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Charleston Shooting PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 June 2015 13:01

USCCB President Decries Charleston Church Shooting and Issues Statement on Race Relations

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), responded to the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, with “grief and deep sadness,” June 19. He said the Catholic community “stands with all people who struggle for an end to racism and violence, in our families, in our places of worship, in our communities and in our world. We must continue to build bridges and we must confront racism and violence with a commitment to life, a vision of hope, and a call to action.”
 
The week before the Charleston tragedy, the U.S. Bishops, meeting in St. Louis, approved a statement on race relations by Archbishop Kurtz, USCCB President. Here are a few excerpts:

“We mourn [recent] tragic events in which African Americans and others have lost their lives in altercations with law enforcement officials. … Our efforts must address root causes of these conflicts. A violent, sorrowful history of racial injustice, accompanied by a lack of educational, employment and housing opportunities, has destroyed communities and broken down families, especially those who live in distressed urban communities.”
 
Archbishop Kurtz also suggested “five concrete ways in which the Catholic community can commit to ending racism and promoting peace, justice and respect for all persons:

  1. Pray for peace and healing among all people.
  2. Study the Word of God and the social teaching of the Church in order to gain a deeper  appreciation of the dignity of all persons.
  3. Make a sincere effort to encounter more fully people of different racial backgrounds with whom we live, work and minister.
  4. Pursue ways in which Catholic parishes and neighborhoods can be truly welcoming of families of different racial and religious backgrounds.
  5. Get to know our local law enforcement officers. Let them know of our support and gratitude. And encourage young people to respect all legitimate authority.

The complete text of Archbishop Kurtz’s statement can be accessed here.


Last Updated on Friday, 19 June 2015 13:14
 
Pope’s Encyclical on the Environment PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 June 2015 15:20

Bishop William Skylstad welcomed the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si commenting that Pope Francis calls the human family to an “integral ecology”. He noted that the bishops of the Columbia River watershed in 2001 wrote a pastoral letter, “The Columbia River Watershed: Caring for Creation and the Common Good”, to assist people to develop “an integrated spiritual, social, and ecological vision”.  This challenge to live in right relationship with the natural world and each other is a reminder that everything in the world is connected. 

A primary theme for the Pope is the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet. Although Laudato Si is a teaching document, Pope Francis does not shy away from the controversial issue of climate change or recommendations to spur fresh political and economic thinking. He speaks of the dire consequences of our neglect of the environment and the devastating effects of a throwaway culture but at the same time he expresses hope.  The Creator does not abandon us and never repents of having created us.

 
Nebraska Death Penalty Repealed PDF Print E-mail

The repeal of the death penalty in Nebraska represents a further step in the building of a culture of life, said the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami. Nebraska becomes the 19th state to abolish the death penalty since it was reinstated in the United States in 1976.

Archbishop Wenski also expressed the Church’s prayerful solidarity with those impacted by violence and attacks on human life, and for the many families profoundly impacted by senseless acts of violence. “Even as we seek justice for these grave wrongs, our faith impels us to call for the building up of a culture of life where all human life is valued. We are a people of deep hope, even for the most lost souls among us. We continue to say that we cannot teach killing is wrong by killing," said Archbishop Wenski.

The U.S. bishops have been advocating for an end of the use of the death penalty for over forty years and this year marks the 10th anniversary of their Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty. They stand in solidarity with Pope Francis, who in March stated, “The death penalty is inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed. It is an offense against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person, one which contradicts God’s plan for man and society and his merciful justice, and impedes the penalty from fulfilling any just objective.” 

Washington State still has the death penalty and has nine people currently on death row. The last execution was in September 2010. The WSCC is working with other organizations to abolish the death penalty in Washington State.

 
Environment Encyclical Released June 18 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 June 2015 15:20

Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment, "Laudato Sii" (Praised Be), a line from St. Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of Creatures," will be released Thursday, June 18, the Vatican press office announced. "Laudato sii" is the introductory phrase to eight verses of St. Francis of Assisi's famous prayer thanking God for the gifts of creation. " Praised be my Lord God with all creatures; and especially our brother the sun, which brings us the day, and the light; fair is he, and shining with a very great splendor: O Lord, he signifies you to us!," one of the first lines says. The prayer also praises God for the gifts of "Sister Moon," "Brother Wind," "Sister Water," "Brother Fire" and "Sister Mother Earth." For more of St. Francis’ Canticle of the Sun, click here.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 June 2015 15:21
 
Faith into Action Website PDF Print E-mail

WeAreSaltAndLight.org, a new website of U.S. bishops' Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, helps Catholics respond to Jesus' call to be "salt of the earth" and "light of the world" (Mt. 5:13-16).

WeAreSaltAndLight.org equips Catholics to live out Pope Francis' call to "go forth" on mission. It also seeks to help Catholic communities-especially parishes, dioceses, schools, universities, seminaries, religious communities, and ecclesial movements-to carry out the vision of the U.S. bishops' landmark document, Communities of Salt & Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish.

 The website includes:
• More than 50 inspiring stories of real Catholic communities being Salt & Light
• Over 100 resources on praying, reaching out, learning and acting together
• Assessment tools to find ways to grow as faith-filled disciples at home and abroad
• A 1-minute introductory video
• Responsive design, for usability on handheld devices

 
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