Peace & Justice

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

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Call before 4 p.m. TODAY

From Catholic Charities USA:
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote TODAY at 4:00 p.m. on S.744, the Border Security, Economic Competitiveness, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. Please call your Senators at (202) 224-3121 and ask that they vote Yes on S.744. Catholic Charities USA joins with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the other members of the Justice for Immigrants coalition in supporting comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship and strengthens families.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Workers' wages

In testimony this week before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said that a discussion of workers' wages is a good starting point for fixing the U.S. economy.
Bishop Blaire cited statistics from the Congressional Budget Office, which reported last year that the average income of the wealthiest one percent of Americans has increased 275 percent over the last 30 years. The income of the poorest 20 percent, on average, increased by less than 20 percent, despite an increase in worker productivity over the same time.

Bishop Blaire quoted Catholic teaching from Popes Leo XIII, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, on the rights and dignity of workers. "A just wage confirms the dignity of the worker," said Bishop Blaire. "And conversely, a wage that does not even allow a worker to support a family or meet basic human needs tears her down and demeans her dignity. The worker becomes just another commodity."
More information on the hearing and Bishop Blaire's testimony is available online.

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Friday, June 07, 2013

2013 Farm Bill Update

Numerous Catholic organizations, led by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, support important provisions in the 2013 Farm Bill that save lives, lift people out of poverty and promote environmental stewardship. The bishops acknowledge that reducing future unsustainable deficits is important but remind Congress that their decisions are not just economic in nature but are “political and moral choices with human consequences.” However, at a time of continued unemployment and high levels of poverty, the Senate should oppose cuts to effective anti-hunger programs that help people live in dignity and strengthen and support programs that help conserve our land and resources for future generations.
The Catholic community also urges further reductions in subsidies and reforms to crop insurance subsidies so that small and medium-sized farmers and ranchers who truly need assistance, especially minority owned farms, are supported rather than larger growers and industrial agriculture. Savings from cuts to subsidies should be used to support hunger and nutrition programs that feed hungry, poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad.  
USCCB POSITION/CHURCH TEACHING: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI stated that “Liberation from the yoke of hunger is the first concrete expression of the right to life.” The U.S. bishops and their Catholic partners also remind Congress that food is a fundamental human right. For more information about our position, read their recent letter to Congress. Visit the USCCB website for more information, updates and alerts on the Farm Bill.  
The USCCB and other Catholic organizations also recently joined with an additional 100 organizations, urging Congress to support and protect the SNAP program from cuts and changes that would harm vulnerable and hungry people in need.
You can learn more here.

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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

One of the world's most solvable problems

Calling hunger "one of the world's most solvable problems," the Vatican's representative to the United Nations said that it is "a shame that so many of the poor people in the world continue to find themselves helpless victims of chronic hunger." Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, spoke to a U.N. General Assembly meeting on sustainable development goals.

He also described world hunger and malnutrition as "all the more egregious when we grasp the reality that malnutrition remains the world's biggest health risk -- claiming more victims each year than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined."

The archbishop called the lack of access to adequate food and nutrition "a moral and humanitarian crisis exacerbated by manmade policies and practices" such as failing to provide access to markets for producers in developing countries, diverting food resources from consumption to energy production, waste of food resources and armed conflicts.

"In face of the world's hungry, the grotesque spectacle of foodstuffs being forcibly destroyed in order to preserve higher market prices for producers, primarily in developed countries, constitutes a reprehensible practice which prioritizes economic profit over the needs of those starving,"

You can read more here.

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