I want to recognize the importance of the Pope’s apology to Survivors, their families, and communities. For many Survivors, I know that hearing the words of contrition from the Pope was, and is, an essential factor in their personal recoveries and growth. My thoughts and prayers were with them as they listened. Despite this historic apology, the Holy Father’s statement has left a deep hole in the acknowledgment of the full role of the Church in the Residential School system by placing blame on individual members of the Church. It is essential to underscore that the Church was not just an agent of the state, nor simply a participant in government policy, but was a lead co-author of the darkest chapters in the history of this land.
By Inés San Martín for Crux Now - ROME — Laypeople in Chile opposed to Pope Francis’ appointment of a bishop with ties to the country’s most notorious abuser priest have occupied the local cathedral, demanding the bishop’s resignation. The demonstration came on Saturday, the anniversary of the day Pope Francis announced the appointment one year ago. “We’re Catholics who oppose the pastoral exercise of Bishop [Juan de la Cruz] Barros,” the group, which calls itself the “Lay Men and Women of Osorno,” write in a statement issued Saturday night.
By Luke for DC Indy Media. Below is a month-by-month video review of activism, primarily in the Washington, DC region. If you think there are no protests in DC this video will disabuse of that thought. In fact, it was a busy year of protests on a wide range of issues. If these videos were shown on the commercial media or covered regularly by the corporate press it would look like the United States was in revolt. Luke who made the video is based in DC but he cannot cover all the protests that go on here. For example, few protests inside of Congress are included in this video, even though there have been many. Highlights of the past year include Black Lives Matter, the Baltimore Uprising, the TPP, the Pope, the climate protests and more. Below the video is a list of the protests covered by Luke, a DC independent media maker. Luke is primarily covering DC-area protests. In reality, many cities across the country have regular protests on the economy, climate, racism, wars, low wages and more. In the last couple of years as pipelines and other carbon infrastructure is being put in place we are also seeing protests outside of urban areas. When we are in the midst of the struggle, even if we are aware of many protests, we often can still not see how active the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice is.
By Alice Slater in Common Dreams - The stirring condemnation of nuclear weapons by Pope Francis today at the United Nations and his call for their prohibition and complete elimination in compliance with promises made in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), signed by the U.S. in 1970, 45 years ago, should give new momentum to the current campaign to start negotiations on a ban treaty. This initiative endorsed by 117 non-nuclear weapons states to sign the Humanitarian Pledge being circulated initially by Austria, to "fill the legal gap" for nuclear disarmament and ban the bomb just as the world has banned chemical and biological weapons would create a new legal norm, which was not established in the NPT which provided that the five nuclear weapons states (US, Russia, UK, France, China) would make "good faith" efforts for nuclear disarmament, but didn’t prohibit their possession, in return for a promise from all the other nations not to acquire nuclear weapons.
By Tom Weis in The Huffington Post - History will be made this week when Pope Francis addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Only the Pope and his closest advisors know what he will say, but if his remarkable 184-page climate encyclical, "On Care for Our Common Home," is any indication, it will include some brutally honest straight talk about America's moral imperative to address the global climate crisis. As someone who spends most of his waking hours thinking about how we solve this planetary emergency, I was deeply inspirited by the pontiff's urgent call for a "bold cultural revolution." It will be interesting to see how Republicans in Congress, most of whom have yet to embrace the basic reality of climate science, respond to the Pope's moral message of climate truth and justice. As evidenced by nearly a dozen Republican members of Congress who just introduced a House Resolution on conservative environmental stewardship, the Pope's visit is already having an impact.
By David Swanson - I lack patience. I admit it. There's my confession. I couldn't sit through the Pope's slow and plodding and polite speech to Congress, waiting for him to say something against the primary thing that body does and spends our money on. But finally he got there: "Being at the service of dialogue and peace," he said, "also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade."
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance - In his speech to a Joint Session of Congress Pope Francis focused on environmental degradation, the death penatly, poverty and immigration and framed his discussion by highlighting three activists along with Abraham Lincoln. The three activists were the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. We have covered Dr. King a great deal on Popular Resistance but have not covered Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. The roots of Dorothy Day's political philosophy were in socialism and anarchism and later in life Catholicism. Dorothy Day was one of the founders of the Catholic Workers Movement in 1933, a pacifist movement that continues to combine direct aid for the poor and homeless through nonviolent direct action. It is known for its houses of hospitality in poor sections of cities as well as activity in support of labor unions, human rights, cooperatives, and the development of a nonviolent culture. Thomas Merton, who was a close friend of Dorothy Day -- a friendship of letters, they never actually met -- shared a commitment to nonviolence and doing works of mercy for the poor.
By Ruby Mellen for Huffington Post - Sister Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a Kentucky native ordained by the Roman Catholic Women Priests and one of the leaders of the protest, voiced frustration at what she said was a great injustice. "This is an act of violence, denying priesthood to women," she told The Huffington Post. Pope Francis, Sevre-Duszynska said, should draw the connection between the oppression of women within the church and violence against women in the world. Doing so, she said, would heal "hundreds, thousands of years of misogyny." "I think folks are forgetting that Pope Francis is the CEO of an institution that's a patriarchy. It wasn't heavy theology," Bourgeois said. "It's called discrimination."
By Bill Berkowitz in Truthout - Why is Pope Francis conferring sainthood on a man whose actions led to the destruction of native peoples in California? Sainthood for Serra, a man who founded missions where native peoples were imprisoned and tortured, and where thousands died? At the time of the announcement, it seemed that Pope Francis, who seems to be a man with a great yearning for social justice, might be unfamiliar with the complete Serra story? In January, when Pope Francis announced plans to canonize Serra, it opened deep and old wounds. On Wednesday, however, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., Serra, who the pope called an “evangelizer of the West,” will become America’s first Hispanic saint. Serra the “evangelizer,” was also an agent of colonialism, death and destruction.
By Melinda Tuhus for BXE - On the day the Pope arrived in Washington, DC, Beyond Extreme Energy entered the 15th day of their water-only fast, outside of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) headquarters, 888 1st St. NE, D.C. The fast, which began on September 8th, is calling on FERC to issue no new permits for oil and gas infrastructure. The fast is growing as two women travelled across the country to join Beyond Extreme Energy’s 18-day fast at FERC). Their communities have been directly harmed by the permits FERC has issued or has pending regarding fracked gas The call for No New Permits is in line with Pope Francis's call in his recent encyclical for the world's leaders to immediately address the already devastating impacts of climate change – fueled by the burning of fossil fuels – especially on the poor who have contributed the least to the problem.
By Institute For Public Accuracy - Peace activists are planning a series of actions in Washington, D.C. and around the country coinciding with the visit of Pope Francis. Today, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports “Five demonstrators were arrested Monday morning at the main gate of Hancock Field while demonstrating against a weaponized drone program operating out of the base. The group, which regularly rallies against the unmanned aerial vehicles and wars in the Middle East, held signs reading ‘Drones Kill Children’ before members were arrested. … The protesters said in a statement that they staged the demonstration in honor of the International Day of Peace, a UN-designated day of non-violence and ceasefire.” Activists from Catholic Worker communities participated in the protests. There were similar protests today organized by the Nevada Desert Experience, with three arrests outside Creech Air Force Base.
By Sandra Steingraber for EcoWatch - Just two weeks before Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., where he is expected to call for urgent action to protect the world’s environment, 28 people, led by local members of the Catholic Worker Movement, formed human chains shortly after sunrise this morning across both entrances of Crestwood Midstream on Route 14. Joining the protest was famed peace activist Martha Hennessy—the granddaughter of Catholic Worker co-founder and candidate for sainthood, Dorothy Day. As in previous blockades this summer, the protesters carried with them a seven-foot-tall replica of Pope Francis’ recent encyclical letter on climate change, Laudato Si! On Care for Our Common Home, as they blocked trucks from entering or leaving.
By Al Jazeera - Pope Francis cast himself as the spiritual and political leader of the world's oppressed on Thursday evening with a remarkable mea culpa for the sins and crimes of the Catholic Church against the indigenous peoples during the colonial conquest of the Americas. Francis “humbly” begged forgiveness at a gathering of indigenous leaders in Bolivia in the presence of Bolivia's first-ever indigenous president, Evo Morales, the climactic high of Francis' weeklong South American tour. In the speech, Francis noted that Latin American church leaders in the past had acknowledged that “grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God.” St. John Paul II, for his part, apologized to the continent's indigenous for the “pain and suffering” caused during the 500 years of the church's presence in the Americas during a 1992 visit to the Dominican Republic.
By Roisin Davis in Truthdig - Pope Francis this week embarked on a seven-day “homecoming” tour of Latin America on his unstoppable quest to defend the planet and the poor. The continent—the most unequal region in the world, and the Argentine pontiff’s home turf—will likely provide fertile ground for more of his legendary sermons on poverty and inequality. After addressing a crowd of a million in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on Monday, Francis is scheduled to attend a meeting of grass-roots political activists and visit one of the continent’s largest prisons, in Bolivia, as well as a slum and a children’s hospital in Paraguay. While he advocates for South America’s impoverished and disenfranchised, its prisoners, its indigenous peoples and its children, one group is unlikely to feature in Francis’ apparently radical agenda: its women.