Peace & Justice

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

Friday, February 13, 2015

Catholic Charities USA responds to President's budget proposal

Earlier this week, President Obama unveiled the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016. Catholic Charities USA reports that this blueprint document outlines priorities and areas for investment, but does not have the force of law and will not change current spending levels.

However, it is first step in the budget process, initiating the federal budget negotiations for this year.

Catholic Charities USA has prepared an analysis of the President's proposed budget in comparison to previous years, which is available here. The response read, in part:
"While Catholic Charities agencies, and many other faith-based non-profits, will continue to work with families and individuals on the brink, we know that in order for our nation to truly make a significant change in the numbers of those in poverty, we need support and commitment from the for-profit sector and from government. We cannot do this alone.”
Click here to read the full press release.

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Monday, February 02, 2015

Thinking of the death penalty

Today’s blog from the Department of Justice, Peace & Human Development of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) focuses on the death penalty. It begins with this quote from Pope Francis:

“All Christians and men of good will are thus called to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty, whether legal or illegal, and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, with respect for the human dignity of the people deprived of their freedom”

The entry is titled, Yes. The Church Is Opposed to the Death Penalty. This may take some by surprise, but opposition to the death penalty has been a Catholic teaching for many years.

Pope Saint John Paul II prayed the following at a Papal Mass at Regina Coeli Prison in Rome on July 9, 2000: "May the death penalty, an unworthy punishment still used in some countries, be abolished throughout the world." He also spoke out against it on many occasions, such as the previous year when he said the following on a visit to the United States:

A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.

In 1999, the USCCB issued A Good Friday Appeal To End The Death Penalty. They wrote, in part:

For more than 25 years, the Catholic bishops of the United States have called for an end to the death penalty in our land. Sadly, however, death sentences and executions in this country continue at an increasing rate. In some states, there are so many executions they rarely receive much attention anymore. On this Good Friday, a day when we recall our Savior’s own execution, we appeal to all people of goodwill, and especially Catholics, to work to end the death penalty.

There is much more information on the website of the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Visit Poverty USA

PovertyUSA is the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic Bishops. An initiative of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), PovertyUSA seeks to educate and promote understanding about poverty and its root causes. To achieve this goal, the website offers many useful resources, such as:

The Poverty USA Tour, which helps us understand what life is like at the poverty line.

AND

The Poverty Map, which helps bring to life the statistics and scope of Poverty USA.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

From Thomas Merton

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

January is Poverty Awareness Month

During Poverty Awareness Month, join the U.S. Bishops, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Catholic community in the United States in taking up Pope Francis' challenge to live in solidarity with the poor. How do we do this? One way is to use this poverty awareness calendar and contemplate the daily reflections. Another is to join the advocacy network of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Government Relations to let our elected leaders hear the voice of the Catholic community in the United States.

We will have more suggestions in the coming days, but these links provide a good starting point.




"I want a Church which is poor and for the poor."               Pope Francis is seen as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 3. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

- Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Christmas season is about to begin

The Christmas season does not end on December 25. Rather, that is when it begins. The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.


The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has an on-line Christmas calendar that provides daily suggestions to enrich our faith and spirituality during this season. You can see it here.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A word from our sponsor . . .

"[Solidarity] is to think and to act in terms of community, of the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few. It is also to fight against the structural causes of poverty, inequality, lack of work, land and housing, the denial of social and labor rights. It is to confront the destructive effects of the empire of money: forced displacements, painful emigrations, the traffic of persons, drugs, war, violence and all those realities that many of you suffer and that we are all called to transform."

Pope Francis, Address to Participants in the World Meeting of Popular Movements, 10/28/14

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