Wednesday, May 24, 2017

When Trump Meets Francis/ Insightful Commentary in Commonweal

..."Francis has described his worldview as “Magellan’s gaze”: “One thing is to observe reality from the center and another to see it from the last place where you arrived […] An example: Europe seen from Madrid in the 16th century was one thing; however, when Magellan arrives at the end of the American continent, he sees Europe from a new point reached and understands another thing.” In seeing the world as an explorer (not a settler or a conqueror), as the son of immigrants, and as the leader of a global faith community, he takes it in with his mind, his heart, and his hands. Contrast how Trump kicked off his first foreign trip—the largest arms sale in U.S. history—to how Francis began his, a trip to “the peripheries” of Lampedusa in July 2013 at which he said: “Immigrants dying at sea, in boats which were vehicles of hope and became vehicles of death. That is how the headlines put it. When I first heard of this tragedy a few weeks ago, and realized that it happens all too frequently, it has constantly come back to me like a painful thorn in my heart. So I felt that I had to come here today.”

Forget the populist qualities that Trump and Francis supposedly share: Francis has a view of the world that Trump does not

Francis’s emphasis on the peripheries of the world was further confirmed with the surprise announcement on May 21 of a new consistory for the appointment of five cardinals from Mali, Laos, Sweden, Barcelona, and San Salvador (there is no new cardinal for North America). His geopolitical view is characterized by deep insight and a lack of heavy-handed interventions with local churches when it comes to decoding and discerning the complexity of global Catholicism and the world in general. He sees parallel trajectories in the fundamental solidarity between the Church and the world, quietly rejecting notions (“the Benedict Option” and other, more theologically refined versions of it) about withdrawing from the public square. Francis sees the world as a city, not a world divided between the “city of God” and the secular; a cosmopolitan and multicultural city for the Church to live in, not as a frontier to be conquered and fenced. He does not see the Church as a monastery to which Christians must retreat, under siege from the world. Francis’s world is not for settlers, but for the re-settled: the migrants and refugees who represent the religious icons of the seeker and of the bearer of the theological virtue of hope in a world where sometimes the first who are incapable of giving hope are Christians.

It will be interesting to watch and analyze Trump’s audience with Francis, because the meeting must be read in light of three “signs of our times.” The first sign is the widening gap between the United States and Europe. There is an ecclesial component (the theological and political opposition to Francis centered in the U.S.) and a geopolitical one (the Trump administration’s skepticism toward Europe and the European project from a political, economic, demographic, and military standpoint). It’s worth noting, for instance, that as the European project entered a period of economic and political crisis, EU leaders made a point of meeting with Francis—three times between November 2014 and March 2017.

The second sign is the political exploitation of religion for a hypocritical “turn to values.” In very different ways and with admittedly different goals, Trump and Francis de-emphasize biopolitical issues: what dominates their discourse are relations between political power and the economy. Francis expressed his view in the encyclical Laudato Si’, an encyclical as much about the relations between political and economic power as about the care for creation.

The third sign are the roles Trump and Francis embody given new political fault lines: nationalism vs. globalism, ethno-tribalism vs. cosmopolitanism. A worldview emphasizing walls is first of all impractical, but also immoral. Both the pope and the president deal with this issue on behalf of communities and populations divided by it. This doesn’t say much about their radically different positions on migrants and refugees, on the universal right to health care, or on the new arms race (just to mention a few examples), but it’s illustrative of the world they’re working in...."


ABC News "Foster parent shortage dire as heroin overdoses rise"

Features Interview with Kathryn Shea ARCWP

"In a policy brief from July 2016 titled "Families in Crisis," the HRSA stated that the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Health Services “is concerned that the opioid crisis could exacerbate child abuse and neglect given that we’re seeing a link nationally. State child welfare systems have reported that they are experiencing an increase in families coming to their attention with substance use problems impacting their ability to safely parent.”
One Florida community has been hit particularly hard by this phenomenon.
Kathryn Shea, a licensed clinical social worker and president of the Florida Center for Early Childhood, told ABC News the problem is especially acute in Florida’s Judicial Circuit 12, which includes Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties.
“The little ones in foster care are coming in enormous rates right now because of their parents’ heroin addictions,” she said...."

Article About SISTERS FOR CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY, My Religious Community


On Feb. 19, 2015, The Catholic Globe initiated its series of articles highlighting the Year of Consecrated Life, promoted by Pope Francis. The year concluded Feb. 2, as does our series of articles with this edition.
Responding to Vatican II’s call to include participatory models of organization, the Sisters For Christian Community (SFCC) emerged as a distinct community in 1970 – to give witness in the form of the traditional vows of obedience, chastity and poverty, expressed as listening, loving and serving.
Lillanna Kopp (Sister Audrey Kopp), a scholar of anthropology and sociology, in the years immediately following Vatican II, traversed the United States and Canada speaking at “Chapters of Renewal” and diocesan sisters’ councils about the options of structural renewal within women’s
religious communities, as called for by the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65.
Kopp believed there were sisters and women who sought a structure and form of religious life outside of a traditional congregational organization, who still wished to serve to their fullest capacity according to the Gospel premise. She envisioned these women transcending geographical distances and brought into a network of communication and unity. Kopp created a profile that delineated a new type of community based on a common charism of unity in Christ.
In August 1971, almost 40 women, inspired by Kopp, gathered in Dunrovin, Minn., to chart their future together. They refined and affirmed an official document of identity and purpose, and stressed simplicity, community and solidarity as their hallmarks.
These women resolved first to explore a new structure of religious life – one that embodied the vision and challenge of Vatican II – solidarity and equality through self-determination and collegiality. Through this new structure, SFCC intended to give witness to the church as a community bed-rocked in their shared spirituality that found its source in the Christ prayer, “that all may be one.”
By 1995 SFCC defined itself as a “prophetic-ecclesial community” driven to “speak the truth of love and grow in the maturity of Christ” (Eph 4:15). SFCC described itself as a non-canonical community of consecrated women who are self-determining, self-regulating and self-governing.
Since its inception, SFCC have gathered every summer in general assembly to construct their network of communication, to affirm their unity and commitment and to explore ever widening parameters of ministry. In the 40 years that have passed since that first assembly, more than 1,000 women have embraced the order. As of 2015, there are 31 SFCC regions spread throughout 14 nations,
SFCC may live alone or with others. Community is maintained through personal contacts, regional and international gatherings and newsletters. SFCC is collegial in all decisions that affect the community. Each member is self-supporting and dedicates her energies and talents to the service of building Christian community. SFCC minister in parishes and the professional world.
In the Diocese of Sioux City, Sister Mary Ann Nacke represents the Sisters For Christian Community.
The daughter of Joseph and Maude (Barlow) Nacke grew up in Remsen and graduated from St. Mary’s High School. The religious life was no stranger to her as two of her aunts were Benedictine nuns.
She was a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, serving in the Diocese of Sioux City in schools, parishes and as a mental health worker in the chaplain’s department at the Mental Health Institute in Cherokee, before embracing the Sisters For Christian Community about 35 years ago.
“I didn’t separate myself from my former community because I didn’t like religious life or because I became alienated from them,” she insisted. “I still have a great deal of love and affection for the sisters.”
In joining the Sisters For Christian Community, Sister Mary Ann pointed to the blessings associated with being a member of the order.
“I simply wanted a place in my ministry that was more in line with Vatican II,” she said. “If you believe that God works in all circumstances and situations, then you can understand why I praise and thank God for all the good that has come to me.”
Sister Mary Ann retired as a marriage and family therapist after teaching for 22 years at Siouxland Family Practice Resendency. Involved for decades with the Charismatic Renewal, she continues to work with events coordinated by the Blessed Sacrament Spirit-led Intercessory Prayer Group.
More information on the Sisters for Christian Community may be found at

Action Needed Now : Call Senate Republican Moderates so that Access to Health Care Insurance for Millions of Poor and Middle Class Will Not Be on Chopping Block for Tax Cuts to Rich

According to New York Times article today, May 24th, "Stop Senate's health bill," by David Lannhardt, Senate Republicans are planning to dismantle health insurance that covers millions of poor and middle class to provide tax cuts for the rich. There is a small group of Senate Republicans, who may be open to stop a bill that will take care health care insurance from millions of their fellow citizens.
Now is the time for action.

Cite Pope Francis: "Health is not a consumer good, but a universal right, so access to health services cannot be a privilege." Pope Francis


Call the Republican Moderate Senators below who can stop this bill in Washington DC 202-224-3121

Lamar Alexander
Shelley Moore Capito
Bill Cassidy
Susan Collins
Dean Heller
Lisa Murkowski
Rob Portman

and Call Your Senators from your State.
I plan to call them all!

Marco Rubio 202 224 3041
Bill Nelson 202- 224-5274

"Francis asks Trump to work for peace in closely watched Vatican meeting" by Joshua J. McElwee | May. 24, 2017, National Catholic Reporter

Francis asks Trump to work for peace in closely watched Vatican meeting

  • Pope Francis meets U.S. President Donald Trump during a private audience at the Vatican May 24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

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    Pope Francis met Wednesday morning with U.S. President Donald Trump, speaking privately in the apostolic palace with him for about 30 minutes and asking later that he work for peace in the world.

    The atmosphere for the first encounter between the two world leaders, known to disagree on a range of issues, appeared at the beginning to be stiff and formal. As the pope greeted the president in the antechamber of the papal library, where they held their private meeting, he kept a straight face and did not smile.

    Following their discussions, however, Francis took more of a jovial tone. As the door to the library opened and he was introduced to First Lady Melania Trump, he shook her hand gently, looked at the president, and joked: “What do you give him to eat?”

    During the traditional exchange of gifts, Francis gave Trump a large medallion he has given to many world leaders that depicts an olive tree holding together two pieces of a fractured rock, telling the president: “I am giving you this because I hope you may be this olive tree to make peace.”

    Trump responded: “We can use peace.”

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    The pope also gave the president four of his writings: The two apostolic exhortations Evangelii Gaudium and Amoris Laetitia, the environmental encyclical Laudato Si’, and his message for 2017’s World Day of Peace.

    Francis told Trump he had personally signed for him the gifted copy of the peace message, which focuses on nonviolence as a political strategy. Referring to the documents, Trump responded, “Well, I’ll be reading them.”

    At the end of the meeting, the president told the pope: "Thank you, I won't forget what you said." Francis responded in Spanish: "Buena suerte," or, "Good luck."

    The May 24 encounter has been one of the most anticipated between a pope and a head of state in recent history. Trump and Francis are known to disagree on a number of issues, such as on protection of the environment and how immigrants should be treated.

    Their disagreement on the latter issue famously caused a few days of high tension in 2016, when Francis questioned Trump's Christianity over his support for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and Trump called the pope's remark about him "disgraceful."

    In a statement following Francis and Trump’s meeting May 24, the Vatican described their conversation as “cordial” and said “satisfaction was expressed for the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America.”

    “It is hoped that there may be serene collaboration between the State and the Catholic Church in the United States, engaged in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants,” the statement continued.

    It is unknown exactly what Francis and Trump said to one another during the private portion of their meeting. Besides a Vatican translator, the two leaders were the only people present in the room.

    Thirty minutes is a normal length of time for a meeting between the pope and a head of state.

    While Francis spent about 52 minutes in a meeting with former President Barack Obama in March 2014, the pope’s time was also constrained as he went directly from meeting with Trump to his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

    Francis first greeted Trump in the apostolic palace’s Sala del Tronetto, the antechamber of the papal library.

    As the two shook hands, the president thanked the pope for having the meeting. They then walked into the library together, pausing for photos before sitting down. Trump smiled broadly as the camera shutters clicked but Francis kept a straight face and looked to the floor at points.

    They then sat across a wooden desk from each other, the pope leaning forward in his chair. The president told the pope it was “a very great honor” to meet him. The Vatican cut the live video feed of the meeting at 8:32 am to let the leaders speak in private.

    The video feed came back on at 9:02 a.m. as Francis greeted the first lady, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner. The pope then greeted the other members of the U.S. delegation, which included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster.

    During the gift exchange, Trump presented Francis with a large black box that contained a set of the writings of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who the pope had cited in his address to Congress during his visit to the U.S. in 2015. “This is a gift for you,” said the president as he presented the box. “I think you’ll enjoy them. I hope you do.”

    "Good Boundaries Free You" by Sarri Gilman

    Vatican Envoy to UN: War Main Reason for Emigration

    Tuesday, May 23, 2017

    "Joy is like the rain", the story and the song with Miriam Therese Winter

    On this day when the world mourns the loss of life in Manchester, England,
    let us remember that God is weeping with all who weep today.

    ICE Makes Criminals: What Should Priests Do? /Media Release from RCWP and ARCWP

    ICE makes Criminals:    What Should Priests Do?
    For Immediate Release: May 23, 2017

    From Roman Catholic Women Priests  
    Contact: Victoria Rue, M.Div., Ph.D., 831-566-1839,
    From the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
    Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska, 859-684-4247,

    When ICE arrests an undocumented mother, what should priests do? Priests must find ways to say NO.  

    When ICE waits outside a sanctuary church for an undocumented family or person to step over the threshold, what should priests do? Priests must find ways to say NO.

    When ICE arrests the undocumented, they call the person a criminal. ICE then says they are deporting criminals. But they are not criminals. What should priests do? Priests must find ways to say NO.

    Two private prison corporations — CCA and GEO Group — dominate the immigration detention industry.  The CCA-operated South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley holds about 500 women and children. It is under expansion to grow to an expected capacity of 2,400.  The GEO-run Karnes County Texas Residential Center houses mothers and children and now holds around 600 women and children, but will expand to a capacity of 1,200.  Women and children of the Americas are the new locked up slaves of the USA.
    Priests must find ways to say NO.

    CCA’s profits for their private detention industry is over $200,000,000.  GEO’s profits are over $150,000,000.  Javier Flores Garcia, an undocumented father of two children, has lived for the past six months out of fear of deportation in a sanctuary church in Philadelphia, Arch United Methodist Church.  Javier used to make $2,800 a month as a gardener.  Compare CCA and GEO’s profits to Javier’s salary. Priests must find ways to say NO.

    Roman Catholic Womenpriests [RCWP-USA] and the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) join with those Catholic male priests who have stepped forward to say NO.  We join with countless Protestant Churches and their pastors who are Sanctuary Churches and say NO.  We join with all people of faith to decry the unjust tactics of ICE deportation officers who since January have arrested 41, 318 people.  ICE has said that nearly 75% of those arrested are convicted criminals---but they neglect to add that most have no criminal record until arrested by ICE and called “criminals” by ICE itself. 

    Our brother Jesus would proudly wear the title “criminal.”  Priests can do no less.

    What Would Jesus Cut? A Closer Look at Trump's Budget Proposal Jim Wallis

    "Several years ago, Sojourners asked that question, leading a campaign to remind our leaders in Washington that: “A budget is a moral document. Our faith tells us that the moral test of a society is how it treats the poor. As a country, we face difficult choices, but whether or not we defend vulnerable people should not be one of them.”
    As we look at the priorities outlined in the Trump administration’s 2018 budget released today, it’s worth asking again: What would Jesus cut?
    We know what Donald Trump would cut. His budget calls for more than $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid, which takes away health care from about 10 million people. His budget would slash the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Social Security Disability Insurance program, Meals on Wheels, and federal funding for Habitat for Humanity. It would worsen hunger in America by cutting SNAP (formerly food stamps) by more than 25 percent and eliminating federal funding for subsidized school lunches.
    Before he began his public ministry, Jesus fasted for 40 days. When he returned to Galilee, he proclaimed in his first sermon that “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” The word in the original language for “good news” is “evangel” from which we get the word “evangelical.” So as an evangelical, I know that good news to the poor is at the core of Jesus’ message" —

    Letter of Solidarity: from Pax Christi, ARCWP, Coalition Organizations for Justice in Colombia, Solidarity with RC Bishops, All Advocate for Human Rights and Justice for Afro-Colombian People in Pacific Region

    Medellin, May 23, 2017

    Most honored bishops of the Colombian Pacific
    Archbishop of Cali, Bishop of Buenaventura, Bishop of Tumaco, Bishop of Quibdó, Bishop of Istmina-Tadó, Bishop of Guapi,

    (Translated into English by Silvia Brandon Perez)

    From Pax Christi Medellin, the National Ecumenical Council for Peace – (Spanish acronym MEP), the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests and the Coalition of Social Movements and Organizations of Colombia - (Spanish acronym COMOSOC), we join our voices to the many that have been raised throughout the country to support you and our Afro-Colombian people. These people have accumulated centuries of denial and more than a century of struggles for life, territory, dignity and peace. They have done it in a peaceful way; their organizations and leaders have demanded a real and permanent presence by the Colombian government which systematically continues to condemn them to oblivion and abandonment. It is clear to us and clear to the world's acknowledged perceptions that the centers of power and their beneficiaries reserve the rich geographies of the Pacific, its coasts, its seas, its soil and its subsoil, its forests, its rivers and its fauna for subsequent looting and appropriation for their private coffers. But their populations do not matter to them; we see people's lives and living conditions in a state of utter deterioration and poverty, their fundamental rights such as health, housing, food security and sovereignty, education, work at a living wage, public services, social welfare, political and cultural rights are violated with impunity.  Life deteriorates; there are no objective conditions for peace. The ambitions of national minorities linked to political, economic, and military power and to the power of the mass media have made our Pacific Coast a broad geography for the humiliation and death of its inhabitants. And have made of the land, its richness and its immense biodiversity, a scene of devastation and usurpation. The voracious appetite of the multinationals justified by national policies is one of the greatest causes of the impoverishment of the land and its people

    As Christian men and women and members of the church who join their efforts for peace to those of social and popular organizations, we thank you for your prophetic bravery and pastoral courage. Because you have raised your voice to accompany your people and their struggles, to protect the life, territory and dignity of your oppressed sisters and brothers. That attitude evangelizes us and fills us with joy and hope. And it invites us to make the cause of our Afro-Colombian peoples and particularly of the Colombian Pacific, the cause of us all. "We are all Pacific" and we understand that the peace in all of Colombia is played out today in that immense region secularly forgotten by the central powers. Your commitment, brother bishops, moves us to commit ourselves more firmly in the national and international dissemination of the facts of violation of human rights, violation of the rights of peoples and violation of the rights of the Earth with the consent of the national government.    

    We accompany you, brother bishops, and we are fraternally with you.