Monday, July 21, 2014

Five Things To Remember on July 21

1. Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, who chairs the U.S. bishops' International Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote July 21 to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to say that the United States should seek an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, provide humanitarian relief to the vulnerable people of Gaza, and return to the challenge of pursuing a just and lasting peace. The letter addressed Hamas’ rocket attacks and the Israeli response and reiterated Pope Francis’ call for a ceasefire and peace.

2. During his Sunday Angelus July 20 Pope Francis told the persecuted Christians of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul that he was with them in solidarity and appealed for aid for these people who have been “stripped of everything." Thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled Mosul to Sunni Kurdish areas up north after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threatened to kill them if they don't convert to Islam or pay tax. Extremists of the al-Qaeda-inspired group began implementing their threats by burning a 1,800 year old church in the city. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that the persecution of Iraqi Christians who have been driven from their homes in Mosul could constitute a crime against humanity.

3. Unaccompanied children seeking refuge in the United States should be viewed not through an enforcement lens but through a child protection lens. In fact, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has found 58 percent of these children felling violence in their home countries could qualify for international protection as refugees.

4. Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop William Lori, Archbishop Thomas Wenski and Bishop Richard J. Malone have voiced concern for the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would ignore religious freedom concerns. "To dismiss concerns about religious freedom in a misguided attempt to address unjust discrimination in the workplace is not to advance justice and tolerance. Instead, it stands as an affront to basic human rights and the importance of religion in society .... The U.S. legacy of religious freedom has enabled the Catholic Church and other faith communities to exercise their religious and moral convictions freely and thus contribute to the good of all in society. No good can come from removing this witness from our social life." they wrote July 21 on the USCCBlog. They added that "eliminating truly unjust discrimination – based on personal characteristics, not sexual behavior – and protecting religious freedom are goals that we all should share. The current political climate makes it very difficult to maintain a reasonable dialogue on these contentious issues, but we must keep trying." Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco chairs the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; Archbishop Lori of Baltimore chairs the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Wenski of Miami chairs the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Bishop Malone chairs the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.
5. God loves you.

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