Statement of Catholic Bishops and Participants in the Regional Consultation on Migration
(North America, Central America and the Caribbean)
San José, Costa Rica
June 3, 2011
click here to read the Bishop's statement
Partnership for Global Justice:
The 9th Annual Youth Assembly (YA) which takes place August 3-5, 2011 at UN Headquarters, NYC, demonstrates what committed, global youth leaders can and have accomplished in support of the MDGs. Each year the reviews grow stronger in appreciation for what the Youth Assembly offers and what it proves we can all do together. The program designed for youth ages 16-24,at the United Nations remains free after a low registration fee and registration acceptance. Please spread the word and encourage our young people to attend this excellent assembly. For more information go to: www.faf.org/UNYouthassembly.
Commission on Social Development: Social development: Making people, not profits, a priority
Poverty is a multi-dimensional phenomenon, and one that must be dealt with by placing people and their needs at the center of development, rather than profit. Clearly, this is not a popular notion among the developed nations, including our own, where profit is what the economy is all about.
From Feb. 9-18, the UN Commission for Social Development met in New York, to address the priority theme of poverty eradication.
International Women’s Day is an occasion marked by people around the world. On March 8 women on all continents came together to celebrate their common history of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development. Attached is a summary of the activity of the current session of the Commission for Social Development compiled by our colleague, Margaret Mayce, OP of the Dominican Leadership Conference.
International Women's Day—March 8, 2011. The first truly “international” women’s day was observed in 1911 when Austria, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland joined with the United States to advocate for the rights of women across the globe. Attached is more information on how groups might celebrate International Women’s Day and a prayer service for that day. Also attached is a prayer service on the issue of Human Trafficking that may be useful to your group. These were compiled by our colleague Eileen Reilly, SSND of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
Partnership for Global Justice, 211 East 43rd Street, Suite 708, New York, NY 10017, 212-682-6481, website: www.partnershipforglobaljustice.com
Circular Letter to Priests on Missionary Identity
"The Missionary Identity of the Priest in the Church Which Is Intrinsic to the Exercise of the 'Tria Munera'"
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 6, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is the circular letter that Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, wrote on "The Missionary Identity of the Priest in the Church Which Is Intrinsic to the Exercise of the 'Tria Munera.'"
Clergy Congregation Stresses Missionary Renewal Encourages Authentic Discipleship of Jesus
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 2, 2011 (Zenit.org).-
In a circular letter recently publicized, the Congregation for Clergy is emphasizing the need for a renewal in the missionary commitment of priests as an essential element of their vocation. Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the congregation, wrote a presentation, dated Jan. 21, for the circular letter on "The Missionary Identity of the Priest in the Church, as an Intrinsic Dimension of the Exercise of the 'Tria Munera.'" ZENIT will publish the circular letter in its Saturday document service. The "tria munera" refers to the clergy's ministries of teaching, sanctifying and governing, which correspond to Christ's threefold office of Prophet, Priest and King.
The letter was the fruit of the congregation's last plenary assembly, which was held in March 2009. As a forward to the letter, the March 16, 2009 address of Benedict XVI to the assembly participants was included. In that address, the Pontiff affirmed, "In the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, that is, of the fact that God became man like us, lies both the content and the method of Christian proclamation." He continued: "The true dynamic center of the mission is here: precisely in Jesus Christ. The centrality of Christ brings with it the correct appreciation of the ministerial priesthood, without which there would be neither the Eucharist, nor even the mission nor the Church itself."
Cardinal Piacenza underlined the priority of renewing the commitment to missionary activity as stressed by the plenary assembly participants. He acknowledged that "the progressive pace of secularism, with its corrosive consequences for those social and cultural structures which facilitated the transmission of the faith, suggests a need for a genuine 'leap' of responsibility both in terms of mission ad gentes, as well as in the daily exercise of the ministry that must be lived in an authentically apostolic, and therefore missionary fashion." The prelate noted that this mission is "founded explicitly on the mission of Christ in which all priests share by virtue of sacramental ordination."
The foundation "There can be no authentic and effective pastoral and missionary activity unless accompanied with an effective and affective consciousness of being disciples of the Lord," he affirmed. "Understood in this sense," the cardinal continued, "mission is not so much the organization of events, the results of which are dependent on human capacities, and even less so a strategy for some form of universal indoctrination."
He explained, "Mission happens and is effective wherever an authentic disciple of the Lord lives, prays, suffers and works." Cardinal Piacenza stated, "An essential element of any possible renewal of missionary praxis must be a deepening of discipleship." He continued, "If our particular Churches, or communities, or even if we ourselves have no sense of the urgency of proclaiming Christ to all whom we encounter, we have to ask ourselves the primary and fundamental question: To what extent are we disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ?" "The missionary characteristic is not something extraneous that is appended externally to the structure of the Church," he stated. "Rather, it is almost a note of the Church that is intimately connected with apostolicity and catholicity."
The circular letter from the congregation offered some concrete proposals for renewing the missionary commitment, and called on the various episcopal conferences to develop local applications. Cardinal Piacenza concluded, "It is hoped that the circular letter will contribute to sustaining the daily missionary commitment of priests, conscious that this derives from, and in a certain sense depends on, the fundamental acceptance of the operation of the Holy Spirit in their lives."Economic Justice
USCMA would like to thank Brian T. McDonough, Esq. for compiling and sharing this important document on "Papal Teachings on Economic Justice."
Please take a moment to read this compilations of Papal teachings from Pope Leo XIII through to Pope Benedict XVI. You can also find it online at: www.cmsm.org/documents/PapalTeachingsonEconomicJustice.pdfImmigration
The members of the USCMA stand in solidarity with the people coming to the United States seeking refuge, dignity of work and human compassion.
As we are deeply disturbed by the current legislation that has been passed in the State of Arizona, we would like to commend the USCCB for their firm stand in solidarity with all immigrants.
At the Annual USCMA conference in New Orleans, LA in 2009 the resolution passed in which members stated, “In light of the urgency of immigration reform and building on the merits of the 2005 USCMA Resolution “On Behalf of the Stranger,” we the members of USCMA resolve to continue promoting among our constituencies an ongoing consciousness raising of the issue. We call on our membership to urge our House and Senate representatives to enact a just and comprehensive immigration reform.”
US Immigration laws and policies continue to be restrictive and harmful to some immigrants and asylum seekers. Together with Archbishop Wilton Gregory, we say, “As a great nation and as a country of immigrants, we can no longer accept a status quo t hat tolerates a permanent underclass of human beings without rights and the opportunity to fully contribute to the life of the nation. That is not what America stands for and certainly is not what has made us a nation of equal justice under the law.” A just and comprehensive immigration reform is urgent.
As USCMA, we recognize the gifts that immigrants bring to our country. We want to celebrate these gifts and we see welcoming the “stranger” as integral to our faith. With Francis Cardinal George and the USCCB, we too urge as a moral matter to “resolve the legal status of those who are here without proper documentation so that they can fully contribute their talents to our nation’s economic, social and spiritual well being
Catholic Social teachings on the rights of laborers and the sanctity of family mandate the need for reform of immigrant’s status in this country. Just working conditions and maintaining the unity of the immigrant family are matters which must touch the conscience of all people of good will.
“…the Church not only is in favor of the individual migrant, but also of his family, which is a place and resource of the culture of life and a factor for the integration of values…If the immigrant family is not ensured of a real possibility of inclusion and participation, it is difficult to expect its harmonious development.” (Pope Benedict XVI)Suggested actions:Mobilize our constituencies to call or write representatives to get a bill introduced NOW on a just and comprehensive immigration reform. Such a bill MUST incorporate the following fundamental needs:
Immigration is one of the most talked about issues in the United States. As Catholics we are called upon to let Catholic Social Teaching inform our understanding on this topic. As Catholics, our focus must be the dignity of the human person and the welfare of families.A recent article on immigration, "Immigration's Dark Moments" by The Editors appeared in the October 13, 2008 issue of America.The Bishop of Providence urges US immigration agents to evaluate the morality of immigration raids.A Fact Sheet on Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Scheduled Departure Program.Two recent articles from Catholic News Service focus on immigration issues related to the raids in Iowa. The first looks at difficulties many families face in the aftermath of the raids. The second explores the potential of similar raids in Indiana. Cardinal Mahoney says that the call for broad immigration reform is a moral issue.
- An earned pat to legalization so as to be able to live and work in the US with dignity,
- The unity of immigrants’ families,
- An expansion of the present program of temporary visas
- A guaranteed protection of laborers’ basic rights
- A change in the current militarized border enforcement plan
- A restoration of due process in the system
- Call and/or write to all Congressional Representatives until the appeal for reform makes an impact.
An article on immigration, "A Reflection on Migration: Bridging the Divide over Immigration"
by Paula Minaert appeared in a recent Woodstock Report.
In letters to the Presidential candidates December 12, 2007 Cardinal Roger Mahony
urged all candidates to "show leadership on the issue of immigration" and to "work with your fellow candidates and the American people to find a humane and comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system."
The bishops serving the state of Maryland published "Where All Find A Home: A Catholic Response to Immigration."
In it, Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Wilmington Bishop Michael Saltarelli urge Catholics to engage in faith-filled discussion of the issue.
Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, OK has also published a pastoral letter, "The Suffering Faces of the Poor Are the Suffering Face of Christ"
in both English and Spanish.UN Climate Change Conference
After disheartening results from the 2007 UN Conference in Bali, many participants were hoping for significant progress at the 2008 Conference. Making adjustments to the Kyoto Protocols, attending to deforestation in a more comprehensive manner and addressing the impact of climate change on the world's poorest countries are several areas where more deliberation, planning and action are needed.
Columban missionary Rev. Sean McDonagh,SSC attended the 2008 UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland. He has written several articles about the events there and his understanding of them.
Please read: Setting the Stage for the UN Climate Change Conference
For more of Fr. McDonagh, SSC's articles of analysis please visit the Columban Website
The wave of violence that for the past months has struck Christians in India bears witness to the growing importance of interreligious dialogue
says Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office.
Three recent articles discuss the situation in Orissa, India where clashes between Hindus and Christians hav etaken place. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa and president of the Italian episcopal conference, spoke out against these events
, denouncing the "anti-Christian persecution taking place in India...and other parts of the world."
The Indian episcopal conference is decrying the lack of government response to the wave of anti-Christian violence wrought by Hindu extremists
Here is the text of a statement issued September 26, 2008 by the executive body of the Indian bishops' conference
,regarding the ongoing wave of persecution against Christians at the hands of Hindu extremists.Global Climate Change
Pope Benedict XVI spoke on Creation and Redemption
to the clergy of the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone.
In an address to mark the 2008 United Nations World Tourism Day, Pope Benedict XVI urged tourists to think green
Read The Winter 2008 Update
from the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change.
A summary of the UN-sponsored climate change talks held in Bali in December 2007, "United Nations Climate Change Talks in Bali - A New Climate Deal?"
is now available.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities issued a resource, "Climate-Change Policies Can Treat Poor Families Fairly and Be Fiscally Responsible."
The National Religious Partnership for the Environment issued a resource, "A Religious Agenda on Poverty and Global Climate Change."
The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change issued a resource, "A Catholic Approach to Climate Change,"
in November 2007.
From the Missouri Catholic Conference
, November 2007
USCMA members passed a Resolution
at its 2006 Annual Meeting expressing concern for the future of God's creation and the one human family.
For more articles on Global Climate Change.
To learn more about the SAVE Act
in Congress which is enforcement only legislation.Torture
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture, NRCAT, in alliance with Evangelicals for Human Rights and the Center for Victims of Torture, launched an effort that calls upon the President to issue an executive order banning torture based on six core principles embodied in a Declaration of Principles. We are calling this effort the "Campaign to Ban Torture." Prominent faith leaders from Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities, as well top officials from every Administration since the 1970s, have joined together to endorse the Declaration of Principles. The success of this effort depends upon thousands of people of faith and other opponents of torture joining together to endorse the Declaration of Principles. Your endorsement will help end U.S.-sponsored torture. We urge you to endorse the Declaration. To read the full Declaration. To endorse the Declaration."Torture Is A Moral Issue Catholic Study Guide,"
a recent publication of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops,looks at church teaching as it relates to the use of torture by government authorities around the world and mixes in biblical passages that evoke Jesus' call to "love your enemies." Written by the Catholic Leadership Council within the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, the guide was written for use by discussion groups and classes in Catholic settings as well as individuals, families and others interested in studying the issue.
"Faith Groups Mount Campaign Against Torture"
As Congress and the Bush administration skirmish over still-secret interrogation techniques, American faith communities are mounting a national campaign to prohibit torture and cruel and inhumane treatment of US-held detainees. More than 175 religious organizations have joined the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT). Their aim is to build a moral consensus among Americans on the issue and to bring government policies in line with US law and international norms. "Religions of the world do agree on basic tenets about how people should treat each other because of the dignity of the human person," says the Rev. Richard Killmer, executive director. The group involves mainline and evangelical Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and other members. See the complete article in the Christian Science Monitor
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture is encouraging congregations to view
Rory Kennedy's HBO documentary "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" during the week of October 21-28. In a nation-wide project called "Spotlight on Torture," the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) has arranged for DVD copies of "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" to be available to 1,000 congregations, on a first come, first served basis for showing during the week of October 21-28. The film is a masterful examination of one of the great moral issues of the 21st century. You can get a copy for your congregation by clicking here
. Please forward this link to as many of your friends as you think might be interested.
USCMA members passed a Resolution
at the 2006 Annual Meeting endorsing the statement of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, "Torture is a Moral Issue."
You are invited and encouraged to sign the statement available on the National Religious Campaign Against Torture website
Another helpful organization on the issue of torture is Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International
in Washington, DC.
A recent article in the New York Times by Peter Steinfels, "A Topic in the Air but One That Political Candidates Declined to Touch: Torture of Prisoners." War In Iraq
The International Catholic Migration Commission and US Conference of Catholic Bishops released their April 2008 report "Iraqi Refugees in Syria"
from their Mission to Assess the Protection Needs of Iraqi Refugees in Syria.
"From Conquest to Community, From Violence to Reverence." Join people of all faiths in the Interfaith Fast to End the War in Iraq on October 8, 2007
We include a list of other possible actions
people of faith can participate in on the War in Iraq.
In the months leading up to the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq several Catholic
organizations and individuals began a conversation about a shared response to
the war and occupation of Iraq. The official leadership of our church has stated its
disappointment about the war, but this message has gone unheard and unheeded.
NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, has participated in this
conversation from the beginning. NETWORK developed a plan
for development in Iraq
trying to shift funding within the supplemental and the 2008 budget from military
activity to actual development work.
A number of Catholic religious communities have signed a letter "Response to the President's Proposal for A Change of course in Iraq."All Life is Sacred
Catholics for a Peaceful End to War and Terrorism, Holy Week,
April 16, 2003Bishops' President Deeply Regrets War; Calls for Prayer, Protection of the Innocent, And Steps to Avert Humanitarian Crisis
Bishop Wilton D. Gregory of Belleville (IL) March 19, 2003Iraq: The Way To Peace, Resources for Dioceses and Parishes
Office of Social Development & World Peace, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
USCMA Board President Meets with Pope John Paul II
The visit to Rome was organized by the National Council of Churches USA. Fr. Joe Nangle, OFM was representing Pax Christi USA.Letter of Support to the Churches of the Holy LandsMillennium Development Goals
The president of Caritas Internationalis is lamenting that at current rates of progress, the Millennium Development Goals set to be attained by 2015 may take 100 years to reach in a joint statement
from Caritas and the International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity sent to the Group of Eight leaders.
The eight goals are:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty & hunger.
2. Achieve universal primary education.
3. Promote gender equality & empower women.
4. Reduce child mortality.
5. Improve maternal health.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases.
7. Ensure environmental sustainability.
8. Develop a global partnership for development
2005 marked the first five-year review of the implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals. These Goals which had been agreed upon by all of the United Nations member countries form a blueprint to meet the needs of the world's poorest people. With 2015 as the target year for completion of the eight goals, world leaders met in 2005 to review progress made thus far in achieving these important goals.
A framework of 8 goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators to measure progress
towards the Millennium Development goals was adopted by a consensus of experts from the United Nations Secretariat and International Monetary Fund, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Bank.A chart
indicating progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals as of September 2005.
To read the Millennium Development Goals Report 2005
In 2004 the USCMA membership "recognizing the great need for a more just sharing of the world's resources" passed a resolution to affirm and support the UN Millennium Development Goals
In Preparation for World AIDS Day, the IHM Sisters' AIDS Committee has put together a prayer service leaflet. Please join the IHM Sisters in praying in solidarity with all those whose lives have been touched by the global AIDS pandemic.
We would like to thank Sister Joan Mumaw, IHM, for sharing this prayer service with us.
Click here to download the prayer service.