Saturday, February 25, 2006

Pax Christi NJ Celebrate 20 Year Anniversary

On Saturday March 18th Pax Christi New Jersey will mark its 20 year anniversary with celebratory Mass followed by brunch at St. Clement's in Matawan. All are invited to attend.

New Jersey Pax Christi 20th Anniversay Mass
Saturday March 18
10:30 AM
St. Clements R.C. Church
172 Route 79 (Frenaue Ave.)
Matawan, NJ 07747
Reception immediately following at reception center adjacent to Church

Bishop Walter Sullivan will be the celebrant. Bishop Sullivan was Bishop President of Pax Christi USA from 1991-2003. Professor Joseph Fahey of Manhattan College is the toastmaster for the brunch. Dr. Fahey is an Ambassador of Peace for Pax Christi USA. All are welcome at both the mass and the brunch, however reservations are required for the brunch and the cost is $25.00 per person. Please make checks payable to New Jersey Pax Christi and mail to:

Joann Claire Vitalo
406 Evergreen Ave.
Bradley Beach, NJ 07720-1135

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The AMA's Opposition to The Death Penalty

After two anesthesiologists refused to participate in the execution of Michael Morales the American Medical Association issued a statement siding with the doctors and recomending that all physicians refuse to assist in executions on ethical grounds:
The use of a physician's clinical skill and judgment for purposes other than promoting an individual's health and welfare undermines a basic ethical foundation of medicine — first, do no harm. Therefore, requiring physicians to be involved in executions violates their oath to protect lives and erodes public confidence in the medical profession.
The AMA defined participation as:
...prescribing or administering tranquilizers and other psychotropic agents and medications that are part of the execution procedure; monitoring vital signs on site or remotely (including monitoring electrocardiograms); attending or observing an execution as a physician; and rendering of technical advice regarding execution.

In the case where the method of execution is lethal injection, the following actions by the physician would also constitute physician participation in execution: selecting injection sites; starting intravenous lines as a port for a lethal injection device; prescribing, preparing, administering, or supervising injection drugs or their doses or types; inspecting, testing, or maintaining lethal injection devices; and consulting with or supervising lethal injection personnel.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Evangelical Climate Initiative Attacked by Evangelicals

A little known evangelical minister Reverend Jim Ball and his wife Kara were in Manhattan last week to announce the launch of a new national campaign he is calling the Evangelical Climate Initiative. Reverend Ball has the support of over eighty other evangelical pastors and he is one of six designated spokespeople for the group including the President of the Salvation Army, the Director of World Hope International and the Editor of Christianity Today. Reverend Ball received a bachelors from Baylor University a masters from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a PHD from Drew University’s Divinity School. It was while on Drew’s campus that he was first introduced to the idea of the connection between environmentalism and scripture as well as the greater burden that pollution and global warming places on the poor.

I did not find it surprising that Reverend Ball and his initiative came under immediate attack. The surpise is from where the attacks came. He was attacked not only by pro-business conservatives like Iain Murray of the Conservative Enterprise Institute, but also by other evangelicals such as Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and other members of the Interfaith Stewarship Alliance who quickly issued a press release saying the the National Association of Evangelicals does not agree with Reverend Ball’s campaign.

Even Operation Rescue and Concerned Women for America joined in noting that the Evangelical Climate Initiative had received a contribution from a group they characterized a supporting abortion and demanding that Reverend Ball give the “blood money” back.

I really wish that Concerned Women for America would come up with its own environmental initiative. Unfortunately they are still clinging to the idea that global warming is “junk science”.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Ice Yet to Form on the Great Lakes

The Northeast is not the only region experiencing a milder than normal weather pattern this winter. The entire Great Lakes region is much warmer than usual as well. So much so that ice has yet to form on any of the Great Lakes. Ice usually forms on Lake Erie sometime in November and is completely frozen over by some time in January. However, this winter for the first time in its 100 year history the Miller Boat Lines is running it ferry across Lake Erie through the entire month of January. On Munising Bay in Lake Superior the conditions are much the same. Even Lake St. Clair, the smallest of the Great Lakes has yet to see any significant ice formation.

The lack of ice on the Great Lakes is bad news for more than just the ice fisherman. According to the US Army Corp of Engineers Office in Detroit the lack of ice will increase evaporation rates. Each of the Great Lakes is currently between 2 and 12 inches below last years water levels. Lake Superior is expected to lose another two inches this month. The expectations for Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are that they will each fall one inch over the next 30 days due to increased evaporation. The Great Lakes region which includes the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence river basins and their surrounding wetlands and watersheds contains 20% of the world’s fresh water.

According to a report by the EPA the negative impacts of the projected warming rates for the region will negatively impact the trout and salmon populations, the water quality for the towns and cities in the region, the size and diversity of the forests, already endangered species, and the breeding of waterfowl.

For more information on the impact of global warming on the Great Lakes Region you can refer to the EPA website or follow this link to the EPA report

Monday, February 06, 2006

Pax Christi Presents Letter Calling for an End to Detention Without Trial

An open letter signed by 45 Christian and Muslim religious leader was presented today during a press conference by Bruce Kent, Vice President of Pax Christi UK. The open letter expressed concern for the four members of the Christian Peacemaker Team who have been held hostage in Iraq since November as well as the thousands of Iraqis who are being held without charge, hearing or trial.

The full text of the letter and signatories is as follows:

6th February 2006

The release of a new video showing Norman Kember, Tom Fox, Harmeet Singh Sooden and James Loney, working in Iraq with Christian Peacemaker Teams, is cause for relief as well as anxiety. Relief that the long silence with no news of their well-being has been broken, is mixed with apprehension at the continued threat to their lives.

Since their abduction on 26th November 2005 religious leaders and religious groups throughout the world have spoken in their support - acknowledging that they are men of nonviolence and urging that they may be released to continue their work for peace and human rights on behalf of the people of Iraq. At this urgent moment in time we wish to reaffirm this support and invite those who hold them to return them to their families.

At the same time we know that thousands of Iraqis have been held without charge and detained since the war in Iraq began almost three years ago. The practice of detention without charge, sometimes exacerbated by torture and abuse, cannot be allowed to continue as it heightens the level of fear and feeds into a terrible cycle of violence. Just as we are concerned for our brothers with Christian Peacemaker Teams we are also concerned for Iraqi detainees and for their families.

We long for true peace to be restored to the people of Iraq and we ask our government to do all it can to secure this peace. This must include:

- clear condemnation of detention without charge and the abuse of prisoners
- accountability on the part of all UK military personnel for their treatment of prisoners and of the Iraqi people
- work with the Iraqi authorities to ensure that the highest United Nations human rights standards of treatment and due process for detainees are met
With people of faith throughout the world we pray that we may be united and steadfast in our work for peace for the people of Iraq

" Dr David Goodbourn, General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
" Rev David J Kerr, President of CTBI, former President of the Methodist Church in Ireland
" Revd David Coffey, the General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain
" Rt Revd Malcolm McMahon, National President of Pax Christi and Bishop of RC Diocese of Nottingham.
" Rt Revd Martyn Jarrett, Anglican Diocese of Beverley
" Rt Revd Peter Price, Anglican Bishop of Bath and Wells
" Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, co-founder of Peace People
" Rt Revd Peter Broadbent, Anglican Bishop of Willesden
" Very Rev Nicholas Frayling, The Dean, Chichester Cathedral
" Dr M Aziz Nour, Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches
" Dr Daud Abdullah, Assistant Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain
" Rt Revd Edwin Regan, RC Bishop of Wrexham Diocese
" Anas Altikriti, former President, Muslim Association of Britain
" Revd John Rackley, Past-President of Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland, Manvers Street Baptist Church, Bath
" Most Rev Bruce Cameron, Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
" Rt Revd James Bell, Anglican Bishop of Knaresborough
" Revd Peter Brain, Moderator, North Western Synod of the United Reformed Church
" David G Deeks, General Secretary, British Methodist Church
" Revd. Robert Gardiner, Harrow Baptist Church ,
" John Humphreys, Moderator, Synod of Scotland, United Reformed Church
" Revd Dr Keith Clements, former General Secretary, Conference of European
" Rt. Revd. Derek Rawcliffe (former Bishop of Glasgow)
" Rt Rev John McOwat, Bishop of the Moravian Church
" Rt. Revd. Colin Scott, Hon. Asst. Bishop of Leicester
" Bruce Kent, Vice-President of Pax Christi
" Stewart Hemsley, Chair, Pax Christi
" Revd Alan Betteridge, President, Baptist Peace
" Pat Took, London Baptist Association Regional Team Leader Minister
" Pamala McDougall on behalf of Quakers - Religious Society of Friends, Scotland
" Gillian Collins, Secretary Baptist Peace Fellowship
" Chris Cole, Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation England
" Christoph Hellmich (Senior), German-speaking Synod of Lutheran, Reformed and United Congregations in Great Britain.
" Hashir Faruqi, Chief Editor, Impact International on Islamic Affairs
" Mary Roe, Chair, Anglican Pacifist Fellowship.
" The Reverend Baroness Richardson of Calow
" Very Rev Antony Lester OCarm, Prior Provincial, British Province of Carmelites
" Revd Dewi Hughes, The General Secretary of the Union of Welsh Independent Churches
" Most Revd Samuel Ade Abidoye Baba Aladura and Chairman The Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church Worldwide
" Sr Mary Hinde, Provincial, on behalf of the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart.
" Revd Gethin Abraham-Williams General Secretary, Churches Together in Wales: CYTUN and (Mrs) Denise Abraham-Williams.
" Revd Beth Torkington, Chair, Western District Moravian Church
" Norman Wood, Monifieth, Scotland
" Rev Jill Clancy

Pope Benedict XVI Accepts Bishop Gumbleton's Resignation

Auxiliary Archbishop of Detroit, Thomas J. Gumbleton announced on January 26th, his 76th birthday that he would be resigning from his post. Pope Benedict XVI has accepted his resignation on the basis of his age. He was ordained a bishop in 1968 at the age of 38, becoming the youngest Catholic bishop in the country. Bishop Gumbleton was renound worlwide for his work in promoting peace and justice. He is the co-founder of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights. In 1972 he became the founding president of Pax Christi USA a post which he filled until 1991. From 1976-1984 Bishop Gumbleton was President of Bread for the World. He has served on the boards of the MK Gahdi Institute for Nonviolence, New Ways Ministry, Witness for Peace, and Fellowship of Reconcilliation. Bishop Gumbleton is a respected speaker and writer on the issues of social justice and his column appears regularly in the National Catholic Reporter.

Vatican Condems Both Cartoons & Violence

In a statement offering reaction to a series of satirical cartoons depicting the prophet Mohamed in a way that is considered blasphemous to muslims, the Vatican spokesman Joaquin Novaro-Valls said that the right to free speech does not include the right to offend while also saying that violence that has ensued could not be justified.

Novaro-Valls is quoted as saying:
"Intolerance -- wherever it comes from, whether real or verbal, action or reaction -- always constitutes a serious threat to peace,"

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Our First Meeting

For those of you who were able to attend our first Pax Christi meeting thank you for a lovely and meaningful discussion. For those of you who could not hopefully you will be able to join us next time. I would like to suggest February 28th at 7:30 at St. Teresa's (specific meeting room TBD).
Below is a list of the main topics of discussion from my notes:

Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical and the implications for the Church
Our feelings about the war in Iraq
Holding a regular peace vigil
Lobbying our elected officials Ecumenical Advocacy Days
The Death Penalty Moratorium in NJ
Human Trafficking
Immigration reform

We all agreed that whatever topic we choose to apply ourselves to first it should have a local, state, national and possibly international impact.

After listening to all of you and considering all of it over the last week I would like to suggest that we create three areas of focus:
1) Lobbying elected officials who are Catholic and reminding them of the principles of Social Justice of the Church
2) Organizing a regular Peace Vigil
3) Sponsoring periodic educational programs for St. Teresa's and the surrounding parishes regarding the teachings of the Church on Social Justice issues and relating those teachings to contemporary issues.
I think this is a good place to start while we each develop our specific areas of interest.