Marchers seek immigration reform passage

October 5, 2013, 2:14 pm | Posted by

FPL was responsible for media outreach for the event. 

An estimated 500 people met in downtown Springfield Saturday afternoon and marched about a quarter-mile to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s office with the message that legislators should show urgency and pass immigration reform legislation.

The marchers – mostly made up of various labor, religious and community organizations – withstood soggy weather to chant in favor of reform and legislative action.

The gathering in Springfield was one of several across the country as part of a National Day for Dignity and Respect.

“(We’re) hundreds strong in Springfield, Ohio of all places,” said Troy Jackson, of Ohio’s Prophetic Voices. “We’re not going to rest until this bill becomes a law in the United States.”

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Faith Leaders Challenge Pro-Life Representatives to end Shutdown

October 3, 2013, 11:15 am | Posted by


Reckless Congress Members rebuked for harming pregnant women, infants, seniors

(Updated October 9, 2013)

Washington, DC –  More than 100 Catholic, evangelical and mainline Protestant leaders issued a statement sharply rebuking irresponsible elected officials for pursuing an “extreme ideological agenda at the expense of the working poor and vulnerable families” by shutting down the federal government.

Signed by prominent pro-life Catholic and evangelical clergy and scholars, as well as progressive Christian leaders, the statement highlights the fact that federal funding for Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) – which provides low-income pregnant women and infants with vital nutrition and health care support — will be cut off as a result of the shutdown.

“We especially challenge those Members of Congress who call themselves pro-life to cease their political posturing on Capitol Hill,” the leaders said. “There is nothing ‘pro-life’ or Christian about taking food away from pregnant women and babies. It is hypocritical and shameful for those who tout their commitment to family values to show such callous indifference.”

Signatories include two former U.S. Ambassadors to the Vatican from Republican and Democratic administrations; Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK; Rev. Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners; the Leadership Team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas; Rev. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good; and Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Agency.

More than 28,000 members of Faithful America — a fast-growing online community dedicated to reclaiming Christianity from the religious right and putting faith into action for social justice — have also signed the statement.

“It’s time for extreme factions in Congress to stop this reckless behavior, grow up and demonstrate real leadership,” said Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, A Catholic Social Justice Lobby. “There is no justification for playing politics in Washington when struggling families, pregnant women and seniors are getting hurt.”

“This shutdown will cause unnecessary pain to families already struggling to make ends meet,” said Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association. “Congress has a moral responsibility to act now and do what’s right for the country.”

“The low-income families and hardworking people across Ohio who will suffer because of this shutdown deserve better,” said Rev. Tim Ahrens, Senior Minister of First Congregational Church in Columbus, Ohio. “We all do. It’s time for the tiny political faction that caused this crisis to stop playing games and get back to work.”

 

The complete statement and list of signatories is below.

As Christians and citizens, we are appalled that elected officials are pursuing an extreme ideological agenda at the expense of the working poor and vulnerable families.

We especially challenge those Members of Congress who call themselves pro-life to cease their political posturing on Capitol Hill. Shutting down the government in a futile effort to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act will hurt low-income pregnant women and infants who receive vital nutrition support. The Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will receive no additional funds during the shutdown.

There is nothing “pro-life” or Christian about taking food away from pregnant women and babies. It is hypocritical and shameful for those who tout their commitment to family values to show such callous indifference.

The shutdown hurts all Americans, including seniors who will see “Meals on Wheels” cut, preschoolers who will be turned away from Head Start, and public servants who will be locked out of their workplaces without pay as bills pile up. This failure of political leadership and responsible governance exposes our nation’s misplaced values.

Struggling families, seniors and pregnant women don’t deserve to be victims of a manufactured crisis in Washington.

Sr. Simone Campbell
Executive Director
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Jim Wallis
President
Sojourners

Rev. Larry Snyder
President
Catholic Charities USA

Noel Castellanos
Chief Executive Officer
Christian Community Development Agency

Rev. Jennifer Butler
CEO
Faith in Public Life

Timothy Collins
Executive Director (retired)
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Francis X. Doyle
Associate General Secretary (retired)
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rev. Richard Cizik
President
New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good

Amb. Thomas P. Melady
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (retired)
President Emeritus, Sacred Heart University

Miguel Diaz
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (retired)
University Professor of Faith and Culture
University of Dayton

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale
Ray of Hope Christian Church
Decatur, Georgia

Stephen Schneck
Director
Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies

J. George Reed
Executive Director
North Carolina Council of Churches

Brian McLaren
Christian author and activist

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Leadership Team

Rev. Michael Livingston
Past President
National Council of Churches

Eli S. McCarthy
Director of Justice and Peace
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Marie Dennis
Co-President
Pax Christi International

Rev. Troy Jackson
Director
Ohio Prophetic Voices
Cincinnati, Ohio

Rev. Tim Ahrens
Senior Minister
First Congregational Church
Columbus, Ohio

Rev. Dr. Kendrick Curry
Pastor
Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church
Washington, DC

Rev. Dr. Marshall Hatch, Sr.
New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church
Chicago, Illinois

Kit Danley
Founder and President
Neighborhood Ministries
Phoenix, Arizona

Rev. Chuck Currie
Minister, Sunnyside Church and University Park Church
Portland, Orego

Dominican Sisters of Houston
Houston, Texas

Rev. Dr. John Brisco
Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church
Norfolk, Virginia

S. Maxine Johnson
New Destiny Bible Fellowship
Camp Springs, Maryland

Sr. Rose Marie Tresp
Director of Justice
Sisters of Mercy South Central
Belmont, North Carolina

Sister Rosemary Welsh, RSM, RN
Executive Director
Casa de Misericordia/Domestic Violence Shelter
Laredo, Texas

Terry Lynch
Executive Director
The Downtown Cluster of Congregations
Washington, DC

Bishop Michael Kelsey
New Samaritan Baptist Church
Washington, DC

Minister Mack Baugh
Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church
Washington, DC

Debra James
Senior Pastor
Zion Hill Baptist Church
Washington, DC

Pastor Bruce Jones
First Baptist Church
Louisa, Virginia

Dr. James C. Perkins
Greater Christ Baptist Church
Detroit, Michigan

Fr. Rafael Garcia, S.J.
Immaculate Conception Church
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Marva Riley
Deacon
Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church
Washington, DC

Pastor Calvin A. Durham
New Hope Church of God in Christ
Norfolk, Virginia

Pastor Orlando Bego
CenterPoing Baptist Church
Camp Springs, Maryland

Rev. William L. Coop, H.R.
MidCoast Presbyterian Church
Topsham, Maine

Rev. Sandy Huber
Discipleship Minister
Powell United Methodist Church
Lewis Center, Ohio

Rev. Mark Greiner
Takoma Park Presbyterian Church
Takoma Park, Maryland

Fr. Daniel McLaughlin, M.M.
Arlington, Massachusetts

Christine Thompson, M.Div.
Coordinator
Zion Personal Esentials Pantry
Monona, Wisconsin

Rev. Emily Bowen
Brightwood Christian Church
Springfield, Missouri

Pastor Susan Stonestreet
United Christian Church
Lincolnville, Maine

Pastor Bob Hake
Orangewood Church of the Nazarene
Phoenix, Arizona

Adam Estle
Social Justice and Missions Pastor
Orangewood Chuch of the Nazarene
Phoenix, Arizona

Rev. Sean Carroll, S.J.
Executive Director
Kino Border Initiative
Nogales, Arizona

Bishop Lanier Twyman
St. Stephen Baptist Church
Temple Hills, Maryland

Rev. Anne S. Howard
Executive Director
The Beatitudes Society

Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
Professor of Theology
Chicago Theological Seminary

Patrick Carolan
Executive Director
Franciscan Action Network

Rev. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM
Chair, Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation
Directorate of the Franciscan Province of Holy Name

Rev. James F. Keenan, S.J.
Founders Professor in Theology
Boston College

David O’Brien
Professor Emeritus
College of the Holy Cross

M. Shawn Copeland
Professor of Systematic Theology
Boston College

Francis Schüssler Fiorenza
Stillman Professor of Roman Catholic Theological Studies
Harvard Divinity School

Christopher Pramuk
Associate Professor of Theology
Xavier University

Alex Mikulich
Jesuit Social Research Institute
Loyola University, New Orleans

Kathleen Maas Weigert
Assistant to the Provost for Social Justice Initiatives
Loyola University, Chicago

Rev. Bryan N. Massingale
Professor of Theological Ethics
Marquette University

Lisa Fullam
Associate Professor of Moral Theology
Jesuit School of Theology
Santa Clara University

Rev. Tom Reese, S.J.
Senior Analyst
National Catholic Reporter

Tobias Winright
Associate Professor of Theological Ethics
Saint Louis University

Nicholas P. Cafardi
Dean Emeritus
Duquesne University School of Law

William J. Collinge
Knott Professor of Theology
Mount St. Mary’s University
Emmitsburg, MD

Susan H. Collinge
Catholic Campus Minister
Gettysburg College

Rev. T. Michael McNulty, S.J.
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy
Marquette University, Jesuit Residence

Vincent J. Miller
Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture
University of Dayton

Dennis Doyle
Professor of Religious Studies
University of Dayton

John Inglis
Department of Religious Studies
University of Dayton

Una M. Cadegan
Department of History
University of Dayton

Marian K. Diaz
Lecturer, University of Dayton

Sr. Paulette Skiba, BVM
Professor of Religious Studies
Clarke University

Nancy Dallavalle
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
University Facilitator for Mission and Identity
Fairfield University

Sr. Nancy Sylvester, IHM,
President
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue

Eleonore Stump
Professor of Philosophy
St. Louis University

Eugene McCarraher
Associate Professor of Humanities
Villanova University

Bradford E. Hinze
Professor of Theology
Fordham University

Mary E. Hines
Professor of Theology
Emmanuel College
Boston, Massachusetts

Danielle Poe
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Dayton

Elena G. Procario-Foley
Chair, Religious Studies Department
Driscoll Professor of Jewish-Catholic Studies
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Iona College

Sandra Yokum
Associate Professor
Religious Studies
University of Dayton

Mary Ann Hinsdale
Associate Professor of Theology
Boston College

Mark J. Allman
Professor of Religious & Theological Studies
Merrimack College

Marian K. Diaz
Lecturer
University of Dayton

Susan A. Ross
Professor of Theology and department chair
Loyola University, Chicago

John Sniegocki
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics
Xavier University

Anthony B. Smith
Associate Professor
Department of Religious Studies
University of Dayton

Michael E. Lee
Associate Professor of Theology
Fordham University

Anthony J. Godzieba
Professor of Theology & Religious Studies
Villanova University

Meghan J. Clark
Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
St. John’s University, New York

Doug Pagitt
Solomon’s Porch
CANA Initiative
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Valerie H. Phillips
Associate Pastor
Steele Creek Presbyterian Church
Charlotte, North Carolina

Ralph W. Milligan
Pastoral Psychotherapist in Residence
St. John’s Episcopal Church,
Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. T.J. Thompson
Cook’s Memorial Presbyterian Church
Charlotte, North Carolina

William P. Wood
Presbyterian Minister (Retired)
Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. Everdith Landrau
Associate Pastor
Caldwell Presbyterian
Presbytery of Charlotte, North Carolina

Jonathan Dula
Trustee, Dulatown Presbyterian Church (USA)
Presbytery of Western North Carolina

M. Elaine Rhodes
Presbyterian Minister (retired)
Presbytery of Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. Dr. Bill Lindeman
Philadelphia Presbyterian Church (USA)
Mint Hill, North Carolina

Rev. Amantha L. Barbee
Pastor
Statesville Avenue Presbyterian Church (USA)
Charlotte, North Carolina

Betty Meadows
Transitional General Presbyter
Presbytery of Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. Dr. James A. Thomas, Sr.
South End Presbyterian Church
Charlotte, North Carolina

Rev. Robyn M. Bles
Minister of Growth
Crestwood Christian Church
Lexington, Kentucky

Rev. Dr. Priscilla B. Durkin
Correctional Chaplain II
Southern Correctional Institution
Troy, North Carolina

Neil M. McMillan
Retired Minister
Presbytery of Charlotte, North Carolina

Shantha Alonso
Field Organizer
NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Rev. Kim Capps
Silver Spring, Maryland

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Pope says Church must end obsession with gays, contraception, abortion

September 19, 2013, 2:22 pm | Posted by

John Gehring, Faith in Public Life’s Catholic Program Director, was quoted in an article on Pope Francis’s criticism of the Catholic Church’s focus on divisive social issues. 

The interview was not didactic and formal, in the way of past popes, but easygoing, familiar and friendly. He even spoke of his favorite author, Dostoevsky, painter, Caravaggio and composer, Mozart.

“What is clear is that he does not think like a classicist who sees the world in unchanging categories. He is a story- teller like Jesus, not a philosopher,” said Father Tom Reese, an American Jesuit and author of several books on the Vatican.

John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, a liberal advocacy group in the United States, said:

“This pope is rescuing the Church from those who think that condemning gay people and opposing contraception define what it means to be a real Catholic.

“It’s a remarkable and refreshing change.”

The interview took place over three sessions in August in his simple quarters in a Vatican guest house where he has lived since his election instead of the spacious papal apartments, and was released simultaneously by Jesuit journals around the world.

Francis alluded to criticism of him within the conservative Catholic establishment.

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that,” he said.

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Pope criticizes Church emphasis on abortion, gays

September 18, 2013, 2:21 pm | Posted by

John Gehring, FPL’s Catholic Program Director, was quoted in an article on Pope Francis’s criticism of the Catholic Church’s focus on divisive social issues. 

“Catholic progressives are wondering if we’re dreaming and going to wake up soon,” said John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, a liberal advocacy group in Washington. “It’s a new day.”

The interview also showed a very human Francis. He seemingly had no qualms about acknowledging that his tenure as superior of Argentina’s Jesuit order in the 1970s — starting at the “crazy” age of 36 — was difficult because of his “authoritarian” temperament.

“I have never been a right-winger. It was my authoritarian way of making decisions that created problems,” he said.

The key, he said, is for the church to not exclude.

“This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity,” he said.

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Catholic Colleges and Universities Announce National Advocacy Campaign for Common Sense Immigration Reform

September 17, 2013, 12:56 pm | Posted by

(Washington, DC) – In a sign that momentum for immigration reform continues to grow, 25 Catholic colleges released details today of a joint national advocacy effort in support of comprehensive reform with a pathway to citizenship. From a Mass on the U.S.- Mexico border led by Loyola Marymount University to vigils at Creighton University dedicated to immigrant families, Catholic students and education leaders are hosting dozens of special Masses, organizing Catholic DREAMers, sponsoring text message campaigns and contacting their local Members of Congress at their district offices.

“The advocacy of presidents, students and campus ministers from Catholic universities sends a clear moral message to elected officials that we must act now to fix our broken immigration system,” said Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Georgetown University. “I hope the many graduates of Catholic universities in Congress heed this call to put human dignity and the common good before narrow-minded partisanship.” The number of Catholics in Congress is at a historic high, including 136 in the House of Representatives.

Today’s announcement of coordinated campaigns, spearheaded by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the Ignatian Solidarity Network and Faith in Public Life, follows a July letter from more than 100 Catholic university presidents that urged Speaker John Boehner and the U.S. House of Representatives to fix an immigration system they described as “morally indefensible.”

The flurry of actions, Masses, forums and student organizing is taking place on Catholic colleges representing more than 100,000 students. The fall advocacy effort adds momentum to calls for common sense reform fueled by a broad coalition of religious, business and labor leaders.

“Catholic students put their faith into action when they stand up for immigrant families,” said Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles. “Young men and women at Catholic colleges bring vital energy and inspiration to our national movement for immigration reform.” In Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University campus ministry leaders will take students to the U.S-Mexico border for a vigil and Mass on Sept. 29.

The Ignatian Solidarity Network has launched a “Fall Call for Immigration Reform” urging all 28 Jesuit Catholic colleges and universities to take actions in support of humane and responsible reform.

“Campus leaders are fired up and mobilized to make sure no more families are torn apart by deportation and inhumane immigration policies,” said Christopher Kerr, Executive Director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network.  “Catholic colleges are organized, unified and determined to make an impact. Our grassroots movement is a reminder to those in power that immigration reform is about values and real people, not legislative procedures or political scorekeeping.”

At the University of Notre Dame, which recently announced it will admit undocumented immigrants, campus leaders are organizing a text message campaign – NDream – to help students mobilize campus events and contact Members of Congress.

“I am inspired to see the passion our students have shown in support of immigration reform,” said Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., President of the University of Notre Dame. “Many stand with Catholic bishops in calling for Congress to pass humane and responsible immigration reform.”

At Loyola University in Chicago, campus and student leaders have created a “Safe Spaces” support network for immigrants that include training and resources. In June, the university’s medical school became the first in the country to allow undocumented students to apply under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“Young aspiring Americans bravely face the consequences of our failed immigration system each day,” said Pedro Guerrero, President of the Unified Student Government Association at the Loyola University Chicago. “We can’t be silent while these outdated and inadequate policies inflict havoc on our friends, neighbors and families. As students with a stake in our democracy and as future workers who will compete in a new global economy, we urge Illinois’ Congressional delegation to give us a vote on common-sense immigration reform with an earned pathway to citizenship.”

The following is a list of advocacy actions, Masses and events at Catholic universities.

  • 20 Catholic colleges are planning special Masses for immigration reform, including Georgetown University, Boston College, Cabrini College, Canisius College, Creighton University, Fairfield University and Loyola University of Chicago.
  •  Students are launching a text message campaign to build events on campus and contact their Members of Congress at Cabrini College, Misericordia University, Neumann University, Notre Dame University and Villanova University.
  • Immigration reform town hall meetings were held at Creighton University (Sept. 4), the University of St. Thomas in Houston (9/12), and forums are being planned at Fairfield University and Misericordia University.
  • The University of San Diego, Canisius College, Fordham University, Loyola University of Maryland and the University of San Francisco have organized postcard writing drives for students on campus.
  • Film screenings on immigration themes will be staged at the University of San Francisco and Villanova.
  • Vigils dedicated to immigrant families are being planned at Creighton and the University of San Diego, where on Sept. 25 students will hold a vigil and Mass.

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