The thrones of the arrogant God overturns and establishes the lowly in their place; the roots of the proud God plucks up, to plant the humble in their place. Sirach 10:14
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This week along the way. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, in the year of our Lord 1918, the first phase of the Great World War of the 20th century came to an end. Europe was in ruins, hundreds of thousands were dead and injured, a flu epidemic was killing millions worldwide. A year later, the United States bishops issued a pastoral letter written in the letter and spirit of Rerum Novarum: Pastoral Letter of 1919, the 80th anniversary of which will be next year. At this time of year, the readings of our liturgies turn our minds to the Last Things, apocalyptic visions of the triumph of justice and peace over structures of sin and oppression. Winter comes upon the land in the North, the South welcomes summer. We approach Advent as we anticipate Nativity, Epiphany -- great martyrs and Holy Innocents, Mary Mother of God, followed by the starkness and penitence of Lent, the passion of Holy Week, death on a Cross, Resurrection to New Life. These are the rhythms of our lives and our worship, patterns of justice and peace laid as templates over the chaos and beauty of Creation. "The church would betray its own love for God and its fidelity to the gospel if it stopped being. . . a defender of the rights of the poor. . . a humanizer of every legitimate struggle to achieve a more just society. . . that prepares the way for the true reign of God in history." Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, August 6, 1979.
Here's what God says about the poor and justice.
ALERT: The United States is dispatching additional military forces to the Persian Gulf, in preparation for an attack on Iraq. Let us remember in prayer all those who are about to die at the hands of the United States government, and let us all take the responsibility of contacting our federal representatives to oppose this mindless military adventurism. Iraq Crisis Justpeace Index Page. I remind all who read this that we gain responsibility for the sins of others when we order, advise, praise or approve them, when we participate directly and voluntarily in them, when we do not disclose or hinder them when we have an obligation to do so, and when we protect evil-doers. Send Email to President Clinton
Pray for strength to stand against the demonic powers who are the authors of this
military misadventure by the US government. Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows
for Peace in the Persian Gulf.
Crossroads. Our weekly featured news, views, connections, networks, links.
Disasters and Emergency Relief. The primary sites are updated daily.
Living on the Earth as if people and other living things mattered. Simple, prudent, and frugal living.
Solidarity, Orthopraxis, Community Development. Reports, news, views, links, resources, from and about them that's doin'.
World Bank/IMF Watch. We keep our eye on these primary global structures of sin.
Spirituality Source of orthopraxis.
Food Security, a new section this week.
Readiness of State Automated Systems to Support Federal Welfare Programs, a report by the General Accounting Office, US government, November 6, 1998. This dry title conceals important information. Government and private industry have been working with increasing haste and focus on renovating computer systems to ensure they will work in the year 2000. But this report does not have a lot of good news regarding the progress made by both the states and the federal government in renovating the computer systems of social welfare programs. At the current rate of repair, the job won't be done by January 2000, and there is a serious risk that the delivery of important public welfare programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, and TANF will be disrupted. Read it for yourself and tell me I am being an alarmist.
Year 2000 Computing Crisis index of GAO reports and publications. "The public faces a high risk that critical services provided by the government the private sector could be severely disrupted by the year 2000 computing crisis. . . . unless progress improves dramatically, a substantial number of mission-critical systems will not be compliant in time. . . some agencies are significantly behind schedule and are at high risk that they will not fix their systems in time. . . . state and local governments also face a major risk of year 2000-induced failures to the many vital services that they provide." From GAO testimony to Congress, September 3, 1998. The justice and peace relevance? Think about a January 2000 without food stamps, TANF, housing assistance, Medicaid, and possible disruptions of electricity, natural gas, water and sewer utility services. How does this impact the poor?
Y2k and Civil Society, a Justpeace sister site about the implications of these risks for the poor and for civil society organizations in partnership with the poor.
Corporate welfare destroys incentive, perpetuates dependence, Molly Ivins column of
November 10th. References a new investigative journalism project which show that many
corporate welfare recipients are not creating jobs, but rather cutting employment.
Sow not in the furrows of injustice, lest you harvest it sevenfold. Sirach 7:3
Solidarity, Orthopraxis, Community
Solidarity, Orthopraxis, Community DevelopmentTOP
Orthopraxis refers to practicing what you preach.
Prison Fellowship International, Chuck Colson's Christian prison ministry, an accredited NGO to numerous international organizations. Has an interesting project: Restorative Justice, a process whereby all the parties with a stake in a particular offense come together to resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of the offense and its implications or the future.
Global Economy and Cultures: ethical policy guidelines for one global economy and many cultures, web page for a project of the Jesuit-related Woodstock Theological Center that addresses the impact of the globalized world economy on cultures and people, especially the poor, in selected countries. Aims to activate a network of 40 Jesuit-sponsored social research and action centers around the world.
Where the Asphalt Ends, article about the Fe y Alegria (Faith and Joy) schools founded by Jesuits in Latin America, educating 500,000 poor students. Name comes from a saying: Faith and joy begin where the asphalt ends.
Email News Service, sponsored by the Jesuit Company magazine, click on the link to subscribe
at their website.
Daily Scripture Readings, from the website of the United States Catholic Bishops.
Holy Women of Byzantium on line translation, a collection of women saints lives.
JOHN PAUL II'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR OCTOBER: General prayer intention: For the victims of drugs and for all those who work towards their human and social recovery. Missionary intention: That the spreading of "sects" may stimulate the local Churches to appreciate with a renewed vitality the true gifts of the Spirit.
Virtual Rosary Online!
Breedlove Dehydrated Foods, a nonprofit organization in Lubbock, Texas that provides low
cost food to charities for use in hunger relief projects (US and international). It owns its own
state-of-the-art processing facility, that has provided over 28 million pounds of dehydrated
vegetables (mostly potatoes and carrots) since 1994. It is the first full-scale, non-profit facility of
its kind in the world. It processes 100,000 pounds of food per day, or enough dehydrated product
for about 450,000 one cup servings. They can package 850,000 servings per day, and provide
several blends including rice, TVP, onions, potatoes, carrots. One million servings can be
provided at a cost of about 3.1 cents per one cup serving. This is a MUST SEE and TELL all
your friends. Funds to operate the plant come from donations, processing fees for non-profit
agencies, and some retail sales to the public. No government funds are involved. Individuals
and families may purchase their product via the web at Harvest Ladle Foods, which is owned by
Breedlove. Their prices are very reasonable for dehydrated food products.
For the sake of profit many sin, and the struggle for wealth blinds the eyes. Sirach 27:1
World Bank/IMF Watch
World Bank/IMF WatchTOP
Envy not the lawless man and choose none of his ways. Proverbs 3:31There is late-breaking news that Britain, Holland, and Spain have forgiven the international debts owed to them by the countries in Central America affected by Hurricane Mitch. We give thanks to God for this mercy, and wonder when the U.S. will follow this good example.
Speculation, Foreign Capital Dependence, and the Collapse of the SE Asian Economies, A Globalization in Crisis article from Multinational Monitor.
From Market Madness to Recession: Liberal Dogma Shipwrecked, from Le Monde Diplomatique of France, in English, October 1998, analysis of the world economic crisis and its effect on the poor.
People's Right to Know Campaign. How do you know if the product you are buying was made by exploited workers? This campaign from the National Labor Council and People of Faith Network seeks to encourage corporations to publish the names and addresses of their overseas contractors for verification of worker conditions and pay. The need for this is clear. Women in Haiti receive only 6 cents for every $19.99 Disney garment the make. Girls in El Salvador are paid 12 cents for every $20 Gap shirt they sewed.
He who oppresses the poor blasphemes his Maker. Proverbs 14:31a
Disasters and Emergency Relief
Disasters and Emergency ReliefTOP
They ask their mothers, "Where is the cereal?" -- in vain, as they faint away like the wounded in the streets of the city, and breathe their last in their mothers' arms. Lamentations 2:12
Conditions in Central America continue to deteriorate. The following is from the Hartnett Jesuit News Service report from Central America of November 5th:
From Jack Warner, Director, Teatro la Fragua (Honduras)
"The situation of many thousands (no one is sure how many) in the banana camps is desperate. We are afraid that at any moment they will start to jump and try to swim in here out of desperation. Aside from the local authorities, the attitude of the Banana Company is a disgrace to humanity. They have done absolutely nothing that anyone here can see to lift a finger to help their own workers. If anyone can make any noise about this, it's Chiquita Brands with headquarters in Cincinnati. Somewhere I have their address and all that, but I'm sure up there you can find it. Their attitude is a crime against humanity of the first magnitude. Which is especially ironic because they are the one entity that has gained immeasurably by all this: Millions of tons of rich topsoil have been snatched away from poor campesinos who eke out a miserable subsistence on the hillsides, and deposited free on the land of the company.
"The amount of money they stand to gain from this catastrophe is immeasurable. And they have more equipment and resources which they refuse to put to use than any entity in the country other than the government and the army. I shan't go on for the moment. The situation of the camps was again complicated today by the fact that there was a hot sun -- which is helping to dry out many things, but which is turning the tin roofs on which they are stranded into hotplates.
"They continue to stream into Progreso along the dikes (the last word I got on this is that the water on the dikes in at least many places is about a meter, which makes walking difficult but possible.)"
(End Hartnet Jesuit News Report)
Catholic Relief Services is organizing relief shipments and delivery in the affected regions and needs financial donations to support this effort.
ReliefWeb from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Complex Emergencies, information about on-going emergencies and various countries of concern to the humanitarian community. There isn't very much good news here. ReliefNet Home Page non-profit helping humanitarian organizations raise global awareness and encourage support for relief efforts via the Internet. AlertNet, a news and communications service from the Reuter Foundation for the emergency relief community, has press releases from leading relief agencies, expert analyses, reviews of key issues and events, jobs noticeboard. Has a focus page on Kosovo. Direct from the Field, reports from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the world's largest humanitarian network. DisasterRelief.Org, worldwide disaster aid and information via the internet. Some very sad and tragic stories here.
Disaster Management Center, University of Wisconsin, has self study courses in emergency
and disaster management, building refugee camps, etc.
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TOP Happy are those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked. Psalm 1:1a
+++Living on the Earth as if People and Other Living Things Mattered Department+++ 10 ways to create meaningful, yet relaxed holidays, from the just released edition of the Simple Living November-December 1998 on-line newsletter. Solar Ovens are Wonderful, a nice page from a woman who has been cooking dinner with a solar oven for six years. SunLightWorks, Inc. a commercial supplier of solar ovens and other such products. Manual for Solar Box Cookers, a 26 page printable on-line manual on how to build and use solar cookers, published by Technology for Life, Finland. Solar Cooking Archive, tons of information about solar cooking, including detailed step by step plans for making several different kinds of solar cookers. Crockpot Cooking, a great way to save money on meals. Crock Pot Recipes Index, huge collection of great recipes. Remember, most crockpot recipes can be adapted easily for solar cooking.
Remember the time of hunger in the time of plenty; poverty and want in the day of wealth. Sirach 18:25 From the Holy Father. . .
From the Holy Father. . .TOP
It is necessary to state once more the characteristic principle of Christian social doctrine: the goods of this world are originally meant for all. The right to private property is valid and necessary, but it does not nullify the value of this principle. Private property, in fact, is under a "social mortgage," which means that it has an intrinsically social function, based upon and justified precisely by the principle of the universal destination of goods. Likewise, in this concern for the poor, one must not overlook that special form of poverty which consists in being deprived of fundamental human rights, in particular the right to religious freedom and also the right to freedom of economic initiative. Centesimus Annus 42
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+ Send Email to the Editor. I would enjoy publishing your "Letter to the Editor" with future Justpeace Front Page issues.
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+ Sharing Catholic Social Teaching, Challenges and Reflections from the US Catholic Bishops.
Even to the death fight for truth, and the Lord your God will battle for you. Sirach 4:28
The VIEW from OAKLEY STREET:
Previous Editorial commentaries by Robert Waldrop
ALL SAINTS DAY FRONT PAGE SPECIAL EDITION
+ A LAMENT Concerning the Foreign Policy of the U.S.A.
+ A LAMENT for the SUMMER of 1998
+ Congress, the Presidency, and the Culture of Death
+ President Clinton Should Resign,
+ Works of Justice and Peace
Send email to James Wolfensohn, chairman of the World Bank.
Share your concern for his soul due to his
bank's cruel persecution of the poor.
Read Robert Waldrop's Letter
Pray for the conversion of James Wolfensohn
My son, rob not the poor man of his livelihood, force not the eyes of the needy to turn away.
A hungry man grieve not, a needy man anger not; do not exasperate the downtrodden;
delay not to give to the needy. A beggar in distress do not reject;
avert not your face from the poor. From the needy turn
not your eyes, give no one reason to curse you.
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The just have a care for the rights of the poor;
the wicked have no such concern.
This weekly cyber-publication is dedicated to the study, practice,
and spirituality of the justice and peace teachings of the Roman
Catholic Church. We search the internet for news, views,
resources, access, and information that will assist all
people of good will in discerning the signs of these
times. The weekly edition is electronically
published each Tuesday evening.
Copyright (c) 1998 by Robert Waldrop
The mystery of the poor is this: that they are Jesus, and what you do for
them you do for Him. It is the only way we have of knowing
and believing in our love. The mystery of poverty
is that by sharing in it, making ourselves poor
in giving to others, we increase our
knowledge of and belief in love.
Dorothy Day of New York,
Confessor and Catholic Worker
O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you.
Avoid profane babbling and the absurdities of so-called knowledge.
By professing it, some people have deviated from the faith.
Grace be with all of you. 1 Timothy 6:20-21