Saturday, December 17, 2011

What to Expect in the Coming Election

Within our Catholic community, which should be a reflection of Gospel values, we have sadly found some of the most uncharitable and nasty attacks on the President. Decent people -- Democrats, Independents and Republicans -- are turned off by these attacks, but still it is unsettling. During the coming election campaign, this Blog will be documenting some of the inappropriate attacks on the President from persons claiming to speak from a Catholic perspective. We recently provided to Catholic activists in the President’s re-election efforts some blog postings by Kevin Rice and some from the ‘Catholic Vote’ blog. We want to make sure these examples don’t disappear from the Internet as the election approaches.

But it should be remembered that if conservative Catholics choose to continue down this path, it only helps in our efforts for the President. I would encourage readers to look at my blog post from three years ago, here:

Also, Yahoo News recently reported as follows:

On private call, Republicans say attacking Obama personally is too dangerous:

Republicans on a private Republican National Committee conference call with allies warned Tuesday that party surrogates should refrain from personal attacks against President Barack Obama, because such a strategy is too hazardous for the GOP.

"We're hesitant to jump on board with heavy attacks" personally against President Obama, Nicholas Thompson, the vice president of polling firm the Tarrance Group, said on the call. "There's a lot of people who feel sorry for him."

Recent polling data indicates that while the president suffers from significantly low job approval ratings, voters still give "high approval" to Obama personally, Thompson said.

Voters "don't think he's an evil man who's out to change the United States" for the worse--even though many of the same survey respondents agree that his policies have harmed the country, Thompson said. The upshot, Thompson stressed, is that Republicans should "exercise some caution" when talking about the president personally.

And the respected Republican political writer Michael Gerson penned in an article entitled “Obama's strange buoyancy poses challenge for GOP” the following:

…while voters may be disappointed with Obama's job performance, they have not turned on Obama himself. His personal approval is strong. Here, there is a significant gap between the American public and, well, me. I have often found Obama's public manner to be professorial and off-putting. Americans seem to think it calm, self-possessed and reassuring. Even in his failures, Obama does not seem hapless. He fully inhabits the public role of commander in chief. And Obama's commitment to his family — his protection of their privacy and normality — is widely admired.

The power of such favorable impressions should not be underestimated. Americans do not believe that Obama has succeeded, but they still want him to succeed….a campaign of personal attacks against the president would likely backfire.

Our hope is going to be that conservative Catholics clean up their act, but if not, then we need to document their attacks on the President and share it with the electorate. This Blog will be ready for that mission.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christian Love in Action

A Victim Treats His Mugger Right

March 28, 2008 Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

The rest of the story here:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gingrich Denies Mary?

Is Catholic convert Newt Gingrich a dissenter on Catholic doctrinal questions?  We are thinking of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception which says that Mary, the Mother of God was without sin.  Gingrich seems to have denied this teaching. 

Details at this link:

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Vatican Radio Reports:

Pope Benedict XVI: support for efforts to eliminate death penalty

Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday offered his support to a major international meeting underway this week through the sponsorship of the Sant’Egidio Community aimed at eliminating capital punishment.

I greet the distinguished delegations from various countries taking part in the meeting promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio on the theme: No Justice without Life. I express my hope that your deliberations will encourage the political and legislative initiatives being promoted in a growing number of countries to eliminate the death penalty and to continue the substantive progress made in conforming penal law both to the human dignity of prisoners and the effective maintenance of public order.

The Holy Father’s appeal came at the end of his weekly General Audience, during which he continued his series of catecheses on Christian prayer.

The Pope on Wednesday focused on how Christ, Himself, prays, saying that Christ’s example most fully reveals the mystery of Christian prayer.

A significant moment in this regard is Jesus’ prayer following his Baptism, which expresses his both his deepest identity as the Son of God and his solidarity with the sinful humanity whom he came to save. Jesus’ prayer reflects his complete, filial obedience to the Father’s will, an obedience which would lead him to death on the Cross for the redemption of our sins.

“With his human heart,” said Pope Benedict, “Jesus learned to pray from his Mother and from the Jewish tradition, yet the source of his prayer is his eternal communion with the Father.”

As the incarnate Son, he shows us perfectly how to pray as children of the heavenly Father. Jesus’ example of fidelity to prayer challenges us to examine the time and effort we devote to our own prayer. While prayer is a gift of God, it is also an art learned through constant practice.

Pope Benedict concluded, saying, “Jesus teaches us to pray constantly, but also to bear witness before others of the beauty of prayer, self-surrender and complete openness to God.”

To hear the Pope's words go to the bottom of the link here:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Letter to Newt Gingrich

Dear Newt,

Our country outlawed child labor. Almost a hundred years later, in the middle of the worst unemployment crisis in decades, you want to bring it back. Seriously?

Doing janitorial work in a school entails sanitizing toilets, handling hazardous cleaning chemicals, and scrubbing floors hunched over a mop for hours. It's hard to imagine a nine-year old doing any of those tasks. Come on.

The US outlawed child labor because it denied children the chance at a real education and allowed employers to exploit children — and because children were often injured or killed on the job. That's why labor unions fought to pass laws outlawing child labor and protecting all workers.

And the people you want to fire and replace with kids? A lot of them are parents. That job puts a roof over kids' heads, food on the table, and provides them with health care and the chance to get an education. That job is the only thing between a kid and poverty. Firing someone's mom and hiring the kid for less money isn't exactly the "process of rising." It is, in fact, the process of falling. It is the process of exploiting and destroying working families. The fact that you don't get that makes you not only out of touch, but utterly unqualified to serve in any elected position, let alone President of the United States.

Count me in as one more person who thinks you and your ideas are vicious and wrong.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Pope Speaks

Words to Live By

"Through the combination of social and economic change, trade union organizations experience greater difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers... The repeated calls issued within the Church's social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum, for the promotion of workers' associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honoured today even more than in the past..."

Benedict XV, Caritas in Veritate

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vatican officials see agreement in church teaching, Occupy Wall Street

Monday, October 24, 2011

By Cindy Wooden,  Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Catholic social teaching and the Occupy Wall Street movement agree that the economy should be at the service of the human person and that strong action must be taken to reduce the growing gap between rich and poor, Vatican officials said.

"The basic sentiment" behind the protests is in line with Catholic social teaching and the new document on global finance issued Oct. 24 by Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said Cardinal Peter Turkson, council president.

The U.S. protesters have focused on Wall Street because "Wall Street is considered to be a big engine house -- a big financial structure whose power extends all over the world," the cardinal told Catholic News Service.

People who suffer from the way the financial markets currently operate have a right to say, "Do business differently. Look at the way you're doing business because this is not leading to our welfare and our good," he said.

"If people can hold their government to account, why can we not hold other institutions in society to accountability if they are not achieving or not helping us live peacefully or well," Cardinal Turkson said.
"The Vatican is not behind any of these movements, but the basic inspirations can be the same," he said.

Bishop Mario Toso, secretary of the justice and peace council, told reporters the Vatican's new document "appears to be in line with the slogans" of Occupy Wall Street and other protest movements around the globe, but "even more it is in line with the previous teaching of the church," including Pope Benedict XVI's 2009 encyclical, "Charity in Truth" ("Caritas in Veritate").

for the full story, go here:;postID=7092675309423520016

Thursday, October 20, 2011


October 19, 2011

Citigroup to Pay Millions to Close Fraud Complaint


WASHINGTON — As the housing market began its collapse, Wall Street firms and sophisticated investors searched for ways to profit. Some of them found an easy method: Stuff a portfolio with risky mortgage-related investments, sell it to unsuspecting customers and bet against it.

Citigroup on Wednesday agreed to pay $285 million to settle a civil complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had defrauded investors who bought just such a deal. The transaction involved a $1 billion portfolio of mortgage-related investments, many of which were handpicked for the portfolio by Citigroup without telling investors of its role or that it had made bets that the investments would fall in value.


“The securities laws demand that investors receive more care and candor than Citigroup provided” to investors in the security, said Robert Khuzami, director of the S.E.C.’s enforcement division, referring to Wednesday’s action. “Investors were not informed that Citigroup had decided to bet against them and had helped to choose the assets that would determine who won or lost.”

for the full story, go here:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011


The latest from the Right:

Radical Jewish Feminist found to be promoting class warfare against 'job creators'.  More later today on the Rush Limbaugh show:

"He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty."   -- Mary

Friday, September 16, 2011

Keeping America White Anglo-Saxon and Protestant

Argument for the Immigration Act of 1924 (repealed in 1965) from the 1920s:

A torrent of pauperism and illiteracy pours into this country from Catholic Southern Europe, cheapening the price of American labor, lengthening the bread lines of the large cities, crowding the loathsome tenements, overflowing the mines and mills, and adding enormously to the vice, disease, pauperism, illiteracy and the crime that are driving this Republic hellward. Those human hordes do not become assimilated with our population. They do not. imbibe Americanism. They do not learn our language, and they do not give a thought to our institutions. Their children are separated by the priests into the pope's own parochial schools, where they learn hatred of "heretics," and servility to the foreign potentate whom they are being trained to serve.

--Thomas Watson, author, The Italian Pope's Campaign Against the Constitutional Rights of American Citizens

Argument for the Immigration of 1924 (repealed in 1965) from 2011:  

The immigration system in the United States worked very, very well up until the mid-1960s when liberal members of Congress changed the immigration laws. What works is to have people come into the United States with a little bit of money in their pocket, legally, with sponsors so that if anything happens to them they don’t fall back on the taxpayers to take care of them.

--Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


When policies do not presume or promote objective values, the resulting moral relativism, instead of leading to a society that is free, fair, just and compassionate, tends instead to produce frustration, despair, selfishness and a disregard for the life and liberty of others. Policy makers are therefore right to look urgently for ways to uphold excellence in education, to promote social opportunity and economic mobility, to examine ways to favour long-term employment and to spread wealth much more fairly and broadly throughout society.

-- Pope Benedict XVI

Friday, September 9, 2011


According to new pollling data from Gallup, Catholics continue to give strong support to President Obama, in numbers far more favorable than Protestants or the general public.

In the current political climate, the favorable/unfavorable ratings of public figures are in the dumps. Congress has a record low favorable rating of 12%. President Obama, while enjoying higher favorability ratings than any GOP leader including Speaker Boehner, Senate Republican Leader McConnell and media darling Sarah Palin, also has his challenges.

But Catholics are giving the President strong support with a favorability rating of 50%, 13 points ahead of Protestants. Jewish voters are also supportive, with a 60% favorability. Mormons only give the President 25%.

Also of interest is that while Obama maintains much better support among Catholics than the general public, much of the decline from his previous even higher approval ratings comes from the Hispanic community, which has been disappointed that progress has not been made on immigration reform. In other words, the best way the President could do better among Catholics is by "moving to the Left" and advancing the immigration policies that he and the Catholic Church have long stood for.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


In last night's Republican candidate debate, working mother Michelle Bachmann bashed mothers who want to stay at home to care for their children.

Bachmann cited a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study that concluded that thanks to the new health care law, about one half of one percent of current workers will choose to leave the labor force because they are only working to get health insurance. These are almost all working mothers whose husbands currently don't have family coverage.

Under the new health care law, families will be able to make a freer choice if it is best for for Mom to work or stay at home with the kids.

Bachmann bashed the health care law, suggesting that the mothers making this choice are "killing jobs."

Memo to Michelle -- Mothers are not slaves for Big Business . If mothers choosing to stay at home with the kids means Big Business will have slightly less people in the workforce pool, so be it. It is a family choice if Moms work or not and it is a good thing when a Mom does not have to work just to get health insurance when her husband's job does not offer it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Workers and Their Unions: Affirmation and Challenge

Beginning in Rerum Novarum, the Church has consistently supported efforts of workers to join together to defend their rights and protect their dignity. Pope Leo XIII taught that the right of workers to choose to join a union was based on a natural right and that it was the government’s obligation to protect that right rather than undermine it (Rerum Novarum, no. 51). This teaching has been affirmed consistently by his successors. Pope John Paul II, in his powerful encyclical Laborem Exercens, noted unions "defend the existential interests of workers in all sectors in which their rights are concerned. . . . [They] are an indispensable element of social life, especially in modern industrialized societies" (no. 20). Most recently, in Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI said, "the repeated calls issued within the Church’s social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum, for the promotion of workers’ associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honored today even more than in the past . . ." (no. 25).

There have been some efforts, as part of broader disputes over state budgets, to remove or restrict the rights of workers to collective bargaining as well as limit the role of unions in the workplace. Bishops in Wisconsin, Ohio, and elsewhere have faithfully and carefully outlined Catholic teaching on worker rights, suggesting that difficult times should not lead us to ignore the legitimate rights of workers. Without endorsing every tactic of unions or every outcome of collective bargaining, the Church affirms the rights of workers in public and private employment to choose to come together to form and join unions, to bargain collectively, and to have an effective voice in the workplace.

The Church’s relationship with the labor movement is both supportive and challenging. Our Church continues to teach that unions remain an effective instrument to protect the dignity of work and the rights of workers. At their best, unions are important not just for the economic protections and benefits they can provide for their members, but especially for the voice and participation they can offer to workers. They are important not only for what they achieve for their members, but also for the contributions they make to the whole society.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pope Welcomes Machinists Union

Machinists Union Leaders Received by the Holy Father, Discuss Church/Labor Strategies to Advance Social Justice

International Association of Machinists (AFL-CIO) President Tom Buffenbarger discusses the bond between the labor movement and the Catholic Church with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in Rome.

The labor movement and the Catholic Church have long held shared goals of equality and opportunity. Each Labor Day, Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) and the AFL-CIO sponsor the Labor in the Pulpits/on the Bimah/in the Minbar program, which highlights these shared goals.

With the long-standing ties between labor and the Catholic Church, a delegation of IAM leaders from the United States and Canada met recently with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in Rome.

In addition to the audience granted to the IAM delegation, the pope met privately with IAM President Tom Buffenbarger, where they discussed the concern that some Catholic bishops are not as supportive of the labor movement as the bishops once were.

The Catholic Church has a long history of inspiring and supporting labor, civil and human rights campaigns, from the pro-labor encyclical “Rerum Novarum” issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891, to the activities of Dorothy Day, John Cort, George G. Higgins and hundreds of priests and bishops who marched with U.S. civil rights activists. The Church teaches that labor unions are an indispensable part of a just society.

Says President Buffenbarger:

For many years, the Catholic Church and the North American Labor Movement worked closely to promote a better life for their respective congregations. That alliance was an essential ingredient to the success of many social justice initiatives in the past and can provide the foundation for similar achievements in the future.

The recent meeting between Benedict XVI and Buffenbarger follows in the footsteps of a 1985 meeting between Pope John Paul II and former IAM President William Winpisinger. Both men supported Poland’s Solidarity trade union movement, which was a major factor in that country’s peaceful transition to democracy and the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union.

Friday, July 29, 2011


It is with great sorrow and sense of loss that I learned of the passing of the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, the Most Reverend Archbishop Pietro Sambi. I greatly appreciated Archbishop Sambi’s friendship and counsel; he brought a deep sense of empathy and comfort to the many lives that he influenced. I also long admired his distinguished diplomatic service for the Roman Catholic Church in this country, as well as in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, South Asia and Europe. Archbishop Sambi was held in great esteem by all Americans who met him as he traveled the length and breadth of this country. Our condolences and prayers are with Archbishop Sambi’s family and friends.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


In a stunning rebuke to the Republican leadership, the nation's Catholic bishops have picked sides in the on-going budget debates backing President Obama's call for a balanced plan that includes eliminating tax loopholes for special interests and the rich. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell thumbed is nose at the Bishops by rejecting any revenue increases to address the federal budget deficit.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging Catholics to contact Congress and demand they give priority to poor and vulnerable persons in the negotiations to reduce the deficit.

The Bishops joined President Obama in declaring that a just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons. A balanced approach requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues.

Republican leaders are rejecting this approach and the Bishop's call that Government and other institutions have a shared responsibility to promote the common good of all, especially ordinary workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic time.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cardinal Wuerl Praises Catholic Health Care

As our nation moves to our long sought goal of health care for all, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, praised Providence Hospital for its 150 years of sharing Christ's healing. The Cardinal was joined at a special Mass for the Catholic Health care community with Sister Carol Keehan, President of Catholic Health Association and Democratic National Committeewoman Deborah Royster, who serves as chair of the Providence Health Foundation Board.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Representative Paul Ryan (R), ran away from a Christian attempting to give him a Bible at the "Faith & Freedom" conference this week like a vampire from a cross. Ryan is a fan of militant atheist Ayn Rand who taught that selfishness was the highest virtue, not the teachings and passion of Christ.

Father Cletus Kiley, a Catholic priest, said that Rep. Ryan and the supporters if his budget should “drop Ayn Rand’s books and pick up" the Bible.

More on who Ayn Rand is here:

Monday, June 6, 2011


Diocese Calls on Maine Legislature to Vote Against "Right-to-Work (for Less)" Bill

Catholic Teaching Says Labor Rights Must be Protected

At a rally in Portland, ME of union members and other people supporting the dignity of labor, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland announced its official opposition to a Right-to-Work" bill that would eliminate the Union Shop in Maine.

The Rev. Mike Seavey said the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is officially opposing the bill, saying "at its core, all legislation should be about human dignity." He also referred to the attorney who has been retained by LePage to help conduct negotiations with state labor unions, who is being paid $295 an hour.

"If the administration is going to hire a negotiator from New York City at exorbitant Manhattan attorney rates, then our public employees have the ability and the right to organize themselves and present their contract expectations with mutual support," he said.

Friday, June 3, 2011


The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI received Vice-President Biden today at the Vatican. Joe Biden is the first American Vice-President of the Catholic faith. The Vice-President was in Rome to meet with the Italian government and also visited our troops at the NATO base in Naples.

The visit with the Holy Father was not an official visit but an honor given to Mr. Biden as a Catholic layman. The Holy Father presented gifts to the Vice-President and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and imparted the Apostolic Blessing on them.

Some Catholic political conservatives are criticizing the Holy Father for receiving Biden.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Archbishop Dolan Yucks It Up With Democratic Leaders

Archbishop Timothy Dolan shares a humorous story with two fellow Catholics, Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and former HHS Secretary Joe Califano. Republican operatives recently tried to use a letter from Dolan to suggest the Church approved of the Medicare-killing House Republican Budget plan. Dolan has rejected that "spin" on his letter, which was pastoral in nature.

It seems all three agree that the GOP spin is a big joke!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

President Speaks, Prays at White House Holy Week Event

From the President's Remarks at today's White House Prayer Breakfast:

We all live in the hustle and bustle of our work. And everybody in this room has weighty responsibilities, from leading churches and denominations, to helping to administer important government programs, to shaping our culture in various ways. And I admit that my plate has been full as well. (Laughter.) The inbox keeps on accumulating. (Laughter.)

But then comes Holy Week. The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross.

And we’re reminded that in that moment, He took on the sins of the world -- past, present and future -- and He extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through His death and resurrection.

In the words of the book Isaiah: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this “Amazing Grace” calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short. It calls me to praise God for the gift of His Son and our Savior.

And that’s why we have this breakfast. Because in the middle of critical national debates, in the middle of our busy lives, we must always make sure that we are keeping things in perspective. Children help do that. (Laughter.) A strong spouse helps do that. But nothing beats scripture and the reminder of the eternal.

So I’m honored that all of you have come here this Holy Week to join me in a spirit of prayer, and I pray that our time here this morning will strengthen us, both individually as believers and as Americans.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Union Membership Grows at Jesuit University


Workers at Georgetown University’s Leo J. O'Donovan dining hall, Jesuit Residence Wolfington Hall, Cosi, Starbucks, and Dr. Mug – all run by Aramark -- have joined UNITE HERE. “We have a voice and we want to be heard,” said Cathy Anderson. “Now, we must stick together to push ahead and achieve everything we are fighting for,” added Rafael Benitez. “Things like better treatment, affordable medical insurance, and fair raises for the hard work that we do.”

After Aramark recognized the union on April 6, students and workers met to discuss the victory and first contract negotiations. The workers’ organizing effort was supported by Georgetown students and student organizations, including the College Democrats, NAACP, Solidarity Committee and MEChA. School faculty members and the administration also backed the workers, including a letter from members of the Georgetown administration to Aramark’s CEO in February, reminding the company of Georgetown's Catholic and Jesuit mission to support both human dignity in work and respect for workers' rights as well as the school’s Just Employment Policy.

More information here at America, a Jesuit publication:

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Catholic Health Association Speaks Out Against Republican Plan.

"The draconian cuts proposed in the [Republican] budget resolution would simply shift the cost burden onto individual beneficiaries, health care providers and state governments," said Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, president of CHA. "While this may temporarily reduce the federal deficit, the long-term effects of this strategy will be to erode the safety net and jeopardize the health and economic security of millions of Americans."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

CATHOLIC CHURCH TELLS CONGRESS: Protect our Poor and Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters

This week Congress must act on the current FY 2011 spending bill to avert a government shutdown. Some current proposals include deep cuts to programs that serve the poorest, most vulnerable people at home and abroad. Likewise a shutdown of government services will fall most heavily on those who have the fewest resources. Fiscal responsibility is important, but it demands shared sacrifice and a special concern for poor persons at home and abroad.

Unfortunately, the voices of poor and vulnerable people have not been heard in the debate, and as a result they are being forced to bear the brunt of the proposed cuts. The vast majority of the cuts come from the non-defense, discretionary portion of the budget (only about 12% of the total budget)--which includes the majority of social welfare, education, and other anti-poverty funding. Some of the largest proposed funding cuts include:

 $2.3 billion from job training programs
 $1.08 billion from Head Start
 $100 million from Emergency Food and Shelter
 $875 million from International Disaster Assistance
 $800 million from International Food Aid
 $2.5 billion from affordable housing
 $1 billion from Community Health Centers
 $904 million from migrants and refugees

Unfortunately, very few advocate the priority claim of poor and vulnerable people, which makes our voices so much more important and prophetic.

Recently Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, as well as Bishop Howard J. Hubbard and Ken Hackett, President of CRS, sent letters to the U.S. Senate expressing their concern with some of the cuts and calling for more attention to the needs of poor and vulnerable people.

What You Can Do

1. Call your Senators and Representative and tell them:
• Many proposals under discussion fail the moral criteria of Catholic social teaching to advance the common good and the Constitutional requirement to promote the general welfare.
• Poor and vulnerable people didn’t cause our budget deficit. Don’t make them pay for it.
• As the final bill is negotiated, shared sacrifice should guide spending cuts, not disproportionate cuts in programs that serve poor persons at home or abroad.
• Responsible leadership for the common good is needed to avert a government shutdown that would most negatively impact those with the least resources.
2. Email your Senators and Representative with the above message, possibly adding specifically how these cuts will prohibit your diocese/parish/community from adequately serving the poor and vulnerable. You can use the bishops’ letters as a template.
3. Help your diocese, parish, community organizations, and families understand the consequences of these deficit-reduction proposals on poor and vulnerable people. See these documents for details.

Take Action NOW.

For more information visit the United States Conference of Catholics Bishops webpage at:

In the Catholic tradition, government has a positive role because of its responsibility to serve the common good, provide a safety net for the vulnerable, and help overcome discrimination and ensure equal opportunity for all. Government has inescapable responsibilities toward those who are poor and vulnerable, to ensure their rights and defend their dignity. Government action is necessary to help overcome structures of injustice and misuse of power and to address problems beyond the reach of individual and community efforts. Government must act when these other institutions fall short in defending the weak and protecting human life and human rights. -U.S. Catholic Bishops, A Place at the Table

Monday, April 4, 2011


As part of the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Catholic University of America will hold a Teach-In on Collective Bargaining today (April 4). The Teach-In will be held at the Catholic University Columbus School of Law (Rm. 305); 620 Michigan Ave NE from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm The event will include a discussion on the current events in Wisconsin and collective bargaining rights of public employees.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Church Rites for Geraldine Ferraro

Geraldine Ferraro made history as the first woman on a major party ticket for national office. At Ferraro's funeral service on Thursday at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, political luminaries recalled fondly her 1984 vice presidential bid and the speech she delivered at the Democratic convention that year. "The one thing that Geraldine said during her speech that sticks with me the most, is 'It's not what American can do for women, it's what women can do for America,'" said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Among those who spoke at the funeral were presidential candidate Walter Mondale:lo former President Bill Clinton; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI received a pilgrimage delegation of workers and trade unionists in an audience at the Vatican on March 27, 2011. The Holy Father greeted the workers with the words:

Dear brothers and sisters, I am very happy to receive you this morning and to offer my cordial greeting to the officials who are present, the workers and to all of you who have come as pilgrims to the See of Peter. A special greeting to Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, whom I thank for the words that he addressed to me also on your behalf. You have come in great numbers to this meeting -- I am sorry that not everyone was able to come inside -- on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of John Paul II's visit to Terni. Today we would like to recall him in a special way for the love that he showed for the working world; we can almost hear him repeat the first words that he spoke shortly after he arrived at Terni: "The main reason for this visit, which takes place on St. Joseph's day … is to bring a word of encouragement to all the workers and express my solidarity with them, my friendship and my affection" (Speech to Officials in Terni, March 19, 1981). I make these sentiments my own and from my heart I embrace all of you and your families.

The Pope went on to connect the Holy Eucharist and the Mass with the social solidarity workers express when they struggle for economic justice. The Pope called for "more solidarity." He spoke of the right for workers to have rest on the weekends and about how worker solidarity can address the important issue of workplace safety.

Friday, March 25, 2011

President Obama at Tomb of Archbishop Oscar Romero

Presidente Obama hace historia con visita a tumba de Monseñor Romero

El Presidente de Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, cierra sus ojos ante el sepulcro de Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, en señal de reverencia, acompañado por el Arzobispo de San Salvador, José Luis Escobar Alas.

Gabriela Castellón Fajardo
Redacción Diario Co Latino

A las 2:30 de la tarde de este martes 22 de marzo, las calles aledañas a la Catedral Metropolitana están cerradas. El Presidente de los Estados Unidos de América, Barack Obama, llegaría a las 5 p.m., para realizar el recorrido ya previsto en la agenda. Pero, aunque nadie lo sabe aún, la llegada del mandatario será a las 6:25 p.m. Esta tarde, Obama hará historia.

Luego de la reunión sostenida entre el mandatario estadounidense y el Presidente de la República, Mauricio Funes, se confirmó la visita que realizaría Obama, para conocer la cripta donde yacen los restos del arzobispo mártir, Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero. Funes le agradece de antemano, por haber aceptado la invitación.

Son las 3 p.m. y frente a Catedral sólo está el grupo de periodistas que ingresarán a distintos puntos incluidos en el recorrido. En el centro de San Salvador hace calor, hay brisa y no hay vendedores.

Yo quería ver, dice Julia, en tono de queja. Ella, hasta hace unos minutos, estaba ofreciendo atol a todo el que pasaba cerca de su puesto. Sin embargo, se tiene que largar. Porque, sin autorización, nadie puede estar aquí, anuncia un agente de seguridad.

El presidente Obama incluyó en su agenda la visita a la efigie de Monseñor Romero en Catedral, como muestra de reconocimiento a la labor humana que impulsó, y por la que murió, el arzobispo.

A las cinco de la tarde, los periodistas esperaban en los puntos asignados. Antes, los encargados de la seguridad del mandatario estadounidense habían hecho su trabajo. Una revisión exhaustiva y al detalle. Con lista en mano, para evitar a algún colado.

Cuatro encargados de seguridad reciben al grupo que ingresa al lugar donde reposa Monseñor Romero. Vigilan, esperan a que Obama haga su llegada.

Hay helicópteros sobrevolando el centro. El presidente estadounidense está por llegar. Han pasado 30 minutos. Son las 6:25 p.m. y Obama ingresa por el portón poniente. Minutos antes, Funes había ingresado por la entrada principal.
Monseñor José Luis Escobar Alas y el presidente Funes le reciben. Escobar Alas inicia la explicación que expone la historia de Catedral. A los tres les acompañan el Secretario Privado de la Presidencia, Francisco Cáceres, y el Subsecretario de Asuntos Hemisféricos, Arturo Valenzuela.

Luego de la exposición sobre las pinturas y la arquitectura del lugar, Funes, Obama y el Arzobispo bajan. Se dirigen a la cripta.

Son las 6:37 p.m. y un grupo de al menos 18 periodistas extranjeros bajan corriendo las gradas. Obama está por entrar. Tres minutos después, hace su entrada.

El arzobispo de San Salvador explica la historia de Monseñor Romero. Mientras, una de las dos traductoras que están con Obama se pasea de un lado a otro, traduciendo frase por frase. Funes observa. Los periodistas callan. Los vigilantes siguen pendientes del movimiento. El sonido de los flashes se repite y parece que no fuera a terminar nunca.
Entonces, llega el momento. Escobar Alas termina su exposición. Obama guarda silencio y cierra sus ojos, frente a la efigie de Monseñor Romero. Mantiene el gesto treinta segundos. El sonido de los flashes aumenta.

Funes le explica a Obama lo que significa Romero para el pueblo salvadoreño. Además, le cuenta que, por primera vez, el Gobierno ha pedido perdón por todas las atrocidades ocurridas en la guerra.

Minutos después, el presidente salvadoreño le anuncia a su homólogo que le hará la entrega de una de las 25 réplicas del mural que se encuentra en el Aeropuerto Internacional, que fue pintado por el artista Rafael Varela, en honor al 30 aniversario del martirio del arzobispo mártir. Este miércoles se cumplen 31 años del asesinato de San Romero de América”.

El presidente estadounidense agradece, y Escobar Alas explica la pieza. Obama se lleva la número 17. Pero el funcionario no se lleva sólo la pintura. Mientras estaban en la parte superior de Catedral, Escobar Alas le entregó el libro Romero, hombre, sacerdote y pastor, escrito por monseñor Jesús Delgado, ex párroco de Catedral y persona a cargo de la postulación de la beatificación de Romero en el Vaticano. Regresan la pintura al tubo donde estaba enrollada. Los tres se aprestan a encender una vela, para honrar los restos del Obispo Romero. Primero lo hace Obama, luego Funes. Escobar Alas enciende la última. Se retiran luego de 15 minutos, en el mismo orden. Un minuto después, los periodistas extranjeros salen corriendo del lugar. Obama ha hecho historia. No dijo nada. Su pensamiento no será expuesto en los medios de comunicación.

Sin embargo, el miércoles 23 de marzo, periódicos de diversos países del mundo tendrán la noticia: Obama visitó tumba de Monseñor Romero. México, Nicaragua, Argentina, Estados Unidos, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela y El Salvador fueron de los primeros medios en publicarlo. El nombre de Barack Obama y el de Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero, juntos, ahora son parte de la historia.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wisconsin Catholic Theologian On Worker Rights

Being fiscally responsible and fair

By Father Bryan N. Massingale

Gov. Scott Walker is a preacher's son. I'm hoping that he appreciates a good sermon.

As a Catholic priest and theologian, I believe it's time for a moral lesson about why Walker's efforts to eviscerate workers' rights clashes with centuries of teaching from diverse faith traditions and why religious leaders are standing in solidarity with the teachers, nurses and first responders rallying in Madison.

Catholic social teaching and Judeo-Christian values insist that workers must have an effective voice in ensuring safe working conditions, just wages and reasonable benefits. These basic principles honor the dignity of work and promote economic fairness. These gains were not easily won and must be protected today.

History is stained with the sweat and blood of those who struggled to win labor rights many of us now take for granted. Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker movement, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel - to name just a few - all were inspired by their faith to stand with workers demanding living wages and working conditions consistent with human dignity.

Today, Pope Benedict XVI, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Protestant clergy and prominent Jewish leaders consistently remind us that unions and collective bargaining are vital to ensuring that our economy serves the common good, not simply a privileged few.

We need to move beyond false choices. Fiscal responsibility and basic fairness are not competing values. Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki said it well in a recent statement: "Hard times do not nullify the moral obligation each of us has to respect the legitimate rights of workers." Yes, these are difficult times that call for shared sacrifice. It's unacceptable to ignore deficits, and prudent stewardship of public resources is simple common sense. But when the governor offers huge corporate tax breaks to some, yet refuses to even negotiate with tax-paying workers, this violates the principles of shared sacrifice and fiscal common sense. It's both immoral and fiscally irresponsible to ask those who teach our children, protect our communities and care for our sick loved ones to bear the greatest burden and give up basic rights that have provided economic opportunity for generations.

read the rest here:

The Rev. Bryan N. Massingale is associate professor of theological ethics at Marquette University. He is past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

Monday, February 28, 2011


Bishop Gabino Zavala, Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles spoke to over 400 Catholic and other faith leaders in support of the rights of workers in Wisconsin last Friday.

Bishop Zavala reminded them that the Catholic Church has long recognized the rights of workers but stressed that now is the time for us to stand with them in solidarity.

The audience included many Catholic elected leaders of labor, clergy, religious and rank and file Catholic union members preparing to find news ways to support workers in Wisconsin.

Also commenting on the situation in Wisconsin was Fr. Sinclair Oubre, JCL, who proclaimed:

I find the scapegoating of public employees a scandal. So many of these people are the very persons who make our civic and community life possible. I wonder what all these folks who are so enthusiastic about "cutting out waste," will do when the local water department has been slashed in half, and their sewer line is clogged on the city side. How pleasant will their life be when no city employee will be able to deal with the consequences of a stopped up sewer line for a week. Or what are we going to do when our garbage pick up will be once every two weeks because half our garbage collectors have been declared "unnecessary government waste?"

Father Sinclair ministers to Catholic workers.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Poland to Wisconsin: Stand for Workers

Poland’s Solidarność Union Tells Wisconsin Workers: “Your Victory is Our Victory as Well”

Washington, DC — In a remarkable expression of international solidarity among working men and women, the president of “Solidarność” (“Solidarity”) – the Polish trade union whose determination and courage led to the fall of the Iron Curtain – has written an open letter in support of the public employees of Wisconsin.

Piotr Duda, president of Solidarność, said the 700,000 members of the Polish union wished “to express our solidarity and support for your struggle against the recent assault on trade unions and trade union rights unleashed by Governor Scott Walker.”

The letter is printed as a full-page advertisement in today’s issue of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“Dear Friends,” Duda’s letter continues, “please rest assured that our thoughts are with you during your protest, as we truly do hope that your just fight for decent working and living conditions, for the workers’ rights will be successful.”

“Your victory is our victory as well,” he said.

In the early 1980s, Solidarność persisted against great odds to win collective bargaining rights from the communist government of Poland. The union’s leader, Lech Walesa, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was named Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 1981. He was elected President of Poland after the country secured its freedom.

The letter was sent to AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee with a request that it be conveyed to “Public Service Workers in the State of Wisconsin.” Download the open letter as a PDF.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


"The repeated calls issued within the Church's social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum, for the promotion of workers' associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honored today even more than in the past."

-- POPE BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Archbishop's Statement Regarding the Rights of Workers and the Value of Unions

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki, archbishop of Milwaukee and president of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, has issued the following statement regarding the rights of workers and the value of unions.
February 16, 2011

The Church is well aware that difficult economic times call for hard choices and financial responsibility to further the common good. Our own dioceses and parishes have not been immune to the effects of the current economic difficulties. But hard times do not nullify the moral obligation each of us has to respect the legitimate rights of workers. As Pope Benedict wrote in his 2009 encyclical, Caritas in veritate:

Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating capacity of labor unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome. The repeated calls issued within the Church's social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum [60], for the promotion of workers' associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honored today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level. [#25]

It does not follow from this that every claim made by workers or their representatives is valid. Every union, like every other economic actor, is called to work for the common good, to make sacrifices when required, and to adjust to new economic realities.

However, it is equally a mistake to marginalize or dismiss unions as impediments to economic growth. As Pope John Paul II wrote in 1981, “[a] union remains a constructive factor of social order and solidarity, and it is impossible to ignore it.” (Laborem exercens #20, emphasis in original)

It is especially in times of crisis that “new forms of cooperation” and open communication become essential. We request that lawmakers carefully consider the implications of this proposal and evaluate it in terms of its impact on the common good. We also appeal to everyone –lawmakers, citizens, workers, and labor unions – to move beyond divisive words and actions and work together, so that Wisconsin can recover in a humane way from the current fiscal crisis.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

R. SARGENT SHRIVER, JR, requiescat in pace

Shriver family statement on passing of Sargent Shriver
Bethesda, MD
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
5:30 PM ET

Our dad, Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr., lovingly known as “Sarge,” today went to heaven to join the love of his life, our mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. He was surrounded by his five children, five children in-law, and his 19 grandchildren.

He was a man of giant love, energy, enthusiasm, and commitment. He lived to make the world a more joyful, faithful, and compassionate place. He centered everything on his faith and his family. He worked on stages both large and small but in the end, he will be best known for his love of others. No one ever came into his presence without feeling his passion and his enthusiasm for them. He loved God, he loved Eunice, he loved us, he loved anyone who was a servant of peace, justice or joy. He loved life.

We pray that his spirit and example will guide us as we accept the challenge of living as he did. We will miss him forever. May the angels and saints and all his family receive him with a party beyond all imagining.

-The family of Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr.
For more information on his life visit