Peace & Justice

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

Saturday, December 03, 2011

On visiting Occupy Albany

Barbara DiTommaso, executive director of the Commission on Peace and Justice, wrote an article for the religion page of today’s Times Union. In it, she discusses a recent visit with other religious leaders to the site of Occupy Albany and raises some interesting questions:
Pop quiz: In the Jewish and Christian scriptures, how many references are there to the rights of those who are poor and vulnerable? How many mentions are there of the rights of the rich? If you answered "over 190" to the first question, you're correct. If you replied "zero"to the second, you're right again.

This clear orientation was in evidence on Nov. 4 as Capital Region religious leaders and their representatives led prayers and reflections relating to Occupy Albany, and the larger Occupy movement across the country, to our religious beliefs.

In a cold wind that drove home the personal sacrifices made by those who were staying during the day and night in Academy Park, we were warmed by the familiar phrases that had moved me to choose social ministry as my life's focus.

The orphan, the widow and the stranger — or, as we would say today, the immigrant — of special concern to God because they cannot fend for themselves, and so their counterparts in today's world must be of special concern to us of Judeo-Christian heritage. Those who are marginalized in society aren't to be merely the objects of our concern. We care about them because we identify with them and their suffering. Many in the Occupy movement understand this.
The rest of the column is here.