Peace & Justice

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Majority misunderstands Obamacare

According to Stanford social psychologist Jon Krosnick, PhD, and colleagues at GfK, the Associated Press and elsewhere, people’s understanding and view of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) would improve if education efforts were to correct public misunderstanding of the law:
Survey participants had been asked, among other things, 18 questions about whether a certain provision was in the bill passed by Congress, and while often-large majorities gave correct answers regarding many provisions, 0 percent answered all questions correctly.  
“No Americans correctly understood what is and is not in the ACA,” Krosnick said. “Many people did not know that [certain] elements of the bill are included in it. And many people believed that the bill included elements (e.g. so-called “death panels”) that are not actually in the ACA.”  
The researchers probed further to find that the majority of participants favored most of the elements of the health law that the researchers looked at; in fact, only three plan elements were not favored by the majority. The majority of participants also opposed policies that were sometimes erroneously thought to be part of the law – fewer than 20 percent, for example, supported “death panels.” In addition, the results show that the more accurate a person’s beliefs were about the 18 elements that the researchers asked about, the more he or she liked the law.  
“We can infer that if people were to learn fully what the ACA includes, public approval of the bill would increase,” said Krosnick.
You can read more here.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The status on foreign aid?

Mike Huckabee, the former Republican governor of Arkansas, says the U.S. government should still invest in foreign assistance.
American investments in cost-effective vaccines will help save nearly 4 million children’s lives from preventable diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea over the next five years. We’ve also helped to deliver 290 million mosquito nets to Malaria-stricken countries, and put 46 million children in school for the very first time. And thanks to the leadership of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, 8 million HIV/AIDS patients now have access to life-saving treatments, up from just 300,000 a decade ago, making an AIDS-free generation a real possibility within our lifetimes.

A healthier, less impoverished planet is good for all of us. From an economic standpoint, it allows people to contribute more to the marketplace and lead productive lives. U.S. foreign assistance opens new markets to U.S. goods and services and creates new trading partners and allies.
You can read more here.

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The Catholic vote?

The Public Religion Research Institute has released a survey showing that American Catholics -- and the "Catholic vote" -- is far from the monolith some politicians might like to believe they are.
"The survey confirms that there is no such thing as the 'Catholic vote,'" Robert P. Jones, CEO of PPRI and co-author of the report, told Reuters. "There are a number of critical divisions among Catholics, including an important divide between 'social justice' and "right to life' Catholics."  
For instance, on the question of the public engagement of the church, the survey found important divisions between Catholics who prefer a “social justice” emphasis that focuses on helping the poor and Catholics who prefer a “right to life” emphasis that focuses on issues such as abortion.
The entire report is here.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When the Magisterium Intervenes

In America magazine, Thomas P. Rausch, S.J., professor of Catholic theology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, reviews When the Magisterium Intervenes: The Magisterium and Theologians in Today's Church:
The result of the work of a three-year “interest group” that brought together a remarkable number of theologians at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 conventions of the Catholic Theological Society of America, Richard Gaillardetz’s book is an effort to address what he calls the “pronounced magisterial activism” that began under Pope John Paul II and continues with Pope Benedict XVI. He shows in the Introduction that the contemporary magisterium is largely a product of the 19th century. The church of the Middle Ages recognized various modes of teaching authority and a diversity of voices. Theological faculties of the great universities like Paris and Bologna generally arbitrated theological disputes. Aquinas spoke of two magisteria, one of degreed scholars, the other the pastoral teaching office of the bishops. Popes and bishops for centuries played a relatively minor role.
The entire review is here.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Electoral Responsibility

The editors of America magazine write that both presidential candidates have taken positions that are incompatible with the moral law.
How will the United States change after Nov. 6? The political rhetoric has verged on apocalyptic. Yet while the outcome of the U.S. presidential election will have far-reaching consequences, especially for those who live at the margins of American society, candidates and voters alike should recall the words of the Psalmist: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save” (Ps. 146:3). That caution is especially poignant for many Catholic voters, who are once again caught between their desire to participate in civic life and the sad fact that both presidential candidates have taken positions that are incompatible with the moral law. That the candidates’ moral miscalculations extend even to the gravest questions of life and death only further vexes the Catholic conscience.
The entire editorial is here.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Job opening

The newspaper CITY & STATE reports there is an interesting job opening:

Executive Director, Civilian Complaint Review Board

Salary: $150,000 - $180,000.00

Description: The Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) is charged with investigating and mediating complaints filed by members of the public against New York City police officers involving the use of excessive or unnecessary force, abuse of authority, discourtesy or offensive language. The Board seeks to hire an Executive Director to oversee the approximate $12 million budget and to implement strategies to improve the agency’s performance. The Executive Director reports directly to the Board and is responsible for all that is involved in the day-to-day operation of the agency and its staff.

Further Info: For full job description visit or send resume and cover letter to with JVN # 91312-054-2012 on resume and cover letter.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fair elections for New York

Citizen Action will conduct a training session regarding its growing campaign to win publicly financed Fair Elections for New York. The details:

Saturday, October 13, 2012
9:00 am to 1:00 pm
94 Central Avenue, Albany

For more information, call 518.465.4600 x 115.
To register, go here.

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Monday, October 01, 2012

Praying like a faithful citizen

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a prayer service to help Catholics understand the call to faithful citizenship, here.