Peace & Justice

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

Monday, July 19, 2021

God's Plan(et)

At the second biennial conference, Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home, the Catholic Climate Covenant and its Catholic partners announced an extensive campaign to encourage and inspire participation in the Vatican’s global Laudato Si’ Action Platform.


Called “We’re All Part of God’s Plan(et),” the campaign will ramp up after October 4, which coincides with the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The messaging will reach seven sectors: families, parishes and dioceses, educational institutions, healthcare institutions, organizations and groups, businesses, and religious orders.  


According to the news release announcing the program, a new website and social media channels, had a “soft launch” during the conference, giving an opportunity to boost efforts of Catholic individuals and groups already interested and engaged in caring for the earth, offering them tools and resources ahead of Season of Creation which begins September 1. 


The release also notes, “The campaign is managed by Catholic Climate Covenant and its member partners. It will embrace the support and engagement of many other Catholic partners who also have capacity for outreach, educational and advocacy programs in the United States.” 

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Thursday, July 01, 2021

Catholic Conference end-of-session round-up

The New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the Bishops of the state in working with government to shape laws and policies that pursue social justice, respect for life and the common good, has released its annual end-of-session round-up for the state Legislature.

One of the many victories cited by the Conference involved physician-assisted suicide. Advocates for the proposal failed to get a vote on the bill in any committee in either house of the legislature. 


Another concerned the Clean Slate Act, a proposal with good intentions but possibly dire consequences. This legislation would have sealed most criminal convictions after three years (misdemeanors) or seven years (felonies), with few exceptions. Safe environment directors in the state noted that this would be very problematic in terms of ensuring the protection of children in our programs, as background checks would not pick up older crimes, including violent crimes against children. 


The Halt Solitary Confinement Act, which would dramatically reduce the use of solitary confinement in state prisons, was passed and signed into law by Governor Cuomo.


The report ended with a “thank you” to the members of the Catholic Action Network, whose members responded to Action Alerts from the Conference with tens of thousands of e-mails to state legislators. The Network, an arm of the Catholic Conference, gives us all a larger voice in the halls of government. Through e-mail and social media alerts, it reaches tens of thousands of Catholics to provide educational updates on the important issues being debated and to provide the tools to simplify the process of contacting elected officials.


The full report is available here.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The sanctity of our environment

In a letter to the editor of the Times Union last Saturday, Sister Doreen Glynn, CSJ urged the voters and the governor of New York State to take action on the important issue of climate change.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo can deny authorization for new gas plants and gas infrastructure, such as Danskammer power plant in Newburgh, and to adopt the Advanced Clean Truck rule to mandate targets for electrifying truck fleets.


Voters can support a proposed state constitutional amendment stating that “each person shall have the right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”


Sister Doreen’s entire letter is here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Laudato Si' Conference

The response of American Catholics to the Pope’s encyclical on the environment “has not been commensurate with the urgency and gravity of the climate crisis” according to the Catholic Climate Covenant, which has a leading role coordinating U.S. Catholic enactment of the Vatican Laudato Si’ Action Platform.”

This issue will be addressed next month at Creighton University’s biennial conference “to convene, equip, and inspire Catholics who can more deeply integrate Laudato Si’ and its climate change teaching into the U.S. Church.”

According to a news release about the virtual event:

The 2021 conference will open on July 13 with keynote addresses by His Eminence Blase Cardinal CupichArchbishop of Chicago, and Maureen Day, PhDAssistant Professor of Religion and Society at the Franciscan School of Theology. Together, they will assess why the U.S. Catholic response to Laudato Si’ has not been commensurate with the urgency and gravity of the climate crisis.

On July 14-15, the conference will feature interactive breakout sessions facilitated by teams of ministry leaders working to more faithfully incorporate Laudato Si’ into eight areas of the U.S. Catholic Church: 

  • Advocacy 
  • Colleges/Universities 
  • Communications/Media 
  • Creation Care Teams (especially at parishes and dioceses) 
  • Environmental Justice 
  • Homiletics 
  • Parochial School Education 
  • Youth & Young Adults 

On July 15, the conference will conclude with an address by Sister Ilia Delio, OSF, PhDJosephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology at Villanova University. Sister Delio will consider Catholic spiritual and theological insights that can enliven a more faithful commitment to care for our common home.

The 2021 virtual gathering will be free and open to the public but registration is required. At the time of registration, attendees are encouraged to make a freewill donation to help offset conference costs that include Spanish language translations.

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Monday, June 14, 2021

World Refugee Day

Sister Doreen Glynn, CSJ recently volunteered at Annunciation House in El Paso. She will share some reflections on her time there on Monday, June 21, during an interfaith Zoom event marking World Refugee Day.

The hour-long program begins at 7 p.m. Among others participating are representatives of the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, and Protestant faiths. [The final list is still in formation.] Speakers will share selections from their sacred texts, prayers, and/or stories of what people of their faith are doing to help refugees.

No pre-registration is required. Here is the link:

Sponsors include the diocesan Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and Catholic Charities Commission on Peace and Justice.

For more information, contact Deacon Walter Ayres at 518-469-4339.


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Wednesday, June 09, 2021

International Religious Freedom Summit

More than 40 organizations committed to upholding religious freedom have joined as convening partners for an International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington on July 13-15.

A statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) noted that Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace welcomed the announcement.

The USCCB’s statement also noted that Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, will be one of the keynote speakers

“According to a Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 83 percent of the world’s approximately 7 billion people now live in countries with high government or social hostilities involving religion. Every culture, nation, religious or political system must strive to better protect religious freedom, a vital human right,” said Bishop Malloy

“It is for that reason that I welcome the announcement of an International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit to be held in our nation’s capital this July. This summit is intended to raise awareness about international religious freedom within the United States and to bring together a broad coalition that will work together for the cause of religious freedom around the world.”

More information is available here.


Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Poust named executive director of NYS Catholic Conference

Dennis Poust, a 20-year veteran of the New York State Catholic Conference, has been named Executive Director of the Conference, which represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.

He had been serving in an interim capacity since January, following the resignation late last year of Richard E. Barnes, who resigned to take a position with the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

From the news release:

Poust, who received a bachelor’s degree in politics from New York University in 1988, came to the Conference as Director of Communications in 2001 after having lived and worked in Austin, Texas, the previous six years. Born and raised in the Bronx, Poust began his career as a reporter and editor at Catholic New York, newspaper of the Archdiocese of New York, and also contributed regularly to several national Catholic publications.

“I am humbled by this appointment, and I’m so grateful to Cardinal Dolan and the Bishops for their confidence in me,” Poust said. “I’m also tremendously grateful to our incredibly talented and dedicated Conference staff. They have been instrumental in the smoothness of this transition and our successes. I have been very fortunate for nearly two decades to serve under my friend Rick Barnes, whose example I hope to emulate and whose counsel I will continue to value.” 

Poust is married to Mary DeTurris Poust, a Catholic spiritual writer and the Director of Communications for the Diocese of Albany. They live in Delmar, N.Y., and have three children, Noah, Olivia and Chiara.

The appointment was made by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the New York State Catholic Conference, with the consent of the other seven diocesan Bishops of the state.

“My Brother Bishops and I are grateful that Dennis has accepted the position of Executive Director on a permanent basis,” Cardinal Dolan said. “He has brought welcome continuity as the staff navigated the 2021 Legislative Session in Albany. At the same time, we Bishops have been impressed with his vision for the Conference going forward, with a focus on further engaging the Catholic people of our state toward faithful citizenship.”