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June 2016 NewsNotes



       Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace 
                        June, 2016  



In the work of justice and peace it becomes evident at times that the values of the Gospel are in conflict with our respective nations' values. Immigration is one example. As Christians we proclaim the inherent dignity of all persons, yet in national policies we value some people over others. Likewise, we see a conflict in budgetary values when money needed for human services is re-directed to implements of war.
In "the old days" we could trust the media to keep the government honest --or at least try to. Today, we often only get the information the government, or corporate owned media wants to share with us. An article referenced below describes some "omissions" in general news reporting about the use of nonviolent actions by Palestinians resisting the Israeli occupation of their lands. Those omissions color our overall perception of who is in the right and who is wrong.
Part of my charge in this job, and in these NewsNotes is to look for the news and other opinions that generally go uncovered, especially when they provide information concerning our recent Chapter Acts (2008) and Call (2014). I understand this to be an expression of the "option for the poor." We always have a responsibility to take the side of the poor and marginalized--until we know both sides of a story--against those who have the power and the finances to tell their side of the story first. 

My intention is to be fair, but to represent the values of the Gospel as we, CSJPs see them. I trust you will let me know when I succeed and when I fail.
Peace and all good,
Frank McCann
Peace through Justice Facilitator.


  1. Going Public with our Congregational Statement
  2. Future CSG Plans
  3. UK to Decide its Membership in the European Union
  4. The Continuing Arms Race
  5. Saudi Arms Sales on Trial
  6. We Want a Clean Energy Revolution
  7. Coal Terminal in Longview Washington???
  8. Calendar for June



Going Public with our Congregational Statement

Welcome Immigrants and Refugees will be released publicly next week in anticipation of World Refugee Day, June 20. (See below). We invite all to consider ways in which we can incorporate the words of the statement into our daily lives.
One helpful resource has been developed by the Sisters of Mercy and it explains how we can come to better understand our Muslim sisters and brothers during their holy time of Ramadan that began on Saturday and runs until July 5. Please consider using this resource and think about joining them in fasting and prayer during this month.
 The UK National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN) has in its recent e-mail several petitions that can be signed in support of the refugees in Calais. Asking the UK government to fund their care in the UK, and to allow more to migrate to the UK are among some of the petitions. You can review which petitions are relevant or of concern to you here:

Future CSG Plans

We are planning a CSG or a series of them on the conflict in Palestine between the Israelis and the Palestinian people. At this point we do not have a specific time frame for these CSGs. In the fall there will no doubt be a CSG or two on the land ethic and CCP process. The Holy Land CSG will fit in around that schedule. However, we would like to encourage some prayerful reflection and study on the conflict between Palestine and Israel that could begin over the summer.

Why discuss Palestine-Israel? In our congregational statement, Welcome Immigrants and Refugees, we say we will look to root causes of struggles that cause forced migration, creating refugees. Much of the anger within Muslim populations leading to the refusal by some to recognize the right of Israel to exist and to charges against the West levied by ISIS is rooted in the unjust treatment of Palestinians in their ancestral lands. Taking time to review materials is important because it is a very complicated issue with many sides.
While we who receive western media reports tend to understand the conflict from the perspective of Israel. But the Palestinians are not all terrorists as they are often portrayed and have legitimate complaints about the confiscation of their lands and the refusal of the Israeli government to honor the outlines set forth for a two-state solution. We do not hear about Palestinian efforts to employ nonviolent strategies in their resistance to Israeli occupation of the land. To understand western media bias please read this article that takes on the corporate media's bias in reporting what goes on in the Holy Land.
We will begin our reflections with a publication by the IPJC called: Israel and Palestine: History Politics and the Pursuit of Peace. Look for a copy in your mail with a cover letter explaining how we plan to proceed. We encourage CSGs to meet on their own as they are able. Discussion questions are provided in the IPJC booklet.

UK to Decide its Membership in the European Union

The voters in the UK will cast ballots on 23 June to indicate their preference for remaining part of the European Union or withdrawing, known as "Brexit". The vote is driven by those who believe that Britain's membership in the U.K. has negative consequences such as making Parliament subservient to the EU and limiting the UK's ability to set its own immigration policies. Much of the passion against the EU membership appears driven by fear or distrust of immigrants.
Those who want to remain understand we live on a global community and believe the U.K. would lose influence on the world stage and suffer economically. The U.S. and EU governments prefer the status quo.


The Continuing Arms Race

The Arms Control Association noted the activation of a NATO ballistic missile defense site in Deveselu, Romania on May 12. The next day construction on a similar site was begun in Poland. The Obama administration argues that these sites are to protect Europe from Iranian missile attacks. The Russian Federation counters saying that these weapons systems are intended to thwart Russia's ballistic missile capabilities, a charge denied by NATO leaders. This may well lead to Russia's development of systems to circumvent the NATO systems. And the arms race continues... Read more:

Saudi Arms Sales on Trial

On 30 June, CAAT's [Campaign Against the Arms Trade] lawyers will be in court arguing for a judicial review of the government's decision to keep arming Saudi Arabia.
In what the Observer has described as "the most high-profile legal challenge to the military export regime since 1997" we'll be seeking permission to proceed to a full High Court hearing on why the sale of UK arms to Saudi Arabia is unlawful.

Arms sales to authoritarian Saudi Arabia should never have been allowed in the first place.
But the UK's continued supply of arms to Saudi Arabia during its bombing campaign in Yemen is the most flagrant breach of UK arms export regulation we have seen. Yet, rather than ending the arms sales, the UK government's response has been denial, excuses and delays.

We Want a Clean Energy Revolution

"If political leaders are unable to recognize the urgency of our global crisis, or unwilling to put the long-term good of humankind above the short-term benefit of fossil-fuel corporations, we may need to challenge them with sustained campaigns of citizen action."
- A Time to Act is Now, A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change
WATERSPIRIT is one of many environmental groups from across the U.S. planning a large march and rally for Sunday, July 24th from noon to 4 p.m. in Philadelphia on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. The groups are gathering to call for a Clean Energy Revolution, that would keep fossil fuels in the ground. Busses and trains are being arranged to bring any of us who can go to the event, including from Mahwah and Jersey City. The round trip will cost between $25-35. They are hoping for thousands to come from New Jersey alone. The website for the event can be found here. Participating in such events where we "collaborate with others, including interfaith and civic groups, who are addressing climate change" is a way of living our Chapter Act, Seeds of Peace: Care of Creation and Climate Change.
For CSJPs and associates, please contact Frank McCann CSJP-A, if you are interested in attending so we can know if we are going with one of the pre-arranged means of transport, or arranging our own.
Even if you cannot attend, there is a faith statement you can sign onto. You can also download the March petition and ask friends to sign it.
Read more about this event on the WATERSPIRIT Blog: WATERSPIRIT is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace.

Coal Terminal in Longview Washington??? 

Millennium Bulk Terminals wants to build the country's largest coal export terminal on the Columbia River in Washington, a giant step backward in the fight to save our climate.

Besides being a nightmare for the climate, this terminal endangers the drinking water of the Columbia River, it will spread toxic coal ash all over the communities surrounding it, and it threatens the salmon habitats that tribes and local fisherpeople rely on to make a living.

Millennium would have loved to see this project get quietly approved, but unfortunately for them, local tribes and residents have won the right to a public comment period before the project can go forward.

The deadline for public comments is June 13th, so time is short. Please join in speaking out against the largest coal terminal in North America.
Please consider signing the petition put forth by



June is Torture Awareness Month
June 8            World Oceans Day
June 18          First anniversary of Laudato Si
June 20          June Solstice
World Refugee Day
"Refugees are people like anyone else, like you and me. They led ordinary lives before becoming displaced, and their biggest dream is to be able to live normally again. On this World Refugee Day, let us recall our common humanity, celebrate tolerance and diversity and open our hearts to refugees everywhere."
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

June 23          The United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016
June 26          International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
June 29-30
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene at the United Nations International Conference in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace at the United Nations Office in Geneva on 29 and 30 June, on the theme "Peace is possible - frameworks for a way forward". The conference will review some of the lessons learned from past initiatives and will assess the recent initiatives by key actors, as well as discuss new ideas and frameworks toward a lasting solution to the conflict.
June 30          UK Trial on Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia (see above)

July 15-17, 2016
Annual Justice & Peace Conference
"Justice, Power and Responsibility: How Can Democracy Work for the Common Good?"
Booking forms from NJPN, 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX  
020 7901 4864

"We must be signs of hope and healing in the midst of the cultural reality in which we find ourselves."

Ann Rutan, CSJP