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Pray for Peaceful Elections in Congo November 15th, 2011

Praying for Peace in the Congo Elections

On November 28, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will hold elections. A delegation of Catholic bishops from the Congo Catholic Conference was recently in Washington D.C, to urge the international community to increase the number of international observers monitoring the forthcoming elections and to ensure that minerals and resources of the DRC are not used for illicit purposes. The elections are being vigorously contested, with 11 candidates vying for the presidency, and nearly 19,000 for some 500 parliamentary seats. There are 32 million eligible voters in the country.

Forty-one faith-based, humanitarian and human rights organizations issued a press release in October expressing concern about the high level of political tension and the deteriorating security situation. They have called upon all Congolese and international actors involved to take urgent measures to prevent electoral violence, better protect civilians and ensure credible, free and fair elections. Amongst those who signed onto the press release is Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN) whose members are mostly Catholic Religious or Missionary Institutes working in Africa and Europe. Missionary Oblates maintains membership at the AEFJN. Also, the Missionary Oblates have significant present in the Democratic Republic of Congo where they work in parishes, education and operate development projects.

Read the full press statement (PDF) by NGOs expressing concern on the deteriorating security situation in DRC and call for action.

Vatican Suggestions for Financial Reform Debated November 8th, 2011

Fr. Seamus Finn argues in The Wall Street Journal that global regulatory changes suggested by the Vatican could help the global financial system function more fairly:

“Robert A. Sirico’s “The Vatican’s Monetary Wisdom” (op-ed, Oct. 27) correctly praises the analysis of the causes of the financial crisis that was included in the Vatican’s statement on reforming the financial system. His summary dismissal of the suggested responses in the document clearly states that no sovereign or international regulatory authority is up to the task of regulating the major actors in the financial sector. Are we then to believe that they will do it themselves?

Haven’t we just experienced the consequences of deregulation, regulatory arbitrage and the capture of elected officials and assemblies by banks and industry associations? Greater cooperation, coordination and collaboration among sovereign regulators and authorities, as the Vatican suggested, is a step in the right direction if the public is to have a safe, stable and fair financial system that is worthy of their trust and their transactions.”

The Rev. Seamus P. Finn OMI


Churches Sue to Block State Immigration Law Enforcement August 2nd, 2011


In this June 25, 2011 photo, marchers leave a park in Birmingham, Alabama, during a protest against the state's new law cracking down on undocumented immigration. (AP photo)

Leaders of the Roman Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist churches of Alabama filed suit in federal court on August 1st to stop the enforcement of Alabama’s new Anti-Immigration Law because it prevents the free exercise of religion. The bishops called the new law “the nation’s most merciless anti-immigration legislation.”

Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, of the Mobile Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Alabama, Bishop Robert J. Baker, of the Birmingham Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Alabama, Bishop Henry N. Parsley, Jr., of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Alabama and Bishop William H. Willimon, of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church have joined together as plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit. Some 338,000 Alabama residents are members of Roman Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist churches in the state.

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Archbishop Miller Issues Plea on Behalf of Tamil Refugees in Canada August 30th, 2010

Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver Diocese issued a statement on August 25, 2010 on the situation of the 492 Tamil refugees that arrived in Vancouver in early August seeking asylum.

The arrival of the refugees-laden ship has generated controversy within Canada. Canadian Tamils, the largest Tamil community outside Sri Lanka and India, have urged authorities to accept the asylum seekers, saying that the minority group faces continued discrimination at the hands of the majority Sinhalese in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s high commissioner to Canada has asked the country to reject their refugee status due to alleged links to the Tamil Tiger separatist movement. The Tamil Tigers or Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) as the military wing of the separatist Tamil movement and was brutally wiped out in the spring of 2009. Tens of thousands of Tamils are believed to have died in the final months of the conflict, trapped as they were between the two warring armies. War crimes are reported to have been committed by both sides.

“Keep the dignity of Tamil refugees in mind during immigration debate”

Statement by Archbishop J. Michael Miller who served on the Vatican Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants.

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President Obama Calls for Immigration Reform July 2nd, 2010

On July 1st President Obama spoke to the nation about immigration reform. He laid out the ways that the broken immigration system hurts millions of people across this country, and how the country can’t wait any longer for real reform. President Obama said passing national comprehensive immigration reform is going to take both Republicans and Democrats working together.

Missionary Oblates JPIC Applaud Immigration Speech. More can be done.

The Missionary Oblates JPIC office applauds President Obama’s commitment to immigration reform. President Obama’s speech on Immigration reform is a step in the right direction to fix the immigration system. However, there are actions that the Obama administration can take in the interim as we wait for Congress to act. Halting raids and deportations of undocumented immigrants (those without criminal records) would send a big signal of commitment to reform of the immigration system.

Fixing the broken immigration system is a top issue for a majority of Americans and they are frustrated with the political delay and inaction in Congress. Polling shows that a majority of Americans support comprehensive immigration reform which includes creating legal status for undocumented immigrants already in the country, securing the border and better managing future immigration.

What you can do to Support Immigration Reform:

Thousands of people of faith across the country are praying, fasting and serving as a public witness and nationwide solidarity with immigrants, particularly those living in Arizona. The Justice for Immigrants postcard campaign is an opportunity for you, your community and your parish to participate in the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ campaign for comprehensive immigration reform. You can find more information at the Justice for Immigrants website. This site has coverage of the JFI postcard campaign, as well as links for supporters to send electronic versions of the postcards to Senators and Representatives encouraging Congress to act.

Haiti : Vatican Radio Interview March 1st, 2010

w-haiti-rubble-cp-8005393In an interview with Vatican Radio,  Séamus Finn, OMI – Director of the US Oblate JPIC Office – talks about the situation in Haiti and  re-development needs of the devastated country. The Oblates are the largest male religious congregation in the country. In the interview, he touches on important Haitian realities: the poverty, the stranglehold of Haiti’s debt and a process for re-building.

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