Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates

 

Are You Addicted to Oil? Article in U.S. Catholic
“Hello, my name is Dan and I’m addicted to oil.”  So begins an article that U.S. Catholic recently published online.  I hope you will take a few minutes to read it and then complete the brief survey.  U.S. Catholic regularly publishes these “Sounding Board” articles seeking input from readers on moral issues of the day.  Read the article and take the survey here.

Cancun:   Climate Control Deal Does Not Set Definite Targets
Caritas Internationalis (CI) expressed guarded optimism with the climate change negotiations in Cancun that concluded earlier this month:  “The Cancun summit has not delivered climate justice for poor countries, but it has produced a way forward for a future deal to safeguard the lives of the poor and future generations.  The pressure will continue on governments to produce a legally binding deal in Durban, South Africa next December.  Climate justice will mean deep and urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions led by developing countries and secure public finance for poor countries to adapt to climate change and develop sustainably all under a legally binding agreement.  Governments agreed in Cancun to curb climate change and provide funding for poor countries.”  Read more about Caritas’ presence at Cancun here.

Boston College Student Initiative:  EcoPledge
EcoPledge is a student-led organization that works to make Boston College a more sustainable campus:
We educate the BC Community about environmental issues by showing films, presenting lectures, and hosting annual events like Harvest Fest and Earth Day. Through the leadership of EcoPledge members, Boston College has participated annually in RecycleMania, an national intercollegiate recycling competition, and the Better Off Contest, a two-month energy conservation contest among the residential halls. Our club has run campus-wide campaigns to promote water and energy conservation and an increase in co-mingled plastic, paper, and food waste recycling. EcoPledge makes an impact beyond the campus, as well– participating in local community clean-ups, national environmental conferences, and hiking and camping outings throughout New England. We strive to collaborate with faculty, staff, and fellow students in campaigning for a more sustainable Boston College campus.  Find out more here. 

Advent Reflections: Hope for the Future
Inspiring words from the Parish Social Ministry department at Catholic Charities Maine:
“Justice is active, surrounding us, gentle, welcoming, refreshing. Who we are and what we do is our way of giving praise and honor to God who created and maintains everything. This recognition propels us to give of ourselves in our ministries, not because it’s a ‘job’, but because in doing so, we give God to others, and they give God to us.”
» Read today’s reflection
» Sign up for daily reflections
» Follow reflections on Twitter

Looking for Last Minute Gift Ideas?
Catholic Charities USA’s 2010 Holiday Gift Catalog is now available — browse the collection of meaningful gifts for family, friends, board members, and staff. Highlights include:
• Customizable holiday eCards to spread the joy of the season
• Commemorative coffee table book celebrating Catholic Charities USA’s Centennial
• CCUSA merchandise – shirts, hats, mugs, and pins
• Annual gift subscription to Charities USA magazine

Christmas Gift Idea: Rural Life Prayerbook
This small hand-held prayer book  was first published by NCRLC in 1956. It includes classic prayers of the Church, but also blessings and prayers unique to the rural family: Blessing of the Barn and Stored Harvest, Blessing of Poultry, A Farmer’s Prayer to Mary, Devotions for the Feast of St. Isidore, and many more! (1956, 410 pp.) Dimensions are approximately 4×6. To order, click here.

Peace in the Sudan
On January 9, 2011, 5 years of relative peace could quickly dissolve into chaos in Sudan. That is the date when southern Sudanese will vote whether to remain united with the north, or to become independent. The date for the referendum was agreed upon as part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which brought the last civil war in Sudan to a close.  YOU can pray with our brothers and sisters in Sudan for peace.

Prayer for Peace in Sudan:
Lord Jesus, you said to us;
“I leave you peace. My peace I give to you.”
Look upon us your sisters and brothers in Sudan
as we face this moment of referendum.
Send us your Spirit to guide us.
Give us the wisdom we need to choose our future where we will know your true peace.
You call us out of slavery, oppression, and persecution
So that we may have life in abundance.
Grant us peace with one another. Give peace among ethnic groups.
Help us to work together for the good of all.
We ask this in your name, Jesus our Lord.
Amen.Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.

*Official campaign prayer approved by the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference on July 22, 2010
• Order this prayer as a Prayer Card that can be shared with friends, family and your faith community. Minimum order is one pack, which is equivalent to 50 cards. Also available is a DVD on Sudan: What Would You Do? All resources are free and can be ordered online or by calling CRS Fulfillment at 1-800-222-0025.
• Wear your support for peace in Sudan! Order your fair trade t-shirt now.
• Speak Up for Peace and for the People of Sudan! Thank President Obama for his support of a peaceful and stable Sudan. Urge him to continue to press for peace.

Advent and Christmas Resources
Direct your hearts and minds to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas with resources from USCCB and CRS:
• Prepare for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of Peace (IS. 9:6), and call to mind the places in our world where peace is not yet a reality with this Catholics Confront Global Poverty resource.
• Visit the USCCB Advent and Christmas website for lessons, carols, prayers and other resources.
• Give a gift that gives twice through the CRS Fair Trade Work of Human Hands catalog. Shop online today or call 1-800-685-7572 to place an individual order. Don’t forget that any time of year is the right time to buy fair trade products—Valentine’s Day, Easter, First Communion, Mother’s Day, and Graduation. Consider having a 2011 consignment sale to help members of your community prepare for special seasons through economic justice! By purchasing a fair trade product, you give a beautiful, unique or tasty gift to someone you love, while supporting small-scale farmers and artisans all over the world. Check out your options at http://crsfairtrade.org.

2010 Stem Cell Research Alternatives
SUCCESSES
• “Scientists unveil new method to create bioartificial organs,”  Agence France-Presse, November 2, 2010, www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iSBZgy9TFBaeQFRx7bkj_SQMK8gg?docId=CNG.7dbb74ac40cd89658626138e3d669eb8.a71
• “Regenerative stem cell therapy offers new hope for treating cardiovascular disease,” eBioNews, November 20, 2010, www.ebionews.com/news-center/research-frontiers/stem-cells/29264-regenerative-stem-cell-therapy-offers-new-hope-for-treating-cardiovascular-disease.html
• “Bladder regeneration using stem cells from patients’ own bone marrow,” Science Daily, November 29, 2010, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101123101544.htm

STEM CELL SOURCES
• “An innovative medical procedure gives one family many reasons to offer thanks today,” The Times-Picayune (New Orleans), November 25, 2010, www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-15/1290670238145640.xml&coll=1&thispage=1
• “Harvard scientists discover new method for stem cell creation,” The Harvard Crimson, November 23, 2010, www.thecrimson.com/article/2010/11/23/cells-fop-stem-medici/
• “Cellular ‘alchemy’ transforms skin to blood,” Nature News, November 7, 2010, www.nature.com/news/2010/101107/full/news.2010.588.html
• “Dental stem cells differentiated into dystrophin-producing muscle cells,”  DentistryIQ, November 15, 2010, www.dentistryiq.com/index/display/article-display/8401123009/articles/dentisryiq/clinical/2010/11/Dental-stem-cells-differentiated-into-dystrophin-producing-muscle-cells.html

BONE/CARTILAGE
• “Stem cells demonstrate significant clinical efficacy in groundbreaking treatment of severe disease,” PRNewsChannel, November 18, 2010, www.prnewschannel.com/absolutenm/templates/?z=4&a=3295

BRAIN
• “Stem cell treatment helps Holliston girl,” The Metrowest Daily News (Framingham, MA), November 1, 2010, www.metrowestdailynews.com/highlight/x370073537/Stem-cell-treatment-helps-Holliston-girl

CANCER
• “Woman fighting cancer with adult stem cell transplant,” WTVF-TV (Nashville, TN), November 12, 2010, www.newschannel5.com/story/13494458/woman-fighting-cancer-with-adult-stem-cell-transplant

CORD BLOOD
• “Umbilical cord cells may treat arthritis, studies suggest,” eBioNews, November 18, 2010, www.ebionews.com/news-center/research-frontiers/stem-cells/29154-umbilical-cord-cells-may-treat-arthritis-studies-suggest.html

EYE
• “Eye implant breakthrough: scientific advances towards blindness cure,” The Telegraph (London), November 3, 2010, www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8106315/Eye-implant-breakthrough-scientific-advances-towards-blindness-cure.html

HEART
• “Stem cells in fat may help repair damaged hearts,” The Washington Post, November 22,  2010, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/22/AR2010112203503.html

SPINAL CORD
• “Stem Cell Institute (Cellmedicine) successfully treats spinal cord injury patient with adult stem cells,” Medical News Today, November 29, 2010, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/209432.php

WOUNDS/BURNS
• “U. of U. doctors testing stem cell spray to heal burns,”  Deseret News (Utah), November 26, 2010, www.deseretnews.com/article/700086029/U-of-U-doctors-testing-stem-cell-spray-to-heal-burns.html?s_cid=rss-30

Advocacy Efforts

New START Treaty
With a bipartisan 66-32 vote, the Senate agreed to debate the New START Treaty.  A resolution of ratification had passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in September on a solid bipartisan vote of 14-4.  A vote on ratification by the full Senate is expected within a few days.  USCCB strongly supports ratification.
President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia signed a New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) to verifiably reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles and to reinstitute verification requirements which had expired in December 2009 with the old START Treaty. 
It is urgent that we thank those senators that voted to bring the Treaty to the Senate for debate and that we urge all senators to vote for ratification.  A vote is expected soon so call now!  You can find the telephone numbers of your two senators on http://senate.gov/ or www.senate.gov or you can call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.   For more information see: www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/2010-12-071USCCB-NAE-on-New-START-Treaty.pdf

Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
On Monday, December 13, President Barack Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 into law. This bill will improve the quality of school breakfasts, lunches and other foods sold in schools and strengthen nutrition programs that serve young children.

Prayers for Third Week of Advent

Isaiah 35:1-4
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.
 
Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you.”
 
James 5:7-8
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord.
The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth,
being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.
You also must be patient.
Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Amen.

                Visit our prayer resources on the NCRLC website.
                Note our Seasonal Prayers as a menu item.