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The whole universe is moving towards the Omega point, which is the fullness of evolution. The universe is not complete. God’s creation is still going on. (Teilhard de Chardin)
All that we have said in the manual so far is a call to a new understanding of Mission. In fact there has been an evolution of mission according to the teaching of the Church since Vatican II. Committed Christians and, in particular, religious Congregations have always responded to new calls to mission.
At the third Synod in 1971, a significant development took place in the Church’s understanding of its mission. The profound relationship between the proclamation of the Gospel and the conditions of human persons became apparent in a way that eliminated any ambiguity that might have existed in the past. Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appears to us as a constitutive dimension of preaching the Gospel.
Prior to the Synod, the Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM) had met in Medellin (1968): in attempting to implement and apply the results of Vatican II in their own context, this meeting of CELAM made a decisive contribution to the new justice and peace agenda - not merely for Latin America but for the whole Church.
Medellin introduced a new approach, a new language and a new option into expressions of social justice. The new approach consisted in starting from concrete situations; a new language, e.g., structural injustice, institutionalised violence, marginalisation, liberation, conscientisation, participation; the new option, which would be integrated in a special way in the thrust of missionary and religious institutes, was to be in solidarity with the poor, giving an effective preference to the poorest... seeking true peace by arousing the consciousness of oppressed groups and helping them organise to become agents of their own liberation.2
Solidarity has become the new word for the Christian Mission of love and justice. Albert Nolan, the South African Dominican, gives us a way of understanding solidarity in his article on the, Spirituality of Poverty. He describes how people grow in their spirituality of poverty through certain identifiable stages. Although he describes the stages in chronological order, in fact the characteristics do not perform in such an order. The growth begins with a basic stage of awareness and commitment which Nolan calls compassion. All of us tend to be compassionate towards the poor: We give money when asked, we support different campaigns. Our feelings of sympathy are genuine and we look for ways of helping whenever possible. Those who have tried to help most, very often discover that their efforts are poorly rewarded. The poor continue to be poor and to get poorer. People are scandalised by the obstacles which stand in the way, by the corruption and indifference which they find when they try to help. This brings them to the stage of anger where they burst out and say that something is wrong. Some stop at this stage. Others take up arms. Others go deeper into their own resources and come to the stage of humility. At this stage they become aware that they are not the ones who will save the poor. The poor show that they have their own personal resources and gifts. If it were not so, how could they have survived so long? The poor will save themselves and the world along with them. It is at this stage that the person begins to recognise that truth, beauty, wisdom, the Gospel virtues are on the side of the poor and their cause is the great cause of humanity. "The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone". At this stage, the stage of solidarity, people decide to pitch their lot with the poor, to live by their wisdom and support their cause.
220.127.116.11.1 An extract from a Chapter Document:
Solidarity is at the heart of our charism.
We see that injustice increases, creating new forms of exploitation and marginalisation, that the causes of poverty grow more and more complex and that its consequences are more and more destructive.
Faced with this growing challenge at this moment of the Society’s history and in line with the orienta-tions of the last Chapters, we are convinced that solidarity with the poor remains our response to in-justice in the world. This solidarity asks of us not only interest and presence, but above all commitment and action.
We live this solidarity with all the strength and potential of our international multicultural character.
Living this solidarity requires working for justice and peace. This work, with the aim of transforming unjust structures, encourages us:
This solidarity requires openness, experience, discernment and on-going formation which is congruent with our fundamental choices.
This commitment will lead us to take different steps at the local, provincial and international levels. Humbly and with courage, together, we walk the same way.
Sisters of the Sacred Heart
One of the biggest challenges facing religious today is in the domain of right relationships with the LAITY. In spite of all the efforts which have been made since the Second Vatican Council, religious still have difficulty in working in partnership with the laity, treating them as equals. Working in partnership with laity is as urgent and important as promoting partnership between women and men.
Some religious have positive experiences to share:
The following are some negative comments which one often hears when this topic is surfaced:
The above comments need to help us reflect on the following :
For further reflection and discussion:
How can we religious contribute to the birth of a new structure within the Church which will encourage equality and justice in matters such as the role of the laity in the Church, a living wage for all lay collaborators, etc.?
Example of Solidarity and Collaboration at Parish Level
Since more than ten years ago, encouraged by their parish priest, Father Pernice, the parishioners of Christ the King Church, in Morena (Italy) began to be concerned about the marginalised people. At that time among these people there was a group of young Polish families. The women could not work, not knowing to whom they could entrust their children. The parish priest along with a team of parishioners acquired a building in the parish and started a kindergarten for these children, thus “freeing” the mothers to go out to work.
Sometime later this group of refugees left the place and was replaced by other immigrants who had no children. As there was no further need for a kindergarten, it was transformed into a dispensary with five doctors and a nurse - all of them volunteers.
The most acute problem of the immigrants was lack of decent housing to protect themselves. The parish priest again appealed to his parishioners to respond to this need. Just at that time, a small villa in the parish was vacant and was put up for rent. The parish priest made the following suggestion to the parishioners: “Invite me to your place for a cup of coffee, but instead of coffee, give me the cost of it, that is 1000 lire.” With the money he collected, the parish priest was able to rent the villa for the refugees. Thanks to the generosity of the people, the “Green House” (this is how the project is called) continues to exist. It can house ten people (all men) providing them with food, beds, clothing, etc. for about three months while also helping them to find in the meantime employment and lodging.
The underground quarters of the “Green House” are used as a “training centre” for the immigrants (men and women) to help them to integrate themselves better in Italian society and in their work. This training includes different courses: assistance for the aged and for those with terminal illness, computer lessons, gardening, courses to learn English, Italian, Spanish, etc. Almost all those who attend these courses find work.
In the meantime, the first volunteers have organised themselves into an Association of Volunteers, and are now officially recognised by the government. They work in collaboration with CARITAS.
The small dispensary also has developed. The number of doctors (volunteers) has now increased to thirty two; they are all specialists. There are also fifteen nurses. The dispensary is open daily in the afternoon and different sicknesses are treated on different days. The consultants are available for this: there are eleven specialists, and six services of diagnostics with modern apparatus. Each patient has his own medical card. The reception service has been computerised. The whole organisation is now in keeping with government regulations.
The vision of the parish priest does not end there. He has begun another association of volunteers to help the disabled people, both Italians and immigrants. They take care of the children and youth during their free time and entertain them through activities - games and other types of formation. The disabled themselves form part of the group of volunteers and the president is a “phocomele”.
A year ago, again encouraged by the parish priest, a co-operative was begun. It aims to provide opportunities to the marginalised. Initially, there were fifteen persons involved in this project. Today this group has thirty persons involved in a multi-project which includes cultivation of strawberries and mushrooms for sale, and also preparing fresh pastry.
In addition to the above, the parish possesses an “ad extra” missionary project: It has “twinned” itself with a parish in Nicaragua. Once a year there is an exchange of visits. The parish of Christ the King has already taken charge of building a church and a parish house in Nicaragua and now they are trying to build a school and a dispensary.
We are being increasingly called to collaborate and network with others in our efforts to promote Justice-Peace-Integrity of Creation. As seen earlier in the manual, JPIC issues are global issues, and therefore call for global efforts. There is an urgent need to collaborate with credible NGOS. The number of local and international NGOs and other organisations are on the increase as people become increasingly convinced that NGOs have much to contribute in the building up of a new humanity. This calls for discernment and prudence in the choice of groups with whom we work. The following are a few examples of credible non-governmental organisations.
Amnesty International is a world-wide movement of people who campaign for human rights. Its appeals on behalf of victims of human rights violations are based on accurate research and on international law. The organisation is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion.
Amnesty International’s mandate has four main parts based on the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948:
During most of its history, Amnesty International’s campaigning has focused on prisoners, but the movement has responded to the changing patterns of human rights’ violations in the world, and has increasingly taken action on behalf of people who are not prisoners. It also devotes its energies to working:
PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL
Pax Christi is an international Catholic movement, founded in France in the aftermath of the Second World War, to foster reconciliation and peace.
The main aim of the movement is to contribute to the construction of a more humane world, founded on respect for life, for the conscience, and for the rights of each human being. Pax Christi International is a non-governmental organisation, recognised by and represented at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe.
Pax Christi believes that Christians and Christian Churches should be leading forces in the search for new approaches in the field of disarmament, security and peace, and for the linking of security issues with human rights and development. Therefore it tries to heighten the awareness of the Catholic Church and the Catholic people with regard to justice and peace issues, and it strives for dialogue and cooperation with other Christian associations and movements, as well as with other peace movements and all people of good will.
Pax Christi International
Plantin en Moretuslei, 174
Tel. : 32 3 235 36 40
Fax : 32 3 235 07 48
ACAT (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture)
Its special role is to alert Christians around the world to the disgrace of torture and capital punish-ment. It urges them to react in order to help save the victims of torture and to create conditions for the elimination of such inhuman practices. ACAT takes its place alongside all those wishing to build a world free of torture.
The following are a few of its calls addressed to all governments:
27, rue de Maubeuge
Tel : (1) 42 80 01 60
Fax : (1) 42 80 20 89
EUROPEAN FAIR TRADE ASSOSCIATION (EFTA)
Alternative trading organisations are working on the principle that producers in developing countries should be paid an honest price for their products. Such organisations have been in existence for a number of decades now. Fair wages and working conditions for workers in developing countries are at the heart of their operation. They import a variety of products (coffee, tea, honey, wine, textiles, handicrafts and other commodities) directly from about 500 producer groups in Africa, Asia and Latin America. They sell these products through over 2000 local groups, exhibitions, campaigns, wholesale and mail-order catalogues, in Australia, Europe, Japan and the U.S.A. Alternative Trade can be de-scribed as:
AFRICA / EUROPE FAITH AND JUSTICE NETWORK (AEFJN)
“The network that offers a new way of mission for europe / africa today”
In January 1987, 38 Religious Missionary Congregations came together in order to pool their re-sources and to work out a new strategy in relation to the changing face of Mission in Europe & Africa. As the local Church in Africa was growing and becoming more autonomous and the European mission scene was one of ageing personnel and returning missionaries, the challenge lay in seeing how both of these new realities could be harmonised to work together to bring greater solidarity and justice to this new emerging scene in Africa. The AEFJN (Africa/ European Faith and Justice Net-work) was born out of this inaugural meeting and it has continued to consolidate itself as a network-ing unit between missionary Congregations in Europe/Africa.
The aims of the AEFJN include:
To achieve the above aims, a Secretariat was established in Brussels in order to have direct contact with the policy makers at the European level. This Secretariat is presently being staffed by two religious .
In order to enhance the work of the Secretariat and to create a forum where religious can lend their voices to having more just equitable relationships between Europe and Africa, Antennae have been established in different European and African countries. Their aim is to share information on the economical, political and social reality in Africa today and, through the light of faith, use their influence to lobby local politicians about what they believe are the best policies for a true, human and authentic development on the African Continent.
In the U.S.A. too there is a Faith and Justice Network with similar concerns and vision.
174, rue Joseph 11,
Fax: 32 2 23 11 413
Washington, D.C. 20017
Fax: 202 832 90 51
The following example is indicative of the many advantages of collaboration and net-working:
Networking between Spain - France- Canada:
In January 1995, a Zairian woman refugee in Canada, who was living in a home for asylum seekers, asked Mary Power a Canadian RSCJ if she could help find her husband and daughters. All she knew was that they were in Valencia, Spain.
Mary contacted our sisters in Valencia who managed to find the family - they were living in terrible conditions and without legal documentation. The family accepted the offer to come and live with the community while residence permits were applied for and eventually, after a lot of difficulty, obtained. Months passed, the two girls were in our school and through a friend (past student of the school) the family were able to rent a house with help from the different communities of the province.
After a year, still trying to get permission to enter Canada, we were told that it would have to be done through the Canadian Embassy in Paris. We contacted our community in Paris who got into contact with the Canadian Embassy. Although the reception we got, was far from warm, suddenly it all started happening. The Red Cross in Valencia received word that the family’s application would be considered if they would take charge of getting the tickets etc.
On 22 March 1996 we said goodbye to our friends - by now they were more than friends, they were part of our family. It was all made possible by networking between the communities of France, Spain and Canada.
Society of the Sacred Heart
Decide to Network
|Decide to network
Use every letter you write
Every conversation you have
Every meeting you attend
To express your fundamental beliefs and dreams.
Affirm to others
Think day and night about it.
And you will see a miracle happen:
18.104.22.168.1 Internet - A voice for the voiceless!
For the past 5 years, Fr. John Kilcrann who is working in Brazil, has been rendering an unique service to the people of Brazil by his use of the Internet System. Each week John assembles all relevant news as regards Justice and Peace from the Brazilian papers and then when he has this edited, it is sent out, in English, on the Internet System to the many subscribers who are interested in the issues affecting Latin America. John covers matters ranging from land issues, human rights abuses, ecology, favelas (slums), Indians etc. In this way he is able to get international support from the English speaking world for Justice and Peace issues in Brazil. A recent example of this was when the government issued a statement that demarcation rights to all Indian land could be challenged in the courts by those who wished to do so: this issue was highlighted on the Internet System and the German Government demanded from the Brazilian Government the reason why they were following these lines when the German Government had given financial aid precisely to support the Indians on their own territory. The Brazilian finance minister went to Germany to try and explain the Government’s thinking on this issues. One of the great aspects of using the Internet system to highlight Justice and Peace issues is that it cannot be censored.
During my time in Brazil and Paraguay, many Spiritans - Brazilians and non-Brazilians spoke very highly of the work of John Kilcrann and the unique way that the ageing provinces of Europe can help the new emerging province of Brazil to work on Justice and Peace issues at an international level.
John Skinnader, SPIRITAN
22.214.171.124.2 New Responses to New Calls
Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Christian Charity
126.96.36.199.3 Asking for Justice for the Christian minority
(Extracts from a letter addressed to the President of Pakistan by the Major Superiors Conference)
We, the Justice and Peace Commission, a body of Catholics, involved in justice issues, take the privilege of writing to your exalted office regarding the most basic right of franchise for the Religious Minorities of Pakistan. You are well informed about the religious minorities in Pakistan being deprived of their basic human right. All the discriminatory laws, including separate electorates, have been directly affecting the minorities....
Our demand is for the Constitutional right of the minorities to vote for the general seats (207 National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies) in the forthcoming elections to be held on Feb. 3, 1997.
We appeal for the Minorities to be given this Constitutional right to vote immediately so that they may fully participate in this forthcoming general election as equal citizens of Pakistan.
This kind gesture of yours will not need any change in any election laws....
In some cases, social attitudes and Muslim fanatical sections are vocal and active in their suspicion of and hostility to non-Muslims. These daily experiences of life have made minorities feel insecure in society. Therefore, in this respect, we need your support and request that you look into the following issues truthfully. If any further clarity is needed we would also request that you give us an appointment and the opportunity of speaking with you.
This law was also introduced in the 80s, as another instrument that operated discriminatorily against all the citizens of Pakistan. Religious minorities, especially Christians have been victimised by them. The new sections made defiling of the holy Qu’ran punishable with life imprisonment, and of the name of the holy Prophet with death, and of any other personage revered in Islam with three years imprisonment.
For the first time, religious qualifications have been added to the Penal code so that only a Muslim judge may hear cases under this section of the law.
These laws have made minorities even more vulnerable to persecution. Numerous cases have been registered against persons belonging to minority communities under one or two of these provisions. Political religious groups have often used the law to ignite religious passions and prejudices to gain power or to spread terror. This is evident from the fact that most of these cases have been registered by a member of these political religious groups.
However, it is not only the law that has been used to persecute minorities. Blatant incitement from the pulpit to kill in the name of religion has cost the lives of many innocent people.
The blasphemy laws are contrary to the International Human Rights charter and the Constitution of Pakistan.
We request the total repeal of these vague and unjust laws.
Education is a base of development for any nation. Almost all the Christian Educational institutions were serving the poorest of the poor with a true missionary spirit.
Since 1972, after the nationalisation of these institutions, the education ratio among the poor has drastically dropped. Thus social evils have become part and parcel of our society.
We demand that for the transformation of our society, all Christian educational institutes should be returned unconditionally. It is the right of each and every poor individual to receive an education.
CHRISTIAN WOMEN FORCED TO CONVERT TO ISLAM
We have experienced that in most cases Christian women are kidnapped or taken by force first and then pressurised to embrace Islam. After this kind of conversion they are not allowed to return to their original families and lose all contact with them.
In a recent judgement of the Lahore High Court, a judge ruled that if a Christian woman converts to Islam, her earlier Christian married status stands dissolved, and her subsequent marriage to a Muslim is valid. The ruling goes against the Sharia Act itself, which claims that it would not interfere with the personal and family laws of the religious minorities.
We would like to draw your attention to two things :
Some measures should be taken against the kidnappers and Justice must be provided for the victims. The role of the local officials and the Police (law enforcement) must be defined clearly in order to promote justice and human respect.
A law should be introduced to stop this kind of violation of the sacredness of Christian marriage.
We believe in the words of the late Martin Luther King Jr. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Can we create a society free from injustices so that justice may prevail everywhere?
Looking forward for your co-operation and concern for the minorities.
May God grant you good health and courage to make Pakistan a just society.
Major Superiors’ Conference, Pakistan
188.8.131.52.4 Street Retreats
After ten years working in an Ignatian Spirituality Centre in Sydney, disturbing questions surfaced in some of our hearts. The “spirituality movement” (renewal programmes, retreats, etc.) seemed not to be leading to social change. How can such experiences help us to move from desire to action for justice? In answer, a group of trained Directors (mostly women) set up a movement called the Street Re-treats in 1984. The place of the retreat is the streets of the inner city where the “Word made Flesh” is encountered in a thousand guises, listened to, reflected on, prayed about. The fruit of giving this type of retreat (short and prolonged experiences) is that it is a powerful process for getting at the roots of social sin, intolerance, sexism, racism, institutional oppression.
In a street retreat there is no sense of getting away from anything but of, hopefully, getting to the heart of things. It has meant for many, a radical shift in their world view and in their way of hearing the Gospels. This may alter their lifestyles, although not necessarily so.
What it does mean is, that one’s relationship with God is now deeply affected by the cry of the poor who are so close to the heart of God. In 1996 we opened a Centre in the red light district of Sydney known as Kings Cross to make this experience more available.
Society of the Sacred Heart, Australia
184.108.40.206.5 Mission for Life
Understanding that to stand for Justice and Peace is to fight for fullness of life for everyone, the Inter-congregational Commission for Justice and Peace (34 congregations) organised what it called Mission for Life.
Starting from the armed uprising of January 1, 1994 in Chiapas, pastoral workers in the diocese of San Cristobal have become the targets of attacks and threats from white guards, the Mexican army and security forces.
Twenty three people participated in the Mission for Life for six days. We formed six teams. The aim was to visit and share with those who were suffering from oppression, and who were living in fear, to give moral support, to denounce the injustice both within and beyond the country, to tell what was really going on and what pastoral workers and the indigenous people of Chiapas were suffering.
What we witnessed and denounced was the great marginalisation of these indigenous communities who barely have the wherewithal to subsist. There are a number of malnourished children. Those who possess the land employ armed guards to assassinate those who oppose their interest. There are pacts between these leaders and government authorities to exploit the indigenous people and rob them of their natural resources. The Mexican army is present in all these rural areas intimidating the population with armoured vehicles and guns.
We became aware that the information which gets out is one-sided and, we were able to witness what is really happening to the people and give testimony to the outside world. We saw how the pastoral workers, by their presence and commitment in such a complex situation which is totally devoid of justice, are able to sow and reap alternative solutions which can give birth to some hope.
Religious Society of Sacred Heart, Mexico
220.127.116.11.6 Women in a situation of war
It is now ten years since the activities of the KONY rebel group started in the Northern part of Uganda. The people in the north, mainly the Acholi tribe have suffered untold atrocities done to them by this unspeakable group. Last year thirty one students were abducted and made wives to the KONY rebel group’s officials. The students ranged from age fourteen to twenty. More than two hundred thousand people in this district are displaced. The number of victims is increasing each day. The rebels have done acts like cutting off people’s mouths to actually chopping them up in pieces. No one seems to be able to forsee when this suffering is going to end.
A group of women in Gulu which is the main town have resolved to make their contribution to changing this situation. A group of twenty women got together to begin an association that would work to help to bring about peace in the area. The group chose the name Ka in Kono which could be translated as “What if it were you”. These women have conscientised many other women to join them. Among other activities these women collect funds to assist the victims who are hospitalised and displaced with no resources. The women asked to discuss peace with the President. At the beginning of December, the President went to meet them and to officiate at their official inauguration as a peace loving people. These women have also been able to talk to some of the rebel leaders asking them to abandon violence and work toward peace and reconciliation. “When all fails” one of them said “we will resort to our traditional way of protesting against violence”. The traditional way would include mourning, fasting and going without washing till there is peace. They would also go half dressed. The courage and hope of these women is remarkable and bring us hope....
Society of the Sacred Heart, Uganda
18.104.22.168.7 Empowerment of Families, especially Women
The context of poverty and misery in which we live is probably the most delicate challenge to ad-dress. We do not want to encourage mendicancy and dependence, but our people literally have nothing and there are no social agencies to help. Again, during a regional assembly we were searching for ways to alleviate the problem of hunger. We thought that with the gifts we receive from appeals to our families and friends in the “first world” as well as appeals to charitable organisations we might be able to help malnourished children suffering from protein deficiency. In collaboration with the White Fathers who staff the parishes in Katuba and the laity, we were able to start a food programme. Five times a week after a medical evaluation which establishes their need, the children receive a protein-balanced porridge or corn meal, soya bean and sugar. We estimate that in Katuba some 2,500 - 3,000 children are being served, and as many as 6,000 throughout the city.
Mindful that this feeding programme could not continue eternally, we were searching for a way in which the parents themselves would be able to take on once more their role of providing for their children. It was in this context that we hit upon the idea of SHALAMO, that is, an agricultural project where groups of people go to the fields together to cultivate. The word SHALAMO means “fidelity to unity”. The idea of togetherness is very important; it provides security in numbers as there is strength and the people would be less harassed.
These fields are organised at the parish level and each family has about 2 ½ acres to work. To get them going we enlisted the aid and resource of the religious communities of women and later of men. These groups accomplished much in the line of reconciliation but production was deficient because we started late (the organisation took a long time) and because the rain stopped two months earlier than usual. The fruits of SHALAMO are extraordinary in terms of inter-relationships created or strengthened, that is, among the various ethnic groups, among the religious congregations who really worked together, between the religious Congregations and the laity, and between the religious Congregations and our Archbishop Kabanga, who praised the sisters publicly for this initiative. All of this in support of our efforts for increased collaboration.
We now have about 50 families who have small vegetable gardens which help them to make ends meet. We encourage teachers who are unpaid to begin small vegetable gardens and we give them some seeds to start with. Hopefully by the work of their hands they will be able to eat and may be even to sell some of what they grow. For others, we encourage groups of three or more teachers of mixed ethnicity to work together on a project, usually a small business. We give them some seed money and ask for a percentage to be reimbursed once the business takes hold. This project is less successful than the vegetable gardens because the inflation rate is so high and it is very difficult to realise a net profit.
Finally we need to continue to help the African woman to identify herself as woman apart from man; to have confidence in herself and in her gifts. We need to support her in her efforts towards liberation and in her refusal to be exploited and manipulated by man.
We have compiled and printed a small booklet on herbal medicine called, “Se soigner par les plantes” (“Treat your illness by using plants”). Some of the treatments are very successful especially the one against amoebic dysentery. We have circulated over 15,000 copies. This booklet has saved many lives here where people can’t afford to buy manufactured medicines.
We have sisters who are members of justice and peace commissions at both diocesan and parish levels, and as such have participated in the organisation of sessions and workshops to inform people about their rights as citizens, to prepare them for democracy and for elections. At the time of ethnic conflict in Likasi we helped solicit, collect, organise and distribute food, clothing and other basic necessities to both ethnic groups. We were successful in a campaign to oblige the agencies who provide water and electricity to post their rates so that people could calculate and verify their water and electric bills.
In our country, civil war is an ever-present threat and so we participate in movements dedicated to non-violent opposition to change the political system. We work with the laity to organise sessions and workshops to promote non-violent attitudes and reactions. Gandhi, Aquino and Jean Goss are familiar names among us. We sponsor non-violent activities such as ecumenical prayers for peace which en-gage Catholics, Protestants and Muslims. We have written letters and made visits to government and military officials protesting against their policy of incitement to ethnic violence. We have accompanied people arrested by the police, usually for minor infractions, to the local justice officials to see that real justice is done.
Society of St. Ursula, Zaire
22.214.171.124.8 Savings and Loan Programmes
The St. Madeleine Sophie Foundation has a savings and loan programme for mothers in three de-pressed areas in Montalban. A group of five to seven mothers who know one another and trust each other can borrow Pesos 1,000 each. They are required to pay back their loan in weekly instalments and to attend a weekly formation session of one hour. Non-compliance with the two requirements means suspension or dropout from the loan and savings programme. When they are able to repay that amount plus a membership fee and a share of the operating expense which amounts to Pesos 125, they can borrow again another Pesos 1,000.
Lily used her first loan to make candies and peanut butter. With the regular income from selling these foods, she was able to support her family’s needs especially when her husband did not have work. After full payment of her loan, Lily borrowed another P.1,000 to improve her peanut butter business.
Herminia Noval, RSCJ, Philippines
126.96.36.199.9 Social Analysis with Kids
A campsite with 250 rollicking kids ranging from 6 to 16 years old doesn’t usually conjure up serious analysis. This is not a usual group. The Jakarta Social Institute provides three days of camping for children of slum areas where they work, for children of scavengers and labourers whom they organise, and street kids with whom they hang out. The “Kampore” is more than a camp. It promotes serious social analysis that has educational and societal effects while providing a healthy interlude and lots of fun....
Their creativity has an effect on their society. They have performed the drama several times through-out the year to different audiences. They have read their Declaration first to legislators, then at an outdoor performance on Independence Day, and finally, they “declaimed it” at the presentation of a prestigious Human Rights Award to the head of the Social Institute. Probably the most significant so-cietal effect of these Kampores is in the lives of the kids who have learned to analyse their situation and to speak out about it in words, in music, in dance and in drama. They learn to take the first steps in responsibility for their own society.
It is generally acknowledged that the religious in South Africa played a key role in the dismantling of apartheid. The efforts of women and men religious, for over thirty-five years, working in collaboration with others, influenced to a great extent change of attitudes and behaviour, which eventually brought about the desired political and social changes.
Sister Dolores Renkel, now living in California, said that, at first, individual Congregations and Institutes of religious worked alone to fight against apartheid. They faced it quietly and daily in their individual institutions and ministries and slowly planted the seeds of change. Later, throughout the country, like spontaneous combustion, came the realisation that joint efforts were needed if apartheid itself were to be abolished as a system of governance. Individual groups could not do it alone. The major churches came together to make people aware of the evils of apartheid. Christian lawyers, Christian business persons, radio stations, alternative newspapers, leaders of the Catholic Schools Association worked hand in hand to pressure lawmakers for change.
In a special way, she told me, men and women religious played crucial roles in moving toward a new day of justice. Especially in the 1980s, through training programs sponsored by the Association of Women Religious, more extensive collaboration among groups began to have an intensive impact in the fields of education, health care, and pastoral work. Networks of independent small groups were forged, and all of them together united to wield more influence.
According to Sister Dolores, prayer accounted for much of their success. In the townships, women met in round the clock prayer groups for the cessation of violence, for reconciliation, justice and peace. The women not only prayed, they also talked and persuaded. Was it coincidence, she wondered, that three important events of liberation took place on feasts of Our Lady? President P.W. Botha was forced to resign on August 15, 1989. The ANC was given license once again to function as a legitimate political organisation on February 2, 1990. Nelson Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990.
In his inaugural speech, President Mandela paid a special tribute to the religious of South Africa for the role they played in bringing about the change in the country....
188.8.131.52.11 A Call to Religious Congregations
At a recent meeting organised under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in Harare (July 29 to August, 1996) about 50 participants from different African Countries, (English & Portuguese speaking) reflected on the challenges facing Africa today. Their reflections and conclusions are applicable to any continent and region. Below is an extract from the report drawn up by Patricia Mc Menamin (Superior General of our Lady of the Apostles) and Claude Grou (Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Cross), co-presidents of the JPIC Commission of the Union of Superiors General:
“The participants insisted on the need for the Church to develop a clearer vision of this social mission. However, this vision is not enough; the people and in particular, pastoral agents, need to be helped in developing a spirituality that will lead them to a strong commitment to pursue the task even in difficult situations.
“They also need a solid formation that includes social analysis and a clear understanding of the Church’s social teaching.
“The declaration made concrete pastoral recommendations. If the Church in Africa is to develop a spirituality of justice and peace, an ongoing effort of conversion to an attitude of dialogue and of closeness to the poor, concrete steps must be taken. Regional Episcopal Conferences need to establish task forces to review efforts and recommend lines of action; national conferences and dioceses need to establish and strengthen existing justice and peace commissions. Means must also be taken to increase communication and solidarity in the Church in Africa and with other churches as well.
“In conclusion, the declaration made an appeal to everyone, because the way to greater justice and peace requires participation on the part of all. Leaders of African countries have a key role to play and they need to work for the creation of a climate of justice and peace. The declaration appealed to our Christian sisters and brothers and asked for the support of all in advocating justice. Although this appeal was made to all Christians, it deserves a special attention from leaders of religious Congregations. We all have a special responsibility to respond actively by serious efforts in supporting the initiatives of our brothers and sisters in Africa who have committed themselves to intensifing their efforts to make justice and peace an integral part of their project of Evangelisation.”
184.108.40.206.1 Responsible stewardship of financial resources
In making investments, it is of great importance to entrust our portfolios to investment managers dedicated to the promotion of responsible stewardship of financial resources, who make ethically sound investment choices which promote the dignity and quality of human life while at the same time maximising investment returns. This is the policy of Christian Brothers investment services, Inc. 245 Park Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10167, USA, and of Religious Community Trust, 903 Commerce Drive, Suite 327, Oak Brook Illinois 60521, USA.
For any other bank or investment house to which we entrust our investment portfolio, we determine our investment criteria in line with ethically sound principles, such as:
We ask our investment managers to give priority to:
ICM Congregation, 1989
220.127.116.11.2 Social Justice Investment Criteria
As religious investors, the Society of St. Ursula has a social justice screen in our portfolio as criteria for selecting corporations in which we invest. Four major categories flowing from our Fundamental Option include military criteria; human rights criteria; economic/banking criteria; and environmental criteria. Each area states the criteria for investing or not investing (The SU Justice and Peace Commit-tee is currently updating the criteria).
As responsible, socially concerned investors, the Sisters of St. Ursula recommend that our investments be placed in corporations which:
RECOGNISE the moral responsibility engendered by the production of war materials and war products.
SEEK to eliminate exploitative economic and political practices which deny people their basic human rights.
CONTINUE to strengthen the ecological balance of nature through efforts to maintain the supply of natural resources and to control pollution.
ENHANCE AND AFFIRM the role of women in the work place.
We DO NOT invest in corporations which have a predominant orientation towards war. We define predominant orientation as that in which the corporation’s major source of income is linked to the proliferation of militarisation and war.
WE DO NOT invest in the “Top Ten DOD Contract” corporations which are:
We DO invest in corporations that exhibit evidence of efforts to convert from military production to peace oriented production.
Human Rights Criteria
We DO invest in corporations which:
We DO invest in corporations which:
From time to time, certain issues will emerge in the consciousness of our sisters, our nation, our Church that require attention and action. We are willing to examine the corporations in which we in-vested regarding these emerging social issues.
Sisters of St.Ursula
18.104.22.168.3 Socially Responsible Investment Policy
Investments made by the province should embody Gospel values, reflect the principal mission of the Redemptorists to evangelise the poor, and adhere to the social teachings of the Catholic Church.
Investments made in accord with the guidelines of the Socially Responsible Investment Policy are intended to foster and preserve the rights and dignity of the human person as a creature of God, con-serve and steward the gifts of creation, heed the cry of the poor, and carry on the mission of Jesus Christ the Saviour to bring freedom, dignity, and peace to the human family.
The Socially Responsible Investment Policy does not stand alone. Its principles must be integrated harmoniously with the overall Province Investment Policy which mandates primarily the preservation of capital and secondarily the acquisition of income from the investment of the province’s funds. The protection and safety of the province’s assets and the observance of the Prudent Man Rule, as outlined in the Province Investment Policy, must be observed in the implementation of the Socially Responsible Investment Policy....
Observing the Socially Responsible Investment Policy involves both positive and negative actions. In affirmation of the Socially Responsible Investment Policy, province funds will be invested in activities that promote the values outlined in the Socially Responsible Investments and not in companies whose products and activities are undeniably inconsistent with these principles and values, and which exhibit no hope for change - regardless of how promising the financial return.
A commitment to socially responsible investing involves research, dialogue, action, and investment screening. Each of these activities are explained in detail below.
The Bursar’s Office will maintain a membership in the Illinois Committee for Responsible Investments (ICRI) which has access to the research and data compiled by the Investor Responsibility Re-search Centre (IRRC), Washington, D.C. The Bursar’s Office will also maintain an association with the Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and the National Catholic Coalition for Responsible Investing (NCCRI). It will also maintain close ties with the Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc. (New York) which researches companies’ activities, monitors proxy issues, and maintains a library of research tools which help to identity and monitor the degree to which companies are in compliance with the socially responsible principles and values espoused by the St.Louis’ Province of the Redemptorists.
By maintaining close ties with the various religious investment services and regional coalitions listed above, the Bursar’s Office can work with these groups to :
C) Alternate Investments
As a religious institution committed to a policy of socially responsible investing, there are several forms of investment that directly further the social goals of the Church and the efforts of the Redemptorist community to evangelise the poor in body and mind as well as spirit. These include:
D) Criteria for Acceptable Corporate Investments
As a religious institution committed to a policy of socially responsible investing, the province will give priority to companies that:
Redemptorists / St. Louis’ Province- January 1989
DO NOT INVEST IN THE FOLLOWING DEADLY CORPORATIONS
The Worst Corporate Destroyers of Rainforests
WEMPCO - Hong Kong: a corporation which insists on logging rainforests in Nigeria.
MITSUBISHI CORPORATION - Japan: continues to buy vast amounts of rainforest timber.
SHELL OIL - United States, Netherlands: drills oil in the pristine Peruvian Amazon headwaters.
MACMILLAN BLOEDEL - Canada: continues to turn the world’s last temperate rainforests into newsprint and phone books.
BRITISH COLUMBIA FOREST ALLIANCE - Canada: continues to convince the Canadian public that clear-cutting the nation’s last rainforests is a new kind of environmentalism.
OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM - United States: drills oil in Ecuador in spite of protests from the rain-forest peoples.
SOLID TIMBER SENDRIAN - Malaysia: is now logging Guyana’s pristine rainforest.
For personal Reflection and Discussion
Parable: THE FLOATING CITY OF MERCY5
Once upon a time, a group of very religious and charitable minded people made up of Bishops, Priests, Religious, Brothers and Sisters, along with very devoted lay people - doctors, teachers, social workers - formed a society.
Their aim was to instruct people in the Catholic faith, good morals and upright living, to help suffering and neglected humanity, the children, the orphans, the sick, the aged, the derelicts of our world.
In their great desire of helping others and of carrying out good and relevant services and minis-tries, they bought a passenger ship. Part of the ship was formed into a large and beautiful church where people were taught the word of God and where most inspiring religious services were conducted.
Another part of the ship was changed into a very good school where poor children were given good education.
Still another part of the huge liner was reshaped into a modern hospital. There, hundreds of poor patients were lovingly tended. Elsewhere in the ship they built a well provided orphanage. Any-one could see there, crowds of orphans being pampered with love and care. Other parts of the ship were remodelled to serve as a home for the aged, a crèche, a rehabilitation centre for alcoholics and drug addicts and other many charitable, educational and social works. Truly that mighty liner had become a "Floating City of Mercy”. Working in the ship there were large numbers of zealous priests, dedicated sisters and brothers, nurses, teachers and social workers. Their dedication and devotedness was most admirable!
One day, the Floating City of Mercy sprang a leak. The sea water slowly began flooding the hold of the ship. A lonely visitor to the ship happened to detect the leak and immediately raised the alarm.
He went to the doctors and sisters and said: "Doctors, sisters there is a leak in the ship. Hurry up! Do something about it!” But the doctors and the sisters replied: "We are doctors, we are sisters, our duty is to care for the patients, not to engage in ship repairing work." And they went on looking after the sick with single minded dedication.
Then, our man ran to the Religious and teachers. He said: "Rev Mothers, Dear Teachers, there is a leak in the boat. Please, do something. It's urgent! But they raised their eyes and mumbled: "Oh no! Our vocation is to teach poor children and give them the best available education. God never called us to do mechanical works!"
Finally, in despair our man ran to the Priests and to the Church authorities. He cried out: Listen! There is a leak in the ship. We are sinking! Stop all our preaching and ministries! Run to the hold and repair the leak! It's an emergency! Hurry up!
"Not at all!" the Church authorities replied, "Priests are supposed to do the work for which they were ordained. They cannot neglect their priestly ministries and vocation! Let the lay people see to it!" And so, in the Floating City of Mercy, the priests and religious, brothers and sisters, doctors and social workers beautifully and most inspiringly went on with great dedication doing the work their vocation called them to. Everything looked fine and peaceful. Only that a few days later, the ship with all its pupils, patients, orphans, old people sank to the bottom o[ the sea along with their dedicated band of priests, sisters, brothers, doctors, teachers and other highly motivated helpers.
Ideas Helpful for Discussion
The story was prepared to initiate a discussion on the relevance of the ministries and works of the Church in our world today. We wanted to stress The point that mere "spiritual and charitable" works will not suffice in the circumstances we live at this moment. We need to stress both:
PROMOTION OF FAITH ~ PROMOTION OF JUSTICE.
In the context of today's world crisis discuss the following:
1 Bosch, pp 10-34
2 Donal Dorr, The Social Justice Agenda: Justice, Ecology, Power and the Church (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991) p.54
3 Shalom, p.7
4 Although the situation has since changed, this has been included here as an example of ethics in Investment management.
5 Ribes, p.60