Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Gun violence déjà vu

Another mass shooting in America, this time at a bar and a bowling alley in Lewiston, Maine. And, as often is the case, the weapon was an assault rifle.

Surveys show that almost six-in-ten adults in American favor stricter gun laws. Here, once again, are proposals supported by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. They include:

-       A total ban on assault weapons, which the USCCB supported when the ban passed in 1994 and when Congress failed to renew it in 2004. 

-       Measures that control the sale and use of firearms, such as universal background checks for all gun purchases; 

-       Limitations on civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines; 

-       A federal law to criminalize gun trafficking; 

-       Improved access to and increased resources for mental health care and earlier interventions; 

-       Regulations and limitations on the purchasing of handguns; 

-       Measures that make guns safer, such as locks that prevent children and anyone other than the owner from using the gun without permission and supervision; and 

-       An honest assessment of the toll of violent images and experiences which inundate people, particularly our youth. 

You can contact your House Representative or Senators by phone by calling the Capitol Switchboard. Simply dial 202-224-3121, give the operator your zip code, and he/she will connect you with your elected officials' office. Let your representatives that you support these reasonable measures to address gun violence.

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Thursday, September 14, 2023

USCCB Budget Comments

The heads of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development; International Justice and Peace; and Migration have written to Congress to express their views on the Biden Administration’s August 10, 2023, request for emergency Fiscal Year 2024 supplemental funding.

Among the programs they support are requests for rural housing rental assistance, the Commodities Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and the Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) “in order for these critical programs to continue meeting basic nutrition and housing needs. It is especially important to address WIC funding to ensure all mothers, infants, and young children in need have access to life-saving nutrition and health services. Ensuring the WIC program is strong and effective is vital to building a truly life-affirming society.

Among the proposals they oppose the Secure the Border Act of 2023 (H.R. 2), which they describe as “a divisive border and immigration bill that the House narrowly passed earlier this year. We believe that such provisions would severely weaken humanitarian protections long enshrined in U.S. and international law. Catholic social teaching clearly recognizes a country’s right to secure its borders in accordance with the common good. However, the USCCB opposes measures that seriously contradict our nation’s fundamental commitment to humanitarian protection, especially those that would undermine protection for the sanctity of human life.”

The full letter is here.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Catholic Relief Service Action Campaigns

Catholic Relief Services has an on-line mobilization calendar that provides information about their various campaign to help us act throughout the year and create lasting change for our global family. Content is updated monthly.

Here are two upcoming events:

September 24 -- World Day of Migrants and Refugees

October 4 -- Email Congress Day. Email your members of Congress to fund international development and humanitarian aid, especially within the Green Climate Fund and Development Assistance.

More information and the downloadable calendar are here.


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Immigration funding

Several Catholic organizations are circulating a letter asking Congress “to invest in programs that support immigrants and communities and divest from programs that militarize the border and criminalize immigrants.” 

NETWORK, the Catholic Lobby for Social Justice; the St. Columban Mission for Justice, Peace and Ecology; the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers; and the Maryknoll Sisters are a few of the groups asking Catholics to urge Congress to assist border communities by them with robust critical funding for shelter, transportation, and emergency services.
They also want Congress to shift decisively away from a punitive response to migration and to reject any attempts to direct further funding for immigration militarization programs outside of regular appropriations this year.
They hope to collect 10,000 signatures by the end of the week. To learn more, or to sign the letter, click here.

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Friday, August 25, 2023

Season of Creation 2023

The Season of Creation is the annual Christian celebration that begins September 1, the Day of Prayer for Creation, and ends October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations.

This year, the Catholic Climate Covenant, Laudato Si' Movement, Pax Christi USA, and the Ignatian Solidarity Network are using the time to explore the theme “Let justice and peace flow” and how the call to creation care and integral ecology is also a call to nonviolence. 
Participants can participate by receiving a piece of the Vow of Nonviolence each week, and join a live Zoom session where they can make the vow in community on Oct. 2, 2023 – Gandhi’s birthday.  
Each week during the Season of Creation you will receive an email with a:
 - short video exploring the weekly theme;
 - scripture quote;
 - practical invitation to practice nonviolence in your daily life;
 - set of reflection questions.
To sign up for the weekly emails, or participate via the website click here.  #SeasonOfCreation2023 

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Thursday, August 10, 2023

Respect Life Month Webinar

Staff of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops will hold a webinar at 2 p.m. on Thursday, August 17, to help parishes celebrate Respect Life Month in October. According to the announcement: “USCCB staff will walk through this year's new materials, as well as the perennial Respect Life Month action guide. This introductory-level webinar is perfect for parish staff and volunteers, but anyone is welcome to join.”

Although developed with parishes in mind, the materials are adaptable to a variety of settings, such as Catholic schools, youth ministry, and more.


To register, click here.


Friday, July 14, 2023

Cluster munitions

Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, today raised concern about the use of cluster munitions in the Russia-Ukraine war.

He noted that more  than 100 countries, including the Holy See, have signed the 2010 Convention on Cluster Munitions banning their use, recognizing their indiscriminate nature and risk to civilian populations long after fighting has ceased.

He also said, "I, and my predecessors as chairmen of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, have long urged the U.S. government to sign on to both the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty."

His full statement is here. A brochure about cluster munitions is here

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