PLEDGE TO END DEATH PENALTY
Conference of Benedictine Prioresses
August 18, 2017
National Catholic Pledge to end the Death Penalty
“All Christians and people of good will are thus called today to fight not only for the abolition of the death penalty, whether legal or illegal, and in all its forms, but also in order to improve prison conditions, with respect for the human dignity of the people deprived of their freedom” – Pope Francis
In response to Pope Francis’s call, I pledge to educate, advocate, and pray for the end of the death penalty:
I will educate myself and my community about the injustices of the death penalty, including the ways it risks innocent life, fails victims’ families, and contradicts the Catholic Church’s pro-life teaching.
I will fulfill the call to discipleship by advocating for the dignity of all life, including those who are on death row and awaiting execution, and by actively working to end the death penalty in my state and in my country.
I will pray for mercy and healing for all who are involved in the criminal justice system: victims of crime and their families, those in prison and on death row, communities where crimes are committed, and all who work in the legislative system.
God of mercy, help me to remember your loving compassion as I go forward to work for an end to the death penalty. Allow me to be a vessel for your mercy, so as to heal the broken and welcome the outcast. Amen.
STATEMENT OF CORPORATE STANCE ON RACISM
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
August 16, 2017
LCWR Condemns Racism in All Forms
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious condemns racism in all its harmful forms whether the violent acts of the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, and White Supremacist groups or the daily acts of hate and discrimination that diminish us all.
We grieve with the citizens of Charlottesville and all people of goodwill. We mourn with all who have lost loved ones, with all who live in fear, with all whose dignity is threatened by hate and violence. We lament the racism that continues to afflict our communities and threaten the values that we hold dear.
We acknowledge our own complicity in institutional racism. We commit ourselves to cleanse our hearts and rid our land of this evil. We promise to pray for our country and to continue to use our voice and our energy to build God’s beloved community where all are one in Christ Jesus.
LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has nearly 1300 members, who represent more than 38,800 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, LCWR assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.
STATEMENT OF CORPORATE STANCE ON RACISM
Conference of Benedictine Prioresses
February 4, 2017
In the spirit of the centuries-old Rule of Benedict which urges us to listen with the ear of the heart and to respect the gifts of each person as unique individuals, we, the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses, recognize the injustices caused by racism in our society. Our communities have made many efforts to address this injustice as a social sin in which we take part. We recognize that our society, culture, and country are at a time when many implications and effects of racism are emerging on every side. The conversion called for is pervasive. In solidarity with other religious/faith leaders, we recognize that racial injustice is social sin –
To speak of social sin means in the first place to recognize that, by virtue of a human solidarity which is as mysterious and intangible as it is real and concrete, each individual’s (and corporate) sin in some way affects others. …Every sin has repercussions on the entire ecclesial body and the whole human family.” Pope John Paul ll, December 2, 1984.
Therefore, at this time in our history, we join with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and with all people of faith to commit ourselves to:
- Examine the root causes of injustice, particularly of racism, as a consequence of unacknowledged white privilege, and our own complicity over the years in this societal reality;
- Work to effect systemic change that will promote a society that respects all people and that recognizes the equality, human dignity and human rights of all.
We commit ourselves to use our collective voice, resources, and power in collaboration with others to establish racial justice which reflects God’s abundant love and mercy.
We recognize the value of:
- Racial solidarity training;
- Creating safe spaces for truth and reconciliation processes;
- Training in nonviolent conflict transformation;
- Programs training unarmed civilian peace makers in our regions;
- Ongoing de-escalation training for police;
- Dialogue with people of color and varied origins.
- Our prayer;
- Educational efforts;
STATEMENT OF CORPORATE STANCE ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Conference of Benedictine Prioresses
Committed to the Benedictine motto of PAX and to personal and social transformation of our culture of fear to a culture of love and right relationship, the membership of the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses, a group of fifty-seven monasteries representing 2620 women religious, denounce the practice of human trafficking and commit to the work of bringing about the elimination of this evil practice. We invite all who are drawn to this cause to join with us by continuing to learn and to raise the awareness among family, friends and co-workers.
STATEMENT OF CORPORATE STANCE ON IMMIGRATION
We, the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses, join our voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), with Network, and with the bipartisan legislative effort to create a comprehensive immigration reform.
As immigrants themselves, our Benedictine foremothers understood the needs of immigrants coming to this country. They served well and nurtured faith in this new land. In our time of numerous migrations, we acknowledge the rich contribution made by immigrant people and decry the unjust treatment they are too often compelled to endure.
Rooted in the wellsprings of Christian Scriptures, we recall the migrations of our forebearers – Sara and Abraham, who left their homeland (Genesis 12:1-3) as well as Moses, who led the people out of Egypt (Exodus 3:7-10), and we hear the clear gospel call to welcome the stranger into our midst (Mt. 25:35).
As Benedictine monastic women, we listen with the ear of our hearts (Prologue of the Rule of Benedict) as we call for compassion and justice for all immigrant people. We are animated by our Rule which bids us to welcome, as Christ, all guests who present themselves (Rule of Benedict 53:1). Hospitality is a core value of Benedictine spirituality as well as a sacred duty and trust. Because we know that it is God whom we receive in the “other”, we dare to speak out, even in this age of violence and fear of the stranger. We are compelled to raise our voices in an effort to transform the culture of fear and exclusion into one of peace and inclusion where the “stranger” becomes friend.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
The central features of any immigration reform need to be:
- a clear and secure path to legal documentation and citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants who are currently in the United States ,
- a family-based reunification system that keeps families together.
- a revision of the current visa system especially for migrant workers.
- protection for all workers’ rights,
- a speedy enactment of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act with an option for community service in lieu of military service.
- reform of the detention and deportation system with due process.
- a fair and expedient process for asylum seekers.
As people of faith and citizens of the United States of America , we urge our country to establish compassionate and just policies to offer newcomers opportunities to participate fully in our society, to satisfy their basic human needs, to share their many gifts with us, and to live according to their human dignity.
February 4, 2013
STATEMENT OF CORPORATE STANCE ON GUN VIOLENCE
A Statement of the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses
March 21, 2013
As Benedictine monastic women we stand united in a 1500 – year tradition, rooted in Gospel values of peace and non-violence. Our Benedictine way of life requires us not only to be people of peace but also “to foster peace in the society around us.”1 That peace is based on right relationships and mutual respect. Any violation of the rights and integrity of people, of the land, and of the environment is an act of violence. A definite culture of violence is pervasive in our society in movies, television programming, video games, music and advertisements. The proliferation of guns, both legal and illegal, has contributed to a significant increase in violence in the United States and in the drug wars in Mexico .
In 2010, guns took the lives of 31,076 Americans in homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings. This is the equivalent of more than 85 deaths each day and more than 3 deaths each hour.2. In Mexico, 15,273 died in drug war gun violence alone that same year.3 Over 68% of the traced guns used in crimes in Mexico between 2007 and 2010 came from the United States. 4 The United States has the highest rate of gun-related injuries among developed countries, as well as the highest rate of gun ownership. Besides the deaths and tragedies for families, friends and associates, gun violence also affects society in other ways, including higher medical costs, reductions in quality of life because of fear of gun violence and stresses on the criminal justice system.5
To help create healthier environments in families, schools and communities and to reduce the impact of gun-related violence, the American Psychological Association recommends multiple approaches, among which are education, training, access to mental health treatment, program funding and research.6 The Conference of Benedictine Prioresses endorses their recommendations.
In his holy rule, our founder St. Benedict states, “Your way of acting must be different from the world’s way.”7 We, the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses, are compelled to address the rampant culture of gun violence and disregard for human life. Therefore, in concert with statements issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops8 and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious9 we call on lawmakers to:
- Close loopholes and require every person who buys a gun to pass a criminal background check.
- Ban the sale of assault style weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines.
- Make gun trafficking a federal crime.
- Strengthen federal laws to stem the flow of American weapons that contribute to the drug trafficking violence in Mexico.10
- Fund robust care for those with mental illness, ensuring that health insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid offer mental health benefits at parity.11
- Provide for early identification and intervention for children and young adults in need of mental health treatment.
- Increase the number of well-trained mental health professionals available for school and community gun violence prevention, intervention, threat assessment, and crisis management.
- End the freeze on gun violence research.12
- Address the growing use of violence as a means of entertainment in films, television program, video games, music and advertisements.
- Conference of Benedictine Prioresses “Of All Good Gifts”, 1980
- Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Gun Violence Statistics November 18, 2012 http://smartgunlaws.org/category/gun-studies-statistics/gun-violence-statistics Retrieved March 5, 2013
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/12/mexico-drug-war-deaths-2010_n_808277.html retrieved 3/17/13
- “Between 2007 and 2011, 68.5 percent of firearms recovered in Mexico and submitted to ATF for tracing came from the United States” http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2012/4/feinstein-new-atf-data-proves-overwhelming-majority-of-guns-recovered-in-mexico-come-from-u-s
- American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org/topics/violence/gun-violence-prevention.aspx. Retrieved February 8, 2013
- American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org/about/gr/issues/violence/gun-related.aspx Retrieved February 8, 2013
- The Rule of St. Benedict 4:20
- Testimony submitted before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary “Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence: Protecting Our Communities While Respecting the Second Amendment” February 12, 2013 http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/criminal-justice-restorative-justice/upload/USCCB-Senate-Testimony-Proposals-to-Reduce-Gun-Violence-2013.pdf Retrieved March 5, 2013
- LCWR: A Response to the Newtown Tragedy December 20, 2012 https://lcwr.org/media/news/lcwr-response-newtown-tragedy Retrieved March 5, 2013
- http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2012/4/feinstein-new-atf-data-proves-overwhelming-majority-of-guns-recovered-in-mexico-come-from-u-s. Retrieved March 17, 2013
- The APA states, “Mental health and substance use parity means that coverage for mental health and substance use benefits must be at least equal to coverage for physical health benefits… In other words, all of the financial requirements and treatment limitations applied to mental health and substance use benefits may be no more restrictive than those applied to physical health benefits”. A parity law became effective in 2010. Further information can be found at http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/federal-parity-law.aspx Retrieved March 5, 2013
- For 17 years there has been a ban on government research into the public health effects of gun violence. Information about this can be found on the web: http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/16/16532333-obama-plan-eases-freeze-on-cdc-gun-violence-research?lite Retrieved March 5, 2013