The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) has been clear about our Catholic opposition to the death penalty. In summary, it states that:
“Catholic teaching offers a unique perspective on crime and punishment. It begins with the recognition that the dignity of the human person applies to both victims and offenders. It affirms our commitment to comfort and support victims and their families. It also acknowledges the God-given dignity of every human life, even those who do great harm.
“Catholic teaching on human life is rooted in the belief that life is a gift from God that we must respect and protect. As it is applied to the death penalty, this teaching is both complicated and clear. The Church has long acknowledged the right of the state to use the death penalty in order to protect society.
“However, in recent years, Pope John Paul II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Vatican’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, and statements from bishops have more clearly insisted that the state should forgo this right if it has other means to protect society. Our fundamental respect for every human life and for God, who created each person in his image, requires that we choose not to end a human life in response to violent crimes if non-lethal options are available.
Scripture: Isaiah 58:7-10 (Then your light shall shine like the dawn)
When I lived in Washington, DC, during 1986, I regretted not going to the Cherry Blossom Festival. Therefore a few years ago, after concluding a meeting in Washington, DC, I went out of my way to treat myself to this Spectacle of Spring and I was greatly awarded.
A feast for the eyes, Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), American Congregationalist minister and activist once wrote: "Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made and forgot to put a soul into."
A Long-Standing Tradition
Their Festival website states: “Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries.
The NGO ONE has recently presented the report "Poverty is sexist: discriminating laws between men and women in 155 countries" where it shows the discrimination that many women around the world suffer, and highlights the 20 worst Countries to be born a woman.
The document indicates that, in 2016, 500 million women are still unable to read, 62 million children cannot attend school and 155 countries still have discriminating laws between men and women.
At the beginning of the report the NGO notes that nowhere on earth, women have the same opportunities as men, and that in many Countries to be born poor and a woman means a life condemned to inequity, oppression and poverty, as well as in many cases to a death sentence.
A baby girl born in Nigeria, for example, is likely to die before 5 years of age than another born in Norway. However, this is not a phenomenon that affects only the poorest Countries. Globally, only 50% of women fall in the labor market, compared to 77% of men.
The 20 places listed from worst to least worst in which to be born a woman, where being a woman is a health hazard, a challenge to find paid employment and an odyssey to be a mother and not die are: Niger, Somalia, Mali, Central African Republic, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Chad, Comoros Islands, Pakistan, Liberia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Benin, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Haiti, Djibouti and Mauritania.
Editor: Cardinal O’Malley of Boston recently published a Pastoral Letter entitled, God’s Mercy Runs to Meet Us. The following is a small section of his letter with specific suggestions for doing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Also you can download the full Pastoral Letter:
There are many ways to live these works of mercy and I encourage people to be creative and showing the merciful love of God through various expressions of caring for others. Our Archdiocesan website has good resources to assist us in living the works of mercy, as well as a list of local opportunities to serve the poor and those in need. You can visit our Boston Archdiocesan website.
Corporal Works of Mercy
• Feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty – Give funds to food pantries or meal centers. Organize a food drive. Pray for those who are hungry during grace at meals. Bring a meal to a homeless person that you often pass by. Join your parish’s Saint Vincent de Paul Society, or begin one, if your parish does not currently have this wonderful outreach ministry.
The March horrific attack in Brussels spurred a bit of "Je Suis Bruxelles" sympathizing on FaceBook and other social media platforms. If the truth be told, it wasn't anywhere near as much as the pro-France messaging when that country was attacked in November, leaving 130 people dead.
But even the relatively muted reaction to the Brussels attack was enormous compared to that given to similar attacks this month. On March 13, a car bomb killed 37 people and wounded 100. On March 21st, 4 people were killed by a suicide bomber in the same nation. But while they made the news, neither attack elicited the kind of spontaneous expressions of sympathy that did France and to a smaller degree, Brussels.
Now, I'm not intent on shaming anyone for posting "I (heart) Brussels" on Facebook. And I won't insist that every massacre and atrocity should get the same coverage and the same reaction from the public. But why the differences? The country that lost 41 people in attacks this month was Turkey. As in France and Brussels, the attackers were from ISIS.
Turkey has a large Muslim majority, but it has steered a secular path in a region that is riven with religious sectarianism. In short, they are like us. But I don't recall seeing one "Je Suis Ankara" post on my Facebook feed, and I ran across no drives to send help to that troubled country.
Is it because so many Muslims live there? Could be. We have been trained for many years to see Muslims as either the feared Other or as the to-be-protected Other. But either way, Muslims are often "other," regardless of our disposition towards them. We (and by that I mean Christians) don't know much about them, and less about their beliefs.
Years ago Winston Churchill planned his own funeral, and he did so with the hope of the resurrection and eternal life which he firmly believed in. He instructed that after the benediction a bugler, stationed high in the dome of St Paul's Cathedral would play Taps, the universal signal that says "the day is over." But then came a very dramatic moment, as Churchill had instructed. Another bugler was placed on the other side of the massive dome, and he played the notes of "Reveille", the universal signal that a new day has dawned and it is time to arise. That was Churchill's testimony that at the end of history the last note will not be Taps but Reveille. There is hope beyond the grave because Jesus Christ has opened the door to eternity for us by his death and resurrection.
The Resurrection signals freedom and joy, as well as the tremendous joy of freedom. It is the most perfect act of God's love that we know. This is not Lazarus rising from the dead only to die again eventually. Nor is it the daughter of Jairus, or the son of the widow of Naim, who both rose from the dead and died again. These people were restored to life. Christ was not restored to a life he had before. He was not resuscitated. He was resurrected. The difference is as big as life itself.
Even small donations help us to continue to Make Mary's message known.
Our Community: The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are deeply rooted in the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette which occurred near the hamlet of La Salette in southeastern France on Sept. 19, 1846. The Missionaries were founded in 1852 by Bp. Philbert de Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, France, and presently serve in some 25 countries.
Our Province: The Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas, was founded in 2000AD and is one of several provinces in the congregation. The members of this Province serve mainly in the countries of Canada, the United States and the Region of Argentina/Bolivia.
Our Mission: Our La Salette ministry of reconciliation responds to the broad vision given by Mary at La Salette as well as in response to the needs of the Church. As reconcilers, we together with the laity take seriously Mary’s mandate: “You will make (Mary’s) message known to all (her) people.”