US Bishops: We Unequivocally State That Racism is a Life Issue

In their new pastoral letter against racism, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love,” the US Bishops write:

The injustice and harm racism causes are an attack on human life.  The Church in the  United States has spoken out consistently and forcefully against abortion, assisted suicide,  euthanasia, the death penalty, and other forms of violence that threaten human life.  It is not a  secret that these attacks on human life have severely  affected people of color , who are  disproportionally affected by poverty, targeted for abortion, have less access to healthcare,  have the greatest numbers on death row , and are most likely to feel  pressure  to end their lives  when facing serious illness . As bishops, we unequivocally state that racism is a life issue. Accordingly, we will not cease to speak forcefully against and work toward ending racism.  Racism directly places brother and sister against each other, violating the dignity inherent in each person.  The Apostle James commands the Christian:  “show  no partiality as you  adhere  to the  faith  in  our  glorious  Lord  Jesus  Christ ” ( Jas  2:1) .



New Poll Shows Disturbing Amount of Antisemitism in Europe

via CNN:

Anti-Semitic stereotypes are alive and well in Europe, while the memory of the Holocaust is starting to fade, a sweeping new survey by CNN reveals. More than a quarter of Europeans polled believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Nearly one in four said Jews have too much influence in conflict and wars across the world.

One in five said they have too much influence in the media and the same number believe they have too much influence in politics.

Meanwhile, a third of Europeans in the poll said they knew just a little or nothing at all about the Holocaust, the mass murder of some six million Jews in lands controlled by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime in the 1930s and 1940s…

But at the same time, a third of Europeans said that Jews use the Holocaust to advance their own positions or goals…

A third of Europeans said commemorating the Holocaust distracts from other atrocities today, with higher than average numbers of Germans, Austrians, Poles and Hungarians stating that…

More than a quarter of respondents (28%) said most anti-Semitism in their countries was a response to the actions of the state of Israel…

Roughly one out of three people there said Jews were too influential in political affairs around the world, and more than a quarter of Poles and Hungarians said they had too much influence on the media.



Pope Francis: Freedom Is Threatened by Poverty, Consumerism, and the Absolutization of Technology

via Vatican News:

The Pope said Christians must work together to overcome “whatever deprives men and women of the treasure of freedom.”

Pope Francis then spoke about three situations in which people have difficulty living their God-given freedom: extreme poverty, technological domination, and reduction of the person to a consumer…

Pope Francis said technological development can also negatively impact human freedom, “when it is not accompanied by adequate improvements in responsibility, values, and conscience.”

“The sense of limits is lost,” the Pope said, “resulting in an inability to perceive the epochal challenges with which we are faced. The absolutization of technology can turn against humanity.”



Injustice is the Root of Poverty

via Pope Francis:

Jesus heard the cry of Peter. Let us ask for the grace to hear the cry of all those tossed by the waves of life. The cry of the poor: it is the stifled cry of the unborn, of starving children, of young people more used to the explosion of bombs than happy shouts of the playground. It is the cry of the elderly, cast off and abandoned to themselves. It is the cry of all those who face the storms of life without the presence of a friend. It is the cry of all those forced to flee their homes and native land for an uncertain future. It is the cry of entire peoples, deprived even of the great natural resources at their disposal. It is the cry of every Lazarus who weeps while the wealthy few feast on what, in justice, belongs to all. Injustice is the perverse root of poverty. The cry of the poor daily grows louder but is heard less and less. Every day that cry gets louder, but every day heard less, drowned out by the din of the rich few, who grow ever fewer and more rich.

In the face of contempt for human dignity, we often remain with arms folded or stretched out as a sign of our frustration before the grim power of evil. Yet we Christians cannot stand with arms folded in indifference, or with arms outstretched in helplessness. No. As believers, we must stretch out our hands, as Jesus does with us.