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Catholics for Peace and Justice JUNE 2015 Newsletter

Catholics for Peace and Justice
JULY 2015 Newsletter

Greetings,

Summer is finally in full bloom.  “Praise be to you Mother Earth who sustains and governs us.” 

For those who have been struggling with printing Laudato Si’ here is a 70 page pdf print version or a copy can be ordered from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website.

Blessings of the Joy of Mother Earth 


Just as Jesus often didn’t answer specific questions put to him, but changed them to questions of much greater importance, so we too need to change the discussion. If we want to improve results, we can’t afford to get stuck asking what people Deserve; we need to ask, what do people NEED to make them whole. What do the ex-offenders NEED to keep them from repeating mistakes, to help them progress and reintegrate? What do the white police officers who have shot unarmed black persons NEED for their healing and reconciliation?    [David Liner, speaking at “Table of the Saints” honoring Pastor Joseph Ellwanger for his work over many years on behalf of ex-offenders reentering life in the community]


For ongoing updates and social justice resources visit our website at   

www.catholicsforpeaceandjustice.org 

and the Catholics for Peace and Justice Facebook page


TABLE OF CONTENTS

GENERAL
“Our Common Home” – Intentional Change

ACTIONS AND ISSUES
11X15 – A Breakthrough for Prison Reform?
Ecology: Discouraging Trends on Climate
Obama’s bipolar approach to energy
Ending Family Detention – One Step Forward with More to Go
Beyond Segregation: Thoughts on Honoring the 9 Church Members in Charleston
The ONE Campaign – Advocating to Change Global Poverty 
Common Ground Update
Capitol Update from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference
July Issue of Love Thy Neighbor

EVENTS AND EDUCATION
New Sanctuary Movement / Immigration – Jul 7 and 9
Oil and Water Do Not Mix – Jul 8
Book Signing: A Father at War by Frank Pauc – Jul 18
Life, Earth and the Common Good: Social Action Summer Institute – July 19-23
Faith & Ecology Conversation - Jul 21
The Capuchins' Run Walk for the Hungry – July 24
Lanterns for Peace & Peace Benefit Concert – Aug 8
Human Trafficking Awareness & Volunteer Training – Aug 13
School of the America’s Vigil/Save the Date – Nov 20/21

STUDY, REFLECT, PRAY
Study:  Top 10 Things You Need to Know about 'Laudato Si''
Reflection: An Alternative Catholic Response to the Supreme Court Decision for Gay Marriage
Prayer: Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon


GENERAL
“Our Common Home” and Intentional Change
By Debra Schneider, Catholics for Peace and Justice 
We’ve all been waiting with great anticipation for Pope Francis’s encyclical on ecology.  Now that it is here, many of are finding that a discussion of our human effects on “our common home” can be overwhelming, confusing, scary, and politically toxic. After all, what Pope Francis is really dong is raising a huge issue of moral change.  Let’s face it Americans in general don’t like change. It’s messy and chaotic. It perceptually upsets our experience, our beliefs, our habits, our families, our freedoms, our pocketbook – or so we think.  At the same time we are acutely aware of the polls on how many Americans believe (~63%) and don’t believe in climate change (~18%). Some good news.  According to the Yale Project on Climate Change the number of Catholics who believe in global warming and support policies to reduce it is higher than other traditions. The question remains, what do we do now?

We might consider beginning with, as Pope Francis calls it, “the common destination of goods”.  He says, “…we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone.  For believers, this becomes a question of fidelity to the Creator, since God created this world for everyone.” So, perhaps we begin by asking ourselves, have all our advances in culture, industry and technology been just and even for all our sisters and brothers on this planet?  Or have we become too focused on ourselves, on what we want and what advertising tells us “we need and deserve”. Have we confused our cultural of freedom with unintended, or intended, egocentricity and selfishness?  

But, before we point our finger, have we reflected on our own potentially unintended and careless habits?  Should we ask our self, how have I lost sight of loving my neighbor who is here now and will be in the future - after all God is timeless, it is only us who see in a finite way.  Do I appreciate the loving gift of creation that God has, in Wisdom, placed us in?  As Francis says, “We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.”  “We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.” (Laudato Si’, 2)

Which brings us back to change. Still more good news. Intentional change is a positive thing. It is about what I choose to do and the habits I choose to change. It’s about learning how my actions and consumption habits may be negatively affecting my life and the lives of others. Then choosing to do something different.  We can choose a culture of freedom, love our neighbor and share our inheritance all at the same time. 

Example:  One simple action of intentional change: Don't buy individual bottles of water - Read why... 


Find more ideas for intentional change at www.catholicsforpeaceandjustice.org 
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ACTIONS AND ISSUES
11X15 – A Breakthrough for Prison Reform?
On July 1 Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner sent out the statement below in his newsletter to constituents.  ACTION: If you are a constituent of Rep. Sensenbrenner, please take a moment to send him a note of support and thanks for his work on federal criminal justice reform. Ask him to use his influence with state of Wisconsin senators and representatives to do the same for the state of WI. Contrary to his comment about Wisconsin, we have not been a leader in criminal justice system reform.  Email Rep Sensenbrenner here. 

From Rep. Sensenbrenner’s July 1 Newsletter
A Monumental Step Forward for Criminal Justice Reform
As we celebrate Independence Day, we are reminded of the values our nation’s founders fought tirelessly to safeguard: individual liberty, equal justice under the law and limited government. 

After leading the House Judiciary Committee’s Over-Criminalization Task Force for a year and a half, I have seen firsthand how these most basic principles of freedom and fairness have fallen by the wayside in our criminal justice system. Our jails are overcrowded, our criminal code is convoluted and our taxpayer dollars are being wasted. 

The United States is home to just five percent of the world’s population, but holds 25 percent of the world’s prison population. From 1980 to 2013, the number of incarcerated offenders in federal prisons skyrocketed from 24,000 to more than 215,000. Currently, the federal prison system consumes more than 25 percent of the entire Department of Justice budget.

Despite this dramatic rise in incarceration rates, crime rates have remained stagnant. And even with the startling increase in prison spending, more than 40 percent of released offenders return to prison within three years of their release—proving yet again that big government does not mean better government. Something must be done, not just from a fiscal perspective, but a moral perspective.

Read the full statement here. 

New WISDOM Video that documents the benefits of Treatment Alternatives and Diversions over incarceration. 
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Ecology: Discouraging Trends on Climate
By Margaret Swedish, Center for New Creation
Once again, climate change looms large as the environmental issue of the moment. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the period January-May was the warmest ever recorded globally. Meanwhile, in June record heat waves hit India and Pakistan resulting in thousands of deaths. In Alaska heat and drought have led to more than 300 wildfires. California, Oregon, and Washington have all seen record heat and devastating wildfires in recent weeks. Most scientists say that climate change is definitely a factor in these disasters.
 
Pope Francis is calling on the Catholic community to be relevant to the global debate leading up to the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris in December. The new encyclical, Laudato Si, and the world attention it has attracted have reshaped the conversation among people of faith. On June 28 an interfaith march was held in Rome in support of the encyclical [see: One Earth One Family video here]. The Pope will be in the U.S. in September to address the United Nations and a Joint Session of Congress. These next several months provide an incredible opportunity for the Catholic community to weigh in on climate change. 
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Obama’s Bipolar Approach to Energy
By Margaret Swedish, Center for New Creation
While on the one hand, President Barack Obama has spoken more forcefully than any previous president on the threat of climate change, he continues to approve expansion of the fossil fuel industry despite the rapidly rising levels of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. In May he gave provisional approval to Shell Gulf of Mexico, a subsidiary of the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, to begin exploratory drilling in the remote waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Last year Obama approved controversial exploration and drilling off the US eastern seaboard.  And he continues to support the expansion of fracking for oil and gas, despite growing concerns about environmental impacts. With climate change negotiations resuming in advance of the UN climate conference in December, this is an important time for all of us to express our concerns to the White House, and to use the words of Pope Francis in citing reasons why the U.S. must move quickly to end its reliance on fossil fuels, transferring policies and tax dollars to the rapid expansion of renewable energy technologies. ACTION: Call or write the White House .
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Immigration: Ending Family Detention – One Step Forward with More to Go
From an email by Ann Scholz, SSND, PhD, Associate Director for Social Mission, Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Department of Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson outlined significant changes in department policy and practice  regarding family detention. Those changes are a direct result of continued public pressure. “While the faith community acknowledges the positive changes, we continue to push for an end to the practice of incarcerating families.”  “The Sisters of Mercy's first-hand experience on the disastrous effect of family detention comes from one of our sisters, Kathleen Erickson, who just finish serving two months as the interim Chaplain at Dilley. In her position, Sister Kathleen had a unique role that allowed her to build relationships with both the staff of the detention facility and the detained women and children. During her time in Dilley, she also saw the facility grow from approximately 400 women and children in late March to over 1,000 by the end of May.  ACTION: Read the statement and contact your legislators to put an end to family detention. 
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Beyond Segregation: Thoughts on Honoring the 9 Church Members in Charleston
By Mary Krolikowski, Catholics for Peace and Justice
The day after the slaying of the 9 church members in Charleston, I received an email inviting me to All People’s Church for a vigil in honor of the victims. I was so grateful for an opportunity to stand in solidarity with many people from all over Milwaukee in honoring the lives of those faithful disciples from Charleston. It was like when all the cousins come together from near and far to re-establish bonds at the funeral of an elderly family member. I know there were wise words during the service, which I don’t remember. I was moved by Who was there: contingents of pastors and parishioners from local African Methodist Episcopal congregations that call the martyrs their own people, and from other denominations; activists for peace and justice; and many other people of good will, good neighbors. I felt deep, palpable connection among the diverse people as we sang, prayed, and cried together, and embraced our oneness in grief. It was an evening that touched my soul.  

More: Listen to: “On Being” with John A. Powell: “Opening the Question of Race to the Question of Belonging”  
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The ONE Campaign – Advocating to Change Global Poverty Electrify Africa
Right now, 70% of people in sub-Saharan Africa lack reliable access to electricity, meaning that students can't study when the sun goes down, and hospitals can't use modern medical equipment or properly store medications.  The ONE Electrify Africa Campaign is supporting legislation to bring life-changing electricity to 50 million people for the first time. Last week HR 2847 was introduced by Rep. Ed Royce and Rep. Eliot Engel.  ONE had a lot of success, with petition deliveries in over 220 congressional offices and all 50 states to get this bill moving.   This bill encourages sub-Saharan Africa countries to move toward electrification through changes in U.S. policy. No new tax dollars are required.
ACTION: 
Sign the Electrify Africa Petition
Send a letter to your Representative asking them to support HR 2847.   
Six Ways Energy Poverty Threatens Health Care for the Poorest 
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Common Ground Update
Why common ground is opposed to the use of public money to build a new bucks arena .  Actions you can take.
More Updates on Common Ground Campaigns
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Capitol Update from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference
Can be found here 
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July Issue of Love Thy Neighbor
Link to the July issue of Love Thy Neighbor from the Office of Social Justice Ministry / Dignity of the Human Person, Archdiocese of Milwaukee.   
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EVENTS AND EDUCATION
New Sanctuary Movement / Immigration – Jul 7 and 9
Bilingual interfaith prayer vigil for Immigrants: Tuesday, July 7th, 6:30pm at Ascension Lutheran Church (1236 S. Layton Blvd, corner of 27th and Scott). 
Immigration Solidarity Vigil outside of ICE: Thursday, July 9th, 12pm at ICE (310 E. Knapp St.) 
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Oil and Water Do Not Mix – Jul 8
A presentation on the environmental and economic future of Milwaukee. With Commissioner at MMSD, Member of The Water Council, and Former Greendale Village President John Hermes  on “Milwaukee - Positioned for Major Leadership Role in the Emerging Global Water Industry”; Conservation Director of the Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter Elizabeth Ward and award winning conservation essayist Eric Hansen's presentation, “Crude Oil Shipments Threaten Wisconsin Waters? Or will a vast swath of our pristine waters become a fading memory, soiled by the leaks and spills of a massive network of tar sands crude oil pipelines, maritime traffic and crude oil trains? July 8, 7 pm at West Allis Public Library.  Sponsored by SW Regional Democratic Org. Click here for details and RSVP 
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Book Signing: A Father at War by Frank Pauc – Jul 18
“When our oldest son, Hans, joined the Army and went to Iraq, my life, and that of our family, became a whirlwind of conflicting emotions and thoughts. We were swept up in world events in a way that was intensely personal and often overwhelming. I dealt with the madness by writing almost continually. “A Father at War” is a compendium of Frank’s writings through these years.  If you have valued Frank’s reflections in the CPJ newsletter you will appreciate “A Father at War”. Book signing on Saturday, July 18, Mocha Lisa Coffee House   2825 4 1/2 Mile Rd, in Racine from 9:00 to noon. Website www.afatheratwar.com 
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Life, Earth and the Common Good: Social Action Summer Institute – July 19-23
The Catholic Church: Caring For Creation Before It Was Cool. Catholic social teaching is the church's best-kept secret.  Before Pope Francis, there was Pope Benedict XVI (the "Green Pope") and Saint John Paul II, each who wrote on Care for God's Creation. Catholic social teaching: Life and Human Dignity, Priority for the Poor and Vulnerable, and Care for God's Creation.  Learn more about the Social Action Summer Institute here  
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Faith & Ecology Conversation - Jul 21
Tuesday, July 21st, 7 pm, Urban Ecology Center, Riverside Sponsored by Interfaith Earth Network. This series invites persons of all faiths and spiritualities to gather to reflect upon and converse about a chosen word for the month.  We will have topics that respond to seasonal/calendar events to draw us all into reflection and conversation on how faith and spirituality intersect with our lives and the natural world.
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The Capuchins' Run Walk for the Hungry – July 24
Save the date of Friday, July 24, 2015 for this year's Capuchins' Run Walk for the Hungry to Germanfest. Held at the Summerfest grounds. Online registration is now open.  
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Lanterns for Peace & Peace Benefit Concert – Aug 8
Join us on Saturday, August 8th for Peace Action WI's Annual Lanterns for Peace & Peace Benefit Concert! Lanterns for Peace is the annual international commemoration of the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII featuring food, live music, family activities and the floating of illuminated lanterns at dusk.  Developing the atomic bomb took enormous public investment and the dedication of the world's greatest scientific minds. On this anniversary we join together to do this once more, but this time for the preservation of life, not the destruction of it. We need a renewable energy revolution. Our future depends on confronting climate change, protecting our environment and putting an end to the conflicts that arise out of competition for fossil fuels. RSVP and details here.  
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Human Trafficking Awareness & Volunteer Training – Aug 13
Thursday, August 13, 2015 from 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM. Human trafficking is a hidden crime that can also be described as modern day slavery.  It happens in all 72 counties of Wisconsin.  We believe awareness leads to prevention, intervention and restoration. What is domestic human trafficking? Who is being trafficked? * Why do the victims not run away? Why do they need special attention?  Can we help them find a job?  What is Redeem and Restore Center doing about this? Come to learn, ask questions, and decide if you want to partner with us in this fight. Sponsored by and Please RSVP at Redeem and Restore   
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School of the America’s Vigil/Save the Date – Nov 20/21
"Save the Date" for the School of the America's Vigil.  The Vigil will be held the 3rd weekend in November (20th - 21st) in Columbus, Ga.
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STUDY, REFLECT, PRAY
Study: Top 10 Things You Need to Know about 'Laudato Si''
Haven’t started reading yet?  Want the quick overview.  See America Magazines video Top 10 Things You Need to Know about 'Laudato Si''  
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Reflection: An Alternative Catholic Response to the Supreme Court Decision for Gay Marriage
From Daniel P. Horan O.F.M., America Magazine Jun 26 2015
“We should recall of course that the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution protects the Catholic Church—and other religious communities—from being compelled to perform religious services for same-sex spouses. What has taken place today is a matter of civil rights, literally. The definition of marriage has not changed for the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Catholic Church, but perhaps this court decision like the recent referendum in Ireland should have us asking difficult theological and moral questions, questions that have been largely avoided for some time. After all, it is interesting that 56 percent of Catholics express support for same-sex marriage, according to a 2015 Pew survey.”

 “Church teaching seems to offer us other ways to reflect on today’s decision. For instance, returning to "Gaudium et Spes," we read: “True, all [women and] men are not alike from the point of view of varying physical power and the diversity of intellectual and moral resources. Nevertheless, with respect to the fundamental rights of the person, every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, race, color, social condition, language or religion, is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God's intent. For in truth it must still be regretted that fundamental personal rights are still not being universally honored" (no. 29).”

“Perhaps we might look at what is affirmed in today’s decision about the inherent dignity and value of all women and men, regardless of their sexual orientation, as something to be referenced in the spirit of that which reflects a “ray of that Truth,” which is the love of God in Christ.” “So what is the right way to respond to today’s decision? The Christian response is love. And the Second Vatican Council has challenged the church to remember this amid the complex realities of our world.”   Read full article.
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Prayer: Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon
St. Francis of Assisi

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord, All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.

To you alone, Most High, do they belong, and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.

Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.

Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,
So useful, humble, precious and pure.

Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,
Mother Earth
who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of You and bear sickness and trial.

Blessed are those who endure in peace, By You Most High, they will be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.

No second death can do them harm. Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.
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