Peace & Justice

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is a moral imperative

Dennis Sadowski at Catholic News Service reports on this issue:
Bishops ramp up efforts to mobilize church to support new arms pact

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Senate ratification of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is a moral imperative and a necessary step toward the eventual goal of total nuclear disarmament, Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien of Baltimore said.

Speaking during an April 26 panel discussion on the ethics of President Barack Obama's nuclear weapons policy hosted by The Catholic University of America, Archbishop O'Brien urged senators to cast aside partisan differences and approve the START agreement, which calls for what he described as "modest reductions" in American and Russian nuclear arsenals.

Signed April 8 in Prague, Czech Republic, by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the START "follow-on" treaty calls for both countries to reduce their strategic arsenals -- weapons deployed on long-range missiles, bombers and submarines -- to 1,550 each. Under the previous START pact, which expired in December, both countries reduced their strategic arsenals to 2,200 weapons each.

The Russian Duma also must approve the treaty, and from that point, both countries will have seven years to reach the agreement's targets.

The archbishop's call is the most recent public step by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and church leaders to build support for the new round of nuclear disarmament among Catholics in church pews as well as across the wide gap separating Senate Democrats and Republicans.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Help for Haiti (UPDATED)

Barbara DiTommaso, Director of the Commission on Peace and Justice, recently sent the following e-mail, which we share with you:
Dear Friend of Haiti,

Enough folks have wanted to do something hands-on for Haiti, in addition to monetary donations, that I’m organizing a 40’ cargo container of humanitarian aid (or possibly two 20’ containers).

[Below] is a list of the things that have been requested by the Peasant Association of Fondwa. The highest priority now is building materials so earthquake victims who are homeless will have protection when hurricane season starts in June.

I’m looking for storage space where donations can be deposited until it’s time to pack and ship (hopefully May 22).

Do you have room in your cellar, garage, or possibly even in your home? What would be most helpful is drop-off points in various locations, such as the Glens Falls/Saratoga area, Schenectady/Glenville/Scotia area, Amsterdam/Gloversville/Johnston, Hudson/Catskill, Troy/Latham and Albany/Delmar/Rensselaer.

Whether you can offer space or not, would you please forward this request to someone who might?

Mesi anpil (Thanks very much),


Donations needed for Fondwa - clean, and in good condition - to fill a 40’ cargo container

(Please contact the Commission on Peace and Justice before sending the italicized items, as only a few are needed: or 518-453-6695)

Plywood, 2 x 4s, wood for benches (Haiti is deforested, so lumber is precious), corrugated tin, crusher to grind rubble to the size of reusable gravel

Carpenter’s, mechanic’s, & farmer’s hand tools: scaffolding, hammers, saws, screw drivers, pliers, hoes, shovels, pick axes, wheelbarrows

Hardware: nails, screws, hinges, large padlocks, doorknobs, sockets, switches, solar flashlights, AA, B, C, D alkaline batteries

Walkie-talkies that can be used at a distance of at least 2 miles (rechargeable or solar), security flashlights & wand metal detectors for watchmen

Laptop & desktop computers, flash drives, office supplies (including toner), 2 copiers

Backpacks, spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers, rulers, colored pencils, drawing paper, colored paper, children’s scissors, paste, chalk, chalkboard, world & western hemisphere maps, soccer balls, basketballs & hoops

Rice, dried beans, cooking oil, spaghetti, tuna, sardines, tomato paste, sugar, flour, peanut butter, powdered milk, infant formula for orphans

Cooking pots, pans, utensils (not non-stick), can openers, large bowls; stainless steel eating utensils

Vegetable seeds: soybean, okra, eggplant, kale, carrots, beets, squash, lettuce, tomato (esp. Roma), green beans, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower

Buckets, 5-gallon water jugs, empty drums, plastic totes with lids for storage

Cots, sheets, blankets, pillow cases, towels, washcloths, umbrellas, plastic ponchos, rubber boots (not winter), work gloves, tents, tarps


Thursday, April 15, 2010

The website of Sacred Space, a work of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, offers the following reflection on the Holy Father’s General Intention, which was noted in our previous post:
Reflection for the month -Open to God's love

We invite you to join the Pope and Christians throughout the world in reflecting on his prayer intentions for this month:

Fundamentalism and extremism have always existed as the dark side of religion. Today, we hear a lot about Muslim fundamentalists, but all religions have their own forms of it. Fundamentalists are frightened people. They rely on literal interpretations of texts, such as the Bible and the Koran.

Fundamentalists feel themselves to be religiously superior to everybody else, including those whom they see as less devoted followers of their own faiths. They want every aspect of public life to be directed according to their own religious views. They are terrified of change and many of them are uneasy in the modern world, so they yearn for an imaginary golden age in the past, when everybody was strictly religious. Fundamentalists do not like the world in which God has placed us and want to reshape it according to their own views.

We Catholic Christians are asked to admit our limitations, to realise that we do not know everything and to leave room in our daily lives for the working of the Holy Spirit. This keeps us open to God's love in our lives and helps us to share it with others.

Fergus O'Donoghue, S.J.

You might enjoy visiting this special place on the web, here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Holy Father’s General Intention

The Holy Father’s General Intention for April

That every tendency to fundamentalism and extremism may be countered by constant respect, by tolerance, and by dialogue among all believers.


Sunday, April 04, 2010

Resurrection Prayers

From Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems and Reflections for Every Season by Joyce Rupp

So they left the tomb quickly with … great joy, and ran to tell his disciples (Mt 28:8)

Risen One, Bringer of Joy, plant the seeds of great gladness deep in the soil of my being. May I enjoy life, begin each day with enthusiasm, and become ever more aware of you.

And the women came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him (Mt 28:9)

Risen One, Beloved, draw me ever nearer to you. I offer you my love and devotion. I embrace you and bow to your beauty. May I commit my entire life ever more fully to you.

Mary Magdalene went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it (Mk 16:10-11)

Risen One, Truth-Bringer, open my heart to hear your voice. May I listen deeply even when tears of sorrow moisten my heart. Erase my resistance to the surprising ways you choose to enter my life.

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb … (Luke 24:2)

Risen One, Tomb-Opener, you are the power I need. Roll away the stones of unloving. Push back the rocks of discontent. Shove aside the boulders of worry. Untomb me and set me free.

You can read more of Sister Joyce’s spiritual reflections here.


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Family and Friends of Homicide Victims

Family and Friends of Homicide Victims (FFHV) will host a presentation by Christine Robinson of the New York State Department of Parole on Tuesday, April 6 at 6 pm at the Pastoral Center of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, 40 N. Main Street in Albany. The event is free and open to the public.

Ms. Robinson’s presentation is focused on crime victims’ perspectives and concerns surrounding parole. Christine will discuss her work in victim outreach and notification surrounding parole for people who have been incarcerated for felonies in New York State.

FFHV is a monthly gathering of people of who have lost a loved one to murder. The group explores common-ground strategies to build safer, stronger communities.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Year for Priests

Pope Benedict XVI has declared June 2009 to June 2010 as the Year for Priests. The theme for the priestly year is “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests.” Its purpose is to encourage what the Pope calls “the yearning for spiritual perfection” in priests.

But the Year for Priests also gives lay people a special opportunity to learn more about priesthood, to recognize and honor priests, and to encourage priestly vocations. Our Sunday Visitor offers a useful brochure entitled "Five Ways to Support My Parish Priest," here. You should take a look.