Brian R Corbin's Reflections on Religion and Life

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Holy See Considers the Good and the Bad at UN

Pledges Continued Support to Help Organization Serve Humanity

NEW YORK, OCT. 8, 2010 ( The Holy See is praising the United Nations for its accomplishments in responding to humanitarian crises, nuclear disarmament, and an arms trade treaty, but deploring a lack of progress on climate change, the lagging economy and ongoing violence.

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Filed under: Church-State, Economic Policy, Official Statements

Holy See to UN on Gender Equality

“Women … Are Dynamic Agents of Development”
NEW YORK, JULY 2, 2010 ( ).- Here is the address Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, delivered Thursday before the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council Substantive Session for 2010.

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Mr. President,

This year’s substantive session is particularly pertinent leading up to the long expected World Summit on the MDGs. All women and girls who are affected by the MDGs look forward towards an increased recognition of their value and equality as well as their dignified role in development. Any deliberation on the matter will be incomplete without ensuring the advancement of women, who are dynamic agents of development in the family, society and the world.

Ever since world leaders committed their governments to the ambitious objective of attaining the MDGs, some remarkable progress has been achieved in mainstreaming women’s perspectives in development both in multilateral and national policies. Even those countries lagging behind in many aspects of development are giving more prominence to the role of women in public life, especially in the political arena.

The empowerment of women presupposes universal human dignity and, thus, the dignity of each and every individual. The notion denotes complementarity between man and woman, which means equality in diversity: where equality and diversity are based on biological data, expressed traditionally by male and female sexuality, and on the primacy of the person. It concerns also roles to be held and functions to be performed in society. In that regard, equality is not sameness, and difference is not inequality.

Empowerment of women for development means also recognition of the gifts and talents of every woman and is affirmed through the provision of better health care, education and equal opportunities. Empowering women and respecting their dignity mean also honoring their capacity to serve and devote themselves to society and to the family through motherhood which entails a self-giving love and care-giving. Altruism, dedication and service to others are healthy and contribute to personal dignity. If domesticity can be considered a particular gift of mothers in cultivating a genuine intrapersonal relationship in the family and society, then family-friendly working arrangements, shared family-care leave and redistribution of the burden of unpaid work will be given the attention they rightly deserve.

The Holy See notes with concern that inequalities between individuals and between countries thrive and various forms of discrimination, exploitation and oppression of women and girls persist, which must be addressed by the provision of adequate social protection measures for them, as appropriate to national contexts.

In the health sector there is a need to eliminate inequalities between men and women and increase the capacity of women to care for themselves principally by being afforded adequate health care. Scientific studies have shown remarkable improvement in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality, revealing the importance of complementary investing in other areas relevant to women and girls including nutrition, general health and education. The real advancement of women is not achieved by concentrating on a particular health issue to the neglect of others but by promoting their overall health which necessarily includes giving more attention to addressing women-specific diseases.

Women’s economic empowerment is essential for the economic development of the family and of society. Access to land and property, credit facilities and equal opportunities for financial services for women will help ensure their economic stability. In this process, the whole household and community must support their entrepreneurship. The ethical dimension of their development and economic empowerment as well as their service to the family must not be overlooked.

Tragically, violence against women, especially in the home and work place, and discrimination in the professional field, even on the pay and pension scale, are growing concerns. Through adequate legal frame-works and national policies, perpetrators of violence must be brought to justice and women must be afforded rehabilitation. Women and girls must be guaranteed their full enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights including equal access to education and health.

My delegation supports the initiatives in favour of the rights in particular of women migrants and refugees and women with disabilities. Human rights learning campaigns especially for girls and women must be promoted, even from early school days and also through non-formal education. Civil society and NGOs, women’s associations and faith-based organizations can contribute a great deal in human rights learning and in quality education.

In concluding, Mr. President, the more the dignity of women is protected and promoted, the more the family, the community and society will truly be fostered.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Filed under: Culture, Economic Policy, Official Statements, Social Justice

Pontiff Marks World Refugee Day

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2010 ( ).- On today’s celebration of World Refugee Day, Benedict XVI is calling attention to the needs of those who have been forced to move away from their homeland.The Pope stated this today after praying the midday Angelus with the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

“Today the United Nations celebrates World Refugee Day,” he said, “to recall attention to the problems of those who have been forced out of their own land and familiar customs, traveling to environments that, often, are profoundly different.”

“Refugees desire to find welcome and to be recognized in their dignity and their fundamental rights,” the Holy Father affirmed.

“At the same time,” he continued, “they intend to offer their contribution to the society that welcomes them.”

Benedict XVI concluded: “Let us pray that, in a just reciprocity, there be a response adequate to such expectations and they show the respect that they have for the identity of the community that receives them.”

Visit Caritas Internationalis for more information on how the Church responds to refugees throughout the world.

Filed under: Caritas, Migration, Official Statements, Papal Teachings

US Conference of Catholic Bishops call for Ban on Landmines

Summary: Years after landmines have been laid, they continue to kill and
maim innocent civilians. Urge President Obama and your Senators to support a
comprehensive review of landmine policy, so the U.S. joins the Mine Ban Treaty.
Background: A landmine is a weapon designed to explode when it comes into
contact with a person. From 1969 to 1992, the U.S. exported over 4 million
landmines to countries like Afghanistan, Angola, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Somalia and Vietnam. While many of these conflicts have long ended, landmines still remain in more than 70 nations and kill or maim thousands each year, the vast majority of them civilians. Over a quarter of the victims of landmines are children under 15 years.
Why is the Mine Ban Treaty Important? Given the indiscriminate destructive capability of these weapons, non-governmental organizations around the world lobbied for a treaty to ban landmines. The Convention on the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and Their Destruction, otherwise known as the Mine Ban Treaty, came into force in 1999. The 156 countries, including NATO allies, that have signed agreed to:
Never use anti-personnel mines, and never develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer landmines. Although the U.S. has yet to sign this Convention, it is heartening that the U.S. has not used landmines since 1991, has not exported landmines since 1992, nor has it produced landmines since 1997.
Destroy existing stockpiles of landmines. 86 countries have completely destroyed their stockpiles of landmines, a total of about 44 million landmines.
The U.S. has about 10 million landmines stockpiled, the third largest mine arsenal in the world, after China and Russia.
Offer assistance in clearing mines and in assisting survivors. Between 1993 and 2008, the U.S. was the largest contributor (about $1.5 billion) toward mine clearance, mine risk education, survivor assistance, and training of foreign demining personnel. But more is needed to clear the millions of mines still buried, potential hazards to farmers, children or anyone walking over this land.
Neither President Clinton nor President Bush signed the Mine Ban Treaty, yielding to concerns raised by U.S. military. But in late 2009, the State Department was pressured into announcing that it would conduct a review of U.S. policy on landmines. In May 2010, 68 Senators sent a letter to President Obama calling for a comprehensive review of landmine policy, with the aim of removing any obstacles toward U.S. accession to and eventual ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty. To satisfy military concerns, they suggested that the U.S. consult with NATO allies who are signatories to the Treaty.
Landmines and Catholic Social Teaching

Landmines are “inhumanly insidious because they continue to cause harm
even long after the cessation of hostilities.”*  The U.S. bishops have long
supported elimination of landmines as they are indiscriminate, morally
unacceptable weapons that do not distinguish between soldier and civilian, or
between times of war and times of peace.
In a November 30, 2009 message, Pope Benedict XVI asked all states “to
recognize the deplorable humanitarian consequences of anti-personnel mines.”
He called on the international community to keep on funding mine clearance
and assisting victims.
Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Chair, USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, signed joint letters to President Obama calling for a comprehensive review of U.S. policy on landmines and for the U.S. to join the Mine Ban Treaty.
Take Action Now!
Contact President Obama and your Senators today and urge them to
support a comprehensive review of U.S. landmine policy, in order that
the U.S. join the Mine Ban Treaty. (For contact information, visit
number to leave a comment is 202-456-1111.

Filed under: Official Statements, Social Doctrine, Social Justice

Benedict XVI’s Prayer for Those Fallen in War and for Builders of Peace

The Holy Father lit a votive candle and recited the following prayer for the fallen of all countries in all wars:


“O God, our Father,

endless source of life and peace,

welcome into Your merciful embrace

the fallen of the war that raged here,

the fallen on all wars that have bloodied the earth.

Grant that they may enjoy the light that does not fail,

which in the reflection of Your splendour

illumines the consciences of all men and women of good will.

You, Who in Your Son Jesus Christ gave suffering humanity

a glorious witness of Your love for us,

You, Who in our Lord Christ

gave us the sign of a suffering that is never in vain,

but fruitful in Your redeeming power,

grant those who yet suffer

for the blind violence of fratricidal wars

the strength of the hope that does not fade,

the dream of a definitive civilisation of love,

the courage of a real and daily activity of peace.

Give us your Paraclete Spirit

so that the men of our time

may understand that the gift of peace

is much more precious than any corruptible treasure,

and that while awaiting the day that does not end

we are all called to be builders of peace for the future of Your children.

Make all Christians more convinced witnesses of life,

the inestimable gift of Your love,

You Who live and reign for ever and ever


Filed under: Official Statements, Papal Teachings, Spirituality