Resist a Muslim Registry

The Franciscan Action Network invites you to consider the following:

We have heard a great deal of anti-Muslim rhetoric during the presidential campaign including a registry requiring Muslims to register.  History reminds us that much of this is the same language that the Nazis used in requiring Jews to register during their rise to power. As the Holocaust Museum reminds the world in their statement about this issue, language was the first thing used to dehumanize others.

Let us remember the story of St. Maximilian Kolbe. He refused to sign the Deutsche Volksliste, which would have given him rights similar to those of German citizens in exchange for recognizing his German ancestry. He spoke out against the Nazis and helped protect Jewish children. For this Kolbe was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. We hope and pray that our nation never comes to the point of actually creating a Muslim registry, but we do have to be prepared to act if the unthinkable occurs.

As Christians who attempt to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Maximilian Kolbe please sign a commitment to stand up and say, “Do not take my brother, my sister, who is Muslim. Take me instead. I will sign the registry in their place.”  Please click here for more information and to sign up on the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) website.  FAN will use this information to make our government officials aware of what Catholics all over the country are doing and why. Your contact information will be kept completely confidential and will not be used outside of the Franciscan Action Network.

 https://franciscanaction.org/franciscan-commitment-resistance-muslim-registry

Catholic Nonviolence Initiative Webinar Now Available

The Catholic Nonviolence Initiative reaffirms the centrality of active nonviolence to the vision and message of Jesus, to the life of the Catholic Church, and to the long-term vocation of healing and reconciling both people and the planet.

This bold effort was launched at the Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference held in Rome April 11-13, 2016 and co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Pax Christi International, and other international bodies.

Lay people, theologians, members of religious congregations, priests and bishops from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania gathered to call on the Catholic Church to take a clear stand for active nonviolence and against all forms of violence. In his message to the conference, Pope Francis said, “Your thoughts on revitalizing the tools of nonviolence, and of active nonviolence in particular, will be a needed and positive contribution.”

Learn more about the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative and the conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace that took place in Rome in April.  Watch the webinar, Introduction to Rome Conference on Just Peace and Nonviolence  and visit  the website https://nonviolencejustpeace.net/.

1 in 113 People are Displaced

1 in 113An unprecedented 65.3 million people have been displaced around the world due to war and persecution, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has reported. The new figure is not only a 21st century record, it is also the first time that the numbers have surpassed 60 million-which means one in every 113 people worldwide is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced, or a refugee. Half of them are children.

Human Trafficking Update

Human Trafficking Update

imagesCAUV263K

Modeling Ad Serves as PSA for Human Trafficking

What looks like an advertising calling for models in Florida is actually a public service announcement for human trafficking.  Viewers click the link in the ad and are prompted to upload their Facebook photo.  The users then see a video with their own Facebook pictures on missing persons’ photos, Facebook posts from friends and family pleading for help, and news stories.  The Florida Coalition for Human Trafficking put together the

video hoping to show women how easy it is to fall prey to traffickers.

Human Trafficking Victims File Lawsuit Against Seafood Importers

Victims of human trafficking in the multi-billion dollar seafood industry supply chain, which stretches from seafood packing factories in Thailand to supermarkets in the United States, recently filed suit in California federal court. The plaintiffs were recruited from their home villages in rural Cambodia to work at factories in Thailand producing shrimp and seafood for export to the United States. The defendants sell their shrimp and seafood to large U.S. customers like Walmart. To read more please Click Here.

Congress: Restore Voting Rights!

NETWORK Logo

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, which basically gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Immediately after the Shelby County v. Holder decision, states and localities that were no longer under federal oversight pushed through laws that have increased barriers to voting and diluted voting strength of people of color and language minorities.

In the primaries this year, we’ve seen jurisdictions once covered by the VRA make it harder for people to vote. Unless Congress acts, voters in 2016 will face the first presidential election in 50 years where they will lack the protections of the VRA to combat racial discrimination in voting. The right — and responsibility — to vote is foundational to our faith and our democracy.

Congress has the power to restore the Voting Rights Act protections by passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte is blocking consideration of this bill, because he believes many elected officials are benefiting from these restrictive laws. This is self-interested and unjust. In response, Members of Congress have started a discharge petition that would free the bill from Rep. Goodlatte’s control and force a vote on the House floor. Please click here to urge your Representative to sign the discharge petition today. As people of faith, we cannot stand idly by while our brothers and sisters are stripped of their right to vote.

Franciscan Federation Issues Resolution on Gun Violence

JPIC Resolution for 2016

Resolution on Gun Violence:
“Choose Life so that you and your descendant may live”…Dt.30:19

Statement of Resolution:  Be it resolved that we, as members of the Franciscan Federation, upholding the inherent dignity of all human life and our willingness to embrace the common good, in the tradition of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, denounce all forms of Gun Violence that is tearing apart the social fabric of society and leaving children dead on our streets and families afraid in their homes.  St. Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and spoke the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationships with one another.  We pledge to work for the elimination of gun violence by committing ourselves to respect for life by cultivating a culture of life that explores nonviolent living and to advocate for each individual, family, school, and neighborhood so that our communities can once again become places of peace and beacons of life movements.

Background: Gun violence is on the rise in the United States. For decades the National Rifle Association blocked most gun control legislation and it is a powerful demonstration of how special interest groups can thwart majority sentiment. Rising gun violence is beginning to cause many to demand action. Our families are torn apart by violence. Reflecting on the Kerner Commission, the USCCB reported that “no nation on earth, except those in the midst of war, has as much violent behavior as we do—in our homes, schools, on our televisions, and in our streets.” Statistics indicate the number of deaths went from 12,589 in 2014 to 13,417 in 2015. Of these deaths, the number of children from age 0-11 went from 625 to 696. The number of teen age deaths, age 12-17 went from 2,367 to 2,690.  Mass shooting went from 280-330 and an Officer involved indicants went from 3,218 to 4,385; whereas accidental shootings went from 1,602 to 1,962.  In 2015 on average, because of carelessness by an adult, a toddler in America shoots someone about once a week.  .  As of May 13, 2016 there have been 18,662 gun violence and crime incidents validated with over 4,758 deaths.  It is also noted that African-Americans and Latinos are being murdered or harmed by gun use at a significantly higher rate than the rest of our society.  (TheTrace.org/2015)

Gun Violence can be decreased and hopefully eliminated in a number of ways:

  1. Stricter background checks for all types of gun purchases. Individuals requesting firearms must complete a full background check prior to purchasing a firearm regardless if the firearm is small or large.
  2. Making sure that all firearms be registered with the local police station within three days of purchasing the firearms from the arms dealer or a fine will be instilled on the purchaser.
  3. Realizing that the US Government can restrict the right to bear arms to mental health patients, we must examine, strengthen, and advocate for a stronger mental health system.
  4. We have to address simultaneously declining family life and the increasing availability of deadly weapons, the lure of gangs and the slavery of addiction, the absence of real opportunity, budget cuts adversely affecting the poor and the loss of moral values.

Rationale:   As Franciscans, we affirm our relationship with all persons as our brothers and sisters.  Following the example of St. Francis who reached out to the poor, oppressed and marginalized in his day, we have special concern for the dignity of all human beings and a call to respond when persons are suffering due to gun violence.

Call to Respond:
Let us, as members of the Franciscan Federation, continue and increase our effort to address the needs of our times, as we respond individually and collectively to the issues of gun violence and the culture of death.  May we cultivate in small but key ways the culture of life to which we are called to through our faith. We must be committed to life and offer a vision of hope and a call to action.

Members are encouraged to:

  • Respond prayerfully by engaging in prayer services and events with prayers for peace and an end to violence; by offering intercessions during liturgies and on other such occasions, and by holding in contemplative silence victims of gun violence, perpetrators and those responding in various ways to this horrendous injustice.
  • Become better educated about the issues of gun violence; teach basic values and conflict resolution and see to it that our children have a safe place to go after school hours. We can encourage our Religious Education programs to provide the values and support that can help people, especially young people, choose life and reject violence.
  • Engage in advocacy efforts such as petition and postcard campaigns, calls, letters and visit’s to our legislators, letters to the editor, nonviolent marches, vigils and demonstrations, media and other advocacy opportunities as they arise.
  • Encourage all church leaders to promote gun control as a life issue and to invite priests and deacons to speak of this topic in their homilies.  We are grateful that it has been added under life issues in the Voter’s Guide, but urge the bishops to add a reason why they chose to include it as a life issues.

LCWR Welcomes Announcement of Carbon Pollution Standards

President Obama and Sister Joan Marie Steadman, CSC, at White House Briefing

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) welcomes the creation of national standards to reduce carbon pollution and mitigate climate change.  Such limits are essential to the health and welfare of all people, especially the most vulnerable, and to the wellbeing of our common home.

Climate is a common good given to all and meant for all. Each of us has a responsibility to cooperate with God to protect our common home and to care for all of creation.

To read the full story from our friends at LCWR: Click Here

Support the Clean Power Plan

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, when President Obama released the EPA’s historic Clean Power Plan, our friends at EPA wanted to publicly acknowledge the thousands of women religious across the country who have called and written and acted on behalf of Earth justice for years. Joan Marie Steadman, CSC, who was standing with the president was there representing  each of you and your congregations. Thank You!

We need your continued support. As you know so well, power plants are the number-one source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. We now have a plan to address them: the Clean Power Plan.

But some members of Congress are gearing up to weaken these national standards on carbon pollution. They want states to have the option to opt out of carbon standards, which means that the heaviest emissions would likely continue.

Now is the time for you to act. Tell your legislators that you care, and you vote. Your action will help put our country on a sustainable policy path.  Click here to send a letter to your legislators. 

This week, our partners at Catholic Climate Covenant will travel to Ohio to help host an event on climate change with Most Reverend Dennis Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati, and other Catholic leaders who are working to make energy use more efficient and sustainable. These events make a difference. They put policymakers on notice that Catholic voters care about climate change.

We are looking for letter writers in Ohio!  You too can bring Catholic teaching on climate change to the media’s attention. Be part of the conversation. A letter to the editor has ripple effects beyond your community, and it takes just 5 minutes with our resources.  If you live in Ohio and would like to submit a letter to the editor this week, please email Kissairis Muñoz, Catholic Climate Covenant’s advocacy coordinator.

Blessings,

JCWR

A Prayer for Global Restoration

Good and Gracious God,

Source of all life,
all creation is charged with your Divine Energy.

Ignite your spark within us,
that we may know ourselves
as truly human and holy,
irrevocably part of the Web of Life.

All creation
-each star and every flower,
-each drop of water and every person,
-each and every atom, down to its very electrons,
explodes with the revelation
of your Sacred Mystery.

Our minds alone cannot fathom such splendor.
Our hearts can only respond in awe, praise and gratitude.

Forgive us, we pray, our ignorance
and insecurities which
-blind us to your Thumbprint writ large,
-deafen us to the sacred space
between two heartbeats,
-prompt us in arrogance to demand and dominate,
-numb us to the destruction we’ve caused,
-hold us hostage to “either-or” thinking and living.

May we always walk gently upon this earth,
in right relationship.
-nurtured by your Love,
-taking only what we need,
-giving back to the earth in gratitude,
-sharing what we have,
-honoring all with reverence,
-reconciling and healing,
-mindful of those who will come after,
-recognizing our proper place as part of,
not apart from, your creation.

Grant us the strength and courage, we pray,
For such radical transformation into your Kin-dom.

Then we, too, with the very stones will shout,
“HOSANNA.”

By Michelle Balek, OSF