Monday, September 29, 2008

$700 Billion for Wall Street - Not a Penny for the World's Poor

I am not among those who are calling Congress in opposition to the bailout, but the sudden availability of $700 billion for investment banks and other financial institutions raises its share of questions. Not the least of which is if we can free up that much capital virtually overnight why can't we provide relief to the world's poor?

Can't the World Do More for the Poor?

Father Lombardi Analyzes Economic Crises

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 28, 2008 ( If huge steps can be taken to save the most developed economies from crisis, why can't more be done for poorer countries, asks a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, posed this question as he analyzed the urgent needs of the global economy on the last episode of the weekly Vatican Television program “Octava Dies.”

“The economic commitments that were suddenly taken on to salvage the American financial system, and by connection the international financial system, are of impressive dimensions,” he said.

On Sunday, U.S. Congressional leaders and the White House agreed to a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry -- the largest in the country's history.

Father Lombardi noted that the effort to save the most developed economies from crisis is much greater than all international economic aid effort combined.

“Without denying the urgency of this crisis, there is a question that naturally poses itself,” Father Lombardi said. “Can't we and mustn't we do more to save the economies and promote the development of the poorest countries?”

The Vatican spokesman noted that we ought not forget “that the necessary resources to help the poorest are much less in comparison to the worldwide military expenditures and the expenditures of the rich to satisfy non-primary needs.”

“These reflections may seem obvious and even ingenuous, but in reality they are essential in a long-term vision of the general interests of humanity, that looks to peaceful and fair development for the benefit of all,” he said.

Father Lombardi concluded his remarks with a quote from Benedict XVI's Sept. 21 Angelus address: “Such a commitment, while demanding sacrifices in these moments of worldwide economic difficulties, will not be without important benefits for the development of nations who are in need of help and for the peace and well-being of the entire planet.”

A Prayer For Leadership

I have posted this before, but it is appropriate as we are all deciding who to vote for:

Give us, O God,
leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls
and give us souls strong enough
to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.

In seeking a leader,
let us seek more than development
for ourselves —
though development we hope for —
more than security for our own land —
though security we need —
more than satisfaction for our wants —
though many things we desire.

Give us the hearts to choose
the leader who will work with other
leaders to bring safety
to the whole world.

Give us leaders
who lead this nation to virtue
without seeking to impose our kind of virtue
on the virtue of others.

Give us a government
that provides for the advancement
of this country
without taking resources from others
to achieve it.

Give us insight enough ourselves
to choose as leaders those who can tell
strength from power,
growth from greed,
leadership from dominance,
and real greatness from the trappings
of grandiosity.

We trust you, Great God,
to open our hearts to learn from those
to whom you speak in different tongues
and to respect the life and words
of those to whom you entrusted
the good of other parts of this globe.

We beg you, Great God,
give us the vision as a people
to know where global leadership truly lies,
to pursue it diligently,
to require it to protect human rights
for everyone everywhere.

We ask these things, Great God,
with minds open to your word
and hearts that trust in your eternal care.


Joan D. Chittister, OSB

Friday, September 26, 2008

Soldiers of Conscience

"When are there situations in which loyalty to a nation state comes in conflict with loyalty to the kingdom of God?"

This is a question raised by Joshua Casteel in an interview for the documentary Soldiers of Conscience. He is featured along with Camilo Mejia and six other CO’s in this insightful documentary which will air on PBS’s P.O.V. on October 16th. They are from all walks of life and all ranks in the military but what they have in common is that they all chose to follow their conscience instead of a direct order.

Watch the trailer:

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pax Christi NJ on Yahoo! Groups

Do you want join in the conversation with other NJ Catholics who are interested in advocating for social justice and in promoting the principles of Catholic Social Teaching? Here is your opportunity. Join Pax Christi NJ on Yahoo! Groups.

style="border: 0px;"
alt="Click to join paxnj"/>

Click to join paxnj

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Novena For Faithful Citizenship

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) invites U.S. Catholics to pray before the November election a novena for life, justice, and peace called Novena for Faithful Citizenship.

Click here for the text of the Novena

Vote the Common Good

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Archdiocese of Newark Forwarding Partisan Campaign Material

Yesterday I received an email with a "grassroots video" from the Associate Director of Parish Outreach & Training for the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry at the Archdiocese of Newark. I watched the video which focused solely on abortion and gay marriage. It also glorified war and America's "economic power".

The video and website, were produced by Fidelis. They have very strong ties to the Republican Party and to the McCain campaign. In February of this year they issued a press release endorsing John McCain for president and their website includes articles from Deal Hudson who is an advisor to the McCain campaign as a member of the “Catholic Outreach Committee”. They have given campaign contributions only to republicans and even supported republican Senator Rick Santorum over Bob Casey, a pro-life democrat, during the 2006 election cycle.

I objected to the distribution of this video and I received a response that the video identified "the obvious Pro Life candidates". I received a subsequent email from the director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry that said there was nothing wrong with the video or the promotion of it.

Among other things, the video glorifies US economic and military power. This runs contrary to Catholic Social Teaching which emphasizes a preferential option for the poor and solidarity. It also runs contrary to the Cathecism which teaches us that "Respect for and development of human life require peace."

There is more than one intrinsic evil at issue this year. They include genocide, racism, torture, targeting non-combatants and engaging in unjust wars. They are all life issues and they all require our attention as Catholics.

Whether we vote Republican or Democrat this year what defines us is that we are Catholic. Don't let the political parties redefine what that means. <span style="font-weight:bold;">VOTE THE COMMON GOOD