Peace & Justice

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

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Immigrants in a time of COVID-19

Yesterday, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, submitted testimony to Congress during a hearing titled “Immigrants as Essential Workers During COVID-19.” From the written testimony, Bishop Dorsonville states:

“Immigrants and refugees are a blessing to our country. The Church teaches that every human being is created in God’s image and deserves dignity and respect and that human labor has an inherent dignity, allowing all to share in the ongoing work of creation, while providing the resources to build and sustain families.

“The contributions of essential workers have become undoubtedly more important during COVID-19. While many essential workers are U.S. citizens, many are also immigrants and refugees. Immigrants comprise 31% of U.S. agricultural employees… [and] they risk their own safety to support their families and to ensure continuity in the nation’s food supply chains.

“In addition to being highly vulnerable to COVID-19, immigrant and refugee essential workers are less likely to have access to medical care and thus far have been completely left out of any federal COVID-19 relief or assistance. We urge Congress to include immigrant and refugee families in any future COVID-19 relief as well as be made eligible for past relief efforts. Additionally, we continue to advocate Congress for a path to citizenship for undocumented workers who have been living, working, and contributing to our country. As Pope Francis states: No one must be left behind.”

Bishop Dorsonville’s full testimony is available here

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Trump or Biden?

It is no secret that neither the Republican nor the Democratic candidate for President adheres to all the principles of Catholic social teaching. As a result, many Catholics are not sure how they should cast their ballot.

Some groups argue that abortion is the overriding issue of our time, and that it is the only one that matters. Others want us to also look at issues such as climate change, care for poor and immigrants, and the death penalty.


To help us in this process, America magazine, a Jesuit publication, has published two important articles; one is the Catholic case for Trump and the other is the Catholic case for Biden.


John Carr, who helped write the first bishops’ document on Catholics and voting, argues in favor of a Biden vote. You can read his article here.

Teresa S. Collett, a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas, make the Catholic case for Trump here. 

The bishops' document on voting, Faithful Citizenship, is available here.

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Friday, September 18, 2020

How should I vote?

On Tuesday September 29, from 2-3 p.m., the Catholic Climate Covenant will host a webinar with the interesting title, “I’m Catholic, How Should I Discern? Conscience, Discernment, and Voting as an Act of Love."  

The session is intended to help Catholics understand the Church’s teaching on conscience and discernment as it relates to their vote ahead of the November election. Speakers will discuss not only the importance of particular issues when discerning, but also candidate character and moral values.  

Presenters include:

  • Daniel R. DiLeo, PhD, Catholic moral theologian and director of Creighton University’s Justice and Peace Studies Program 
  • Jill Rauh, director of Education and Outreach in the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops 
  • Brenna Davis, director of Education for Justice and Environmental Initiatives at the Ignatian Solidarity Network. 
For more information or to register, click here.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice

The Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, which bills itself as the largest annual Catholic social justice gathering in the United States, will be a virtual event from October 24-26 this year. Nevertheless, it will follow the traditional Teach-In format with more than 40 speakers, breakouts, prayer and liturgy, and advocacy.

This year’s theme is “Prophetic Resilience: Breaking Down. Building Up.” Organizers say that "the events of this year emphasize the need to gather as members of a community committed to social justice for continued education and action."


From the website:

Inspired by people of faith who witness to the truth of our interdependence, we are called to break down all that separates us from the love of God, from each other, and from flourishing. We are called to become vulnerable in order to break down biases and unfair privileges. We are called to holy boldness in order to name divisive self-interests and uproot the causes of oppression and violence. We are called to uncover and remember, in the words of Pope Francis during the coronavirus pandemic, “our blessed common belonging, of which we cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters.”


Inspired by communities of faith who remind us of our power as co-creators with God, we are called to build up our individual and collective capacities for healing and justice. We are called to rise up for the common good. We are called to tap into the energy of the Spirit at work in ourselves and in others so that, in the words of Sr. Ita Ford who was murdered in El Salvador 40 years ago, we may find something that gives us deep meaning and keeps us moving forward together.


Using the power of a virtual space to connect our network, the 2020 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice will serve as a witness to our resilience—continuing our work to collectively seek a more just world even in the midst of a pandemic. 


In these days in particular, we are called to prophetic resilience, described by Sr. Thea Bowman,  whose death 30 years ago we commemorate and whose holiness we seek: “let us sing, let us resolve, let us unite, let us be practical and let us break bread together.”

Participants will receive access to an on-demand library of all conference speakers, supplemental materials, and virtual exhibitor materials through June 1, 2021.


The Teach-in will feature a high school track and a professional development track. Information about the program and how to register is available here. People who register by September 16 save $5 per ticket. 


Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Catholics and BLM

Many Catholics are concerned that they cannot support the Black Lives Matter movement because some of the founders of the Black Lives Matter Global Network are Marxists. Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore wrote an excellent article on the matter in America magazine. The archbishop writes:

At the outset, it is important to clarify that my efforts here are not intended to address, and certainly not to endorse, the specific political organization legally known as the BlackLivesMatter Global Network. Many ideological platforms and tactical strategies promoted under the umbrella of the phrase “Black Lives Matter” are in direct contradiction to church teaching and should rightfully be rejected by faithful Catholics. Rather, the question before us as Catholics is this: Is there a truth reflected in these words that transcends partisan platforms and ideological constructs, a truth that indeed resonates with the Gospel values that flow from our faith?

[Spoiler alert: the answer is Yes.]

The complete article is available here.


Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Use your mask

We can demonstrate our love of neighbor by wearing a face mask during this pandemic. To make the mask effective, we need to wear it properly The CDC offers this advice on doing just that.


Saturday, September 05, 2020

Season of Creation

To mark this year’s Season of Creation, the Catholic Climate Covenant is hosting a five-part webinar series, “On the Common Good & Our Common Home,” for U.S. Catholics to:


-       Understand how Catholic social teaching (CST) and creation care are essential to the fullness of faith and the Church’s mission;


-       Facilitate courageous conversations about climate change and Catholic civic participation; and


-       Apply Catholic Social Teaching, including creation care, to form one’s conscience ahead of the 2020 elections.


The Season of Creation is celebrated annually between September 1 and October 4. It is a special time for Christians, as we are called to renew our faith in the God of all creation and join in prayer and action for the care of our common home.


Here are the details so far:


Webinar #1:  Thursday, September 10, 3:00-4:00 PM EST

The first webinar of the series is “Catholic Social Teaching, Politics, and the Fullness of Faith.“ This will be the foundational webinar outlining the virtue of political participation and the foundations of Catholic social teaching as essential to the fullness of faith. When you register you will automatically receive a link to the recording.

Presenters include:

Most Reverend John E. Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop of Lexington, KY

Daniel R. DiLeo, PhD, Director of the Justice and Peace Studies Program at Creighton University

Moderator: Dan Misleh, Executive Director of Catholic Climate Covenant

Register for Catholic Social Teaching, Politics, and the Fullness of Faith webinar here: REGISTER for WEBINAR #1


Webinar #2: Monday, September 14th, 3:00-4:00 PM EST

The second webinar in the series, “Climate Change, Our Faith Values, and 2020”, is hosted by Interfaith Power & Light, Catholic Climate Covenant, and Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. This webinar will equip attendees on how to effectively hold ‘courageous conversations’ with your faithful family, friends, and colleagues about the importance of caring for Creation and voting our values.


Here is some background on the Catholic Climate Covenant from their website.


In 2006, to address growing ecological awareness and the need to implement Catholic social teaching on ecology within the US Church, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) helped form Catholic Climate Covenant. Inspired by the USCCB's 2001 statement on climate change, and supported by 19 national partners (which include the USCCB, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, the Catholic Health Association, congregations of religious men and women, and other national organizations), Catholic Climate Covenant helps US Catholics respond to the Church's call to care for creation and care for the poor.


We are grounded in the Church's deep history of teaching on creation, ecology, and the poor. Caring for creation and caring for the poor have been a part of the Catholic story since the beginning, but in recent years St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and especially Pope Francis have added a sense of urgency to their call for Catholics to act on climate change. The US Bishops themselves having been calling for action since 1981.


Catholics do care about climate change and they're working hard to create solutions. Catholic Climate Covenant is at the center of these efforts. With the approval and support of the United States bishops, we help guide the US Church's response to the moral call for action on climate change by sharing authentic Catholic teaching on creation and the poor and by informing and inspiring community leaders to take action (education); by sharing stories of those most affected by climate impacts in the public square (public witness); and by providing concrete tools, techniques, and technical assistance to help Catholic peoples and institutions reduce their carbon footprint and to work for justice (resources).


Catholic Climate Covenant can help you answer the call to care for creation and the poor through the sharing of Church teaching, our resources, and our programs. Loving God's creation and God's most vulnerable is at the heart of who we are as Catholics.


#CatholicClimateCovenant #Season OfCreation


Thursday, September 03, 2020

Frederick Douglass in Ireland

CBS News had this interesting segment on the connection between Frederick Douglass and Ireland, providing another reason why Catholics should fight racism. Many of the people who are prejudiced against Blacks in our day are the descendants of people who once were prejudiced against Catholics.