Jewish Labor Committee Joins in Welcome of Pope Francis to the United States

Jewish Labor Committee Joins in Welcome of Pope Francis to the United States

Finds Common Ground in Labor, Concern for the Poor and Interreligious Actions
Pope Francis for web.jpg
Photo Jeffrey Bruno/ALETEIA – (Creative Commons)

September 18, 2015 – New York, NY: Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Jewish Labor Committee, issued the following statement on the occasion of the impending visit of Pope Francis to the United States:

As an American organization that links the organized Jewish community and the organized labor movement, the Jewish Labor Committee joins in welcoming Pope Francis on his visit to the United States.

Pope Francis’ visit is a special occasion for many of us to note his heartfelt and deeply-rooted respect for working men and women, for the poor and for the plight of immigrants.

We find common ground in Pope Francis’s statement of last October that “[t]here is no worse material poverty than one that does not allow for earning one’s bread and deprives one of the dignity of work,” and his many pronouncements on the dignity and safety of workers. The Pope’s appeal this March, that solidarity and justice prevail, noting that “when people do not earn their bread, they lose their dignity” resonated with us, bringing to mind the Talmudic passage from Pirke Avot, 3:16, on the importance and interrelatedness of both spiritual and physical sustenance: “Without bread [literally, ‘flour’], there is no Torah; without Torah, there is no bread.”

His respect for and advocacy of the rights of workers, including the right to form and join unions, and secure decent remuneration and secure retirements, deserve wide applause from the larger community, and emulation by community leaders, religious and secular.

We also find both common ground and deep respect for the Pope’s connections to and solidarity with the Jewish people, in Argentina, in Rome, and in more general terms, from the spirit in which he has approached interreligious encounters and dialogue. We welcome his condemnation of anti-Semitism, his solidarity with the victims of the attack on the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, his leadership in Holocaust commemoration and education within Argentina, and his articulation of “the right of the State of Israel to exist and flourish in peace and security within internationally recognized borders” in May of last year.

The Pope’s concern for the poor, for the exploited, for those who cannot earn a decent wage to provide for their families, for immigrants, and, especially in this time, those desperate refugees trying to escape horrendous conditions in the Middle East and Africa are concerns that resonate with us deeply. We hope that his visit here will focus upon these pressing issues and thereby help lead to solutions.

Quotes from Laudato Si that involve Labor (Labour)



98. Jesus lived in full harmony with creation, and others were amazed: “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (Mt 8:27). His appearance was not that of an ascetic set apart from the world, nor of an enemy to the pleasant things of life. Of himself he said: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard!’” (Mt 11:19). He was far removed from philosophies which despised the body, matter and the things of the world. Such unhealthy dualisms, nonetheless, left a mark on certain Christian thinkers in the course of history and disfigured the Gospel. Jesus worked with his hands, in daily contact with the matter created by God, to which he gave form by his craftsmanship. It is striking that most of his life was dedicated to this task in a simple life which awakened no admiration at all: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” (Mk 6:3). In this way he sanctified human labour and endowed it with a special significance for our development. As Saint John Paul II taught, “by enduring the toil of work in union with Christ crucified for us, man in a way collaborates with the Son of God for the redemption of humanity”. Read more

Pope Francis planning to address joint session of Congress, organizer says

January 18, 2015, 08:32 pm

Pope Francis planning to address joint session of Congress, organizer says

By Kyle Balluck

Getty Images
Pope Francis is planning to address a joint session of Congress and visit the White House during a trip to Washington, D.C. in September, one of the archbishops organizing the pontiff’s trip said.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza told the Catholic News Agency (CNA) on Sunday that the pope is projected to arrive in Washington on Sept. 22 as part of a three-city U.S. tour that includes New York and Philadelphia.

Francis will visit the White House on Sept. 23 and celebrate Mass at Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception later that same day, Auza added. Read more

7 New Quotes from Pope Francis on Poverty and Social Justice

7 New Quotes from Pope Francis on Poverty and Social Justice

From Papa Francesco: Questa economia uccide (Pope Francis: This economy kills) by Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzivia via America:

  1. “I recognize that globalization has helped many people rise out of poverty, but it has also damned many others to starve to death. It is true that global wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities have also grown and new poverty arisen.”
  2. “When money, instead of man, is at the center of the system, when money becomes an idol, men and women are reduced to simple instruments of a social and economic system, which is characterized, better yet dominated, by profound inequalities. So we discard whatever is not useful to this logic; it is this attitude that discards children and older people, and is now affecting the young.”
  3. “We cannot wait any longer to deal with the structural causes of poverty, in order to heal our society from an illness that can only lead to new crises.”
  4. “Without a solution to the problems of the poor, we will not solve the problems of the world. We need projects, mechanisms and processes to implement better distribution of resources, from the creation of new jobs to the integral promotion of those who are excluded’.”
  5. “Jesus tells us what the ‘protocol’ is, on which we will be judged. It is the one we read in chapter 25 of Matthew’s Gospel: I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me, clothed me, visited me, took care of me. Whenever we do this to one of our brothers, we do this to Jesus. Caring for our neighbor; for those who are poor, who suffer in body and in soul, for those who are in need. This is the touchstone.”
  6. “If I repeated some passages from the homilies of the Church Fathers, in the second or third century, about how we must treat the poor, some would accuse me of giving a Marxist homily.”
  7. “This concern for the poor is in the Gospel, it is within the tradition of the Church, it is not an invention of communism and it must not be turned into an ideology, as has sometimes happened before in the course of history.”

Francis cries out for end to ‘true world war fought piecemeal’

Outlining the world’s armed conflicts and struggles one-by-one to the national ambassadors accredited to the Vatican on Monday, Pope Francis cried out for an end to what he called a global “culture of rejection” that is causing “a true world war fought piecemeal.”

“Today I wish to repeat a word quite dear to us: peace!” Francis exclaimed at the beginning of his address, saying that peace is hindered by the “tragic reality” of a global rejection culture “that severs the deepest and most authentic human bonds.”

Adapting his frequent criticism of a “throwaway culture” for a geopolitical audience, Francis then told the ambassadors that such rejection “gives rise to a humanity filled with pain and constantly torn by tensions and conflicts of every sort.”

“We see painful evidence of this in the events reported daily in the news, not least the tragic slayings which took place in Paris a few days ago,” the pontiff continued.

“It saddens us to see the tragic consequences of this mentality of rejection and this ‘culture of enslavement’ in the never-ending spread of conflicts,” said Francis. “Like a true world war fought piecemeal, they affect, albeit in different forms and degrees of intensity, a number of areas in our world.”

“Here, in your presence, I appeal to the entire international community, as I do to the respective governments involved, to take concrete steps to bring about peace and to protect all those who are victims of war and persecution,” Francis continued later in the address.

The pope was speaking Monday to the some 180 ambassadors accredited to the Holy See in an annual event hosted by the Vatican for the exchange of New Year’s greetings between them and the pontiff.

Continuing on themes that have marked his papacy, particularly the need for encounter and dialogue between peoples, Francis spoke to the ambassadors for about 35 minutes.

Outlining the global conflicts before then moving to what he said had been examples of the “fruits of peace” in the past year — including as one of those fruits his own role in the reopening of dialogue between the U.S. and Cuba — Francis seemed to be reaffirming the Vatican’s unique diplomatic role in the various parts of the world.

The pontiff also forcefully recalled the words of his predecessor Pope Paul VI to the United Nations in 1965, acknowledging that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the international organization.

Quoting at length from Paul’s remarks then — “never again war, never again war! It is peace, peace, that has to guide the destiny of the nations of all mankind” — Francis said “this is likewise my own hope-filled prayer for this new year.”

The first conflict Francis addressed Monday was the continuing violence in Ukraine, which he called a “dramatic theatre of combat.” The pontiff said it was his hope that “through dialogue the efforts presently being made to end the hostilities will be consolidated, and that the parties involved will embark as quickly as possible … upon the path of mutual trust and fraternal reconciliation.”

Francis spoke then widely of the situation of the Middle East, addressing both the stalled Israeli/Palestinian peace process and the continuing violence throughout the region.

While not referring to the so-called Islamic State by name, Francis pointedly critiqued religious fundamentalism, saying it is “a consequence of the throwaway culture being applied to God.”

“Religious fundamentalism, even before it eliminates human beings by perpetrating horrendous killings, eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere ideological pretext,” said the pope.

“In the face of such unjust aggression, which also strikes Christians and other ethnic and religious groups in the region, a unanimous response is needed, one which, within the framework of international law, can end the spread of acts of violence, restore harmony and heal the deep wounds which the ongoing conflicts have caused,” he said.

The pontiff then addressed conflicts in Nigeria, Libya, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He spoke specifically of the violence suffered by many women in conflicts, saying “nor can we overlook the fact that wars involve another horrendous crime, the crime of rape.”

“This is a most grave offense against the dignity of women, who are not only violated in body but also in spirit, resulting in a trauma hard to erase and with effects on society as well,” he said. “Sadly, even apart from situations of war, all too many women even today are victims of violence.”

Francis then spoke at length about the struggles faced by refugees and migrants around the world, saying that in addition to the uncertainties they face in leaving their homelands they also have to face “the drama of rejection” when arriving in new countries.

“A change of attitude is needed on our part, moving from indifference and fear to genuine acceptance of others,” said the pope.

Francis also reemphasized his critique of certain aspects of globalization, saying it often “levels out differences and even discards cultures, cutting them off from those factors that shape each people’s identity and constitute a legacy essential to their sound social development.”

“In a drab, anonymous world, it is easy to understand the difficulties and the discouragement felt by many people who have literally lost the sense of being alive,” he continued.

Moving from addressing the world’s conflicts to offering thanks to God “for the occasions of dialogue and encounter that he has granted us” in the past year, Francis mentioned specifically the reopening of dialogue between the U.S. and Cuba.

“One example close to my heart of how dialogue can build bridges comes from the recent decision of the United States of America and Cuba to end a lack of communication that has endured for more than half a century, and to initiate a rapprochement for the benefit of their respective citizens,” he said.

Francis also expressed gratitude for examples of dialogue in Albania, the Philippines, Colombia, Venezuela, and Iran. In the last country, he expressed hope that “a definitive agreement” could be reached soon regarding Iran’s use of nuclear energy for peace purposes.

Francis also said he noted “with satisfaction” the commitment of the U.S. to close its detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Ending Monday with his acknowledgement of the 70th anniversary of the U.N., Francis made special note that 2015 is supposed to see the drafting of a new international climate change agreement. Ad-libbing for the only time in his speech to the ambassadors, Francis added: “Urgent, this!”

Just hours following the conclusion of his speech Monday, Francis is taking his message of peace on the road in a weeklong trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

The seventh apostolic visit of his pontificate, Francis will first land in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo Tuesday morning, where he will visit with newly elected president Maithripala Sirisena.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

Pope names 15 new cardinal electors, most from global south

Pope names 15 new cardinal electors, most from global south

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Underscoring the geographical diversity of his selections, Pope Francis named 15 cardinal electors “from 14 nations of every continent, showing the inseparable link between the church of Rome and the particular churches present in the world.”

The pope announced the names Jan. 4, after praying the Angelus with a crowd in St. Peter’s Square, and said he would formally induct the men into the College of Cardinals Feb. 14.

With the list, the pope continues a movement he started with his first batch of appointments a year ago, giving gradually more representation at the highest levels of the church to poorer countries in the global south. According to the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the new cardinals will include the first in history from Cape Verde, Tonga and Myanmar.

The Feb. 14 consistory will bring the total number of cardinals under the age of 80 to 125. Until they reach their 80th birthdays, cardinals are eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope. Blessed Paul VI limited the number of electors to 120, but later popes have occasionally exceeded that limit.

Three of the new cardinal electors hail from Asia, three from Latin America, two from Africa and two from Oceania.

Of the five Europeans on the list, three lead dioceses in Italy and Spain that have not traditionally had cardinals as bishops — another sign of Pope Francis’ willingness to break precedent. While giving red hats to the archbishops of Ancona-Osimo and Agrigento, Italy, the pope will once again pass over the leaders of Venice and Turin, both historically more prestigious dioceses.

None of the new cardinals hails from the U.S. or Canada. Father Lombardi noted that the numbers of cardinals from those countries have remained stable since February 2014, when Pope Francis elevated the archbishop of Quebec. The U.S. currently has 11 cardinal electors and Canada 3.

The continuing geographic shift is incremental in nature. With the new appointments, cardinals from Europe and North America will make up 56.8 percent of those eligible to elect the next pope, down from 60 percent on Jan. 4.

The shift reflects the pope’s emphasis on Africa and Asia, where the church is growing fastest, and on his native region of Latin America, home to about 40 percent of the world’s Catholics.

A number of the selections also reflect Pope Francis’ emphasis on social justice. The new Mexican cardinal leads a diocese that has been hard hit by the current wave of drug-related violence in his country.

And one of the Italian cardinals designate, the archbishop of Agrigento in Sicily, leads the Italian bishops’ commission on migration, an issue on which Pope Francis has placed particular importance. In July 2013, the pope visited the southern Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, a major entry point for undocumented immigrants to Europe, and mourned the many who had died attempting to cross the sea.

Only one of the new cardinals, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, is a member of the church’s central administration, the Roman Curia, which currently accounts for about a quarter of all cardinal electors.

Announcing the appointments, Pope Francis noted that the ceremony to induct the new cardinals will follow a two-day meeting of the entire college, Feb. 12 and 13, “to reflect on guidelines and proposals for reform of the Roman Curia.”

The pope’s nine-member Council of Cardinals is currently working on a major reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, including a new apostolic constitution for the curia.

In addition to 15 new electors, Pope Francis named five new cardinals who are over the age of 80 and, therefore, ineligible to vote in a conclave. Popes have used such nominations to honor churchmen for their scholarship or other contributions.

Pope Francis said he had chosen to honor five retired bishops “distinguished for their pastoral charity in service to the Holy See and the church,” representing “so many bishops who, with the same pastoral solicitude, have given testimony of love for Christ and the people of God, whether in particular churches, the Roman Curia or the diplomatic service of the Holy See.”

The five new honorary cardinals hail from Argentina, Colombia, Germany, Italy and Mozambique.

Here is the list of the new cardinals:

— French Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Prefect of the Apostolic Signature, 62.
— Portuguese Patriarch Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente of Lisbon, 66.
— Ethiopian Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel of Addis Ababa, 66.
— New Zealand Archbishop John Atcherley Dew of Wellington, 66.
— Italian Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli of Ancona-Osimo, 75.
— Vietnamese Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Hanoi, 76.
— Mexican Archbishop Alberto Suarez Inda of Morelia, 75.
— Myanmar Archbishop Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, 66.
— Thai Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok, 65.
— Italian Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento, 68.
— Uruguayan Archbishop Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet of Montevideo, 55.
— Spanish Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, 72.
— Spanish-born Panamanian Bishop Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan of David, Panama, 70.
— Cape Verdean Bishop Arlindo Gomes Furtado of Santiago de Cabo Verde, 65.
— Tongan Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi, 53.
— Colombian Archbishop Jose de Jesus Pimiento Rodriguez, retired, of Manizales, 95.
— Italian Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, 88.
— German Archbishop Karl-Joseph Rauber, 80.
— Argentine Archbishop Luis Hector Villalba, retired, of Tucuman, 80.
— Mozambican Bishop Julio Duarte Langa, retired, of Xai-Xai, 87.

Pope to Diplomatic Corps: Culture of Rejection Spawns Violence and Death

Bg_logo_ftPope to Diplomatic Corps: Culture of Rejection Spawns Violence and Death

Renews Call for Peace and Dialogue During Traditional Address

Rome, January 12, 2015 ( Junno Arocho Esteves | 244 hits

In his traditional annual address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See today, Pope Francis renewed his call for peace in a world where a “mentality of rejection” continues the spread of conflicts.

Welcoming the ambassadors, the Holy Father noted the mutual cooperation between their States and the Holy See, particularly in the signing of new bilateral accords with Cameroon, Malta and Serbia.

Reflecting on the Christmas stories that show the “hardened heart” of humanity which finds it difficult to accept the birth of Christ, the Pope said that many more suffer that same rejection or worse. Read more