Thursday, October 18, 2018

How did your Congresspeople vote in 2017?

As we head into the 2018 Mid-term elections, it is important to know how your congresspeople up for re-election have voted in the past. 

Network Lobby has put together a voting record for 2017 of all Congresspeople according to their policy platforms.  Learn more below:

NETWORK releases our annual voting record each year to evaluate all Members of Congress on how they voted during the previous session of Congress. View our 2017 voting record and see how your elected officials scored.
Two hundred and fifteen members of Congress were successful in voting with us 100% of the time.
Our system will read how your elected officials scores and pull up the appropriate messages whether your elected officials received a 100%, a passing grade, a failing grade, or are new to Congress. If you live in D.C., Delegate Norton will receive the same message as those new to Congress since she does not receive a score, but it’s still important to let her know about your values!
Don’t forget—you can personalize each message with your unique thoughts and encouragement!

A Call to Holiness: Pax Christi 2018 Voter Guide

Since our last national election, the people of the United States have seen growing political divides, widening economic disparity, and increasing instances of bigotry, hate, and violence often done in the name of patriotism. At the same time, we’ve seen communities across the country come together in support of the values of our faith and our nation.
As Catholics, we are called to carefully consider the many critical issues facing our nation. Pope Francis reminds us, “We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.”
This election, Catholic voters have a choice to make. Catholic Social Teaching directs us to participate in public life and exercise our civic duty. Let us engage ourselves and others this election season and choose the path of the common good, to seek a better life for everyone.
We hope this guide will help us all apply longstanding Catholic teaching to the most pressing issues of our time. The 2018 Election comes in the context of deep reflection on where we are going as a country. It is critical that we examine candidates’ positions on the multiple and interrelated policies that defend the dignity of all God’s people. We must also address these issues with a commitment to civility and dialogue in pursuit of the common good.
Please share widely. You are welcome to print and distribute.
Original posting on Pax Christi USA website 

Living the Change - Make Your Commitment today!

As pilgrims on the road to better care of creation, we know how important our daily choices are. Whether we choose to drive or bike, leave the lights on or turn them off, or eat plant-based meals can make a big difference for the health of our common home.
We invite you to join a global movement of people of faith who are choosing to live sustainably. The program is called Living the Change.
Our faith offers guidance on how to live our best lives. Understanding that greed is wrong are called into healthy, balanced relationships that help sustain Earth as our collective home. As people of faith, we are committing to make changes in our own lives. Together, we come to you with a call to adventure on a journey towards sustainable living. We invite you to join us in Living the Change.

By acting together, our individual changes can add up to a world of good. The Living the Change program helps you identify which changes make the most difference.

U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking Voter Guide

Human Trafficking, also referred to as modern-day slavery, is the use of force, fraud or coercion in an effort to exploit someone for some type of labor or a commercial sex act. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking around the world, including 24.9 million in forced labor and 15.4 million in forced marriage. We have a moral responsibility to end modern slavery around the world, and we must elect candidates who work to eradicate human trafficking through funding for survivor services, increased awareness, harsher penalties for traffickers, and holding all perpetrators, including individuals and businesses, accountable.

The U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT) hope that you will use this guide as a tool to see how candidates in this next election have responded or plan to respond to the grave sin of human trafficking. Using the quotations from Catholic teaching as a guide, we encourage you to research how candidates for elected office in your area plan to do the hard work necessary to eradicate human trafficking. If their views and plans are in line with Catholic teaching, put a “check” next to the box with their name. If you are unsure of where the candidate stands on the various aspects of trafficking, you might consider raising the issue at a campaign event or writing to them using the contact information on their campaign website.
To download an 11×8.5 PDF of the Voter Guide: Click Here

Flores Settlement Proposed Regulations—How To Comment

On September 7, 2018, the Trump administration published proposed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services Department (HHS) regulations to implement the terms of the Flores Settlement Agreement, the 1997 legal settlement that governs the conditions of children held in immigration detention.  The proposed regulations would remove key safeguards the federal government agreed to in the Flores Agreement, including permitting the long-term detention of children, as well as long-term family detention.  In addition to permitting indefinite family detention, the rule would end existing Flores requirements that facilities holding immigrant children, including family detention facilities, be state-licensed, creating a new alternative federal licensing scheme. Also, the proposed regulations waive existing child protections in the case of “emergency,” which is broadly defined, and remove protections for unaccompanied children (UAC), including continually reassessing UACs and changing the bond hearing process for UACs in a manner that may be less favorable for them.

The 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, the result of litigation which originated in the 1980s when children fled alone to the United States to escape civil wars in Central America, protects immigrant children from indefinite detention in unsafe and inappropriate conditions. The agreement requires that children be released from custody as quickly as possible, preferably to a parent, and that until they can safely be released they are held in the least restrictive setting; generally, in a non-secure facility licensed by a child welfare entity. We all know that the solution to holding immigrant children in cages without their parents is not to hold them in cages with their parents. Like separation at the border, this inhumane practice cannot stand. Like separation at the border, you can make the administration change course.

Your voice and your leadership are needed nowThe most effective way to fight back against this proposal is to get as many people as possible to participate in the 60-day public comment period, which ends November 6.

1.       Submit a comment on behalf of yourself or your organization: Click here to register your opposition to the administration's proposal and stand up for immigrant children’s safety.  See suggested comments below. Please adapt the language to share why you oppose the Trump administration’s new regulations to indefinitely detain children, lower standards of care in immigration jails, and remove legal protections from minors seeking safety in the U.S.  N.B. Identical comments will be discarded.

2.       Help others submit written comments: CLINIC’s Flores Public Comment Mini-Toolkit gives you everything you need to:
·         Share information about the proposal;
·         Organize an event in your community to gather public comments;
·         Submit comments by mail. Must be postmarked by November 6, 2018.

3.       Contact Congress: While these regulations are pending, Congress is actively considering legislative changes that would give DHS greater funding and authority to jail immigrants. Tell members of Congress to oppose family detention in any form and demand cuts to funding for immigration detention and enforcement.

Suggested Comments:  REMEMBER, you will need to revise these suggestions to make them unique.

Sample Introduction
[On behalf of ORGANIZATION], [We/I] would like to submit the following comments concerning the proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the Apprehension, Processing, Care, and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children (Docket No. ICEB-2018-0002).

[INSERT BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF ORGANIZATION OR INDIVIDUAL SUBMITTING COMMENTS] [ORGANIZATION is/ I am] concerned that the proposed rule is contrary to the purpose and spirit of the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement which sought to ensure that all children in the government’s custody are “treated with dignity, respect, and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors.”

[We are/I am] called by our faith to care for the most vulnerable and we are challenged by our national values to promote the welfare of our children and tend the common good. Therefore, we/I must oppose the government’s proposal to discard the Flores Settlement Agreement safeguards, which protects the welfare of migrant children in U.S. government custody, in favor of dangerously broad criteria that allow indefinite detention, fewer legal protections, and questionable standards of care and oversight. Children and families belong together and free from detention.

Key Points you might include
[ORGANIZATION is/ I am] opposed to the proposed rule “Apprehension, Processing, Care, and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children” because:
·         Detention, even for a short amount of time, has been proven to be devastating to a child’s development, health, and well-being. This proposed rule permitting indefinite detention is abusive and inhumane. The Flores settlement was put in place to ensure children are treated with “dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors.” The proposed rule fails to meet those standards.
·         There are proven, effective alternatives to detention, such as the Family Case Management System. It is less harmful to a developing child and more cost effective.
·         The proposed rule is an unnecessary burden on taxpayers. Alternatives to detention are proven to be effective and humane. The proposed rule is a needless cost and a poor and wasteful use of resources.
·         It is unacceptable for the administration to have the authority to certify that its own jails are safe for children. Detention facilities have been proven time and time again to be dangerous to the health and well-being of vulnerable children.
·         The proposed regulations do not serve the best interest of children. Instead, they undermine existing child protections. That is contrary to the Flores Agreement’s purpose, contrary to the values of this nation, and contrary to our/my faith.

Sample Conclusion
Our faith, and the ideals upon which this nation was founded, call us to be mindful of the common good, to embrace our neighbors, and to care for our children. [ORGANIZATION / I] urge[s] DHS and HHS to reject the proposed regulations or to make revisions to ensure that children are protected and the regulations are consistent with the purpose and spirit of the Flores Agreement.

Additional resources:
·         JFI—10 Things You Should Know about Proposed Flores Regulations
·         Catholic Legal Network, Inc. (CLINIC) Mini Toolkit on Flores
·         Protecting Immigrant Families
·         CLINIC’s guide to taking part in the Federal Rulemaking Process

Information and action items created by Sr. Ann Scholz, SSND the Associate Director of Social Mission for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

CCVI Sisters: 20 Years Against the Death Penalty

Every October 10th is an important day in the human rights calendar; it is the world day against the death penalty.  This day provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the death penalty, considered the most extreme denial of human rights.

Our Congregation, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, first published our opposition to the death penalty in all cases and under all circumstances on June 8, 1998.

Our congregational commitment to promote and protect human dignity compels us to denounce the death penalty. We believe that capital punishment is inconsistent with the Christian belief in the sacredness of human life.

The death penalty is violence condoned by the state that contributes to the climate of violence and is not an effective impediment to crime.

This corporate stance against the death penalty testifies to the mission of the congregation. and it allows us to add our voice to that of other religious groups of all denominations that have expressed their public opposition to the death penalty.

It is worth mentioning that Pope Francis has authorized a change in the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the death penalty and announced it during the October 2017 meeting that commemorated the 25th anniversary of the last Catechism. "However serious the crime, the death penalty is inadmissible because it threatens the inviolability and dignity of the person."

The new wording includes this request of the Pope and ensures that, from now on, the Church "commits with determination to the abolition of the death penalty throughout the world."

We will continue to pray and act against the Death Penalty because taking a life is never a solution to reduce crime or punish offenders.


Hermanas CCVI: 20 años contra la pena de muerte

Cada 10 de octubre es un día especial en el calendario de los derechos humanos, pues es el día mundial contra la pena de muerte: una oportunidad para llamar la atención sobre la pena capital, considerada como la negación más extrema de los derechos humanos.

Nuestra Congregación el 8 de junio de 1998 publicó nuestra oposición a la pena de muerte en todos los casos y en todas las circunstancias.

Nuestro compromiso congregacional de promover la dignidad humana nos obliga a denunciar la pena de muerte. Creemos que la pena capital es inconsistente con la creencia cristiana de lo sagrado de la vida humana.

La pena de muerte es violencia condonada por el estado que contribuye al clima de violencia y no es un impedimento efectivo al crimen.

Esta postura corporativa contra la pena de muerte atestigua la misión de la congregación. y nos permite sumar nuestra voz a la de otros grupos religiosos de todas las denominaciones que han expresado su oposición pública a la pena de muerte.

Cabe mencionar que el Papa Francisco ha autorizado una modificación en el Catecismo de la Iglesia católica en lo concerniente a la pena de muerte y ya lo había anunciado durante el encuentro de octubre de 2017 que conmemoraba los 25 años del último Catecismo. “Por muy grave que sea el delito cometido, la pena de muerte es inadmisible porque atenta contra la inviolabilidad y la dignidad de la persona”.

La nueva redacción incluye esta petición del Papa y asegura que, a partir de ahora, la Iglesia “se compromete con determinación a la  abolición de la pena de muerte en todo el mundo”.

Seguiremos orando y actuando contra la Pena de Muerte porque matar no es la solución para reducir ningún delito.

Immigrant Children: Detention Without End?

Project Lifeline and NOWCastSA hosted a panel and community discussion and interactive event, "Immigrant Children, Detention Without End?" on Friday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Student Engagement Ballroom at the University of the Incarnate Word. Each year, as many as 90,000 immigrant children spend time in U.S. detention centers. Those who monitor the conditions say the children often are kept for months at a time in unsanitary conditions without proper medical care and are denied food and clean water. Recent proposals could make their stay in detention indefinite. The evening began with a panel discussion by faith leaders and world-renowned pediatric and public health physicians with extensive experience working with displaced children in crisis. The conversation focused on the harm to the children and the trauma they suffer, from the dangers they are fleeing to the inhumane conditions they face in detention. Following the panel discussion, the audience formed small groups to discuss the issues and explore ways to take action. You can watch a recording of this powerful conversation below:

LCWR Objects to Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule

LCWR has issued a strongly worded statement opposing the latest attempt by President Trump to restrict immigration and punish immigrant families.  On September 22 the Trump administration issued a proposed change to Public Charge Rule that would punish immigrants going through official immigration processes and their families for applying for or receiving benefits for themselves or their children.  This would mean the use of Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicare Part D, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program or Public Housing, could render a family member ineligible for a green card or unable to keep their family together.  The Department of Homeland Security’s statement announcing the planned change indicates the rule will be published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks.

What you can do:
  • Learn more about public charge and the proposed rule changes. 
    • Visit CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.) to read about the proposed changes to the public charge rule. 
    • Download a fact sheet from Protecting Immigrant Families, Advancing Our Future. 
    • Speak out against the rule with statements, press, and social media (#ProtectFamilies #MyImmigrantStory #OurAmericanStory). 
  • Plan to submit comments on the proposed rule change. Once the rule has been published and the public comment period opens, look to CLINIC for additional analysis and materials to help you draft comments. 

Full LCWR Statement: 
The US Department of Homeland Security’s proposed changes to the public charge regulation are yet another attempt by President Trump to restrict immigration and punish immigrant families. The new regulation would force parents to make impossible choices between the well-being of their families and the prospect of future citizenship.
The rule changes would dramatically increase the barriers to lawful status for low-income immigrants and their families. It could dissuade parents from obtaining benefits for which their children qualify, out of fear that they may not be able to regularize their immigration status in the future. Lack of access to public benefits programs will increase poverty, hunger, homelessness, and disease, and decrease children’s school attendance and general well-being.
This attempt to target the most vulnerable within the immigrant community violates the tenets of our faith and threatens the values of our nation. We are called by our faith to welcome the stranger and care for the most vulnerable and we are challenged by our national values to promote the welfare of our children and tend the common good. If we want our communities to thrive, all families in those communities mast have access to the care and services they need and to which they are entitled. The Trump administration’s proposed changes to the public charge regulation threaten us all.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious urges all people of faith to call for protection of immigrants, especially those who are most vulnerable, and to register their objections to this unreasonable and mean-spirited proposal during the 60-day comment period.

UISG Kicks Off Campaign: Sowing Seeds of Hope for the Planet

The International Union of Superiors General (UISG) has launched the Sowing Hope for the Planet, a project to encourage sisters and their colleagues and friends to live the message of Laudato Si’. A webinar, presented by Sheila Kinsey, FCJM coordinator of the project, featured a slideshow describing some of the opportunities being offered during 2018-2019. 

Pope Francis has underlined the fundamental connection between the current environmental crisis and the social crisis, and has called for a personal and communal ecological conversion. He often reminds us “everything is interconnected.”

The campaign is an effort to coordinate the response of women religious and to give witness to hope. It takes its guidance from Laudato Sí’: “Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.” (LS#19)

Organizers hope that the campaign will create a coordinated effort among the members of UISG; partner with organizations which are already working on care of the planet; develop an action statement for “Sowing Hope for the Planet,” to be adopted by the Board of UISG in May 2019 for action. Additional details of upcoming events are available here.

This project is a collaborative effort of the JPIC Commission under the principal sponsorship of USG and UISG and the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM).  For questions regarding the campaign, please contact

Monday, October 8, 2018

Escuelas, espacios de paz | Guía

La construcción de la Cultura de Paz consiste en favorecer los valores, las actitudes y las conductas que manifiestan y suscitan interacciones e intercambios sociales basados en los principios que fundamentan el derecho humano a la paz, síntesis de los derechos humanos y base esencial de la democracia; rechazando así la violencia y procurando prevenir los confl ictos mediante el diálogo y la negociación, de manera que se garantizan el pleno ejercicio de todos los derechos y se proporcionan los medios para participar plenamente en el proceso de desarrollo de la sociedad.

La educación es el principal instrumento para dicha construcción que encuentra en el aprendizaje de la ciudadanía democrática, la educación para la paz y los derechos humanos, la mejora de la convivencia escolar y la resolución de los conflictos, los ámbitos necesarios para alcanzar esa cultura que se define sobre la base de tres conceptos interactivos: la paz positiva, el desarrollo humano sostenible y la democracia participativa.

La resolución de la Orden de 30 de enero de 2003, por la que se convocaban por primera vez las ayudas para la realización de proyectos “Escuela: Espacio de Paz”, ha demostrado el compromiso y la capacidad innovadora de los centros educativos andaluces para impulsar una educación de calidad basada en los principios que sostienen la Cultura de Paz, vinculando sus acciones a un movimiento internacional que, con motivo de la celebración del Decenio sobre la educación para la Cultura de Paz auspiciado por Naciones Unidas, trata de superar los retos presentes y futuros de una sociedad sometida a constantes y acelerados cambios.

Es necesario, por tanto, promocionar este tipo de experiencias y reconocer el trabajo realizado, así como mejorar la coordinación integrada y sinérgica de las actividades destinadas a prevenir los conflictos y la promoción de una cultura de paz por parte de todos los miembros de la comunidad educativa. Esto requiere de un marco conceptual que oriente el desarrollo de dichos proyectos específicos a través de una estrategia completa de acción que cubra todos los aspectos de la vida de un centro docente tanto en su interior como en colaboración con otros agentes sociales externos.

Es por lo que la Consejería de Educación y Ciencia inicia, con la publicación de esta guía, una colección que tiene por objetivo ofrecer un conjunto de herramientas que faciliten la concreción y el desarrollo de aquellas acciones dirigidas tanto a la mejora de la convivencia como a crear espacios socio-comunitarios que con la cooperación de todos los agentes educativos y sociales impulsen la sensibilización y la acción a favor de la Cultura de Paz.

Puedes DESCARGAR la GUÍA aquí: 

Escribe: Sebastian Sanchez