Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates

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Year of Faith – Bringing the Light of Christ: A Convening for Ministry Leaders

Join us on Saturday, July 28 at San Pedro Center for a day of reflection and education on the upcoming Year of Faith. Fr. Ben Berinti will keynote the day with a presentation on the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II. Session I will focus on living the Gospel in the light of justice–offered in both English & Spanish. Session II will focus on sharing best practices of lived mission–presented by local parish ministry leaders. Registration is available at www.sanpedrocenter.org. Contact eclayton@orlandodiocese.org or call 407-246-4819 for more information. 

Catholic Relief Service: The Million Meals Challenge Orlando – November 18

This Fall Catholic Relief Services will coordinate its efforts with the Catholic Diocese of Orlando for “The Million Meals Challenge Orlando,” the first of its kind volunteer driven meal packing event.  On November 18th, at the Rosen Shingle Creek, Catholics and other members of the Central Florida community will package ONE MILLION meals for Burkina Faso, Africa.  This country, unknown to most of the world because of its grave poverty, is currently being impacted by starvation and their neighbors facing conflict. In November, individuals and families, youth groups and organizations are invited to join in solidarity to see, touch and package a meal that will be here in Orlando one day and the next day feeding someone who hasn’t had a meal for weeks in Africa.  Registration is available at:  https://helpinghands.crs.org  OR call Stephanie Bosse:  rlointern@orlandodiocese.org at the Office of Advocacy and Justice at 407-246-4822.

Catholic Relief Services – Father’s Day – June 17
This Father’s Day, June 17, you can give your dad his time in the sun by making a Celebration Gifts donation in his name as a way to honor him for his toil and sacrifices so you could grow up to be who you are. Your father will cherish your gift, because it will make a positive difference in the lives of God’s children in nearly 100 countries.

New Report: A Climate of Corporate Control 

Some major U.S. corporations that support climate science in their public relations materials actively work to derail regulations and laws addressing global warming through lobbying, campaign donations and support of advocacy groups, according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental and scientific integrity group.  An overwhelming scientific consensus supports the reality of human-induced global warming and the importance of prompt action to limit its impact. Unfortunately, many U.S. companies are using their influence to muddy the waters: casting unwarranted doubt on the science, adding confusion to the policy discussion, and holding back or slowing down action on solutions.

The 2012 UCS report, A Climate of Corporate Control, looks at statements and actions on climate science and policy by 28 U.S. companies, shows how these contributions can be problematic, and suggests steps that Congress, the public, the media, and companies themselves can take to address the problem.

Pope Addresses Environment in Homily 

This past Sunday, June 3, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass for more than 1 million people gathered in Milan, Italy during a celebration of family life.  In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on the pressures families face with modern economic theories: 

God’s plan, as well as experience, show that the one-sided logic of sheer utility and maximum profit are not conducive to harmonious development, to the good of the family or to building a just society, because it brings in its wake ferocious competition, strong inequalities, degradation of the environment, the race for consumer goods, family tensions. Indeed, the utilitarian mentality tends to take its toll on personal and family relationships, reducing them to a fragile convergence of individual interests and undermining the solidity of the social fabric.

This concern about the adverse consequences on people and the environment with unbridled economic pursuit is not a new theme for Pope Benedict.  In his 2010 World Day of Peace Message, he asserted:

It is not hard to see that environmental degradation is often due to the lack of far-sighted official policies or to the pursuit of myopic economic interests, which then, tragically, become a serious threat to creation. To combat this phenomenon, economic activity needs to consider the fact that ‘every economic decision has a moral consequence’ and thus show increased respect for the environment. When making use of natural resources, we should be concerned for their protection and consider the cost entailed – environmentally and socially – as an essential part of the overall expenses incurred. (No. 7).  Read the entire account of the Mass from Milan here.

National Catholic Rural Life Conference 

In Live Your Faith, and Eat it Too,  (a recent article on the website of Coalition-member, National Catholic Rural Life Conference), Scott McLarty, Director of the Office for Peace and Justice for the Archdiocese of Chicago, challenges readers to consider the complicated and often harmful (to the environment and human health) ways in which modern agriculture brings food to our tables. 

McLarty takes on monocultures, reliance on chemical fertilizers, the threats to farm families and farm workers from pesticides and herbicides, and federal subsidies that encourage these practices.  The results are a pervasive and pernicious urban/rural divide [that] threatens human solidarity and leaves many small family farms struggling to survive without support.

McLarty believes that people of faith have a role to play in pushing back against these trends: we must vote with our forks and eat locally.  There are simple ways we can do this individually and institutionally: shop at local farmers’ markets, sign-up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), dine at farm-to-table restaurants, grow some of our own food at home or in a community garden (better yet, help our parish or pastoral center start one!), drink and serve fair trade coffee, and source our food for school cafeterias and catered events from companies that support local farmers. 

Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development Part I 

From June 20-22, world leaders and organizers will gather in Brazil for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD).  According to the UNCSD website, [t]he Conference will focus on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.

Ahead of the meeting, U.S Catholic Magazine reprinted a Catholic News Service article titled Rio+20: Still trying to map a sustainable future for the world.  The piece outlines the historical and current context of the upcoming gathering and points out that [t]he theme [of environmental responsibility] is one often raised by Pope Benedict XVI.  In particular, Pope Benedict offered support for international climate change policy negotiations in 2009 , 2010 and 2011.

Key themes for the Rio+20 conference will echo Pope Benedict’s persistent questioning of unbridled growth in a world where great economic disparities exists.  At the heart of this questioning will be over-consumption and sustainability of the Earth for future generations.

 

Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development Part II 

Ahead of the Rio+20 meeting, the official Catholic aid agency for England and Wales (CAFOD) is calling for the world’s poor to be placed at the center of “green economy” concerns.   

CAFOD is concerned about the current vision of the ‘green economy because it focuses too much on the ‘economy’ –that is, economic interests of rich, industrialized countries –and not enough on the ‘green’–that is, sustainable development for the poorest communities. 

Rio+20 is our chance to let our elected representatives know that poverty and climate change are still vitally important – and to encourage them to take a lead in creating a greener, fairer economy that benefits all.  Toward that end, CAFOD invites UK residents to TAKE ACTION

Advocacy Efforts

Action Alert:  United Network for Organ Sharing Proposal
The National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) urges you to express your concerns directly by computer submission to stop serious threats to hospitalized persons with disabilities on life support. Such threats are due to occur if current proposals are put into effect that would increase pressure on individuals and families to decline further treatment in order for the patient’s organs to be donated.  OPTN’s Proposed Amendment on Organ Donation after Cardiac Death (DCD) Model Elements would target a class of persons with disabilities who are dependent on life-support treatments (such as ventilators, dialysis, and certain medications) to determine their eligibility for organ donation without their knowledge or consent, and in many cases before any decision has been made regarding withdrawal of life support.

Read More for the full action alert, including a link to suggested comments and instructions for submitting comments.

Path to the 2012 Farm Bill: Senate to begin debate 

The Senate is expected to start work on the five-year farm policy bill this week, Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said Monday afternoon. She added that the Senate may need two to three weeks to complete work on its farm bill.

Sen. Stabenow expressed confidence that she has the 60 votes necessary to end debate on the bill. It is still not known how many amendments the Senate will debate. A series of amendments will be offered one at a time to address different sections of the bill.

The House Agriculture Committee will wait for the Senate to pass its bill before marking up its own version, according to Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.). There is some skepticism in the House that the Senate will produce a bill before the general elections later this year.

For more detailed information about aspects of the Farm Bill, visit the blog of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Resources
Pray and advocate for an improved and equitable Farm Bill 2012 that will address access to nutritious food programs and other issues that cause persistent hunger in countries overseas. 

Below are links to prayer resources that may be used as bulletin inserts for parishes or as prayer cards to lift up our brothers and sisters who are hungry around the world.