In September 2016, the Bridge Initiative of Georgetown University issued a disturbing report on how Catholics perceive the religion of Islam and the people who follow it. The survey indicated that only 14 percent of American Catholics have favorable views of Muslims, 30 percent have unfavorable views, while 45 percent have neither favorable nor unfavorable views. The bright spot for me is that while only 3 in 10 Catholics know a Muslim personally, those who do have a far more positive view of Muslims as a whole. So, the challenge, it seems, is to encourage at least the 45 percent to get to know an individual Muslim or a family.
In Justice Matters, sisters find their grounding in Catholic Social Teaching.
Everyone is born with worth and dignity, choices and opportunities. Unfortunately, some individuals enlarge their own choices and opportunities at the expense of others by creating unjust systems and structures. This deprivation of the humanity of others became clearer to me as a provincial of my religious community some years ago.
I live 90 miles from downtown Charlotte, but my emotions rushed with the people on the street, the boisterous crowd searching for answers. Not just in the crowded streets of the Queen City, but in the crowds of Illinois, Minnesota, South Carolina, Texas, California, and everywhere that parents cry, wives scream, and children question, “When is Daddy coming home?”
For the past two years I've been part of an investigative project, interviewing mothers of murdered children on the north side of St. Louis. The Peace Economy Project (PEP) received a small grant to research gun violence at home about eight months before Mike Brown was killed in Ferguson. We thought we could identify the efforts to stop gun violence in St. Louis and perhaps identify other cities that were doing a better job of community intervention.
It is rare for me to go through an entire week without discussing issues surrounding multiculturalism, diversity and racism. Racism does become an exhaustive topic, and for me personally, it is exhausting to swim in the waves of racism.
On a mission experience sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill to Ecuador in July, the final day on the schedule said: Medical services and mini-Olympics in a distant village. For most of the participants on the trip — sisters, teachers and volunteers — it was hard to imagine a place more remote than the small town where we had helped at a school for children with special needs that is sponsored by the Korean province of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill.
Inspired by Georgia Perry's recent Three Stats and a Map "Zika has a 60-year history", I decided that I would send out a dispatch from the tropics, from Nicaragua, from the Zika zone.
You know, of course, what solidarity means, don't you? Or do you? In our time when humanity is pushed and pulled through a vast wilderness, when refugees are massively scorned, when parents cannot protect children against violence and hunger, and when riches are hoarded as if life and salvation depend on extraordinary accumulation, it seems an apt season to re-examine solidarity.
The consolidated parish called La Santísima Trinidad, Most Blessed Trinity, took an empty church building, removed the pews, and filled it with food. Families in all shapes and sizes, the elderly on a fixed income, those offered citizenship and those denied it, those with homes and those without are all invited to receive food.
Sometimes messages follow us around. This summer voices of violence at home and abroad, the face of white superiority, racism, and the very visceral weather events intensified by climate change through the heat waves, drought, floods seem to attach themselves to us like strong neon colored sticky notes.