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US Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Reflection: “Living as a People of God in Unsettled Times” March 22nd, 2017
On March 22, the U.S Catholic Bishops Administrative Committee issued a pastoral reflection, “Living as a People of God in Unsettled Times,” calling on all Catholics “to accompany migrants and refugees who seek a better life in the United States.” The pastoral statement offers some recommendations on how Catholics in their own small way might offer solidarity for migrants and refugees.
Fr. Séamus P. Finn on the Evolution of Catholic Investing February 9th, 2017
Fr. Séamus P. Finn, OMI, spoke to participants at the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota, February 8,th 2017
The three core elements for Catholic Investment that were presented by the US Catholic bishops in 1986 and reinforced by the investment guidelines that were adopted for the management of the financial assets of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops were;
1) Do not invest in companies, products or services that counter to Catholic moral teaching.
2) Exercise responsible active ownership of shares that the USCCB has in the portfolio through a process of engagement with the directors and managers of these institutions.
3) Proactively investing in funds and projects that are designed to promote the common good and sustainable development that in some cases offer a lower rate of return.
The good news is that much has been achieved in the first of these categories, also known as negative screens, when excluding investments in specific companies and or industries. Now the work of applying these same screens across all assets classes in a portfolio needs to be accelerated.
Secondly, little has been done to take up the work of active engagement and this responsibility for active advocacy and dialogue is more important now than ever given the growing influence of corporations and large investment funds on nearly every aspect of life. Some catholic religious orders and institutions have done the bulk of this work through organizations like the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, www.iccr.org.
Stand in Solidarity with Refugees: Take Action Now January 31st, 2017
Justice for Immigrants (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) has issued an action alert calling on Catholics to contact their lawmakers to support immigrants and refugees. This week, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order that is having a devastating impact on refugee resettlement in the United States. Missionary Oblates JPIC stands with religious communities and human rights organizations in calling for the support and protection of refugees forced to flee violence in their home communities. As people of faith, we cannot turn our backs on refugee families as they flee from violence. Today, there is an urgent need for the United States to continue showing global leadership on refugee protection.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month January 18th, 2017
President Barack Obama has proclaimed January 2017 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the United States, calling upon businesses, national and community organizations, families, and all Americans to recognize the vital role we must play in ending all forms of human trafficking. Many with groups are bringing attention to this issue through prayer and educational resources. Below are links to some of these resources.
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s (USCCB):
“Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. We must unite our efforts to free victims and stop this crime that’s become ever more aggressive, that threatens not just individuals, but the foundational values of society.” Pope Francis
- U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking provides several resources on its website including prayer services and an interfaith toolkit produced and distributed by the Washington Inter-Religious Staff Community Working Group on Human Trafficking (WISC).
- The Catholic Health Association is sponsoring a Twitter Chat on Human Trafficking, Feb. 2nd, 1-2:00 PM Eastern. Contact Jody Wise for details: email@example.com.
Renewed Call to End the Death Penalty. July 21st, 2015
During the 10th Anniversary of Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops renewed push to end the death penalty. Accompanying their message, “A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement saying,
“Since that time, significant gains have been made, several states, including New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland and most recently Nebraska, have ended the use of the death penalty, and other states have enacted moratoria. Death sentences are at their lowest level since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.”
“Our Catholic faith affirms our solidarity with and support for victims of crime and their families. We commit ourselves to walk with them and assure them of the Church’s compassion and care, ministering to their spiritual, physical and emotional needs in the midst of deep pain and loss. We also acknowledge the inherent human dignity of those who have committed grave harm, affirming that, even as they repay a debt to society, they too should receive compassion and mercy.”
Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran bishops visited with young mothers and children who have fled violence in their home countries and are now incarcerated at Dilley Detention Center in Dilley, Texas, on March 27. The faith leaders called upon the federal government to halt the practice of family detentions, citing the harmful effects on mothers, children and the moral character of society.
Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio, Texas, whose archdiocese includes Dilley, was joined by Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, and Bishop James Tamayo of Laredo, Texas. Bishops Michael Rinehart and H. Julian Gordy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America also joined them on the visit. Since last summer, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has detained hundreds of families at detention centers in New Mexico, Texas, and Pennsylvania, under a new family detention policy aimed at families fleeing violence in Central America.
“After this visit, my primary question is: Why? Why do we feel compelled to place in detention such vulnerable individuals –traumatized young mothers with children fleeing persecution in their home countries?” said Archbishop García-Siller following the visit. “A great nation such as ours need not incarcerate the most vulnerable in the name of deterrence. The moral character of a society is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable in our midst. Our nation’s family detention policy is shameful and I implore our elected officials to end it.”
Bishop Elizondo, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, added: “The detention of families serves no purpose and undermines due process. It especially harms children, who experience emotional and psychological harm from detention. The policy is a stain on the administration’s record on immigration.”
Bishop James Tamayo of Laredo, Texas, said humane alternatives to detention exist and should be used for the population.
“The government should consider placing these families in humane alternatives to detention, where they could live in the community and access needed services, including legal representation,” Bishop Tamayo said. “The Church is ready to assist in this effort.”
Information on the USCCB position on family detention can be found on the USCCB website at: