Peace & Justice Blog

Stay up to date on peace and justice issues, both locally and internationally, and learn how you can take action.


Choosing Unity Over Division

Blog by Justice Promoter Sister Judy Morris, OP

In a deeply divided church and country, most of us long for voices that can bring us together, working for unity and understanding.  Is it possible to have a discussion with someone who has a different opinion and not view the result as “winning or losing?”

Our current church drama involves the United States bishops moving toward approval of a document that would deny communion to President Biden and any Catholic politicians who are pro-choice.  Most Bishops favored moving the document forward.  This brings up a familiar question, “What would Jesus do?”  For anyone who reads the Gospels, I think the answer is clear; he comes down on the side of unity, compassion, and non-judgmental attitudes.

Bishop Stowe of Lexington provides comments that are relevant here:

“There are at least three places in the Gospels that involve people thinking they know what is best for Jesus.

When they try to prevent children from coming to him, Jesus rebukes his disciples as he does, he reminds them the kingdom of heaven belongs to those they would turn away.

When confronted about the woman caught in adultery, Jesus stops the mob by reminding them of their own sins. We bishops have a wealth of material to offer in that department.

And in the garden, Jesus rebukes Peter himself for using violence in protecting him. Jesus does not need our protection for him to carry out his saving mission.

There is a reason the long-standing pastoral practice of the Church is to presume people present themselves for Communion in good conscience.  We should reverence the mystery of God’s grace at work in every person, and the gift of faith present in every heart that seeks him in the sacrament.

Jesus is not a legalist.  He seeks to draw people to himself.  His arms outstretched on the cross and in the sacraments are where the saving occurs.”

When Pope Francis spoke of communion, he said, “It is not the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners.”  We say, “Lord, I am not worthy.”  When I stand in line for communion, I stand in line as a sinner.  What the bishops are doing by denying Communion on political grounds is disturbing because it models judgment, a lack of striving for unity and failure to hear Jesus saying, “that they all may be one.”

We find a sacrament being weaponized and politicized. For a moment, pretend that all 46 presidents were Catholic.  Looking at their actions, decisions, and words, would any of them pass the test and be deserving of communion?  We have had several slaveholders, adulterers, pathological liars, and those who approved dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, going to war in Iraq. Many have, through their political actions, cost hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.

If we treat the Gospels as a roadmap for living, the path to unity is clear.  Leading compassionate, nonjudgmental lives is hard work, but possible when we recognize that we all have feet of clay; and when we fall, continue to get up.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Seven Years to Sustainability – How You Can Get Involved

Invitations from the Eco-Justice Committee:

If you are interested in joining the Eco-Justice Committee, you are invited to contact Judy Hardy, OPA, at

Last Monday (June 14th), some suggestions for addressing Goal 4: Adoption of Simple Lifestyles (sobriety in the use of resources and energy, avoid single-use plastic, adopt a more plant-based diet and reduce meat consumption, greater use of public transport and avoid polluting modes of transportation, etc.) were offered by Sr. Barbara Kane.

You are invited to share other suggestions for addressing this goal. You can include them below or send them to Judy Hardy at

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Moving Forward on Nuclear Weapons

Blog by Justice Promoter Sister Judy Morris, OP

As President Biden met with leaders of the G7 in England, cameras flashed, pundits pontificated, and the world waited for decisions on key global issues.  We know that climate change and the distribution of lifesaving COVID vaccines for the world’s poorest countries topped the list of agenda items.  What is encouraging is a commitment to work together addressing these and other issues, not grandstanding as in recent gatherings.    ‘

In these meetings, and in an upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin, an item that should be on every agenda is the ever-present reality of nuclear weapons.  At present, Russia has 6,375 warheads and the United States has 5,800.  How do leaders move the needle to drastically reduce the numbers of nuclear weapons and move toward elimination?

A first step was taken when in their initial phone call, they agreed to extend the last remaining nuclear arms treaty, the START treaty, for five years.  Serious, sustained disarmament diplomacy is overdue and essential, but achieving new agreements will be challenging.

The Arms Control Association calls for a serious commitment to:

  • a deeper, verifiable reduction in the total number of deployed strategic warheads.
  • the necessity of bringing China into the arms control process and limiting Russian nuclear weapons unless the United States agrees to constraints on its long-range missile defense capabilities.

Nuclear weapons reduction moving toward elimination is the ultimate common good issue.  The time is now to call on President Biden to reaffirm the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and take concrete steps to make that happen. China, Russia, and the G7 nations need to be at the table to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

It is not new news that spending on the expansion of nuclear weapons diverts limited resources from programs that improve the health and wellbeing of at-risk families in the United States and around the world.  Leaders of all mainline faith traditions speak with one voice when they say that the arms race robs the poor of essential resources and puts millions of lives at risk.

We have witnessed many symbolic efforts to address the intolerable build-up of nuclear weapons since their first use—women surrounding the Pentagon with peace ribbons, activists pouring blood on buildings where weapons are produced, and cities declaring themselves “nuclear-free zones.”  The constant needed today is our voices. Each of us must call for the reduction of nuclear weapons, leading eventually to eliminations. This full-throated effort must not stop.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Seven Years to Sustainability

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

Sr. Barbara Kane  of the Eco-Justice Committee looks at Goal 4 and provides some suggestions about how to address this goal

Goal 4: Adoption of Simple Lifestyles (sobriety in the use of resources and energy, avoid single-use plastic, adopt a more plant-based diet and reduce meat consumption, greater use of public transport and avoid polluting modes of transportation, etc.)

Time for the simple life

This goal puts the responsibility squarely on us to do our part to protect creation.

“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter…to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” John Burroughs

Can you relate to John Burroughs description of the simple life?  It is simple to obtain but sometimes we slip into the consumerist way of thinking – we think we need or deserve something…we engage in the thrilling search to get it… we buy it and then wonder ‘why did I think I needed this?  This crazy consumer cycle contributes to the destruction of the very simple life identified by Burroughs.

The actions suggested have been around for years and, hopefully, have become a part of your routine. Implementing Goal 4 gives us an opportunity to reflect on what a simple lifestyle means in today’s consumer world.  All of us, and especially sisters who take a vow of poverty, can be tempted by this cycle. But for the sake of our beautiful and bountiful earth and for the generations of children to come, we are called to break this cycle and live a simple life.

Vegetables on display at our Shepherd’s Corner Ecological Center farmers market

What can you do now to make a difference? Maybe one meatless day? Or one less bottle of water? Can you wash your clothes with cold water or a bigger load?  Can you go with someone to the store rather than by yourself? Now is a great time to buy vegetables without lots of packaging. Head on over to a farmer’s market and fill your reusable bag one veggie at a time. Perhaps now is the time to reflect more deeply on our commitment to creation.

I don’t want to engage in eco-justice shaming.  It’s critical that we renew our efforts to take personal care for our beloved earth.  But we are not the only ones responsible for caring for creation. Consider the number of plastics in our grocery stores, our fast food restaurants, our hospitals.  What pressure can we put on them to reduce the amount of plastic?

We want to encourage companies to take corporate responsibility at the same time that we take personal responsibility. Working together, we can make a difference.

You can get more ideas about living an Eco-Friendly lifestyle by check out this article: Ten Easy Ways To Live A More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle | Wheels For Wishes



Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Moving from Pandemic to Epidemic 

Blog by Justice Promoter Sister Judy Morris, OP

There is much to celebrate in the United States as we move out of the clutches of the COVID-19 pandemic that has cost the lives of over 600,000 citizens.  Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are down.  But even as we celebrate this good news, we must face the epidemic of gun violence escalation in the United States.  The CDC has declared it a serious health issue.

According to an analysis by the gun-control group Everytown, firearm deaths of all types last year will likely exceed 40,000 –  marking 2020 with the highest gun-related death rate in two decades.

While most people in the United States support responsible gun safety laws, the usual roadblocks to progress remain in Congress.  It is unlikely that the filibuster will end, so gun legislation will once again stall in Congress, despite the 232 mass shootings as of May 26.

The Supreme Court is not an ally.  It is preparing to take on a case that would dramatically shape gun laws in the United States.  The gun lobby is pushing for a constitutional right to carry handguns in public spaces to use as “armed confrontation,” in other words, to fire when they choose to fire.

Success is found on the local level:

  • Nevada – The Brady Campaign helped send a bill to ban untraceable “ghost guns” to Governor Sisolak’s desk for his signature.
  • New York – The first state law to enable the gun industry to be held accountable for streets with illegal guns has advanced in the state senate.
  • Virginia – Governor Northam signed three life-saving bills into law, including barring firearms from the state capital and voting booths and blocking guns from convicted domestic abusers.
  • California – The state advanced a crucial bill that would require the state to track, analyze and report crime gun data to prevent the flow of illegal firearms into neighborhoods.

Given the axiom that the most successful people are persistent people, it is critical that we focus on pending legislation in our home states and continue to call on our U.S. Senators to pass responsible, common-sense legislation.

To do nothing is to ensure that the gun lobby continues to win, and large numbers of children and adults in the United States will lose their lives.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog