The first U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit hosted by President Obama in Washington, DC on August 4-6, to enhance U.S.-Africa relations, widen U.S. trade, heighten development and security ties and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s democratic development and its people is of historical significance. The Summit provides a unique opportunity for the United States to put the democratic principles, a value the United States holds so dear, on the continental scale.
The Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN), dedicated to advocating for, and promoting responsible and just U.S. relations with Africa, calls for the enforcement of presidential term limits in Africa, multi-party systems, and strengthening civil society groups and citizen participation in politics. As of this Summit, five African Heads of States have collectively been in power for 163 years and still maneuvering to stay in power. We call on African leaders to respect the rule of law, their countries’ constitutional provisions for presidential term limits, and to provide space for citizens’ participation in the political process. These are essential to good governance and the promotion of peace in Africa. Continue reading The Africa Faith & Justice Network, TASSC International and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Justice & Peace Office Demand Good Governance and Human Rights on U.S.-Africa Policy Agenda
On the flight back from South Korea yesterday, Pope Francis discussed a number of issues with journalists accompanying his visit – among them the subject of the Cause of Archbishop Oscar Romero. The BBC report that the pontiff said: “For me Romero is a man of God…There are no doctrinal problems and it is very important that [the beatification] is done quickly.”
The BBC added that Pope Francis said the Cause of Archbishop Romero which had been “blocked out of prudence” by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith but has now been “unblocked.”
Huffington Post note that Pope Francis suggested that he wants to expand the church’s concept of martyrdom to include a broader field of candidates. They quote Pope Francis saying: “What I would like is that they clarify when there’s a martyrdom for hatred of the faith – for confessing the faith – as well as for doing the work for the other that Jesus commands.”
For more information on Archbishop Romero see: http://www.romerotrust.org.uk/
Targeting both industry and government, series of direct actions kicks off week-long anti-fracking camp in Blackpool, England
By Lauren McCauley, staff writer
Targeting everything from government offices and university research facilities to gas company headquarters and fracking sites, hundreds of concerned citizens across the United Kingdom on Monday unleashed a series of direct actions calling attention to the government-backed push to “frack the future” of the UK.
The coordinated demonstrations kicked off a six-day “[ http://www.nodashforgas.org.uk/press-releases/media-advisory-anti-fracking-action-blackpool-starts-thursday-details-revealed/ ]Reclaim the Power” camp in Blackpool, England at which over 1000 people including a coalition of climate, social and economic activists are expected to join. During the event, participants will take part in protests as well hold workshops to “connect the dots” between various government and industry efforts to expand shale gas drilling in the UK and “challenge the undemocratic, unjust and unsustainable system” to implement more sustainable energy solutions instead. Continue reading ‘Not for Shale’: UK Protesters Launch Widespread Actions Against Fracking’
[Nashville, TN] At the annual assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), held August 12-15, the approximately 750 participants discussed some of the essential considerations facing religious life and its leaders under the theme of “Holy Mystery Revealed in Our Midst.”
In a reflection delivered at the opening of the assembly, biblical scholar Sister Nancy Schreck, OSF explored some of the long biblical history of God working with people in the mystery of darkness. Noting that mastery of navigating the dark takes time, she said, “all we need do is to ask the mystery of darkness to teach us, to follow the darkness wherever it leads, and to become intimate with darkness.” Continue reading LCWR Assembly Examines Key Challenges and Opportunities
By Nicholas Kristof
IN an age of villainy, war and inequality, it makes sense that we need superheroes. And after trying Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, we may have found the best superheroes yet: Nuns.
“I may not believe in God, but I do believe in nuns,” writes [ http://www.jopiazza.com/ ]Jo Piazza, in her forthcoming book, “If Nuns Ruled the World.” Piazza is an agnostic living in New York City who began interviewing nuns and found herself utterly charmed and inspired.
“They eschew the spotlight by their very nature, and yet they’re out there in the world every day, living the Gospel and caring for the poor,” Piazza writes. “They don’t hide behind fancy and expensive vestments, a pulpit, or a sermon. I have never met a nun who rides a Mercedes-Benz or a Cadillac. They walk a lot; they ride bikes.” Continue reading Sister Acts
Nearly a week after the death of 18 year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., protests continue in the 21,000-person suburban community on St. Louis’ north side and around the nation.
Amid the social media and news coverage of the community’s response to the police shooting of the unarmed teenager, a picture of Ferguson and its history has emerged.
The New York Times and others have described the deep-seated racial tensions and inequalities that have long plagued the St. Louis region, as well as the dramatic demographic transformation of Ferguson from a largely white suburban enclave (it was 85 percent white as recently as 1980) to a predominantly black community (it was 67 percent black by 2008-2012).
But Ferguson has also been home to dramatic economic changes in recent years. The city’s unemployment rate rose from less than 5 percent in 2000 to over 13 percent in 2010-12. For those residents who were employed, inflation-adjusted average earnings fell by one-third. The number of households using federal Housing Choice Vouchers climbed from roughly 300 in 2000 to more than 800 by the end of the decade. Continue reading Ferguson, Mo. Emblematic of Growing Suburban Poverty
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has been informed that residents of Gwoza in north eastern Nigeria are still in hiding in nearby hills after their town was overrun by militants from the Islamist terror group Boko Haram on 6 August.
According to local sources, after being repulsed on an earlier occasion Boko Haram regrouped and a large contingent of fighters dressed in military uniforms arrived in Gwoza on motorcycles, in trucks, and in up to 50 Toyota Hilux vans during the early hours of 6 August. They proceeded to overrun the town, killing residents and causing others to take to the hills. They also burned and looted homes and buildings after filling their trucks with food stocks for their base in the Sambisa Forest. According to survivors, over a hundred residents may have lost their lives as the militants conducted door to door searches killing men, women and children.
CSW was told: “Corpses are still scattered around Gwoza. No one can go in and pick them. People are watching from the hills and can’t come down to retrieve them. Survivors in the hills are trapped there. They can only come out if the military come.” Continue reading Nigeria: Christians hide in hills as Boko Haram captures town
By Peter Takeo Okada
This week, the Catholic Church in Japan commemorates the anniversary of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with ten days of prayer for peace. The issue is of particular concern this year as Prime Minister of Japan has decided to abandon Japan’s 70 year constitution pledging never to go to war. In a message issued on Sunday, Bishop Peter Takeo Okada, president of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan writes:
Let us Become Peacemakers toward the Future while Reflecting on the Past
On the occasion of Ten Days for Peace 2014, I would like to extend greetings to all of you, the faithful across the nation.
When Pope John Paul II visited Hiroshima in 1981, he said; “War is the work of man. War is destruction of human life. War is death. Nowhere do these truths impose themselves upon us more forcefully than in this city of Hiroshima, at this Peace Memorial” (Appeal for Peace at Hiroshima). These words of the Pope still echo strongly in our hearts even 33 years later. There is nothing more disastrous and foolish than war. We as human beings must at any cost never repeat the mistake of going to war. Let us recall anew the words that the Pope repeatedly said; “To remember the past is to commit oneself to the future.” Continue reading Japan: Bishops call for peace constitution to be retained
DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNS) — Sister Simone Campbell, whose “Nuns on the Bus” tours for social and economic justice drew national attention, has been named recipient of the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award. The executive director of Network, a nonprofit Catholic social justice lobby, will receive the award Sept. 21 in Christ the King Chapel at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. The interfaith award honors St. John XXIII and commemorates his 1963 encyclical letter “Pacem in Terris” (“Peace on Earth”), which called on all people to secure peace among all nations that is built on the pillars of truth, justice, love and freedom. Previous award recipients include John F. Kennedy (posthumously), the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Cesar Chavez, Sister Helen Prejean, Lech Walesa and Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche. Continue reading Head of Network who launched ‘Nuns on the Bus’ tour to get peace award