Pax Christi National Conference Starts Today
I am off to this year's National Conference for Pax Christi USA. I am very excited as this is my first one. I am sure I will have lots to post about when I get back.
Working to bring about non-violent social change through prayer, study and action. An affiliated group of Pax Christi USA, representing the Catholic Peace Movement in the United States.
Given: It is murder to experiment on stem cells because it destroys the stem cells and thus human life.
If experimenting on stem cells is wrong because the embryos are destroyed then destroying embryos is wrong.
If destroying embryos is wrong then ALL research (not just federal funded research) should be banned.
If destroying embryos is wrong then all 400,000 embryos currently in storage need to be preserved.
If the embryos cannot be preserved then they should not be created.
If they should not be created invitro fertilization should be outlawed.
Do you follow the logic? Is stem cell research truly a slippery moral slope or are we already there because stem cell research is legal if it is privately funded. Or did our slide begin with invitro fertilization? Many of those questions need to start from where you believe that life begins, but if you believe it begins at conception can you get around this argument?
Today the United States government continues to call for a cease fire in the Middle East. Yesterday the United States delegation lead by Condoleeza Rice left the negotiating table without coming to an agreement that would end the conflict. So far 51 Israelis have died in the conflict and over 430 Lebanese are dead, the majority civilians many of whom are children.
The Lebanese have a right to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected, the Israelis have a right to live in peace in their nation and the Palestinians have the right to have a free and sovereign country.The USCCB is urging all bishops to communicate the message of Pope Benedict to the priests and parishioners in their dioceses. In a letter to all the bishops, Bishop William Skylstad wrote:
The Holy Father has declared July 23rd to be a day dedicated to prayers and penance for people of all religious faiths "to implore God for the precious gift of peace." In a brief statement issued by the Vatican press office on July 20, Pope Benedict XVI urged prayers for "an immediate cese fire between the (warring) sides," the establishment of "a humaitarian corridor in order to bring aid to the suffering people," and the satrt of "reasonable and responsible negotiations so as to end the objective situation of injustice exisitng in that region."
I share this information with you in hopes that you will find a way to share it with the priests and people of your (arch)dioceses. Also, I wanted you to be aware that both the Holy See and our Conference have spoken out on the current crisis in the Middle East and you can find those statements on the USCCB website.
The death penalty in our view is not consistent with evolving standards of decency. The death penalty diminishes all of us. We cannot teach respect for life by taking life.
The target is to have 200 NJADP members and supporters at the hearing. Anyone who is available next week is encouraged to go. If you are planning on attending please contact Abe at the NJADP Trenton Office 800-973-6548. Here are the rest of the details.
The New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission has scheduled its first public hearing for Wed., July 19 at 2 PM, in Committee Room 4, on the 1st Floor of the State House Annex in Trenton.
You are welcome to join fellow NJADP members at the hearing, including murder victims' family members and death row and other exonorees who will send a strong and clear message that we do not want, nor do we need, the death penalty in our beautiful state.
Because the hearings are getting off to such a late start (they were originally scheduled to begin in March) it is unlikely that the panel will conclude its study and submit a report to the legislature by November. This means that a vote on the abolition bill which will replace the use of the death penalty with life without the possibility of parole will be pushed into 2007. The problem with that is all of the legislators will be up for re-election. I think we all know how hard it is to get politicians to commit to anything that will significantly change the status quo during an election year. The point is NJADP needs all the help it can get.
Right now we are in a position end the use of the death penalty in our state and set an example for the entire nation, but we need to keep up the momentum. Please consider coming on next Wednesday.
For other ways for you to help end the use of the death penalty in our state you can refer to www.njadp.org
From the cowardice that dare not face new truth,
From the laziness that is contented with half truth,
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,
Good Lord, deliver me.
-Prayer from Kenya
I wanted to give you a heads up to a couple upcoming events taking place at the College of St. Elizabeth under Linda's tutelage. I think you would find them interesting. This message may be redundant to a few of you as I am using my e-mail lists for the St Teresa Bible Study group, Book Discussion and Faith Sharing.
On July 9th (a Sunday) there will be an opening event (free of charge) from 7-9:30 pm in the Mahony Library Octagon on the campus of the College. Speaker will be Adele Gonzalea a Theology Professor from Barry University in Florida who is a national speaker in the areas of spirituality, lay ministry and multiculturism. Her topic is FEAR IS USELESS.
On Saturday, July 15th there will be a "Summer Spirituality Festival" from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm (also on Campus of the College of St. Elizabeth. There is a registration fee for this day of $30 (you can register the morning of) and the day includes a morning and afternoon keynote presentation (Reverend Lawrence Boadt in the morning with the topic "The Old Testament is Good News, Too" and Patricia Livingston in the afternoon (1:30 pm) titled "The Good News According to Each of Us.") There will also be a choice of a morning and afternoon workshop from a selection of four workshops. Well known author and speaker Megan McKenna will be one of the presenters. The topics include McKenna on "Dwelling in Mystery," "A Catholic Spirituality for the Dying" by Sr. Pat Parachini, "Keeping in Balance - The 4 Pillars of Christian Spirituality" by Ann Marie Eckert, and "The Spirituality of Taize" by Rev. Masud Ibn Syedullah.
There will also be morning and evening courses for credit or audit conducted Monday through Thursday July 10-13 and a separate set of courses the week of July 17-20. If interested in learning more on these you can either call the college (Linda's Office) 973-290-4300 or go onto their website www.csespirit.org
I have been attending these programs for some time (even predating Linda's involvement) and always find the sessions stimulating and relevant. If you know of others who might be interested, please pass the word.
. . . we cannot fail to praise those who renounce the use of violence in the vindication of their rights and who resort to methods of defense which are otherwise available to weaker parties too, provided that this can be done without injury to the rights and duties of others or of the community itself. ("The Church in the Modern World," n. 78)
Heavenly Father, purify in all the people of this land their love for the nation according to the mind of your Son Jesus Christ, who knew what was good for the peace of His land and people. May everyone strive by word and action to foster peace among the people of all social classes and creeds, so that, living in harmonny and justice, they may be a Christian light to other nations, such as your Son would have them be.
One of the great challenges for Catholics is as old as our faith, but takes on greater urgency in this hectic and complex world we live in.
Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, the retired Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit, first bishop president of Pax Christi USA and author of the column entitled The Peace Pulpit for The National Catholic Reporter will be giving two retreats in the New York Metro Area this fall.