Deportations and the denial of human dignity

The Hill

By Very Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, S.J.

As President Obama’s administration approaches a record-setting two millionth deportation, an immigration enforcement “accomplishment” never achieved by any other president, many faith leaders are rightly focusing on the hardship that each of these deportations inflicts on families and communities torn apart by our broken immigration system. However, lost in this important debate as to whether Obama should suspend deportations is the dangerous manner in which these deportations are being carried out. Continue reading Deportations and the denial of human dignity

The myth of upward mobility

National Catholic Reporter

Pat Perriello

It is often difficult to accept the reality that certain long held beliefs may no longer be true. An important article in The New Yorker challenges some traditional beliefs about social mobility in the United States.

In the piece, finance reporter James Surowiecki examines a study from Harvard and Berkeley economists that suggests the notion of upward mobility in our country is more myth than reality. As much as we would like to believe that anyone who works hard can get ahead in this country, it just does not appear to be true.

Surprisingly, the researchers discovered that there is little change in upward mobility from the present going back even to the 1970s. While this sounds encouraging, it turns out that there wasn’t much mobility in previous decades either. Among the poor, 70 percent never make it to the middle class, and only 20 percent of the middle class ever make it to the top. Even more discouraging to those who want to hold on to the notion of the availability of the American Dream, it turns out that mobility is actually greater in most European countries than it is here.
Continue reading The myth of upward mobility

Economic Reforms Needed for Peace in South Sudan

“It became easy to recruit those who felt excluded from the country’s wealth into hostile activities.” — Dr. Leben Nelson Moro, professor of development studies at Juba University

By Charlton Doki

A man and his daughter return to Bor town, Jonglei state after the fierce fighting in the state and across the country largely ended in January. Credit: Charlton Doki/IPS
A man and his daughter return to Bor town, Jonglei state after the fierce fighting in the state and across the country largely ended in January. Credit: Charlton Doki/IPS

JUBA, Feb 27 2014 (IPS) – Gatmai Deng lost three family members in the violence that erupted in South Sudan on Dec. 15 and lasted until the end of January. And he blames their deaths on the government’s failure to use the country’s vast oil revenues to create a better life for its almost 11 million people. Continue reading Economic Reforms Needed for Peace in South Sudan

Bishops of Eastern Africa Make Statement on South Sudan Crisis

“God wants peace for His people, no more hostilities and bloodshed”

Zenit.org

Here is a statement from the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) on the crisis in South Sudan.

“I HAVE WITNESSED THE AFFLICTION OF MY PEOPLE AND HAVE HEARD THEIR CRY” (Exodus 3:7):  An Appeal for Immediate Cessation of Hostilities and a Rediscovery of the sense of Nationhood in South Sudan

Preamble

We, the Catholic leaders in the Eastern Africa Region, under the umbrella body of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, AMECEA, (with membership of the national Episcopal Conferences of: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia), have listened and watched with a lot of pain and grief the current happenings in the young nation of South Sudan. We wish to condole with all those families who have lost their loved ones in the current crisis. We pray for the repose of the souls of those who have lost their lives. Our prayers are also very close to those who have been injured, displaced and lost their properties. Continue reading Bishops of Eastern Africa Make Statement on South Sudan Crisis

South Sudan fighters destroy hospitals, murder patients: MSF

Daily Nation

Men sit at a lone dispensary run by Germany-based humanitarian organization Sign of Hope, in Unity state, central South Sudan on February 21, 2014. They were waiting to be re-dressed for gunshot-wounds inflicted during a raid on their village in Panyijiar over two-weeks ago. PHOTO/AFP PHOTO
Men sit at a lone dispensary run by Germany-based humanitarian organization Sign of Hope, in Unity state, central South Sudan on February 21, 2014. They were waiting to be re-dressed for gunshot-wounds inflicted during a raid on their village in Panyijiar over two-weeks ago. PHOTO/AFP PHOTO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUBA

Warring fighters in South Sudan have looted hospitals and murdered patients in their beds, cutting life-saving healthcare to hundreds of thousands of people, Doctors Without Borders said Wednesday.

Warning of an “alarming pattern of shootings and attacks on patients” and health facilities, Doctors without Borders (MSF, Medicines sans Frontiers) said their crucial work was being strangled by a “climate of utter disrespect and fear.” Continue reading South Sudan fighters destroy hospitals, murder patients: MSF

Vatican on Syria: ‘Don’t go in if you can’t get out’

Boston Globe

By John L. Allen Jr.

WASHINGTON — A senior Vatican official speaking today before a US congressional committee had blunt advice for American lawmakers who may be weighing the use of force to bring down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – in essence, don’t go in if you can’t get out.

“We know what happens when you [use force] without a clear exit strategy,” said Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Vatican’s envoy to the United Nations in New York.

Chullikatt was referring to the 2003 US-led intervention in Iraq, where he served as the pope’s ambassador from 2006 to 2010. He described for a subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs the chaos he said he experienced in the aftermath of the US-led campaign.
Continue reading Vatican on Syria: ‘Don’t go in if you can’t get out’

Church Urged to Fight Homophobia As Same-Sex Prohibitions Pass

America

For the Law: Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, joined other Nigerian bishops in commending legislation that criminalized same-sex relationships.
For the Law: Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, joined other Nigerian bishops in commending legislation that criminalized same-sex relationships.

As some African nations continue or contemplate a legislative clampdown on gay and lesbian people, The Southern Cross, South Africa’s Catholic weekly, urged Catholic Church leaders to do more to confront societal homophobia and laws that it might inspire. In an unsigned editorial published on Jan. 29, Southern Cross editors said, “It would require a very peculiar reading of the Gospel to locate Jesus anywhere else but at the side of the marginalized and vulnerable.”

They argued, “Where there is injustice, we must expect the Catholic Church to stand with the powerless. Therefore the Church should sound the alarm at the advance throughout Africa of draconian legislation aimed at criminalizing homosexuals.”
Continue reading Church Urged to Fight Homophobia As Same-Sex Prohibitions Pass

Looted in Plain Sight: Kenya and its Multi-Billion Dollar Invoicing Problem

Think Africa Press

Kenya lost over $700 million in taxes in 2012 due to smuggling. But despite popular belief, the main problem with smuggling isn’t corruption. It’s tax havens, phantom firms and secrecy.

By Brian LeBlanc

Overlooking skyscrapers in the Nairobi skyline. Photograph by Curt Carnemark/World Bank.
Overlooking skyscrapers in the Nairobi skyline. Photograph by Curt Carnemark/World Bank.

At the end of January, the Kenya Sugar Board, acting on a tip off, seized and impounded over 1,800 bags of illegally imported sugar. Arrests were made and the board vowed to begin a country-wide crackdown on other cartels who smuggle tons of sugar into the country each year.

This could not come soon enough. The impacts of smuggling sugar − whose prices can easily undercut that of legitimate products − on Kenya’s domestic sugar industry have been devastating. Mumias Sugar Company, which is responsible for over 60% of Kenya’s domestic sugar production, for example, named smuggling as a contributing factor to the company’s pre-tax losses of $26m in 2013.
Continue reading Looted in Plain Sight: Kenya and its Multi-Billion Dollar Invoicing Problem

The rights of nature: A new strategy in the struggle for ecological wholeness

Eco Jesuit

James E Hug, SJ

The world’s first Tribunal on the Rights of Nature, held in Quito, Ecuador last 17 January 2014 heard eight cases to determine their admissibility for adjudication at a later Tribunal, which will be held in another city and country later this year. The Tribunal for Rights of Nature will become permanent, hearing cases around the world. Photo credit: therightsofnature.org
The world’s first Tribunal on the Rights of Nature, held in Quito, Ecuador last 17 January 2014 heard eight cases to determine their admissibility for adjudication at a later Tribunal, which will be held in another city and country later this year. The Tribunal for Rights of Nature will become permanent, hearing cases around the world. Photo credit: therightsofnature.org

Do West Virginians have a right to clean water? Beyond that, do West Virginia waterways have the right to be protected from polluters? Do rainforests or the Great Barrier Reef have the right to survive? Can the court systems of the countries of the world be used to protect Mother Nature’s rights?

It may sound like a stretch of the imagination, but an important gathering of international leaders in the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature  movement took place 13 to 17 January 2014 in Otavalo and Quito, Ecuador. According to a press release from the Global Alliance, the meeting’s two purposes are “to analyze the experiences of communities in Ecuador, Bolivia, and the United States that have already implemented ‘Rights of Nature’ laws and to devise a unified global strategy for advancing the Rights of Nature movement around the world.”
Continue reading The rights of nature: A new strategy in the struggle for ecological wholeness

Jesuit scholastics reflect and act on ecology: National Tree Day at Kimwenza, Democratic Republic of Congo

Eco Jesuit

André Samalambo, SJ and the Kimwenza Ecology Group

congo2Jesuit scholastics of the Saint Peter Canisius community (Central Africa Province) at Kimwenza in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo organize activities every three months to raise more awareness among Jesuits and friends on the need to be in harmony with Mother Earth and to be reconciled with Creation. This awareness and commitment is the result of the work of the Group of Reflection and Action on Ecology.

During National Tree Day last 5 December 2013, they collected papers all over the compound for recycling with many members of the community. They celebrated an Ecological Mass and shared the Eucharist in the outdoors, under the trees, with the assembly sitting on the grass with Fr Benoît Mbuyi, SJ with the Deacon Raphael Bazebizonza, SJ presiding. To begin the Eucharist, Fr Benoît blessed and planted a tree at the very place of the celebration. The two leaders of the Group, André Samalambo and Albert Andemir’Irenge led this ceremony and explained its deep meaning.
Continue reading Jesuit scholastics reflect and act on ecology: National Tree Day at Kimwenza, Democratic Republic of Congo