Peace & Justice

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Building Peace with Justice

Building Peace with Justice is a brief, weekly bulletin reflection on Catholic social teaching written by members of a Rochester Diocese Public Policy sub-committee. This is the reflection for July 5.

As baptized Christians the Gospel is a two-fold gift to us. It is our guide and strength as we navigate a faith-centered life, and it is our work, which is the building of the reign of God. As we live and preach the message of the Gospel, we can also expect resistance to the message. We will face our own weaknesses, we will face those who revolt against the message, and like Jesus, we may be rejected by those we love and respect the most. Living the Gospel is hard work with no guarantees of success. In the face of resistance, Mother Theresa urged us to "Be kind anyway, love anyway, be good anyway." This Gospel living is between you and God and God is carrying you always.

Reflection: Is your eye on God and living the Gospel?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Respecting the Just Rights of Workers

Catholic News Service reports on efforts designed to set out the principles to be followed in labor negotiations at Catholic health care facilities:
After more than two years of consultations, leaders from Catholic health care, the labor movement and the U.S. bishops' conference have agreed on a set of principles designed to ensure a fair process as health care workers decide whether to join a union.

A 12-page document laying out the principles, titled "Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Unions," was made public June 22 during a teleconference call from Washington.

"The heart of this unusual consensus is that it's up to workers -- not bishops, hospital managers or union leaders -- to decide ... whether or not to be represented by a union and if so, which union, in the workplace," said Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington and a participant in the consultations.

"Because Catholic health care is a ministry, not an industry, how it treats its workers and how organized labor treats Catholic health care are not simply internal matters," the cardinal added. "They are also not just another arena for labor conflict and tactics, but ought to reflect long-standing Catholic teaching on work and workers, health care and the common good."
The entire article is available here.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Death penalty injustice?

Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, a supporter of the death penalty, writes about a case in which an innocent man may be executed.
There is no abuse of government power more egregious than executing an innocent man. But that is exactly what may happen if the United States Supreme Court fails to intervene on behalf of Troy Davis.

Mr. Davis is facing execution for the 1989 murder of an off-duty police officer in Savannah, Ga., even though seven of the nine witnesses have recanted their testimony against him. Many of these witnesses now say they were pressured into testifying falsely against him by police officers who were understandably eager to convict someone for killing a comrade. No court has ever heard the evidence of Mr. Davis's innocence.

After the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit barred Mr. Davis from raising his claims of innocence, his attorneys last month petitioned the Supreme Court for an original writ of habeas corpus. This would be an extraordinary procedure - provided for by the Constitution but granted only a handful of times since 1900. However, absent this, Mr. Davis faces an extraordinary and obviously final injustice.
. . .
It would seem in everyone's interest to find out as best we can what really happened that night 20 years ago in a dim parking lot where Officer Mark MacPhail was shot dead. With no murder weapon, surveillance videotape or DNA evidence left behind, the jury that judged Mr. Davis had to weigh the conflicting testimony of several eyewitnesses to sift out the gunman from the onlookers who had nothing to do with the heinous crime.
. . .
I am a firm believer in the death penalty, but I am an equally firm believer in the rights and protections guaranteed by the Constitution. To execute Troy Davis without having a court hear the evidence of his innocence would be unconscionable and unconstitutional.
The rest of the article, which appeared in The New York Times, is available here.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Building Peace with Justice

Building Peace with Justice is a brief, weekly bulletin reflection on Catholic social teaching written by members of a Rochester Diocese Public Policy sub-committee. This is the reflection for June 21, 2009

Jesus brings peace even to the stormy seas. The Gospel of Jesus teaches us to seek peace and to serve those in need. In his 2009 World Day of Peace message, Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that “to fight poverty is to build peace.” Yet, our budget priorities seem to ignore the connection between peace and poverty. The United States spends $1,752 per person in the U.S. each year on the military but only $46 per person each year on development.

Action: Urge our leaders to correct our mistaken priorities—to reflect papal teaching and the message of the Gospel.