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June 2017 NewsNotes


Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace


June, 2017

Greetings Friend!

There is no shortage of issues for us to take action on, some of which are not even in our NewsNotes this month. The budget proposals in both the U.K. and the U.S. will add to growing inequality. The U.S. President decides to pull out of the Paris Climate agreement, although there is great hope in the number of cities, states and even  corporations that have announced they will still abide by the agreement and attempt to reach its goals.

Health care concerns hit home for me. A recurrence of lung cancer, a "pre-existing condition" for me, would place me in an extraordinarily expensive insurance pool if I did not have good coverage from my employment with the Congregation. Instead, tomorrow, I begin a new treatment process that if the doctors are correct will eliminate the new cancer and be completed in a week with no side effects. I am grateful but also disturbed that the options for such treatments are not available to everyone.

"Ban the Bomb" demonstrations were among the first occasions when Eileen and I met the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace nearly 40 years ago. The UN and Pax Christi are reviving the effort that has virtually disappeared from our consciousness, yet which remains so important given the immanent problems with North Korea and its nuclear ambitions. We have our work cut out for us, since none of the nuclear nations are participating with the other 130 nations.

We hope you'll take an action or two, to make this world of ours a better place.


Frank McCann
Peace through Justice Facilitator

U.S. Health Care system is Broken



In a recent article in America Magazine, Sr. Carol Keenan, DC, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the U.S. wrote that the GOP health care plan cannot be fixed. The Senate must start again.

"It is really important to understand that this bill is so incredibly flawed, there is no fixing it."

The AHCA reduces subsidies to low income Americans. Additionally, according to the scoring by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 51 million Americans under the age of 65 will be uninsured by 2026. Guarantees to protect those with pre-existing conditions may be weakened or made untenable by individual states. The bill also produces billions in reduced taxes for wealthy Americans.

Sr. Keenan added "We don't need to do this, You can't do a tax cut for corporate America and the nation's highest earning people on the backs of the poor; we cannot as a people tolerate that."


Sr. Keenan asked everyone to contact their senators.  We are asked to forward this message to colleagues and urge them to contact their senators. "We need an outpouring of opposition."   A sample letter, background materials and talking points are available herePlease note to modify the draft letter  where indicated to include your role — nurse, doctor, employee, patient, board member — in the organization to illustrate the broad reach of our opposition message.

Pope Francis, and Cardinal Turksen have both been adamant in saying that, according to Catholic social teaching, health care is a right, not a privilege. The option for the poor requires us to form healthcare in such a way as to serve the needs of the poorest among us. A respect for the common good would indicate that those who can afford to pay more, as was done under the current law, should do so in order to cover the costs of those who cannot pay. This may seem unfair to American sense of justice, but many American "rights" come without responsibilities.

Ban the Bomb



Recognizing that the current international climate makes increased political attention to disarmament and non-proliferation issues, the promotion of multilateral disarmament and the achievement of a world without nuclear weapons all the more urgent…

The United Nations will host a continuation of a conference on nuclear disarmament from Thursday, 15 June until  Friday, 7 July. The intention is to create a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. An earlier session of the conference was held from 27-31 March of this year. Citing both the catastrophic results of the use of nuclear weapons, as well as the dangers inherent in the existence of such weapons, the UN wants to build on the Non-Proliferation Treaty to ban all such weaponry. Read the UN Resolution here.

Unfortunately, virtually all of the nuclear nations, including the U.K. and the U.S. have boycotted the earlier session of this conference. Most nations cite North Korea as an example of why such weapons may still be needed.  

Recently, Pope Francis has moved the Church teaching away from recognizing the morality of having nuclear weapons as deterrence. In the video above he speaks against all arms trading.

Read about what it will take to Ban the Bomb in a Waging Nonviolence article by Frida Berrigan.


Pray and Fast In support of this effort, and consistent with our Charism, the CSJP community would like to invite members and friends to join in prayer and fasting during the term of the conference. A calendar will be posted on the website news page showing who is signed up to fast on what days. If you would like to fast and pray with us, please contact Frank McCann with the day(s) you want to participate and your name will be added to the calendar. We hope to get enough volunteers to cover the whole three weeks. When signing up, you may agree to fast and pray on more than one day if you so choose. On days you are fasting, we ask that you also send a letter to your, PM, President and MPs or Senators asking that they move our nation towards the abolishment of all nuclear weapons.

Public Witness Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, or WILPF — along with many partners — are calling for a Women's March and Rally to Ban the Bomb on Saturday, June 17. The organizers hope it “will bring together people of all genders, sexual orientations, ages, ethnicities, abilities and backgrounds” in New York City and across the world. The March will begin at Bryant Park and proceed from there to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at the UN.


UK Election 8 June


The implications of the election are significant. Will the current PM, Teresa May, maintain or lose support for her Brexit strategy? The movement of the UK pulling out of the EU has already begun and will be completed on March  2019. But what will that look like? Much of the debate focuses on new trade agreements however many other issues are important as well.

  • Will there still be a free flow of persons across the E.U.?
  • Will U.K. pensioners residing in the EU have to return home to receive medical care and benefits?
  • Will E.U. citizens be free to stay and work in the U.K.? Will a border be re-established between Northern Ireland and the Republic (which voted to remain part of the E.U.)?
  • Will Scotland be granted a special status within the E.U., or will there be another referendum on independence for Scotland from the U.K.?


CAAT Continues Planning for Arms Fair Actions



London will play host to The Defense & Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair in East London in September.  It is one of the world's largest arms fairs in the world. 

Participation in the resistance planning is encouraged the weekend of July 22 & 23 at the Human Rights action Center, 25 New Inn Yard, London. Events are planned from 10 AM Saturday until 5:30 PM Sunday. Registration is free.

Register here.

EXXON-Mobil Commits to Paris Climate Goals



At the ExxonMobil annual meeting on May 31 the Northwest CRI resolution asking XOM for a report on how it will align its business with the ;2°C warming scenario was supported by 62% of shareholders, a majority vote! After the vote, the Company said that the Board of Directors will be formally reconsidering its opposition to our ask!

The 50+ filers included NWCRI members: Congrégation des Soeurs des Saints Noms de Jésus et de Marie, the Sisters of Providence, Congregation of St. Joseph of Peace, Tacoma Dominicans, Cottonwood Benedictines, Lacey Benedictines and Carmelite Nuns.

Earlier this year our resolution with Exxon requesting that a board member with climate expertise be appointed to the board was withdrawn when Susan Avery, a scientist who has specialized in atmospheric science and worked extensively on climate change, joined the board.

From the Catholic Climate Covenant

Let President Trump know you are disappointed with his decision and that you pledge to take action to deal with climate change.  The federal government may be abdicating leadership, yet Catholics will help lead the way to climate justice.


50th Anniversary of Israeli Occupation of Palestine Territories



June 5th marked the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

Pax Christi International is working with its member organisations to urge the international community to call for the immediate end of the occupation and for the parties to reengage in a peace process in compliance with international law.  Below you will find today's press release. We hope you will share the release with your media contacts and in other networks you may have. You can post and share it, and the infographic that accompanies it, on social media as well.

We also invite you to see the activities that are planned for this month by our member organisations throughout our network and join in as you are able. You may also use these ideas as inspiration for holding an event or undertaking an activity in your area.

Pax Christi UK newsletter, June issue, will focus on the Balfour Declaration and its impact on the present time. Three young people from the Arab Educational Institute (see above) are invited to share their personal vision of a way forward. - Read more


EU to Sign Convention Against Violence Against Women

The EU will finally sign the European Convention to fight violence against women - the most powerful binding tool to fight violence done to women, because they are women. Solidarity and justice prevailed - and the campaign helped pressure our leaders to make that happen!

There is a risk that countries opposing the convention [1] will push to make its implementation barely symbolic.

When applied everywhere in the EU, the Istanbul Convention could strengthen and broaden the protection of victims of violence. It could give legal power, attention, and funding to efforts to stop and punish rape, beatings, exploitation and trafficking, harassment and stalking: the unacceptable everyday reality of millions of women across Europe. "Traditional family values" would no longer be an excuse not to fight domestic violence.

Sign here for a Europe free of violence against women.


Migrant Deaths Rise on the Mediterranean


Photograph from the Associated Press


From the Guardian…

The death rate among migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean to enter Europe has almost doubled over the past year. Comparing the first five months of this year with the same period last year, UN agency data reveals that the mortality rate grew from 1.2% to 2.3%. The death rate during all of 2015 was 0.37% – a sixth of its current level.

In addition, anti-immigrant, far right youth in Europe have raised almost £50,000 through anonymous crowdfunding to target boats used to rescue and aid refugees crossing the Mediterranean. Their aim is to “defend Europe” from the refugees.

"The threat from the far right infuriates charities operating in the Mediterranean. One senior official, who requested anonymity, said politicians had helped create a climate where supporters of the far right felt emboldened to act in such a way."

So far this year, 71,029 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea. Another 1,650 migrants have died trying.


The Duty of Hospitality


The following is the first part of an "Easy Essay" entitled The Duty of Hospitality written by Peter Maurin, a French philosopher/farmer who co-founded the Catholic Worker with Dorothy Day. You can find the entire piece here.


The Duty of Hospitality

People who are in need
and not afraid to beg
give to people not in need
the occasion to do good
for goodness’ sake.
Modern society calls the beggar
bum and panhandler
and gives him the bum’s rush.
But the Greeks used to say
that people in need
are the ambassadors of the gods.
Although you may be called
bums and panhandlers
you are in fact the Ambassadors of God.
As God’s Ambassadors
you should be given food,
clothing and shelter
by those who are able to give it.
Mahometan teachers tell us
that God commands hospitality,
and hospitality is still practiced
in Mahometan countries.
But the duty of hospitality
is neither taught nor practiced
in Christian countries...

Photograph and "Easy Essays" courtesy of

"The prophet does not compel, but asks people to see themselves, the world, and God in a new way."

Dorothy Vidulich, CSJP