Peace & Justice

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

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Righteous Among the Nations

Catholic News Agency reports that Israel’s official Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem has named the World War II-era Archbishop of Florence, Cardinal Elia Dalla Costa, as "Righteous Among the Nations" for his help in rescuing hundreds of Jews from Nazi persecution.
Yad Vashem said on Nov. 26 that the cardinal "played a central role in the organization and operation of a widespread rescue network."
The Nazis began to deport Jews after the German occupation of Italy in September 1943. A major rescue effort in Florence was begun by the city’s Jewish leader Rabbi Nathan Cassuto and Jewish resistance fighter Raffaele Cantoni. The operation soon became a joint Jewish-Christian effort, with the cardinal offering guidance.

Cardinal Dalla Costa recruited rescuers among the clergy and supplied letters asking monasteries and convents to shelter Jews. He sheltered Jewish refugees in his own palace for short periods before they could be taken to safety.

Yad Vashem said the cardinal was part of a network that helped save hundreds of local Jews and Jewish refugees from areas previously under Italian control.
The story also notes:
Until earlier this year, the Yad Vashem memorial’s exhibit on Pope Pius XII mainly echoed his critics, saying the Pope "did not protest" the murder of Jews.

The memorial has since changed the exhibit panel, citing recent research. It acknowledges the Pope’s condemnation of ethnic persecution and the efforts of the Holy See to save Jews.
The entire story is here.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rural Women's Conference this weekend

Rural & Migrant Ministry and the Daughters of Sarah are sponsoring the 7th Annual Destiny: Rural Women's Conference at the Holiday Inn in Binghamton, New York on Friday, November 30th at 4pm through Sunday, December 2nd, 11am.

Keynote Speaker Ms. Librada Paz, the 2012 Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights Laureate will be joined by Donna Robinson - The Traveling Nanny, Uzo Unobagha - Award-winning Author, Jeannine Otis - Music Director of St. Mark's Church in the Bowery and world-wide performer, and Martha Chavez - Placement Career Services Developer, Pathstone, Inc.
The Rural Women's Conference is a unique opportunity for rural women to gain strength from each other and network with educational, practical, health-related, spiritual and creative allies as they develop strategies for change through education. Eight (8) workshops will address issues of sexism, creativity, success, worker justice, domestic issues, spirituality, purpose, women and children's health and rejuvenation through Yoga.

Reservations are $200/pp. Scholarships, translation and childcare are available.

The program and registration form are here.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pursuing Justice

The New York State Catholic Conference, which is responsible for translating Catholic teachings into action in the public policy arena of New York State, has released a new version of its social justice booklet that explains how Catholic social teaching intersects with public policy.

While the Conference often speaks about issues that have both moral and political dimensions, it directs its attention to the issues, not to political parties or candidates. The Bishops do not instruct people how they should vote, nor seek to form a religious voting bloc, nor support or oppose political candidates.

The Conference encourages Catholics across the state to become more aware, concerned and active in efforts to shape public policies for the betterment of all society, by joining the Catholic Action Network and raising our voices on behalf of the voiceless.

You can read the entire document and print the PDF version here.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Bishop Howard J. Hubbard writes about increasing the minimum wage in today’s Times Union:

If the minimum wage is raised to $8.50, 880,000 workers in New York would directly get a raise, while another 200,000 who have wages just above the proposed new minimum would also see a wage increase as employers adjust overall pay structures. This translates into more than $600 million in additional economic activity, which means more jobs, according to an analysis by the Fiscal Policy Institute.

By raising the minimum wage, we begin to discern the path toward dignity and respect for all members of our society that faith and justice demands. We also make the practical choice to balance wages and boost the economy. The working people and lagging economy of New York cannot wait any longer.

I urge the governor and Legislature to address this pressing issue either in a special session this year or as a priority item in 2013. That would give all New Yorkers something for which to be grateful.

The entire article is here.

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Work of Human Hands Sales

Fair trade gives people in poor countries a wage closer to the real value of their work. Each year, the Diocesan Commission on Peace and Justice sponsor fair trade sales in parishes, featuring products like textiles, baskets, home décor, Christmas decorations, coffee, tea and chocolate. For more information, e-mail

The schedule for the remaining Work Of Human Hands sales:

December 1-2
Holy Spirit, East Greenbush
St. John the Baptist, Greenville
St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Niskayuna (St. Helen’s)

December 8-9
St. Vincent de Paul, Albany
Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Rotterdam
Our Lady of Victory, Troy

December 15-16
St. Clement’s, Saratoga Springs


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Prayer after an election

From the website of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Heal us from our differences and unite us, O Lord, with a common purpose, dedication, and commitment to achieve liberty and justice in the years ahead for all people, and especially those who are most vulnerable in our midst.
The entire prayer is here.

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Thursday, November 01, 2012

The power of negative ads

The Times Union reports today that a Union College psychology professor, along with researchers from the University of Belgrade Yale University, have found that negative political ads appear to work well, and therefore, we should expect more of them in the future.

A Union College psychology professor has found that negative political attitudes (i.e. "I don't like Romney") are stronger than positive attitudes (i.e. "I like Obama"). George Bizer found those feelings only strengthened when people think more deeply about the issues involved, according to a new paper he recently published in the British Journal of Social Psychology.

. . .

After people formed positive or negative opinions about the candidates, those who disliked a candidate felt more strongly about their distaste. And it wasn't just a knee-jerk reaction. Those who disliked a candidate dug in deeper the more they had a chance to reflect on their choice. In other words, it's more effective for a political campaign to get voters to dislike a candidate. Once they form a negative opinion, they're far less likely to change it.

Kind of makes you think. Or does it? You can read more here.