Office of Advocacy and Justice Update

 

 

Scheduled Execution Prayer and Action Alert

On June 30, Governor Rick Scott signed his first death warrant of his new administration for Manuel Valle. Manuel Valle is scheduled to be executed at Florida State Prison, in Starke, Florida at 6pm on August 2. Manuel is a committed Catholic who regularly receives the sacraments. Your parish is encouraged to pray for Mr. Valle, his family, the victim’s family and friends, that they will continue to receive healing through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; for all the public officials involved in this scheduled execution; for Governor Scott, that he will discern God’s will and apply the teachings of our Catholic faith on the death penalty. Please refer to the petitions and bulletin insert below.  For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.org or 407-246-4819.

 

SAMPLE BULLETIN ANNOUNCEMENT

SCHEDULED EXECUTION IN FLORIDA – ALL HUMAN LIFE IS SACRED: 

 Floridadeath row inmate, Manuel Valle, is scheduled for execution on August 2 at Florida State Prison.  The U. S. Catholic Bishops have called all Catholics to participate in a campaign to achieve the abolishment of the death penalty, see: http://www.usccb.org/deathpenalty/

Our Bishops have stated that, “At a time when the sanctity of life is threatened in many ways, taking life is not really a solution but may instead effectively undermine respect for life.”  This pending execution gives Florida Catholics the opportunity to be a part of the campaign in a very personal way.  Our hearts and lives must have special space for the victims and their loved ones as well.  But let it be known that “standing with families of victims does not compel us to support the use of the death penalty” (U.S. Bishops).  For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, 407-246-4819.

 

SAMPLE PETITIONS FOR LITURGY:

  • For men and women who sit on death row awaiting the end of their life.
  • For the victims of violence and hatred, that they may be freed from pain and fear.
  • For the loved ones of those who have suffered death at the hands of another person, may their hearts experience the healing and reconciling power of the Spirit.
  • For the families of those condemned to die, that the hope of the resurrection and the truth of the Gospel of life might strengthen them in their time of need.
  • May the witness of the Church to the sacredness of all life, even of those who have done evil acts, serve to call our nation to a new awakening in responding to crime and determining punishment.

 

CIDSE President to European Union: Vote for Deeper Emissions Cuts

Chris Bain, President of CIDSE, an international alliance of 16 Catholic development agencies, recently called on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to vote in support a measure this week which would increase their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.  The EU has already pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% from 1990 levels by 2020.  The MEPs will vote this week on whether or not to increase this pledge to 30%.

Bain said that the adverse affects of climate change threaten to undermine much of the development work done in recent years and that CIDSE has seen the effects of climate change on poor communities first hand, and the human, environmental and economic costs on a global scale are rising exponentially.

In addition to protecting the world’s poor and vulnerable, Bain touted other benefits for a lower target including a boost to Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy – increasing employment … reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels… boost innovation and green technologies, increase health benefits due to better air quality and ensure a better future for its citizens.

Read the entire story here.

 

Women Advocate for Ecological Economy

Staff of a trust established by Caritas Internationalis participated in the “Women of South Asia and a Green Economy” conference where participants called for a more sustainable and just economic system that rejects unbridled consumerism and resource-depleting economic policies which often discriminate and marginalize poor people and women.  In a statement, the South Asian Women’s Network said, The resources of the earth are for the welfare of all, not the profit of a few. They generate creative and dignified livelihoods and provide a basis for poverty alleviation.

Participants said that modern economies are too often characterized by endless natural resource consumption, cheap and dehumanizing labor and do not give consideration the environment and the needs of the poor and women.  “Greener” economies will more likely embrace simplicity, invite full participation by local communities and generally improve the quality of life for all. 

Read more here.

 

New Study Links Mountaintop Coal Mining with Pro-Life Concerns 

A recent study published article in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research by experts at Washington State University and West Virginia University has found that birth defects are nearly twice as likely to occur in near mountaintop coal mining.  Researchers found 235 birth defects per 10,000 births in these areas as opposed to 144 defects per 10,000 births in non-mountaintop removal areas.  The study analyzed more than 1.8 million births between 1996 and 2003 in both impacted and non-impacted areas. The authors conclude that the findings contribute to the growing evidence that mountaintop mining is done at substantial expense to the environment, to local economies and to human health. 

Read more about the latest study on mountaintop coal mining and birth defects.

The new study comes just as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Health Association each announced support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed standards to limit toxic pollution – including mercury – from coal- and oil-fired power plants.  In separate letters to the EPA, both the USCCB and CHA recognized that mercury and other toxic power plant emissions pose a grave risk to the young and unborn, and said that their support of the EPA’s proposals was primarily inspired by the Catholic commitment to protect and defend human life and dignity.

 

New Resource on Food Security 

The National Catholic Rural Life Conference, a member of the Coalition and supporter of the Catholic Climate Covenant, is offering a new educational resource titled “Food Security and Economic Justice: A Faith Based Study Guide on Poverty and Hunger.”  The study guide and companion Leader’s Guide apply Catholic social teaching to the problems of hunger and poverty in a world of abundance and urge action to resolve this contradiction. The Food Security study guide can be used for individual learning or group discussions and is now available online at NCRLC’s website.  NCRLC also offers an environmental study guide: “Global Climate Change: A Catholic Response” released last fall.

NCRLC is an educator in the faith by linking religion to the rural world; developing support services for rural pastoral ministers; serving as a prophetic voice; and acting as a catalyst and convener for social justice. 

 

Coming Soon: More Eco-friendly Popemobile

German auto-manufacturer Mercedes-Benz is constructing a hybrid Popemobile for Benedict XVI, and the new vehicle is expected to be ready by 2012.  The new Popemobile is reportedly adapted from the 4WD M Class Mercedes, and will be powered by a hybrid electric-gas motor with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.  The new Popemobile will have the capacity to travel 16 miles without emitting any greenhouse gases.

Many have already dubbed Benedict XVI the “Green Pope” based on his frequent calls urging all people of goodwill to see the moral questions raised by climate change.  The Holy Father has addressed climate change in his 2010 Address to Members of the Diplomatic Corps, 2010 World Day of Peace Message, 2009 encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate, 2009 Message to Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen, 2009 Easter Message Urbi et Orbi

The latest effort to “green” the Popemobile comes two and a half years after the Vatican placed enough solar panels on the roof of Pope Paul VI Hall to supply all the building’s heating, cooling and lighting.  The Vatican also pledged in 2007 to become the world’s first carbon-neutral state.

Read more here.

 

Book Award: God, Creation and Climate Change

God, Creation and Climate Change(Richard W. Miller, Editor, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, N.Y.) recently won second place in the category “Faith and Science” at the Catholic Press Association annual book awards.  The book is a collection of essays by six prominent Catholic theologians, first offered to theologians in a 2009 lectures series.  The essays cover themes of social justice and the common good, contributions from sacred scripture (especially wisdom traditions and the meaning of the Incarnation), sustainable economics, and a call to action.

The Catholic Journalist said of the book: This is the kind of seminal work that clearly demonstrates that Catholic social teaching can no longer be hidden under a bushel basket, but effectively mobilized to call believing people.

 

Advocacy Efforts

Washington, D.C. Abortion Funding Ban

During the week of July 11, the House of Representatives is expected to take up the Fiscal Year 2012 Financial Services Appropriations Bill (not yet numbered). As reported from committee, this bill prevents allcongressionally appropriated funds, federal and local, from being used for elective abortions in the District of Columbia. An amendment in committee to allow local public funds to be used for elective abortions was defeated. It is anticipated a similar amendment will be offered on the House floor.

Please contact your Representative to oppose any amendment to remove or weaken the ban on DC abortion funding. See the NCHLA Action Alert at: nchla.org/actiondisplay.asp?ID=298.