'Peace'

Pope Francis and Active Nonviolence

Posted on 30. Jul, 2017 by .

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the participants in the G20 meeting taking place in Germany July 7-8. The Message is addressed to the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and details what the Holy Father recognizes as four principles of action for the building of fraternal, just and peaceful societies: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part.

Please find the full text of Pope Francis’ Message, in its official English translation, below…

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To Her Excellency
Mrs Angela Merkel
Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Following our recent meeting in the Vatican, and in response to your thoughtful request, I would like to offer some considerations that, together with all the Pastors of the Catholic Church, I consider important in view of the forthcoming meeting of the G20, which will gather Heads of State and of Government of the Group of major world economies and the highest authorities of the European Union.  In doing so, I follow a tradition begun by Pope Benedict XVI in April 2009 on the occasion of the London G20.  My Predecessor likewise wrote to Your Excellency in 2006, when Germany held the presidency of the European Union and the G8.

In the first place, I wish to express to you, and to the leaders assembled in Hamburg, my appreciation for the efforts being made to ensure the governability and stability of the world economy, especially with regard to financial markets, trade, fiscal problems and, more generally, a more inclusive and sustainable global economic growth (cf. G20 Leaders Communiqué, Hangzhou Summit, 5 September 2016).  As is evident from the Summit’s programme, such efforts are inseparable from the need to address ongoing conflicts and the worldwide problem of migrations.

In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the programmatic document of my Pontificate addressed to the Catholic faithful, I proposed four principles of action for the building of fraternal, just and peaceful societies: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part.  These lines of action are evidently part of the age-old wisdom of all humanity; I believe that they can also serve as an aid to reflection for the Hamburg meeting and for the assessment of its outcome.

Time is greater than space.  The gravity, complexity and interconnection of world problems is such that there can be no immediate and completely satisfying solutions. Sadly, the migration crisis, which is inseparable from the issue of poverty and exacerbated by armed conflicts, is proof of this.  It is possible, though, to set in motion processes that can offer solutions that are progressive and not traumatic, and which can lead in relatively short order to free circulation and to a settlement of persons that would be to the advantage of all.  Nonetheless, this tension between space and time, between limit and fullness, requires an exactly contrary movement in the minds of government leaders and the powerful.  An effective solution, necessarily spread over time, will be possible only if the final objective of the process is clearly present in its planning.  In the minds and hearts of government leaders, and at every phase of the enactment of political measures, there is a need to give absolute priority to the poor, refugees, the suffering, evacuees and the excluded, without distinction of nation, race, religion or culture, and to reject armed conflicts.

At this point, I cannot fail to address to the Heads of State and of Government of the G20, and to the entire world community, a heartfelt appeal for the tragic situation in South Sudan, the Lake Chad basin, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, where thirty million people are lacking the food and water needed to survive.  A commitment to meet these situations with urgency and to provide immediately support to those peoples will be a sign of the seriousness and sincerity of the mid-term commitment to reforming the world economy and a guarantee of its sound development.

Unity prevails over conflict.  The history of humanity, in our own day too, presents us with a vast panorama of current and potential conflicts.  War, however, is never a solution.   As the hundredth anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Letter to the Leaders of the Warring Peoples draws near, I feel bound to ask that the world put an end to all these “useless slaughters”.  The goal of the G20 and of other similar annual meetings is to resolve economic differences peacefully and to agree on common financial and trade rules to allow for the integral development of all, in order to implement the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (cf. Communiqué of the G20 Hangzhou Summit).  Yet that will not be possible unless all parties commit themselves to substantially reducing levels of conflict, halting the present arms race and renouncing direct or indirect involvement in conflicts, as well as agreeing to discuss sincerely and transparently all their differences.  There is a tragic contradiction and inconsistency in the apparent unity expressed in common forums on economic or social issues, and the acceptance, active or passive, of armed conflicts.

Realities are more important than ideas.  The fateful ideologies of the first half of the twentieth century have been replaced by new ideologies of absolute market autonomy and financial speculation (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 56).  In their tragic wake, these bring exclusion, waste and even death.  The significant political and economic achievements of the past century, on the other hand, were always marked by a sound and prudent pragmatism, guided by the primacy of the human being and the attempt to integrate and coordinate diverse and at times opposed realities, on the basis of respect for each and every citizen.  I pray to God that the Hamburg Summit may be illumined by the example of those European and world leaders who consistently gave pride of place to dialogue and the quest of common solutions: Schuman, De Gasperi, Adenauer, Monnet and so many others.

The whole is greater than the part.  Problems need to be resolved concretely and with due attention to their specificity, but such solutions, to be lasting, cannot neglect a broader vision.  They must likewise consider eventual repercussions on all countries and their citizens, while respecting the views and opinions of the latter.  Here I would repeat the warning that Benedict XVI addressed to the G20 London Summit in 2009.  While it is reasonable that G20 Summits should be limited to the small number of countries that represent 90% of the production of wealth and services worldwide, this very situation must prompt the participants to a profound reflection.  Those states and individuals whose voice is weakest on the world political scene are precisely the ones who suffer most from the harmful effects of economic crises for which they bear little or no responsibility.  This great majority, which in economic terms counts for only 10% of the whole, is the portion of humanity that has the greatest potential to contribute to the progress of everyone.  Consequently, there is need to make constant reference to the United Nations, its programmes and associated agencies, and regional organizations, to respect and honour international treaties, and to continue promoting a multilateral approach, so that solutions can be truly universal and lasting, for the benefit of all (cf. Benedict XVI, Letter to the Honourable Gordon Brown, 30 March 2009).

I offer these considerations as a contribution to the work of the G20, with trust in the spirit of responsible solidarity that guides all those taking part.  I ask God’s blessings upon the Hamburg meeting and on every effort of the international community to shape a new era of development that is innovative, interconnected, sustainable, environmentally respectful and inclusive of all peoples and all individuals (cf. Communiqué of the G20 Hangzhou Summit).

I take this occasion to assure Your Excellency of my high consideration and esteem.

From the Vatican, 29 June 2017

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West Bank Statement calls for Immediate Release

Posted on 23. Jul, 2017 by .

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CMEP Calls for Preservation of Status Quo and De-escalation of Violence in Jerusalem and West Bank

Washington, D.C. – July 21, 2017 – At least three Palestinians have been killed and more than 300 injured in violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Three Israelis were stabbed to death with at least two more seriously injured in the West Bank settlement of Halamish. Today’s violence follows a week of escalations that started Friday, July 14 after two Israeli police officers were shot and killed by three Palestinian citizens of Israel outside the entrance to what is known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is deeply grieved by the deaths of these Palestinians and Israelis. We condemn all acts of violence and call for a return to the status quo.

As we witness the escalating tensions and violence around the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, CMEP urges that the historical status quo allowing public access to the Haram al-Sharif be respected. CMEP raises the concerns expressed by the patriarchs and local heads of churches in Jerusalem. In a recent statement they wrote, “Any threat to [the historical status quo’s] continuity and integrity could easily lead to serious and unpredictable consequences which would be most unwelcome in the present tense religious climate.”

CMEP recognizes the religious importance of Jerusalem to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. We promote a shared Jerusalem by Palestinians and Israelis, as well as full access to the Holy Sites of the three religious communities — Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), released the following statement: “Churches for Middle East Peace calls for an end to violence and security for all peoples. We believe unilateral actions in Jerusalem and incitement to violence only escalate tensions and undermine trust while making resuming the status quo more difficult. We call on all Christians and religious actors to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

CMEP is a coalition of 27 national church denominations and organizations in the Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical traditions that works to encourage U.S. policies that actively promote a just, lasting, and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ensuring security, human rights, and religious freedom for all the people of the Middle East.

Contact:
Jessica Pollock-Kim
jessica@cmep.org
Ph. 202-543-1222

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See What Canyon Life Is Like for a Navajo Pageant Winner

Posted on 23. Jul, 2017 by .

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From National Geographic –

Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a place where many Navajo families come to reconnect with their roots. The area was once inhabited by Ancient Puebloans and some believe that the ancestral spirits still remain. Every year, sisters Tonisha and Tonielle Draper spend time in the Canyon learning about their Navajo heritage from their father and grandmother. In this short film from the National Park Experience, watch Tonisha share her knowledge in the Miss Central Navajo Pre-Teen pageant and continue the tribe’s traditions for another generation.

For guided tours of Canyon de Chelly National Monument, contact Daniel Draper by phone or email. Credits: Directed and produced by Dana Romanoffand Amy Marquis; edited by Greg Snider (Blue Chalk Media); cinematography by Dana Romanoff and Jason Greene (Blue Chalk Media); audio mix by Mike Cramp (Postmodern Company).

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic’s belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email sfs@natgeo.com. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.

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UCSC Grad Overcomes Tragedy to Fulfill Promise

Posted on 14. Jul, 2017 by .

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Taken from CBS News –

Commencement – a day of triumph, family, and a promise kept. For Brenda Valadez, Students Rising Above Class of 2013, this was her father’s dream.

“I promised him 10 years ago I would walk the stage and become a successful person,” she said.

The journey to this day began a decade ago. Brenda came to live with her grandparents in the Bay Area to escape relentless bullying. Her father, a single parent, stayed behind in their small hometown in Mexico.

The recent University of California, Santa Cruz graduate shared her father’s words, “I want to give you the whole world, but I can’t give it to you here.”

“I was the only person he had in his life and for him to say it’s better for you to go away,” recalled Brenda. “I owe him my life for it.”

Brenda dedicated her life to education, made high school honor roll, and was determined to be the first in her family to graduate from college.

However, once at the university, she almost quit. “It was very hard for me,” she said. “I think I was homesick and I just thought I didn’t belong there.”

The separation was hard enough. It was soon followed by an unspeakable tragedy.

Not long after she left him behind in Mexico, Brenda’s father was kidnapped. The kidnappers demanded two million pesos as ransom, an impossibility for her family.

“He tried to escape,” she tearfully recalled. “We found out that they broke his legs so he wasn’t able to escape. Next thing you know they took his life away, they wrapped him in a blanket and threw him by the side of the road.”

Brenda might have fallen into an abyss with her grief and homesickness. But with the encouragement from a Students Rising Above mentor, Brenda stayed at school. She joined clubs, got a job, and even studied abroad. In the back of her mind was that promise she made to her father.

Fast forward to her commencement, one speaker told the grads, “Now graduates, you can breathe. Appreciate your memories here at UC Santa Cruz.”

Brenda had even more memories to appreciate on her Graduation Day. The day also happened to fall on Father’s Day.

Perhaps it was no coincidence. “My whole four years, everything was because he always guided me,” she said. “He was my angel and he was there every step of the way.”

Today, life after graduation is looking up. After a tough interview process, Brenda landed a fulltime job at a prestigious consulting firm. She says she appreciates the opportunity to learn, to fulfill her eternal promise to her father, and to continue to prove right the wisdom of his fateful decision years ago.

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Ramadan In Sacramento

Posted on 07. Jul, 2017 by .

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Parishoners from St. Francis Church in Sacramento provided a nighttime dinner for the Muslim community at the Islamic Center during Ramadan.

     

 

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