At the heart of the Columban mission is cross-cultural exchange, the belief that God speaks to us through the experiences of others, particularly those who are marginalized or living in poverty, and that we should open our hearts to learn from those experiences. As St. Columban puts it: “a life unlike your own can be your teacher.”
Open cut hard rock mining, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia; Wikimedia Commons
On May 24, 2015, Pope Francis issued his papal encyclical letter Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, in which he urged the world to protect our common home and to end man-made climate change.
This month we take a magnifying glass to U.S. foreign policy regarding North & South Korea, US/Mexico border enforcement policies, and some quick takes on federal funding and more.
In August last year, the Columbans in the United States released a statement responding to the increasing tensions between the United States and North Korea, and urging diplomacy between the two nations. At the time, North Korea was conducting a series of missile and nuclear tests, which, along with threats and heated rhetoric from both North Korea and the U.S., raised the threat of nuclear escalation.
This past November, I had the chance to visit the Columbans serving on the US/Mexico border. While I was on this trip, I met a woman who had previously worked in a maquila, a factory in Mexico operated by a foreign corporation. The company paid her less than minimum wage, and required her to work over 40 hours a week. One day at work, she was badly hurt and needed medical attention. Instead of helping, the maquila fired her so they didn't have to pay her medical bills.
We are faith-based organizations and religious bodies with constituencies in the United States, and close partners and mission representatives serving in many regions around the world. We have a vision for a fair, humane, and just North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation.
In recent weeks, hurricanes and powerful storms ravaged our homes across the Caribbean to the shores of the United States. We pray, mourn and hope with all of the victims from Dominica to Florida. In particular, we remember the most vulnerable were not prepared to cope with the storms and have fewer resources to recover.
In Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands we are desperately trying to help our people survive amidst the most destructive natural disaster to visit our islands in a century.
Sociologists claim that one of the major problems in much of the world is that nowadays people only listen to, read of and converse with people who think the same as them.
Power and prosperity can stifle the Spirit, blind us to others and prevent us from understanding the weak. Witness the rich man who never understood or appreciated Lazarus at his door. (Lk 16:19-31)
Washington, D.C.- Yesterday, the Trump Administration sent official notice to Congress calling for a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. For nearly twenty years, the Interfaith Working Group on Trade and Investment has called for a transparent and open trade policy that respects and supports the human dignity of every person, the integrity of God’s creation, and advances the common good.
Based on the leaked proposal in April, we fear that a modernization of NAFTA that would include some of the worst provisions of TPP will further exacerbate inequities at the expense of vulnerable populations and creation.
Last week, the new administration released a series of rapid-fire executive orders targeting these very things Columbans care about most deeply: humane migration policies, caring for creation, promoting peace, and advancing faithful trade policies.
As people of faith, we must respond to attacks on the most vulnerable with action. Every day this week, we’ll send you an opportunity to respond to one of the executive orders that were signed last week.
Copyright © 2019 Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Washington, D.C.