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Justice, Peace and Earth Care

 “It is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed."

 

Franciscan Federation Issues Resolution on Standing in Solidarity with Native American Peoples

The Franciscan Federation of the Sisters and Brothers of the Third Order Regular of the U.S., and their associates resolved “to stand in solidarity with Native American People in care of their land and of our Sister, Mother Earth” in a resolution affirmed by some 240 attendees representing 61 member congregations at their annual meeting.

 

The Resolution is rooted in the words of Pope Francis in the encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, #146: “It is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift of God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact and maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best.”

 

It goes on to say, “As Franciscans, being in solidarity with our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters, in particular Native Americans, we act on the words of Pope Francis in the encyclical: #217: “Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork, it is essential to the life of virtue; it is not an option or a secondary aspect of our Christian life.” #218: “In calling to mind the figure of St. Francis of Assisi, we come to realize that a healthy relationship with creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion.”

 

This resolution calls for a pledge to learn about the enduring effects of the Doctrine of Discovery, including its application in US law as the justification for claiming that Native Americans do not have title to discovered lands, that they are mere tenants on their ancestral lands. This Doctrine of Discovery is the result of three Papal bulls that provided the moral and legal rationale for Christian explorers to confiscate all land and possessions of the inhabitants of “barbarous nations.”

 

Members of the Franciscan Federation are encouraged to “learn from Indigenous Peoples about their history and cultures and to value their worldview that respects the interconnectedness of all life, including that of Mother Earth” and, “in the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi” to seek pardon for the sufferings imposed upon Indigenous Peoples and to petition Pope Francis to revoke the Doctrine of Discovery.

 

 

Mourning is Not Enough: LCWR Calls for Action to Prevent Gun Violence -- February 23, 2018

On February 14 a very troubled 19-year-old took an AR-15 assault rifle to Marjory Stoneman High School and opened fire killing 14 students and three staff members. The shooting was a horrible tragedy that has become all too familiar to students, teachers, and parents across the country.

The heartbreak in Parkland, Florida is far too common. A recent study of World Health Organization data published in the  American Journal of Medicine  found that, among high-income nations, 91 percent of children younger than 15 who were killed by bullets lived in the United States. Guns are linked to roughly 33,000 deaths in the United States per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; about two-thirds of them are suicides.

Where is the outrage? Have we become immune to the horror? Why are elected officials unwilling to confront the epidemic of gun violence that is sweeping the nation? When will the killing stop?

Our hearts and prayers go out to those in Parkland even as we continue to mourn with those in Orlando, Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Charleston, Newtown, Columbine, Sutherland Springs, and in countless other cities and towns across this nation who have lost loved ones to gun violence.  We grieve with mothers and fathers whose children were victims of senseless killing made easy by the proliferation of guns and the pervasive culture of violence.

There is much to mourn, but mourning is not enough. Prayers and condolences are not enough. The killing must stop. It is well past time that we enacted sensible gun violence prevention legislation. This is not about protecting the second amendment. It is about protecting the most precious resource we have, the gift of life.

We call our elected officials to immediately take up legislation that:

  • requires universal background checks and mandatory waiting periods for all gun purchases;
  • bans civilian ownership of high-capacity weapons and magazines; and
  • makes gun trafficking a federal crime.

We commend the young people of Parkland for taking up the important work of gun violence prevention. We will stand with you as you advocate for legislation that will save lives. We will join you in the March 24 “March for Our Lives.” We will walk with you as together we seek to put an end to violence and follow the path of peace.

In this Lenten season as we recall the life Jesus, the Christ, let us pray for the grace to embrace his way of nonviolence and let us never doubt that the deep darkness of these days will be overcome by the radiant light of our lives and actions lived in love.

 


 

Bernardine Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis
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