2016 Election Guide

Posted on 02. Apr, 2016 by .


As we get closer to the November general election, CMSM (Conference of Superiors of Men) has created an Election Guide. They worked with a new Catholic coalition of national advocacy organizations to develop this. It is meant as a spiritual reflection guide that incorporates significant elements of Pope Francis’ message.

Don’t forget how important it is to vote in both the primary and general elections!

To access the guide, click on the link below:

2016 Election Guide


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I See You

Posted on 28. Mar, 2016 by .


“I see you”


Cardinal Peter Turkson, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in a message to a conference on racism in Birmingham, Alabama, on March 3, 2016:

‘When the Zulu people of South Africa greet someone, they say “Sawubona,” which means  “I see you.”

The one being greeted responds with “Sikhona” which means “I am here.”

The greeter ends by affirming “Ubuntu” which means, “We are, and so I am.”

‘Let me contrast this remarkable form of exchange with the experience of racism. Its effect is to render people invisible, and from that follows the denial of human dignity, then loss of identity, then personal despair, then social and political distrust — it unleashes a host of ills that have penetrated into every facet of life….

‘The healing of racism begins in our own hearts. How our hearts would be shaped if everyone learned to greet each other in the Zulu manner! It invites us to self-examination: how often do I overlook people who differ from me and my kind? Do my biases cloud my ability to fully “see” another person in his or her full human dignity? Admitting my failure to see the other as human is to begin the struggle to vanquish unconscious bias and interpersonal racism.’

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Marrakesh Declaration

Posted on 04. Mar, 2016 by .


The Rights of Religious Minorities in
Predominantly Muslim Majority Communities:

Legal Framework and a Call to Action
Marrakesh, Morocco

“What paradigm concerning religious minorities can the Muslim scholars, intellectuals, and philosophers advance in today’s world as an ideal goal to work toward?”

To read the full booklet, click here.

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Human Trafficking Postcard Campaign

Posted on 01. Mar, 2016 by .


bought_sold-101The Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking consists of national and international Catholic agencies working to eliminate the scourge of human trafficking. The main purposes of the Coalition are to:

  • Formulate plans for combating trafficking and serving its victims
  • Promote development of services for trafficking victims and approaches to empowerment of trafficking victims
  • Dialogue with government officials and others engaged in public policies affecting this issue
  • Devise strategies for public education, awareness-raising and grass roots action.

More than twenty Catholic organizations form the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking. Each organization has its own network of concerned citizens who can work together to further the commitment to combat trafficking. Coalition organizations engage in combating human trafficking by

  • Providing safe haven for trafficked adolescents and young adults in the U.S.
  • Delivering direct services to adult and child trafficking victims in the U.S. and overseas
  • Conducting prevention projects overseas, especially in Eastern Europe, India, and Latin America
  • Providing national training and technical assistance on the issue of trafficking
  • Meeting with government officials, including Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress, and representatives from the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor & Combat Trafficking in Persons, the Department of Health & Human Services, and the Department of Justice

Lenten Postcard Campaign

tumblr_inline_ns615cQ6B61r11kw2_1280This Lenten season CCOAHT has embarked on a national postcard campaign against human trafficking in our seafood supply chains. As many Catholics eat fish and abstain from meat to be in greater solidarity with those in need, we are urging a greater vigilance on the part of our suppliers to ensure that the seafood we eat is not tainted by slave labor.

The Coalition has created two postcards, one addressed to Costco and the other to StarKist, which asks that these companies do all in their power to guarantee that their supply chains are free of forced labor. You can download the postcards here and here, sign your name, and mail into each company.

If your parish, school, or social justice ministry would like printed and stamped versions of the postcards, contact us at cljunquist@usccb.org

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Obama’s Guantánamo Plan

Posted on 26. Feb, 2016 by .


The following is from Take Part Daily.


Detainees observe morning prayer inside Camp Delta at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Inset: President Barack Obama makes a statement about his plan to close the detention camp at Guantánamo at the White House on Feb. 23. (Photo: Reuters)

President Obama made what appeared to be a hail Mary pass on Tuesday as he announced, once again, that his administration had prepared a closure plan for the Guantánamo Bay detention center. Evoking talking points from his 2008 campaign, Obama reaffirmed his commitment to closing the controversial prison and called on Congress to help him.

“Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values,” said Obama. “It undermines our standing in the world. It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law.”

The plan estimates that 30 to 60 detainees will be transferred to the U.S. after the detention center’s closure and further detained—still without any charges filed against them—in a location that hasn’t been identified. Yet even if Congress approves the detention center’s closure—which seems unlikely, given Republicans’ distaste for anything Obama does, even things it previously favored or asked him for—advocates are concerned that the regime of indefinite detention without charge that has contributed to the infamous disregard of constitutional rights at Guantánamo will continue, perpetuating the facility’s core problem.

“The idea that the administration would continue the policy of indefinite detention and build a new system for it in the U.S. is incredibly misguided,” said Pardiss Kebriaei, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights who represents current and former Guantánamo detainees. “That isn’t closing Guantánamo. That’s continuing Guantánamo.”

Ninety-one detainees remain in the detention center, 35 of whom have been approved by the review board for transfer to other countries. Ten of the remaining 56 detainees have been charged or convicted, 22 are considered too dangerous to be released and may be tried before a federal or military court, and 24 will be held indefinitely without trial but are eligible to have their cases reviewed again for release consideration, NPR reports.

Kebriaei emphasized that even if a transfer to a U.S. facility were to occur, clients of hers who have endured more than a decade of the physical and emotional side effects of detention might not “make it…in terms of being put on another plane only to be brought to prison here.” David Remes, a human rights lawyer who represents 12 Guantánamo detainees, echoed her concerns. Five of Remes’ clients have been cleared for transfer, and seven are waiting review.

“Their prison conditions would be worse in the U.S. than at Guantánamo,” Remes told TakePart by email. “The idea that they belong in a maximum security prison is absurd. They haven’t been convicted of any crime.”

Four Republican senators announced on Tuesday the introduction of a bill that would prevent the “modification, termination, abandonment, or transfer” of the U.S. government’s lease with Cuba for the land that houses the detention center. Presidential candidate Marco Rubio quickly endorsed the bill, though no changes to the lease, which was won back when Cuba was a Spanish colony in the 19th century, have been proposed.

“We simply cannot hand over this critical base, especially not as the end result of President Obama’s dangerous plan to release terrorists back into the battlefield or bring them to US soil,” Rubio said in a statement.

Guantanamo’s impact on national security is a recurring talking point in Obama’s arsenal of reasons to shutter the facility. On Tuesday he reiterated that the detention center “does not advance national security—it undermines it,” going on to suggest its existence breeds propaganda for terrorists.

Those working closely with detainees are skeptical of this argument, given that the problems of indefinite detention will be relocated rather than abandoned. “The damage is done,” wrote Remes. “No one will ever forget those orange jumpsuits.”

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