Saturday, March 1, 2014

Is God laughing or crying?Tragically Humorous or Humorously Tragic?

Homily for Holy Spirit Catholic Community/8th Sunday in Ordinary Time by Beverely Bingle, RCWP

When I applied to adopt, I was told that adoption of older children
could involve food issues, that the kids might test me by eating
nothing to see if I cared, or eating everything to see what I would do
when there was no food left in the house. Even so, I was awed at how
it played out with John and Judy.

They arrived at 1 on Friday afternoon, December 18, 1981, for their
first home visit. I had stocked up--enough food, I thought, for a
week. They'd have lots of choices in their weekend stay. By noon
Saturday the kids had gone through a dozen eggs, a crockpot of chili,
two boxes of cereal, two gallons of milk, a hand of bananas, a dozen
apples, a batch of chocolate chip cookies, three loaves of bread, a
beef roast, mashed potatoes.... well, you get the picture. That's when
I passed the test--I bundled them in the car and we went to the grocery
store. The food insecurity didn't go away after the adoption--until he
moved away when he was 19, John squirreled food away--I'd find plates
and bowls of desiccated or moldy food tucked away under the bed and in
the closet. He never got over the fear that there wouldn't be enough,
that the next meal might not be there.

The insecure poor--Jesus' primary audience. And what does he tell
them? "Enough worrying about tomorrow!"

And then there are the folks who gather more than they could ever use.
My maternal grandparents went through the Depression, and they never
forgot. Whenever there was a sale, they'd buy some. They had enough
toilet paper to stock the whole Seagate Center. It could have been
otherwise, but their economy has proved to be a blessing: they taught
their children and grandchildren the virtues of frugality and
stewardship coupled with help for their neighbors in need. Others
haven't been so blessed--experiences of deprivation can also plant
seeds of various types of hoarding. The signs of it are pretty
obvious when you travel down I-75 and see the rows of storage units
for rent by those whose "stuff" no longer fits in their house and

They're the "insecure rich"--another of Jesus' primary audiences. Like
the insecure poor, they are also afraid they won't have enough--not
enough vacations, not a big enough house, not a new enough car, not
enough clothes of the right label, not enough of those adult "toys."

Most of us don't go to those extremes, but fear can motivate us in
subtle ways. I find TV ads instructive about being "good enough."
Corporations spend billions on research to find out what will convince
us to buy their products. I see ads that tell me I'm not important
enough, or "in" enough, or up-to-date enough, unless I buy a certain
brand. I see ads that tell me I won't have a good enough time if I
don't buy a particular food or drink. I see ads that suggest that
their company is like a person, so I'll be cared about enough if I buy
their product. They all are about spending money to get something
that will make me a whole person, a person who has enough.

Sometimes it's about a job. Harry Randall Truman, who ran a lodge on
Mount Saint Helens, ignored the warnings that it was about to erupt.
He made national news when he said, "If this place is gonna go, I want
to go with it, 'cause if I lost it, it would kill me in a week
anyway." Jesus said not to worry about our livelihood, but Harry
made an idol out of his workplace. He died in his lodge when the
volcano erupted in May 1980. Jesus said to trust in God's love and be
confident that it's going to be okay. Relax. Share. Give away the
extras. Welcome folks--so no "stand your ground," no "concealed

Wordsworth wrote a poem back in 1806, saying:
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.
Yes, we use our lives--our powers--getting and spending.

Pope Francis tells us that we idolize money. He asks, "How can it be
that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of
exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"
He says we don't care bout people; we only care about getting and
spending. The values of our culture are indeed skewed.

Here at Holy Spirit we are counter-cultural. I see a generous,
loving, welcoming community. People hang around and enjoy talking
with one another after Masses. I run into you here and there around
town, doing good. When I'm out and about, someone will inevitably
come up to me and tell me about something you did or said or gave that
made a difference.

We're about to step onto the porch of Lent, and the Gospel today tells
us not to worry about our livelihood, what we are to eat or drink or
use for clothes. Seek God, and God's justice, we're told. Everything
else will be taken care of.

One of the ways to approach our Lenten practices would be to look for
any insecurities in our lives and shape a six-week exercise to learn
trust. We could end up in a Holy Week of security in God's reign,
finding security in doing God's justice.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Mass at 2086 Brookdale (Interfaith Chapel):
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Mass at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Bev Bingle, Pastor

"Secrets of the Vatican" /Frontline/PBS Program: A Response by Susan T. Masiak

I haven’t joined the conversation yet because a close friend passed away this week and my mind has been mostly . . . there.  However, I note the wisdom and the pain in many of the recent emails and wish to offer my thoughts. 

I agree that we need to firmly distinguish between being disciples of Jesus’ Way of thinking and living, and the institutional/organized ‘Roman Catholic Church’.   The second only exists to serve the first.
Jesus also lived in a system and time of primitive institutional thinking.   He saw how this hurt people; his way freed them from the limitations of that system.    He lived and died a Jew; he never left the system --- though he was killed anyway  because the Jewish  leadership was so threatened by the freedom of his teaching that they convinced Roman system that he was an insurrectionist --- someone trying to overthrow the system.   In some way, they saw correctly that his inner freedom based on living an authentic life of truth, love, justice, forgiveness, connectedness, etc. would either overcome or make irrelevant their system of external power and status.   They had to get rid of him; they thought they did.

Really, what has changed in 2,000 years?   Another religious system that sometimes tries and often fails to support our discipleship, the truth of who we and others are – how is this different?   Systems, as developed up until now, create rituals, levels of authority, rules, status for a few --- regardless of intent, that’s what they are and do.   Someday this may evolve, who knows – but either way, Jesus taught that they need not control who we are, how we lead our lives, or our inner peace.   

It’s possible that if we are living our truth in a time when an institution has great ‘worldly’ power, we can be hurt, punished, killed.   It’s possible that we may be living our truth in a time where there is a ‘critical moment’ and we need to throw our support, or even our leadership to effecting change.   But mostly, we simply need to figure out a way to live our truth while not being controlled by the institution; essentially, ‘working around’ it, participating in it, leaving it, whatever.    Treating it as what it should be:  a support, not the ultimate reality.  

That ‘working around’ should include the recognition that hostility on our part toward the institution is . . . our issue to resolve.    And we must resolve it because Jesus taught that hostility is not a good fit with his interior freedom; hence the ‘forgive your enemy’ thing.

I would go further:   someone once said that “anger is like juice in an orange --- it only leaks out when the orange is cut, but it’s always been there.”    Anger is often our response to perceived threat --- yet with Jesus as the model, no exterior threat is ‘real’ (including being crucified) -- we need to seriously evaluate our perception of threat.    There are a number of spiritual guides that effectively tackle this, from A Course in Miracles to Richard Rohr  --- but let’s just note here that the people we admire – the spiritual masters who’ve effected positive change in this world – tend to have one thing in common:  they have resolved their anger and hostility issues; they come from a place of peace and love for everyone – even their oppressors.   Only then do they have the freedom to act if/when the opportunity is right. 

And, if we nurse or think or act out of inner hostility, how are we different from all those who are hostile toward ____ (fill in the blank: infidels/ progressives/ liberals/conservatives/Obamacare/Unions/this or that tribe in Afganistan or Africa)?  All those who harbor hostility have two things in common: they know they are ‘right’ in their thinking and that others are ‘wrong’, and they think their hostility is somehow part of their goodness.    Neither is true:  one thinking may be more advanced/evolved at this point than another but it will be someday become primitive at some point in the future; hostility (per Jesus) is never part of goodness and truth.

So, regarding the institution of the Roman Catholic Church, we can be ‘systemically free’.  We can affirm when Pope Frances teaches something that moves the world forward while being patient when his teaching is trapped in primitive thinking.  We can accept RCC theology that is rational and resonates as truth, or choose other more advanced theological models that better reflect our increased understanding of the world.   If the RCC blocks our living of our ‘calling’ in a particular way, we can find other ways (in and/or outside the institution) to live that calling.  If discriminated against because of our race (past), theology or sexual orientation (both present), we can find ways to live our reality within the institution (or outside it) while we consistently speak our understanding of truth.  We can participate in the RCC rituals that build discipleship for us, or create new ritual forms that provide greater support.    I know all our hearts ache for those still suffering from the effects of the sexual abuse; they may never be free of the pain inflicted on them as children and we can only offer them special care, healing opportunities, never allowing their experience to be swept under the rug, etc.   The rest of us --- time to move on, folks! 

We can celebrate living in a time when communication and technology make great change possible, while still being at peace with more primitive thinking, the chaos of change, and the tendency for those not ready for change to deeply entrench the most regressive ideas of the past.

But most and above all – we must be guided by Beatitude orientation of love and forgiveness; taking care of each other; using our gifts for all because we are ultimately one reality (OK, that last is a concept from other religious traditions but relates to our ‘Body of Christ’ wisdom).  Only this brings peace.   Only this will put us in the best position to offer our support or leadership for effective change because it allows us to develop into a unique expression of God.  Nothing else matters -- certainly not the current state of the institutional RCC!

Peace to all!   Susan

Susan T. Masiak, Spokesperson
Pathways from Poverty to Self-Sustainability
677 Augusta Dr., Rochester Hills, MI 48309
(h) 248.651.5444  (c) 248.705.8868

"See the Person" by John Langan, S.J. / Pope Francis' Shift in Approach to Homosexuality/Gay Unions/Marrages
Here we might apply a favorite metaphor of Pope Francis: those carrying on the ministry would function in a way like doctors in a field hospital. They would proceed from a genuine desire to understand the personal and spiritual aspirations of the persons in their care instead of simply repeating the equivalent of a fatal diagnosis, which is how repeated reliance on the notion of “intrinsic evil” will likely be perceived. This is not a proposal for adjudicating the numerous issues now under dispute, nor is it a theological program for resolving the problems of implementing change in this troubled area of the church’s theology and practice. But it may serve as a partial model for addressing similar problems in areas where Catholic Christians have been putting more energy into denunciation than into dialogue, where disjunctions and fractures have been growing in scale and lethality. Perhaps it is best conceived as a submission for the notice board in the field hospital.
John Langan, S.J., is the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Professor of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Friday, February 28, 2014

With Vatican doctrinal czar, liberation theology pioneer reflects on troubles

"Gutierrez, 85, spoke at the event for about 20-minutes in Italian mixed with Spanish words, reflecting on the parable of the Good Samaritan, saying the story reflected the need of the church in our time to go outside of itself, to make neighbors, and to always be at the service of the poor. (The full text of his talk is available here.)
"Our neighbor is a person who is not close to us," said Gutierrez. "It is not the person next to us. The neighbor is not the person that we find on our way, but that person that we approach to the extent we leave our own way, our own path, managing to approach others."
Referencing Pope Francis' recent apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium ("The joy of the Gospel"), Gutierrez said the church needed to move "outside of itself" to make neighbors and serve the poor.
"There's a big temptation to remain in one place but this is not the need, what the Gospel expects from us," he said. "A Samaritan church is an open church, a church attentive to human needs."

Thursday, February 27, 2014

‘Prophets of Oak Ridge,’ and facility guard adjust to fallout of nuclear break-in by Dan Zak, Washington Post
"Gratitude” is how Sister Megan, now 84, signed her responses.
“Your respectful servant” is how Michael, 65, a Vietnam vet from Washington, D.C., signed his.
“With hope for the coming justice” is how Greg, 58, a house painter from Duluth, Minn., signed his.
All three were career protesters who among them had served close to a decade in jail for other actions, so none of them flinched when they heard their punishment: The judge sentenced the two men to five years and two months and the sister got two years and 11 months, with credit for the nine months served, for intending to endanger the national defense and destroying more than $1,000 in government property. They also were ordered to pay $52,953 in restitution to the government.
Before the sentencing, Sister Megan had comforted family members visiting in jail by saying she had “been away” for long periods of time before, when she ministered in Africa for decades. Michael looked forward to reading an “indictment” of the United States into the official record. Greg wasn’t precisely sure what he would say in court, though Mark 13:11 has been on his mind.
Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit...." /click on link to read entire article. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Brazilian Theologians Ivone Gebara and Maria Clara Bingemer Offer Liberating View of Mary of Nazareth Who Stands on the Margins with Oppressed

Our Lady of Guadalupe in San Antonio Cathedral

Elizabeth Johnson  cites Brazilian Theologians Ivone Gebara and Maria Clara Bingemer's  whose interpretation of the Marian doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption provide a "liberating impulse and can be made to work as allies in the struggle for life.   For the Immaculata venerated on our altars is the poor Mary of Nazareth, insignificant in the social structure of her time. This Mother of the People bears within herself the confirmation of God's preference for the humblest, the littlest, the most oppressed. The so-called Marian privilege is really the privilege of the poor. Similarly, believing in Mary's Assumption means proclaiming that the woman who gave birth in a stable among animals, who shared a life of poverty, who stood at the foot of the cross as the mother of the condemned has been exalted. The Assumption is the glorious culmination of the mystery of God's preference for what is poor, small, and unprotected in this world. It sparks hope in the poor and those who stand in solidarity with them 'that they will share in the final victory of the incarnate God.' To understand these doctrines aright, we cannot forget that they talk of God exalting a woman who lived in poverty and anonymity. As Mary sang in the Magnificat, they reveal the ways of God whose light shines on what is regarded as insignificant and marginal." Ivone Gebera and  Maria Clara Bingemer,  Mary Mother of God, Mother of the Poor, 113,120-1cited in Elizabeth Johnson, Truly Our Sister, p. 149

As we address issues of women's empowerment in the church and world including women priests, we can take heart that Mary of Nazareth is our beloved sister and companion on the journey toward justice rising up from the margins. Yes, women are the face of God. Our bodies are holy and we are called to stand around the altar with our brothers and sisters and celebrate God's extravagant love for all at the Banquet Table. The hierarchy cannot continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it because God is on the side of the marginalized and oppressed in our world and church. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,
Pastor Judy Beaumont , ARCWP, presides at Easter liturgy with youth in Good Shepherd Community, Fort Myers, Florida

Liberation Theologian Receives Enthusiastic Welcome at the Vatican on Tuesday

"...Gutierrez, 85, received a round of applause when the Vatican spokesman noted his presence Tuesday and another round when he approached the podium to speak about the parable of the Good Samaritan.
The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has had a complicated relationship with liberation theology, clashing with left-leaning members of his Jesuit order who took up its politicized call to confront Argentina's violent military dictatorship in the 1970s.
Nevertheless, Francis fully embraces its call for the church to have a "preferential option for the poor."
The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, has been on a rehabilitation campaign of sorts, saying that with the first Latin American pope, liberation theology can no longer "remain in the shadows to which it has been relegated for some years, at least in Europe."

Michigan Rape Insurance Law by Grechen Whitner

..."The very idea that just four percent of the population and a well-financed special interest group can create a law this extreme entirely on their own should scare the hell out of all of us, because now that this Pandora's Box has been opened, we're left to wonder what worse may be coming from it next.
Whether my Republican colleagues lacked the backbones, consciences, or both, to stop it, this proposal and the entire process behind it are an utter insult to Michigan women and our entire voting population. It tells women that we have to guess at whether we will have a complicated pregnancy or whether we or our daughters will be the victims of rape or incest. It tells 96 percent of the population that their voice simply doesn't matter. And it is tells the people of Michigan that their government isn't being run by those we elect to office, but rather by the special interest groups who fund their campaigns.
Sharing my story publicly may not have stopped this law from being passed, but as their goal was to silence women's voices in this debate, my hope is that it will instead encourage more women to speak out and stand up against these continued attacks on our rights and our health.
The outpouring of opposition to this new law from both Democrats and Republicans alike has made it clear that we can ultimately succeed in repealing it. That effort, and this fight, has only just begun."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Aussie Pressures Lead Pope to Pull Pell; Who’s Next?/Will Vatican Be Crowded with Archbishops/Cardinals Fleeing Prosecution for Sexual Abuse Coverup?

By Jerry Slevin , a retired Catholic and Harvard "schooled" international lawyer 

The clergy abuse survivors of Australia and the rule of law have scored a major victory. Cardinal Pell has been induced to take a Vatican desk job apparently to avoid the unrelenting and escalating pressure from the Australian Royal Commission’s investigation into institutional child sexual abuse. The pressure was increased by the testimony of a sacked Aussie bishop who described the Vatican’s interference in local abuse scandals as reported here  The Royal Commission can likely still reach Pell in due course, if and when it wants to.
The Vatican’s apologists, of course, have tried to spin this as a “promotion”, but this fantasy fools few. Australia’s top Catholic leader has reluctantly had to flee his beloved homeland to seek Vatican protection, as the USA’s Cardinal Law did a decade before.
Meanwhile, a Polish Archbishop, a protege of Pope John Paul II and former Nuncio to the Dominican Republic, is already crowding the Vatican’s refuge for hierarchs seeking to avoid the child abuse scandal fallout.
Who will be next as the Vatican circles its wagons to protect  cardinals and bishops ? What ever happened to the Pope’s abuse commission? Can the Pope continue avoiding the abuse scandal as discussed here

Inside the Vatican, the Scandals that Rocked Benedict's Papacy/PBS Speical on Frontline tonight

The Power of Parliamentarians in Abolishing Nuclear Weapons

Address by Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., to Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, "Climbing the Mountain" Conference, Washington, D.C., February 26, 2014
At first glance, the elimination of nuclear weapons appears to be a hopeless case.  The Conference on Disarmament in Geneva has been paralyzed for many years.  The Non-Proliferation Treaty is in crisis.  The major nuclear weapons states refuse to enter into comprehensive negotiations for nuclear disarmament and are even boycotting international meetings designed to put world attention on the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of the use of nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons states are giving the back of their hand to the rest of the world.  Not a cheery outlook.
But look a little deeper.  Two-thirds of the nations of the world have voted for negotiations to begin on a global legal ban on nuclear weapons.  Two weeks ago, 146 nations and scores of academics and civil society activists assembled in Nayarit, Mexico to examine the staggering health, economic, environment, food and transportation effects of any nuclear detonation – accidental or deliberate.  A UN High-Level International Conference on nuclear disarmament will be convened in 2018, and September 26 every year from now on will be observed as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
The march of history is moving against the possession, not only the use, of nuclear weapons by any state. The nuclear weapons states are trying to block this march before it acquires any more momentum.  But they will fail.  They can stall the nuclear disarmament processes, but they cannot obliterate the transformation moment in human history now occurring.
The reason that the nuclear disarmament movement is stronger than it appears on the surface is that it stems the gradual awakening of conscience taking place in the world.  Driven forward by science and technology and a new understanding of the inherency of human rights, an integration of humanity is occurring. Not only do we know one another across what used to be great divides, but we also know that we need one another for common survival. There is a new caring for the human condition and the state of the planet evident in such programs as the Millennium Development Goals.  This is the awakening of a global conscience.
 This has already produced a huge advance for humanity:the growing understanding in the public that war is futile. The rationale and appetite for war are disappearing. That would have seemed impossible in the 20th century, let alone the 19th. The public rejection of war as a means of resolving conflict – seen most recently in the question of military intervention in Syria – has enormous ramifications for how society will conduct its affairs. The Responsibility to Protect doctrine is undergoing new analyses, including the threat posed by the possession of nuclear weapons, to determine the circumstances when it can be properly used to save lives.
I am not predicting global harmony. The tentacles of the military-industrial complex are still strong. Too much political leadership is pusillanimous. Local crises have a way of becoming catastrophic. The future cannot be predicted. We have lost opportunities before, notably the singular moment when the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended, that prescient leaders would have seized on and begun to build the structures for a new world order. But I am saying that the world, soured on the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq, has finally righted itself and is on course to make inter-state wars a relic of the past.
Two factors are producing better prospects for world peace: accountability and prevention. We never used to hear much about governments accounting to publics for their actions on the great questions of war and peace. Now, with the spread of human rights, empowered civil society activists are holding their governments accountable for participation in the global strategies for human development. These global strategies, apparent in diverse fields, from genocide prevention to the involvement of women in mediation projects, foster the prevention of conflict.
This higher level of thinking is bringing a new potency to the nuclear disarmament debate. Increasingly, nuclear weapons are seen not as instruments of state security but as violators of human security.  More and more, it is becoming apparent that nuclear weapons and human rights cannot co-exist on the planet.  But governments are slow to adopt policies based on the new understanding of the requirements for human security.  Thus, we are still living in a two-class world in which the powerful aggrandize unto themselves nuclear weapons while proscribing their acquisition by other states. We face the danger of the proliferation of nuclear weapons because the powerful nuclear states refuse to use their authority to build a specific law outlawing all nuclear weapons, and continue to diminish the 1996 conclusion of the International Court of Justice that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is generally illegal and that all states have a duty to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons.
This thinking is feeding a movement now building up across the world to commence a diplomatic process for nuclear weapons abolition even without the immediate cooperation of the nuclear powers. The Nayarit conference and its follow-up meeting in Vienna later this year, provide and impetus to commence such a process..  Governments seeking comprehensive negotiations for a global legal ban on nuclear weapons must now choose between starting a diplomatic process to outlaw nuclear weapons without the participation of the nuclear weapons states or constrain their ambitions by working solely within the confines of the NPT and the Conference on Disarmament where the nuclear weapons states are a constant debilitating influence.
My experience leads me to choose starting a process in which like-minded states begin preparatory work with the specific intention of building a global law. This means identifying the legal, technical, political and institutional requisites for a nuclear weapons free world as the basis for negotiating a legal ban on nuclear weapons.It will undoubtedly be a long process, but the alternative, a step-by-step process, will continue to be foiled by the powerful states, which have connived to block any meaningful progress since the NPT came into force in 1970. I urge parliamentarians to use their access to power and introduce in every Parliament in the world a resolution calling for immediate work to begin on a global framework to prohibit the production, testing, possession and use of nuclear weapons by all states, and provide for their elimination under effective verification.
Advocacy by parliamentarians works. Parliamentarians are well placed not only to lobby for new initiatives but to follow through on their implementation. They are uniquely placed to challenge present policies, present alternatives and generally hold governments accountable.  Parliamentarians hold more power than they often realize.
In my early years in the Canadian parliament, when I served as chairman of Parliamentarians for Global Action, I led delegations of parliamentarians to Moscow and Washington to plead with the superpowers of the day to take serious steps toward nuclear disarmament.  Our work led to the formation of the Six-Nation Initiative. This was a cooperative effort by the leaders of India, Mexico, Argentina, Sweden, Greece and Tanzania, who held summit meetings urging the nuclear powers to halt production of their nuclear stocks.  Gorbachev later said the Six-Nation Initiative was a key factor in the achievement of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, which eliminated a whole class of medium-range nuclear missiles.
Parliamentarians for Global Action developed into a network of 1,000 parliamentarians in 130 countries and branched out on an expanded list of global issues, such as fostering democracy, conflict prevention and management, international law and human rights, population, and environment. The organization was responsible for getting the negotiations started for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and supplied the muscle to get many governments to sign onto the International Criminal Court and the 2013 Arms Trade Treaty.
In latter years, a new association of legislators, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, has been formed and I am proud to have been its first Chairman.  I congratulate Senator Ed Markey for assembling in Washington today this important gathering of legislators.  Under the leadership of Alyn Ware, PNNDhas attracted about 800 legislators in 56 countries. It collaborated with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a huge umbrella group of parliaments in 162 countries, in producing a handbook for parliamentarians explaining the non-proliferation and disarmament issues. This is a form of leadership that doesn’t make headlines but is extremely effective. The development of associations like Parliamentarians for Global Action and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament is contributing significantly to expanded political leadership.
The voice of parliamentarians may in the future become stronger if the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly takes hold. The campaign hopes that some day citizens of all countries would be able to directly elect their representatives to sit in a new assembly at the UN and legislate global policies. This may not happen until we reach another stage of history, but a transitional step could be the selection of delegates from national parliaments, who would be empowered to sit in a new assembly at the UN and raise issues directly with the Security Council. The European Parliament, in which direct election of its 766 members takes place in the constituent countries, offers a precedent for a global parliamentary assembly.
Even without waiting for future developments to enhance global governance, parliamentarians today can and must use their unique position in government structures to push for humanitarian policies to protect life on earth. Close the rich-poor gap.  Stop global warming.  No more nuclear weapons. That is the stuff of political leadership.
David Swanson's wants you to declare peace at  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition. He blogs at and and works for He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Afghanistan: President Karzai Blocks Law Protecting Perpetrators of Domestic Violence

Afghanistan: President Karzai blocks law protecting perpetrators of domestic violence
Afghan women take part in a demonstration to protest violence against women in Kabul on February 13, 2014.

“This is an important step against retrograde legislation that would have let rapists and perpetrators of domestic violence off the hook,” said Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan Researcher at Amnesty International.  “This draft code would have taken Afghanistan back decades in terms of discrimination of women and girls in the country. President Karzai has taken a crucial step by refusing to sign the amended code. Meanwhile he must ensure that victims of domestic violence, rape and other crimes have a viable path to justice, including by putting in place witness protection programmes.”
Horia Mosadiq, Afghanistan Researcher at Amnesty International  

Letter to Editor in The Daily Reflector from Deacon Ann Harrington/"Women Priests Help Heal the Church"

..." I believe God is calling women to the RC priesthood. I think this is something the RC church needs in its quest to heal from the sex abuse crisis.
There already are 180 Roman Catholic women priests ordained worldwide. The people of God will determine if the priesthood in the RC tradition does extend to women. A group of us have founded an inclusive, egalitarian community in the RC tradition here in Greenville. If you would like to learn more about the women’s priest movement, please go to Click “About Us” to view our biographies. Mine is sixth one on the right hand column. My contact information is included."
Deacon Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests