life of human weakness and sinfulness to a life of power and righteousness. We believe in transformation because the whole message of the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is to take humanity from the bonds of sin and death to a liberation in goodness and everlasting life. Our world is certainly suffering from the brokenness of our humanity, but it is our responsibility, personally and collectively, to encourage and inspire ourselves and all those whom we meet along our path to a life of virtue and holiness and the love and forgiveness of all.

This, of course, is far from the reaction that many may have expected, but the Christian message is just that: to look at our world as through the eyes of God, who loves all and who desires that all be liberated through him.

I grieve, certainly for those who have lost their lives, for those who mourn and for those who will continue to be adversely affected by these tragic experiences; but I also grieve for a young man who sees it not only justifiable, but glorious, to take the lives of other young men and women and deprive his and their families of enjoying them as they grow and mature.

No family should lose a son in this way, even if they are partially or wholly responsible for his flawed ideology. This loss might be to that ideology, to incarceration as a result of his actions and choices or, in the worst case, in taking his own life, along with others, regardless of the great cost to those left behind. In the same way, no family deserves to lose children and members who merely go about their day to enjoy their God-given right to exist, whether it be by attending a concert, taking a pilgrimage to a monastery, simply walking through city streets, or in any other way.

I also grieve for those who considered it a victory to board a bus filled with pilgrims and execute children, women and men purely for refusing to denounce their faith, as we saw happen to Coptic Christians in Menia only yesterday [May 26].

What is increasingly obvious is that many of these attacks come about due to a loss of the meaning and comprehension of the sanctity of life, our own or that of others; so join me in praying for the brokenness of our world that causes parents to lose their children, children to lose their parents and humankind to lose the humanity for which it was created.

What is important is not that this message be read, but that it be communicated; not that it be accepted, but that it be understood as another perspective; and not that it should be fully embraced, but that it may create at least a shadow of a doubt in the minds of those intent on inflicting harm and pain.

His Grace Bishop Angaelos is the general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.

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Pope says NONVIOLENCE is the only response to a world at war

August 26, 2016
PopeFrancis

For his annual message for the World Day of Peace, which on Jan. 1st will mark it’s 50th Anniversary, Pope Francis has chosen nonviolence as the only effective response to what he’s repeatedly described as a ‘Third World War in Pieces’.

VATICAN CORRESPONDENT

ROME- Facing a cascade of bloodshed around the world, including wars in Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine, a six-decade civil conflict in Colombia, the rise of fundamentalist movements throughout the Middle East, northern Africa and the Philippines, and a seemingly endless string of terrorist attacks, Pope Francis on Friday called for a non-violent response.

“Non-Violence: A Style of Politics for Peace” is the theme chosen by Francis for his yearly message for the Church-sponsored World Day of Peace, which will be held on January 1.

According to a Vatican statement summarizing the pope’s approach, non-violence, when understood as a political method based on safeguarding the rights and equal dignity of all, “without any discrimination and distinction,” can overcome armed conflict.

“In this perspective, it becomes important to increasingly recognize not the right of force, but the force of right,” said the statement released on Friday.

Although this will be Francis’ fourth message for a World Day of Peace, it has special significance because it marks the 50th anniversary of the World Day of Peace, an annual launched by Pope Paul VI.

The message will be sent to all foreign ministries around the world, signaling the Vatican’s top diplomatic concerns for 2017.

“Violence and Peace are at the origin of two opposite ways to building society,” Friday’s statement said. “The proliferation of hotbeds of violence produces most serious negative social consequences.”

“Peace, by contrast, promotes social positive consequences and it allows the achievement of real progress,” the statement says.

Pope Francis has often spoken of a “Third World War in Pieces,” referring to the many sprouts of violence and active wars around the globe. Taking into consideration only the four bloodiest ongoing conflicts, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Nigeria, close to 90,000 people were killed in 2015 as a direct result of fighting.

This number doesn’t include those who died trying to reach a safer place, nor those who died of war-related starvation or lack of health care.

Often seen as a short summary of what will be a several-page papal message, the statement released on Friday called for “negotiated ways of peace” even when they seem “tortuous and impractical.”

Thus, non-violence “will not only consist of desire, of moral rejection of violence, barriers, destructive impulses, but also of a realistic political method that gives rise to hope.”

Among other things, in the message to be released at a future date but before Jan. 1st, Francis is expected to show “a path of hope,” calling for the settlement of disputes to be reached through negotiation instead of armed conflicts, overcoming a sense of superiority from one nation over the other.

He’s also bound to call for an end of illegal arms trafficking, something he’s done many times before.

Non-violence, however, “does not mean that one nation can remain indifferent to the tragedies of another. Rather it means a recognition of the primacy of diplomacy over the noise of arms,” the statement said.

Previous themes chosen by Francis for the annual peace message include this years’ “Overcome Indifference and Win Peace,” and 2015’s “No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters.”

In the one for 2016, the pontiff listed many of the world’s conflicts, but he also described some rays of hope, including the Paris’ agreement on climate change, interreligious dialogue, and his own Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“Sadly, war and terrorism, accompanied by kidnapping, ethnic or religious persecution, and the misuse of power marked the past year from start to finish,” Francis said. Yet, he added, some events of 2015 inspire him “to encourage everyone not to lose hope in our human ability to conquer evil and to combat resignation and indifference.”

The eight-page document was a call not to lose faith in mankind because “God does not abandon us,” while appealing to civil society to take care of its most vulnerable members: prisoners, migrants, the unemployed, the infirm, and the unborn.

“Peace is both God’s gift and a human achievement,” Francis wrote.

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PCM Statement on Gun Violence

stop_handgunsSignificantly more deaths from gun violence occur each year in the United States than any other developed nation in the world. A February 2016 American Journal of Medicine study reveals that, with 10.2 deaths from firearms per 100,000 citizens in 2010, the U.S. suffered nearly three times the rate of fatalities as any other country in the study. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence estimates that between 2009 and 2013 nearly 109,000 people were shot in the U.S. each year, with an average of 32,964 dying from their wounds annually, including 2,624 children and teens. The effective lack of restrictions on access to guns contributes to gun violence. The Washington Post reports that Americans now own an astonishing 112.6 guns per 100 citizens, compared to the worldwide average of just 10.2 guns per 100 persons.

Numerous mass shootings have scarred the American landscape: Sandy Hook, Columbine, Orlando, San Bernardino, Charleston, Aurora and Virginia Tech are among the communities where innocent lives have been lost. After each devastating incident, gun advocates and their primary spokesman, National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre, respond by calling for more guns and fewer gun safety laws, and by accusing those calling for greater gun safety of “politicizing” tragedy. Hopes for reasonable federal gun control legislation are stymied with Congress effectively “bought off” by the NRA, with $650,000 in donations to members of Congress in the 2012 election, and over $808,000 in 2014.

Special mention must be made of what Pax Christi USA, in its July 2016 Statement on Racial Violence in the U.S. calls “a crisis of racism and fear – political and media sources brand certain people as presumptive enemies. Our uncivil political rhetoric, amplified by the media, reinforces the fear of whole groups of people: young black men, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community. This only serves to fan racism, bigotry and the ‘blaming of victims’ of impoverishment and marginalization.” It is essential to involve such marginalized communities in the search for solutions to gun violence.

The Hebrew prophets repeatedly warned against idolatry; as a prime example, placing trust in weapons. “God will judge between nations and render decisions for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation will not lift up the sword against another, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4). In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism posed the question, “Is the need for sensible gun-control a religious issue?” Its Director, Rabbi David Saperstein answered, drawing on the same prophetic tradition of his faith: “You bet it is. The indiscriminate distribution of guns is an offense against God and humanity. Our gun-flooded, violence prone society has turned weapons into idols. And the appropriate religious response to idolatry is sustained moral outrage.”

The Catholic Church has, as the American bishops remind us, “… been a consistent voice for the promotion of peace at home and around the world and a strong advocate for the reasonable regulation of firearms.” In his January 1, 2014 World Day of Peace message, Pope Francis proclaimed, “I appeal forcefully to all those who sow violence and death by force of arms: in the person you today see simply as an enemy to be beaten, discover rather your brother or sister, and hold back your hand! Give up the way of arms and go out to meet the other in dialogue, pardon and reconciliation, in order to rebuild justice, trust, and hope around you!”

Pax Christi Michigan agrees that “reasonable regulation of firearms” is urgently needed, and long overdue. Specifically, we advocate comprehensive federal legislation that would:

  1. Require universal background checks on all prospective firearms and ammunition purchasers, including at gun shows and on private in-person or online gun sales;
  2. Require a waiting period of a specified number of days between a firearm purchase and when it is physically transferred to the purchaser;
  3. Require persons seeking to purchase or possess a firearm to: obtain a firearm safety certificate by successfully completing a safety training course; register their firearms and obtain a license; notify law enforcement when their weapons are lost or stolen; and, safely store their firearms and ammunition in the home to prevent access by children and other unauthorized users;
  4. Require gun dealers to obtain a local permit, conduct employee background checks, and obtain liability insurance;
  5. Ban semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines;
  6. Ban licensed and unlicensed open carry of loaded and unloaded firearms;
  7. Require the personalization of handguns, that is, equipping them with technology that prevents them from firing when operated by an unauthorized user; and, prohibit the manufacture, importation, purchase and transfer of non-personalized handguns;
  8. Legalize comprehensive ballistic identification through “microstamping” technology;
  9. Repeal the “Dickey Amendment” that prevents the Center for Disease Control from spending funds “to advocate or promote gun control,” and restore funding for research on gun violence;
  10. Offer a gun buyback opportunity to private gun owners, without fear of prosecution; and,
  11. Pass campaign finance reform and reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision to reduce the role of money in the U.S. political system, and to diminish the role of lobbying.

As part of the Catholic peace and justice movement that seeks to model the Peace of Christ, Pax Christi Michigan considers the current situation, with gun violence ravaging our families and communities and terrorizing our children, to be unconscionable. With this Statement on Gun Violence, we declare unequivocally that we reject gun violence, and that we follow the One who said, “Peter, put away your sword.”

August 2016

Graphic from Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence

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US Army chaplain resigns in protest over US drone policy, Why not us ?

Dear Bishop and my fellow clergy, priests and deacons in the Diocese of Kalamazoo, MI:

I have just received news that a US Army chaplain resigned in protest over the US drone, “policy of Stop-dronesunaccountable killing” (See this link).   At first I was so excited that perhaps it was a Catholic chaplain.  But then read that it was our fellow Christian, Rev. John Antal, a Unitarian Universalist Church minister from New York. I praise God for his courage in saying: “The executive branch continues to claim the right to kill anyone, anywhere on earth, at any time, for secret reasons, based on secret evidence, in a secret process, undertaken by unidentified officials.”… While deployed in Afghanistan, he concluded that   “our drone strikes disproportionately kill innocent people.” 

“I resign because I refuse to support the  US policy of preventive war, permanent military supremacy, and global power projection.”

I am wondering and puzzled why no Catholic chaplain has done likewise. What is wrong with our seminary training? Why doesn’t our diocese have an office of Justice and Peace ? Why does the present American Catholic  Hierarchy ignore its own Catholic Social Teaching , even now, with the election of Pope Francis ?   Why should I have been refused permission, by a panicky temporary pastor, to continue preaching  the Church’s teachings on Justice and Peace ?

droneprotestI know that you are aware that I helped Kathy Kelly of the Chicago Voices for Creative Nonviolence,  with the help of the Peace House in Kalamazoo, plan and carry out a walk from Chicago, around the bottom of Lake Michigan and through our Diocese to the Drone base located near Battle Creek, where we demonstrated against drone warfare, and that these demonstrations do continue.

When I tried to place an article in our diocesan newspaper showing that the Vatican was moving ahead of the US bishops in understanding  that the Just War theory was no longer viable, you told me to go somewhere else Benjamin_Salmonwith this, because it would be disturbing to our Catholics here.  I received the same reasoning,  while attempting to start a new chapter of Pax Christi at one of our diocesan parishes, when the pastor told me to take down the sign showing that Pope John Paul II had called the Iraqi invasion unjust, immoral, and illegal.

So to some extent, I have turned to other venues. I have been working with Pax Christi of Michigan, the local chapter of the official voice of American Catholic peacebuilding;  with the Michigan/ Meta Peace Team, an Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping group operating both here in the US, and countries across the world; the people of Pace e Bene, big on nonviolence training,  sponsoring actions of nonviolence across the country, and trying to unite the many American  peace groups;  with my son Paul, who created and owns SirenGPS, a mass warning and tactical communication platform for city and county Emergency Managers across the county; and with the Peace and Justice Studies Association, which ties together educators and activists across the country.

My present activities, after returning from 3 months this winter teaching English in a rural, outback town in Colombia, South America, where I was able to meet the President of Colombia, and observe his efforts to try to bring peace to the 50 years of civil war in that country, include:Mn_Peace_Team action_smaller

  1. Currently, I am working with the organizers of the coordinated protest demonstrations being planned for the Republican National Convention (RNC) this summer, offering training services from Meta Peace Team, which did security for the 2012 RNC, and the use of SirenGPS, a tactical communications platform used by the best emergency managers in the US.
  2.  

    And applying for an adjunct position at local colleges to get back into teaching Justice and Peace to young people, maybe even at the high school level again.

Recently, we celebrated the death of Rene Voillaume , founder of the Little Brothers of Jesus, on May 13th .  I Charles_de_Foucauldsometimes feel in a similar place as Charles de Foucauld  – trying to do what he thought Jesus was calling him to, but he attracted no followers. He died alone in the desert.  But then his vision did not die. Later a 16 year old, young student read about him, and it changed his life. 12 years later, now a priest, he and 4 others followed Foucauld’s  model , and it spread.

Voillaume_lachend“Little we are before the task we have to accomplish. All our lives we shall remain unprofitable servants, and we must wish to be so dealt with,” Rene Voillaume.

 

 

Well, I still hold out hope that there will be some place for me within the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

Yours in the peace of Christ,  Deacon Jim Rauner

“ I see my mission, as God has made it known to me, to help make the Catholic Church into what it should be, a peace church.”   Fr Richard McSorley, S.J.

“We have assumed the name of peacemakers, but we have been unwilling to pay any significant price for peace. We want peace with half a heart and half a life and half a will. The war making continues because the waging of war is total but the waging of peace is partial.”

Daniel Berrigan,   May he rest in Eternal Peace

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Choose Nonviolence…

Choose Nonviolence...

Christmas invites the merciful, and the just!

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by | December 16, 2012 · 5:10 PM

PCM Member Mary Anne Perrone’s Recent Trip to Honduras

Dear Friends,

Thanks to all of you who have kept me in mind, in heart, in prayer, in the light while I have been here in Honduras. I have very much felt and appreciated it all. And I know that your concern for the people here can only have grown stronger, and I’m grateful for that.
Today is my last day here of a very short time — two weeks is such a drop in the bucket, and I am in deep admiration for those who are here accompanying for 3 months, 6 months, one year and more.
I have felt safe and well the whole time I’ve been here. Sometimes I have felt useful, sometimes not so much. The nature of accompaniment is to be ready when there is a need…and in-between, wait…or document what you recently did. To give you a thumbnail sketch of what I personally was able to be involved in here during my short stay:
  • accompanied Dina Meza, a journalist who was the target of some horrible death (and sexual violence) threats two months ago, and whose case prompted action by Amnesty International, to the march on the 3rd anniversary of the coup d’etat that took place on June 28. She, of course, circulated freely and quickly through the crowd, snapping pictures and interviewing people, including two of the foremost leaders of the resistance movement here. I donned a “human rights worker” vest and did my best to keep up with her!
  • accompanied a team from COFADEH (a premier human rights organization here) to the city of San Pedro Sula (toward the north of the country) for a Forum on Human Rights, Non-violence and Peace. Bertha Oliva, the director of COFADEH spoke, along with the now-presidential candidate, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, the wife of the president deposed in the coup 3 years ago. The car ride alone was about 5 hours each way, so “accompanying” means long hours on the road!
  • went on another day-long trip (south this time), accompanying an organizing team from COFADEH who had a meeting with people from the community of Zacate Grande, with university students and with representatives of popular organizations, all working together on a project for a public cultural/artistic/experiential event in the city of Choluteca to raise the consciousness of the citizens there as to the great richness of their area and to the great threat to their land, their way of life and their human rights as the richest families in the country conspire with the govt. to take ancestral lands from the people of Zacate Grande to develop beachfront mansions for the elite — and all along the way, attacking the citizens who try to stop this process.
  • And along the way, I have done some translating, some report-writing and had interesting meetings with people in the movement here. Two days ago I was able to attend a workshop of community-based journalists (radio, print, internet, etc.) here in Tegucigalpa, along with 5 journalists from Germany and Austria who have come to spend 3 months in Honduras to do their own accompaniment project with Honduran journalists, especially 3 community radio stations that are struggling to keep their communities informed while under threat and attack by the powers that be. Honduras now is the most dangerous country for journalists with an unbelievable number of assassinations in the last 3 years.
So, dear friends, I am fine. Happy to have had the privilege to be here, happy to be going home to my family tomorrow. And with the hope of being able to continue accompanying from afar the brave souls doing the relentless work of advocating for human rights here in Honduras. Please stay tuned to any mainstream news about Honduras (there is hardly any) and look at it with a very critical eye. More importantly, search out alternative, trusted sites to keep informed and/or sign up for action alerts. Just a few weeks ago a congressional letter was circulated and signed by over 80 congress members — a letter directed at Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, regarding the continuing, relentless persecution of the LGBTI community in Honduras — another favorite target of the police/military/death squads here.
With thanks and hope,
Mary Anne

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10th Anniversary of 9/11 Peace Vigil @ The State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan – Sep. 2011

Ann Francis (Peace Education Center/GLNAWI/Red Cedar Friends), Kevin ‘Mr. Peace” Szawala, and Joan Tirak (Pax Christi Michigan).

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by | August 4, 2012 · 5:49 PM

An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism

 by NPR STAFF
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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Reflection and renewal for the long haul: Conversations with Tom Gumbleton

A retreat is a time away from our ordinary activities in order to focus on our purpose. In the brief moments when we allow ourselves to stop and “be”, we notice how few of our moments are lived consciously. A retreat provides refreshment, enlightenment, and a new consciousness of the meaning of living life while embracing the direction the Spirit gives to each of us.

We hope you can join us for this wonderful weekend!

For all the details, visit the Pax Christi Michigan website.

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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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