Catholic Leaders Urge Bishops to Strengthen Anti-Poverty Campaign, Resist Attacks from Right-Wing Pressure Groups

November 8, 2013, 12:42 pm | Posted by

Washington, DC — More than 50 prominent Catholic leaders – including former ambassadors to the Vatican, retired bishops and past executive directors of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national anti-poverty campaign – are urging Catholic bishops to redouble their commitment to economic justice initiatives.

In an open letter that will be published on Nov. 11 in the Baltimore Sun as members of the Catholic hierarchy convene for a national meeting to elect a new president of their conference, the leaders challenge the bishops to take inspiration from Pope Francis and stand strong in the face of well-funded pro-life groups that “relentlessly attack” their Catholic Campaign for Human Development. (CCHD).

The bishops’ anti-poverty campaign, which funds community based organizations that focus on building economic and social justice in low-income areas, has long been a target of religious and political conservatives. But a recent 23-page report from Faith in Public Life, an advocacy group in Washington, found an aggressive network led by the American Life League has ramped up efforts to sway bishops to defund anti-poverty organizations if they are part of broader coalitions in which an organization or individual supports same-sex marriage. In recent years, Catholic bishops in several dioceses have pulled funding from these groups and tightened regulations for grant making.

“Serving the common good sometimes requires Catholic-funded organizations to work with others who are not in agreement with Church teaching on every issue,” the leaders write. “In fact, CCHD advances the Church’s mission to defend human dignity precisely by building diverse coalitions that have led to living wages for workers, quality health care, better schools and stronger communities.”

“Well-funded groups relentlessly attack CCHD and pressure you to withdraw from these effective coalitions,” they continue. “We urge you to resist this pressure and redouble your commitment to social justice ministries that lift people out of poverty. We can affirm the Catholic identity of CCHD without backing away from essential partnerships.”

The push from Catholic leaders comes on the heels of Pope Francis’ remarks that the Church needs to find a “new balance” and not only be defined by opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. In a widely read essay in America magazine, a Catholic publication edited by Jesuit priests, Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy of San Francisco argues that the Church’s advocacy for economic justice has waned in recent years. The Catholic Church, he writes, “must elevate the issue of poverty to the very top of its political agenda, establishing poverty alongside abortion as pre-eminent moral issues the Catholic community pursues at this moment in our nation’s history.”

Signers of the letter include: Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, the retired bishop of Las Cruces, NM; two past executive directors of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development; Thomas P. Melady, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See in the first Bush administration; Miguel Diaz, a theologian at the University of Dayton and past U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See; the presidents of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas as well as the Justice and Peace Director for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.

The full letter with signatories is below.

Faith in Public Life’s report can be found here: http://www.faithinpubliclife.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/FPL-CCHD-report.pdf 

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Poverty is a Moral Scandal

Support the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

1 in 6 Americans live in poverty * 1 in 5 Children live in poverty *
1 in 7 Americans are “food insecure”

Dear Bishops,

As you gather for your first General Assembly in the pontificate of Pope Francis, please be assured of our interest, support and prayers. Pope Francis has inspired so many both inside and outside the Church with his spirit of humility, and his demanding challenge to embrace Christian mission in courage and hope.

“Whenever Christians are enclosed in their groups, parishes, movements, they take ill. If a Christian goes to the streets, or to the outskirts, he or she may risk the same thing that can happen to anyone out there: an accident. How often have we seen accidents on the road! But I am telling you: I would prefer a thousand times over a bruised Church than an ill Church!”

In particular, we write to support an indispensable ministry of the Church “in the streets” that has suffered unjust attacks from those who seek to limit the Catholic prophetic voice to a narrow agenda. Your Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in the country, has a proud history of supporting community organizing to empower low-income citizens. This is essential to addressing what Blessed John Paul II described as “the causes of poverty and not merely the evil effects of injustice.”

Serving the common good sometimes requires Catholic-funded organizations to work with others who are not in agreement with Church teaching on every issue. In fact, CCHD advances the Church’s mission to defend human dignity precisely by building diverse coalitions that have led to living wages for workers, quality health care, better schools and stronger communities.

Well-funded groups relentlessly attack CCHD and pressure you to withdraw from these effective coalitions. We urge you to resist this pressure and redouble your commitment to social justice ministries that lift people out of poverty. We can affirm the Catholic identity of CCHD without backing away from essential partnerships.

Critics of CCHD misuse the Catholic principle of moral cooperation by distorting it into a blanket rejection of working for the common good with those with whom we disagree on other issues. In contrast, Pope Francis challenges us to the difficult fidelity that does not seek the purity of isolation, but risks working in the world – “in the streets” – to advance the Gospel.

“The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drives us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission?”

As you meet to elect a new president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and reflect on the Church’s mission in the coming years, we support you with our prayers. May we all by guided by the Holy Spirit. In the words of Pope Francis, let us have the courage to “take to the streets” and become a “poor church for the poor.”

Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, CSB
Bishop Emeritus of Las Cruces, NM

Bishop Sylvester D. Ryan (retired)
Monterey, CA

Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton (retired)
Archdiocese of Detroit

G. Richard Fowler
Staff to Bishop Blaire
Diocese of Stockton, CA

Sabrina Burton Schultz
Director of Life Ministry
Diocese of St. Petersburg

Kent Ferris, OFS
Director of Social Action and Director of Catholic Charities
Diocese of Davenport

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

Rev. Marvin A. Mottet
Executive Director, Catholic Campaign for Human Development (retired)
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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

Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S.J.
President
University of San Francisco

Patricia McGuire
President
Trinity Washington University

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

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

Stephen Schneck
Director
Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies
The Catholic University of America

Rev. Drew Christiansen, S.J.
Former Director, Office of International Justice and Peace
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J.
President
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

Rev. Charles Currie, S.J.
Former President
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

Rev. Clete Kiley
Senior Fellow
Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies
The Catholic University of America
Director for Immigration Policy, UNITE HERE

Rev. Anthony J. Pogorelc
Fellow
Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies
The Catholic University of America

Sr. Carol Zinn, SSJ
President
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Sister Pat McDermott, RSM
President
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Kim Bobo
Executive Director
Interfaith Worker Justice

Kerry Robinson
Executive Director
National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management

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

Rev. Frederick Thelen
Pastor, Cristo Rey Church
Cristo Rey Community Center
Chair, Action of Greater Lansing
Lansing, MI

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

Nicholas P. Cafardi, JD. JCD
Dean Emeritus
Duquesne University School of Law

Patrick Carolan
Executive Director
Franciscan Action Network

Sister Margaret Magee OFS
President Board of Directors
Franciscan Action Network

Marie Dennis, Co President
Pax Christi International

Bishop Kevin Dowling
Co-President, Pax Christi International

Fred Rotondaro
Chairman
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

Thomas Allio, Jr.
Diocesan Social Action Director (retired)
Diocese of Cleveland

Nicole Mosher
Executive Director
Companeros: Four Corners
Immigrant Resource Center
Pueblo, CO

Mary Wright
Former Education Coordinator
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Dorothy Valerian
Former CCHD Advisory Board Member
Diocese of Cleveland

Steve Callahan
Former Economic Development Program Coordinator
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Christine A. W. (Cris) Doby
Former Diocesan Social Action Director/CCHD Diocesan Director

Walt Grazer
Former Policy Advisor for International Religious Freedom and Human Rights
Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Thomas Shellabarger
Former Policy Advisor for Urban, Economic Issues
Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Thomas Chabolla
Former Associate Director of Programs
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rev. John A. Coleman, S.J.
Associate Pastor, St. Ignatius Church
Professor, Loyola Marymount University (retired)

Francis J. Butler
Founder
Drexel Philanthropic Advisors

David O’Brien
Professor Emeritus
College of the Holy Cross

Christopher G. Kerr
Executive Director
Ignatian Solidarity Network

John Gehring
Catholic Program Director
Faith in Public Life

Michael Duffy
Executive Director
Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought
University of San Francisco

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Over 70 Prominent Faith Leaders and Locked-Out Workers March on House GOP Offices, Pray for End to Shutdown

October 15, 2013, 1:24 pm | Posted by

Pilgrimage with poor workers ratchets up moral pressure as shutdown harms low-income families, seniors, and veterans.

Washington, DC – Today, over 70 prominent religious leaders joined with locked-out federal workers in a pilgrimage, marched on key House GOP offices – including Leadership – and urged an immediate end to the government shutdown. At each office, the group prayed for the Member to do what is right and vote to immediately end the shutdown with a clean and unconditional continuing resolution and to raise the debt ceiling without preconditions.

During the Pilgrimage, faith leaders invited moderate Republicans to join them in challenging their colleagues who are putting political agendas ahead of the common good.

An extreme faction of Congress is recklessly playing politics with the lives of countless Americans: seniors seeing “Meals on Wheels” cut, pregnant women and infants losing vital nutrition support, workers locked out of their jobs as bills pile up, veterans facing benefit cuts, and communities put in peril by the suspension of crucial environmental protection efforts.

“It’s time for irresponsible factions in Congress to stop this reckless behavior and end this shutdown immediately,” said Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, A Catholic Social Justice Lobby. “There is no moral justification for holding struggling families, pregnant women and seniors hostage.”

The marchers also included low-wage workers locked out of their jobs by the shutdown.

“Before the shutdown, I was struggling to support my unemployed father and little sister,” said Alex Vesquez, a contract food worker at the Smithsonian. “Now I’ve gone from low wages to no wages. Tea Party Republicans need to stop these political games and let me get back to work.”

At each office the group prayed for the Member and left a letter endorsed by religious organizations, saying  “As people of faith and conscience, we urge you to place shared democratic values above short term political expediency, exercise the courage to fund our nation’s government,  raise the debt limit without preconditions and get back to work on a faithful budget that serves the common good.”

Faith leaders had a clear moral message for the Congressmen responsible.

“Locking low-income workers out of their jobs and holding them for ransom is simply un-Christian. This inflicts needless pain on families already struggling to make ends meet,” said Rev. Michael Livingston, Policy Director at Interfaith Worker Justice. “We’re urging the members of Congress responsible for this hardship to vote now to put these workers back in their jobs.”

Simultaneously, people of faith delivered over 32,000 petitions to Congressional offices around the country calling on House Members to end the government shutdown. The petition signers are 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.

This statement, which was also signed by more than 150 clergy and theologians, sharply rebuked 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.

Participants in the march included leaders from NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; The Salvation Army, Interfaith Worker Justice, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness, The Shalom Center, Faith in Public Life, Church World Service, American Friends Service Committee, Unitarian Universalist congregations and fellowships, Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, Disciples Center for Public Witness (Disciples of Christ), Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ), Disciples Home Missions, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Ecumenical Advocacy Days, Franciscan Action Network, United Church of Christ, General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, and The Coalition on Human Needs.

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Prominent Clergy, Labor and Community Leaders Tell Speaker Boehner: The Time is Now to Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform

October 5, 2013, 5:51 pm | Posted by

Hundreds Rally outside Boehner’s Springfield Office, Urge Congress to Pass Long Overdue Reform

Springfield, OH – Hundreds of people, including immigrant families, faith leaders and labor leaders, marched to Speaker John Boehner’s Springfield office today to call on him to immediately pass immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship. The Springfield event was one of 177 events in 40 states across the country as part of a national day of action to urge Congress to move forward with long-overdue reform.

Sponsored by Ohio Prophetic Voices, PICO National Network’s Campaign for Citizenship, Cincinnati Workers Center, SEIU, UFCW and IUE-CWA, the march featured prominent clergy, labor leaders and diverse people of faith urging Congress to recognize that fixing America’s broken immigration system is crucial for Ohio’s families and economy. Reform will put $4.6 billion in Ohioans’ pockets over ten years.

Faith leaders spoke out at the march about the moral principles at stake in the immigration debate.

“The time for political games and delays is over,” said Rev. Troy Jackson, Director of Ohio Prophetic Voices. “Immigrant families are torn apart every day while Congress sits on the sidelines. We’re not backing down until Speaker Boehner and Members of Congress heed the faith community’s demand for commonsense immigration reform.”

Rev. Mother Paula Jackson of the Church of Our Savior in Cincinnati said, “The Torah, the prophets, and Gospel all require us to welcome the immigrants who live among us. We are calling on Speaker Boehner to give Comprehensive Immigration Reform a vote: to bring hardworking people out of the shadows, to stop destroying the families of citizen children, and to provide a path to citizenship for people who are contributing to our society.”

Labor leaders and immigrants at the march spoke to the devastation caused by our broken system and the benefits of immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship.

Marco Saavedra, a DREAMer and member of the DREAM 9, said, “Every day that Speaker Boehner and House Republicans fail to pass a path to citizenship, a staggering 1,100 families are torn apart by deportations. We can’t stand by and watch this occur any longer. I call on both Congress and the President to treat this like the moral outrage it is – starting with a just and fair end to the detention of the Dream30.”

“We call on Speaker Boehner to take action right now to pass commonsense immigration reform that will grow Ohio’s economy and protect its workers,” said Bill Dudley, Director of Strategic Campaigns at the United Food and Commercial Workers. “Reform that includes a road to citizenship is good for all Ohio workers — immigrant and native-born alike. That’s why labor leaders and the faith community stand together to demand that Congress get back to work on this urgent priority.”

The rally at Boehner’s Springfield office was a part of a National Day for Dignity and Respect targeting House members around the country, demanding that they pass comprehensive immigration reform. Immigrant families and faith and labor leaders will continue to urge the Republican-led House of Representatives to stop obstructing crucial reform and immediately pass a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans.

 

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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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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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