Peace & Justice

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

Friday, September 27, 2013

Immigration reform info

Confused about all the talk involving immigration reform? The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has a short  background paper about the need for comprehensive reform here. On the Bishops’ agenda:
1) a path to citizenship for the undocumented population in the country;
2) reform of the family-based immigration system to reunite families—husband, wife, and children—more expeditiously;
3) a future flow low-skilled worker program for migrant workers to enter and work in the U.S. safely and legally;
4) the restoration of due process protections for immigrants; and
5) policies which address the root causes of migration--poverty and persecution.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bishop Hubbard to address "Faith for a Fair NY"

Bishop Howard Hubbard will be on of the featured speakers next month at the 1st Annual "Faith for a Fair NY" Teach-In, to held from noon on October 22nd to 1 p.m. on October 23 at the Dominican Retreat Center, Latham. The event is sponsored by the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State and the New York State Council of Churches.
According to the announcement:
This is an opportunity for people of faith from around the state to network, learn, and take action around issues of social justice. 
Keynote speakers:
Kim Bobo, Executive Director and founder of Interfaith Worker Justice
The Most Rev. Howard Hubbard, Bishop of Albany and long-time economic justice advocate
Participants will choose from workshops covering a diverse range of issues including:
Quality education
Immigration Reform
The Farm Bill and SNAP
Creating living wage communities
Interfaith organizing
Join with people of faith throughout the state to come together to build relationships and work towards meaningful change. Each person plays an important role in the struggle for social justice in New York State, and it is only together that we will fully realize our vision for dignity, equality and economic security for all New Yorkers. I look forward to greeting you at the Retreat Center as together we put our passion into action. 
Costs: $75 for commuters, includes 4 meals
$125 for overnight guests-lodging and 4 meals vegetarian options available at every meal. 
Register by October 15 by sending payment (check made out to Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS) and contact info to:  
The Rev. Brooke Newell 
PO Box 203 
Jay, NY 12941  
Questions? Please call Rev. Newell at 518-946-2573 or email her at

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Friday, September 06, 2013

Praying for Syria

At the behest of Pope Francis, Catholics in the Capital District will gather at the Church of St. Mary in Clinton Heights at 7 p.m. Saturday to pray for peace in Syria. The service will include a rosary for peace, a litany for God’s peace, and exposition and adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Also, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has written a letter to Congress opposing military intervention in Syria. They write, in part:
We absolutely condemn the use of chemical weapons in Syria. These indiscriminate weapons have no place in the arsenals of the family of nations. With you we mourn for the lives lost and grieve with the families of the deceased. At the same time, we remain profoundly concerned for the more than 100,000 Syrians who have lost their lives, the more than 2 million who have fled the country as refugees, and the more than 4 million within Syria who have been driven from their homes by the violence. Our focus is on the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Syria and on saving lives by ending the conflict, not fueling it.  
We have heard the urgent calls of the Successor of Saint Peter, Pope Francis, and our suffering brother bishops of the venerable and ancient Christian communities of the Middle East. As one, they beg the international community not to resort to military intervention in Syria. They have made it clear that a military attack will be counterproductive, will exacerbate an already deadly situation, and will have unintended negative consequences. Their concerns strongly resonate in American public opinion that questions the wisdom of intervention and in the lack of international consensus.  
We make our own the appeal of Pope Francis: "I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people. May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries."  
The Congressional resolution acknowledges that "the conflict in Syria will only be resolved through a negotiated political settlement." A central moral question is: Will more or less lives and livelihoods be destroyed by military intervention? On this question Pope Francis has been clear: "How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed!" Instead of employing armed force, in this situation our nation, working with the international community, should direct all of its energies urgently and tirelessly toward dialogue and negotiation.  
The longstanding position of our Conference of Bishops is that the Syrian people urgently need a political solution. We ask the United States to work with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities.

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Monday, September 02, 2013

Bishop’s Labor Day Reflection

Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard has used his monthly column in The Evangelist to address income inequality, the importance of unions and other issues of importance to both business and labor:
As Labor Day approaches this year, there are both some hopeful and some ominous signs. The unemployment rate has fallen to 7.4 percent, the lowest since 2008, as the economy has added jobs for 34 consecutive months.  
But as Bishop Stephen Blaire, the author of our U.S. bishops' 2013 Labor Day statement, writes: "Over four million people have been jobless for over six months, and that does not include the millions more who have simply lost hope; for every available job, there are as many as five unemployed and underemployed people actively vying for it. This gap pushes wages down - half of the jobs in this country pay less than $27,000. Over 46 million people live in poverty, 16 million of them children."  
Furthermore, income inequality has grown at an alarming rate. In the 1960s, the average compensation of an American CEO was about 25 times the average compensation of a production worker. That ratio rose to about 70 times by the end of the 1980s, and to around 250 times these days.  
Equally distressing is the growing income disparity between the haves and the have-nots. Today, the United States has less equality of opportunity than almost any other advanced industrialized country. Study after study has exposed the myth that America is the "land of opportunity."
The entire column is here.

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