Is Domestic Terrorism the New Normal?

Blog by Justice Promoter Sister Judy Morris, OP

Is there such a thing as the calm after the storm?  After having witnessed thousands of domestic terrorists storm the United States capital, with the lives of former vice president Pence and Speaker Pelosi being threatened and five people dead, I had hoped that calm would prevail after the dust settled.  No such luck.

Homeland Security has just issued a domestic terrorism warning: “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said.

In plain English, American political extremists, excited by lies spread by the former administration and fed by current members of Congress, have become an active threat to our nation.

This is not a poorly written play; this is our new reality, with no final act in sight.  I was shocked to see a large crowd in Wyoming (unmasked, of course), listening to Rep. Matt Gaetz call for removing Rep. Liz Cheney from office for her vote to impeach Donald Trump.  I am always impressed by someone who follows her/his conscience in making a decision. It appears Rep. Gaetz is not.  This vote may cost her life, as threats abound.

Some members of the House of Representatives are now wearing bullet-proof vests.  Rep Greene of Georgia carries a gun, and is best known for her violent rhetoric.  A few years ago she called for the execution of Nancy Pelosi and then-President Barack Obama; another Congressperson has asked to have her office moved away from Greene’s after an ugly confrontation over mask-wearing.

The national guard remains in place near the capital and a seven-foot fence continues to serve as a reminder of the ongoing fear of more violence.  Where does that lead us?  How do we “be peace, build peace and preach peace” in this never-ending arena of vitriol and violence?

The answer is not to remain silent.  Many people tiptoe around all things political.  Isn’t there such a thing as respectful dialogue?  No one wants to lose a friend or have strained family relationships.  However, our voices need to be heard.  Minority leader in the House Kevin McCarthy needs to hear from us about the violent rhetoric coming from Rep. Greene.  She serves on the education committee even, though she called the massacre of 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook a “hoax,” and the massacre of 17 students at the Stoneman-Douglas High School in Florida “overblown.”  She also stalked one of the students who was meeting with his representatives in Washington.  Your senators also need to hear from you before the vote of conviction of Donald Trump.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was asked what he thought needed to be done to end racism, and he responded that the greatest obstacle was the silence of good people.  Silence allows violence, injustice and racism to continue.  Silence is not acceptable.  No one is too busy to lend a voice.  Catherine of Siena would say Amen to that.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Don’t Give away your Shot!

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

I hate shots.  No, I mean I really hate shots….so much so that I can barely watch someone getting a shot on television.  So I was pretty surprised when, after getting the first dose of the Moderna vaccine that I felt so darn good.  It was a feeling of relief and of hope. Maybe there was a light at the end of the Covid tunnel.

I think everyone who can, should get the vaccine too.  Why? During the past year, I’ve worked at St. Raphael Hospital in New Haven as a chaplain intern.  I’ve been present at the bedside of a dying patient because his son could not come into the hospital. I’ve prayed with a daughter and her father who had Covid using a telephone and video conferencing.  I’ve comforted nurses on a Covid unit as the second wave ramped up in our hospital. They were already exhausted, nervous and afraid.  I’ve tried to connect over telemedicine with a Covid patient who had recently lost her father to Covid. (It wasn’t very successful or satisfying for either of us.)  I’ve felt the fear of being with a patient who later was diagnosed with Covid and watched the disruption of our convent when someone had unknowingly spent time with a Covid-infected person.

I want Covid to go away. Don’t you? That’s why I pray and ask that you pray that everyone who can, will get the vaccine. Science says that it can help us overcome this pandemic and allow us to get back our lives.  I’m not a huggy-type person, but I miss hugs. I want to be able to hold the hand of a patient who is lonely and afraid and I want to sing again at Mass. What do you miss?

If you are confused or still have some doubts about the vaccine, check out this YouTube video. It’s a good explanation.  Please encourage your friends and family to get the shot.  In the meantime, please keep wearing your mask, stay six feet apart, wash your hands and stay safe.


Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Peace and Justice Updates 1.27.2020

Stop Dangerous Pipelines
Last week we celebrated President Biden’s actions to stop Keystone XL, the pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands to the U.S. There’s a Keystone clone currently being built with similar impacts to climate and water – Line 3 in Minnesota.

Line 3 is one of the last major tar sands expansion projects in North America. It would damage the climate as much as 50 new coal plants and cut across the 1854 and 1855 treaty territory of the Anishinaabe people.

Over the last six years, a powerful Indigenous-led movement of water protectors, land defenders, and ordinary citizens has grown to resist this dangerous pipeline.

Stand with them by telling President Biden to also act to stop Line 3!

Reunite Families Unjustly Separated
In this moment of peaceful transition toward a recommitted democracy, we must make sure the Biden administration keeps its promise of bringing families together. Edith Espinal and Miriam Vargas are two mothers that deserve this promise to ring true. They have both been denied the opportunity to be reunited with their families until now.

Edith has been in sanctuary at Columbus Mennonite Church since October 2017 and Miriam at First English Lutheran Church since June 2018. As we began the process of reconciliation, our Congress must act now and do more than pause the current deportation laws. Let’s start by getting Edith and Miriam home with their families.

Call Rep. Joyce Beatty and Sen. Sherrod Brown today and encourage them to call the Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on behalf of both Edith and Miriam.

Protect Essential Workers
Throughout the pandemic, essential workers have borne the brunt of Covid-19’s devastating health and financial impacts, exposing themselves and family members to the deadly virus to maintain the flow of critical food, other goods and services to communities in every corner of our nation. Many undocumented workers have done all of this while being excluded from previous COVID-19 stimulus bills, health insurance, and access to affordable healthcare.

Please sign here to urge Members of Congress to include an amendment to the latest pandemic relief legislation bill which will provide a path to citizenship and protections for undocumented essential workers and their family members.

Tell the New Biden Administration to Dismantle the Federal Death Penalty
For the first time in U.S. history, we have a president who openly opposes the death penalty. President Biden was inaugurated just five days after the 13th and final execution in the Trump administration’s killing spree. While we welcome this return to federal execution dormancy, now is not the time to slow down our advocacy.

Please sign Catholic Mobilizing Network’s petition urging President Biden to prioritize the dismantling of the federal death penalty.

Sign Up To View the United Nations Social Development Commission
The Commission for Social Development Forum will be held February 8-17, 2021. The forum addresses social protection floors. The priority theme for this year is: ‘Socially-just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all.’ Registration closes today, January 27. To be part of the virtual program, click here.

March 14-26, 2021, begins the Commission on the Status of Women: Beijing 25+1. You can follow the planning of the conference here.

The Priority theme is: ‘Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.’

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Peace and Justice Updates 10.28.2020

“Fake News” About Human Trafficking Hurts Real Relief Efforts
USCSAHT has signed onto a joint letter of over 80 anti-trafficking organizations in a united message denouncing the QAnon conspiracy theories related to trafficking that are distracting and harming the actual good work happening to prevent and end human trafficking.

Please click here to read the entire letter.

LCWR Newsletter, November 2020
Here are some highlights from the most recent LCWR newsletter.

  • Faith Leaders Call on Senators to Lead Global COVID-19 Response, p. 5
  • Catholics Call on Attorney General Barr to Protect Children from Online Trafficking, p. 6
  • Faith Community Outraged by Administration’s Devastation of the US Refugee Program, p. 6

Click here to read the entire newsletter.

More Federal Executions Scheduled
On December 8th the federal government will execute Lisa Montgomery for her murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett. This will be the first federal execution of a woman since 1953. On December 10th, International Human Rights Day, they have lined up another black man, Brandon Bernard, who will be killed for his participation in the murders of Todd and Stacie Bagley.

Death Penalty Action suggests these actions that you can take to make your voice heard.


Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

From Pledges to Action on Eradicating Poverty

Blog by Sr. Judy Morris, OP
Blog by Sr. Judy Morris, OP

“In this crucial year for global development, as Member States work to craft a post-2015 agenda and a new set of sustainable development goals, let us do our utmost to eradicate all forms of human exploitation. Let us strive to build a world of social justice, where all people can live and work in freedom, dignity and equality.”
– UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

 Continue reading →

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog