Help a Calais Minor!

Justice and Peace has launched an appeal for the young people in Calais who are surviving hand-to-mouth as the French authorities try to prevent any humanitarian aid on the streets. See our newsletter for more information.

 

CONTRIBUTIONS:

You can contribute via our Justgiving page –

https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/rcdiocese-westminster/helpacalaisminor

We at Justice and Peace will also be collecting items as requested by Brother Johannes, who lists them as follows:

Donations and gifts are welcome     We can use:    For Personal use:  Shower gel, shampoo, toothbrushes, body cream or oil (like Vaseline, Nivea), Socks 36-43  Boxer shorts S/M  (No Large please), Sport shoes 39-40-41, Pocket nail cutter  (Also helpful: Power bank mobiles).   

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Clothes for young men are welcome, BUT PLEASE FOR NOW ONLY small size T-shirts and jeans!  WE HAVE ENOUGH TOWELS AND TOOTHPASTE thank you!   For the house:   Disinfectant,  All-purpose cleaner, Anti-scalant, Toilet cleaner, Washing powder or liquid (mostly color wash, Laundry Stain remover, Softener, Calgon, Washing-up liquid, Tablets and liquid for the dishwasher, Toilet paper.   Food:   Ground Coffee  and lots of MILK – the youngest ones really drink a lot of it. (J&P advise: Buy it at French supermarkets if you visit, or send money.

For small amounts, send the money via our Justgiving website.

For large amounts (making it worth paying the exchange rate), go to Maria Skobstova bank account direct:

Association Maria Skobtsova.  Here are the bank details:  IBAN: FR7615629026250002172700193   BIC: CMCIFR2A Bank: CCM Calais, 85 rue Mollien, 62100 Calais, France

 

Churches worldwide welcome treaty banning nuclear weapons

HIroshimaNuclear weapons have always been seen as deeply immoral. Now, after years of work, 122 governments out of 192 have adopted a treaty that makes them completely illegal. The 7 July decision at the United Nations bans the manufacture, possession and use of nuclear weapons and provides pathways for their eventual elimination. World Council of Churches’ members are among the many groups and governments working towards this new international law for the past six years and more.

On 6 July, European and US Catholic Bishops issued a joint statement in full support of the treaty, calling for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. They said: “the fact that most of the world’s nations are participating in this effort testifies to the urgency of their concern, an urgency intensified by the prospect of nuclear terrorism and proliferation, and to the inequality and dissatisfaction of non-nuclear states about the lack of progress in nuclear disarmament efforts.”

We look forward to similar statements from our UK bishops.

For more details see: www.indcatholicnews.com/news/32943

CALAIS UPDATE AND APPEAL FROM MARIA SKOBTSOVA HOUSE

by Brother Johannes Maertens

The house offers emergency hospitality to young and vulnerable refugees in the Calais area and Justice and Peace have visited several times in the past (Ed). 

Next to accommodation we offer also on almost a daily base to young and vulnerable refugees a shower, a meal, tea, do their laundry and we offer them to spend some time in a house.  Through the offer of this basic help we can accompany more than 10 unaccompanied minors under 16 and many other young refugees.  As we are serving more people than ever before we are using more of our resources than planned.    

Donations and gifts are welcome     We can use:    For Personal use:  Shower gel, shampoo, toothbrushes, body cream or oil (like Vaseline, Nivea), Socks 36-43  Boxer shorts S/M  (No Large please), Sport shoes 39-40-41, Pocket nail cutter  (Also helpful: Power bank mobiles).   Clothes for young men are welcome, BUT PLEASE FOR NOW ONLY small size T-shirts and jeans!  WE HAVE ENOUGH TOWELS AND TOOTHPASTE thank you!   For the house:   Disinfectant,  All-purpose cleaner, Anti-scalant, Toilet cleaner, Washing powder or liquid (mostly color wash, Laundry Stain remover, Softener, Calgon, Washing-up liquid, Tablets and liquid for the dishwasher, Toilet paper.   Food:   Ground Coffee  and lots of MILK – the youngest ones really drink a lot of it. (J&P advise: Buy it at French supermarkets if you visit, or send money, as suggested below) Financial support is welcome!   Association Maria Skobtsova.  Here are the bank details:  IBAN: FR761562902625ms. 0002172700193   BIC: CMCIFR2A Bank: CCM Calais, 85 rue Mollien, 62100 Calais

NB  Justice and Peace will probably make a trip towards the end of August to take gifts as listed above.  Please get in touch if you wish to contribute items. Barbara Kentish

Protests at Sainsbury’s AGM in Support of Fairtrade

By Anne Lamont

OXFAM, CAFOD and members of the Justice and Peace Commission took part in an eye-catching stunt to protest at Sainsbury’s very recent abandoning of the ethical Fairtrade label in favour of its own ‘Fairly Traded’ products. The action took place in central London at Sainsbury’s AGM at the Queen Elizabeth Centre and delegates and shareholders were treated to the vision of protesters dressed as teabags requesting that they raise objections at this hastily orchestrated move on the part of Sainsbury’s senior executive body.   The new ‘Fairly Traded’ products which have astonishingly appeared on Sainsbury’s shelves just one month after they announced this move, suggesting the decision is one that has been planned for some time. Sainsbury’s have ignored appeals from African farmers to reconsider this move which they consider will diminish their power and control over their products and place them at a disadvantage.

A Change.org online petition has been launched and has won considerable support within a very short period of time from many supporters of Fairtrade outraged at the ‘colonial’ style move on the part of the supermarket (https://www.change.org/p/sainsbury-s-don-t-ditch-fairtrade).  The stunt received good coverage in the media including an excellent article in The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/05/sainsburys-agm-rocked-by-protests-over-plan-to-drop-fairtrade-tea ).

STOP PRESS

Congratulations to St John Fisher Parish Shepperton, for being Fairtrade Parish number 99 and to Newman House University Chaplaincy for being Fairtrade Parish number 100!! We now need only 8 more parishes to apply for certification as a Fairtrade Diocese. Thanks to Anne Lamont (J&P) and Frances Halliday (CAFOD) for beavering away on this. Keep up the Trade Justice efforts in spite of setbacks from SOME supermarkets!

Archbishop Romero, his people and Pope Francis – a new film

New film previews in London: ‘Archbishop Romero, his people and Pope Francis’

July 2nd, 2017

Q&A  after screening with director Gianni Beretta (centre)  Julian Filochowski  left,  Clare Dixon on right

Q&A after screening with director Gianni Beretta (centre) Julian Filochowski left, Clare Dixon on right

By: Ellen Teague

A quarter of a million people attended the beatification ceremony in El Salvador for Archbishop Oscar Romero on 23 May 2015. A huge crowd chanted songs and carried banners as a procession moved from the cathedral, where Archbishop Romero’s tomb lies in the crypt, to Salvador del Mundo (Saviour of the World) Square in the centre of San Salvador. Here the Vatican envoy Cardinal Angelo Amato presided over the beatification ceremony.

These were the opening images in a new film about Romero, subtitled ‘Archbishop Romero, his people and Pope Francis’, which had its first UK viewing in London on 1 July. It will probably be entitled ‘Making Amends’ in its English version, suggesting that Romero is finally being recognised as a martyr, after Pope Francis declared two years ago that he was killed “in hatred of the faith” and not, as some contended, for political reasons.

Beatification is the penultimate step before Archbishop Romero is, hopefully, declared a saint. He was shot dead by a marksman as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel in San Salvador on the evening of 24 March 1980. The film contained much new footage of Romero, particularly from the last three years of his life when he challenged the violence going on in El Salvador. He regularly visited poor communities and affirmed young people who were growing up amidst poverty and repression. The film showed spontaneous clapping as he walked among people, standing close to them and entering their homes. A real love between Romero and the Salvadorean people was evident. “The Church is trying to give them a little hope” he said.

His homilies in these years were a dynamic challenge to the military-backed government, especially since they were broadcast nationwide on the Church’s radio station. When the US-backed Salvadorean army used death squads and torture to silence leftist movements demanding change, he was not afraid to speak out in his weekly sermons. “The law of God which says thou shalt not kill must come before any human order to kill; it is high time you recovered your conscience,” he said in his last homily in 1980, calling upon the national guard and police to stop the violence. “I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression” he urged. That sermon, interpreted as calling for insubordination, cost him his life. A day later, while saying Mass, he was shot through the heart by a single bullet.

The film records those who knew him well, giving insight into his character. Monsignor Ricardo Urioste, who died last year, told us that that when Romero was chosen as archbishop he did not attend his swearing in. “I thought he was not a good choice for archbishop” he said “and that he was appointed to control the priests who were interested in Medellin”, a reference to the 1968 meeting of the Conference of Latin American Bishops which stated that the Church should make a “preferential option for the poor” and tackle “the institutionalised violence of poverty”. Theologian Jon Sobrino reported on the change evident in Romero just a month after his appointment, following the murder of his friend, the Jesuit priest Rutilio Grande, on 12 March 1977. “He was shocked at what was happening to poor people, catechists and priests” reported Fr Sobrino, “and was outraged at the bumper stickers put out by the military, ‘Be a patriot, kill a priest’”.

But Romero’s adversaries were not just in the military and the affluent families who controlled El Salvador. His focus on social justice, condemning the concentration of power and wealth in El Salvador, and speaking out against structural violence, attracted criticism from his fellow bishops who complained to Rome that he had Marxist leanings. Roberto Cuellar, a lawyer who was hired by Romero to run a free legal-assistance office in San Salvador, reported on Romero’s sadness when his fellow bishops mocked him and laughed in his face “like hyenas”, and he was so upset he asked Romero’s permission to leave the meeting. When Romero travelled to Rome in 1979, with copious documentation regarding victims of repression to show to Pope John Paul II, the latter told him, “you should not have come to Rome with so many documents”. In a difficult meeting, the pope expressed concern that the priests killed were linked to the guerrilla movement and that Romero was not making enough effort to get along with the Salvadorean government. Romero not only continued his challenge but wrote a letter to President Jimmy Carter begging the United States to stop sending weapons to the Salvadorean military government which were used to repress the people. Pope John Paul II clearly had a change of heart when he visited El Salvador in 1983 and 1996 and both times asked to visit Romero’s tomb and pray before it. Thereafter he gave his full support to Romero’s beatification. Unfortunately, many senior officials in the Curia did not.

Archbishop Romero comes across as a brave man of whom the Church can rightly be proud for his defence of the poor, and his call for justice and peace. Was he ever fearful that he too would die a violent death? The film contains an interview where he says: “I am mildly fearful, but not in a paralysing way that affects my work.” He was one of over 70,000 people who died during El Salvador’s Civil War, and a UN report records that approximately 85% of all killings of civilians were committed by the Salvadorean armed forces and death squads.

The film highlighted things that were new to me – for example, Romero consulted widely before delivering his explosive sermons, and he spent the final morning of his life on a trip to the beach with some of his priests and a packed lunch!

Several Latin American cardinals in the Vatican had blocked his beatification for years because they were concerned his death was prompted more by his politics than by his preaching. But with Pope Francis the process has been “unblocked”, as he himself put it.

Now that Romero is beatified the next stage is canonisation. However, he has been a saint by popular acclaim in Latin America ever since his killing. Roberto Cuellar told of walking down a street in San Salvador on the evening Romero died and finding a group of beggars who said, “they have killed the saint”. He reports that as being “the first time I heard him called a saint”. At his beatification Pope Francis said: “In this day of joy for El Salvador and also for other Latin American countries, we thank God for giving the martyr archbishop the ability to see and feel the suffering of his people”.

The film was introduced by Julian Filochowski, the chair of the Archbishop Romero Trust, who has lobbied tirelessly for the canonisation of Romero. He knew the archbishop and worked with him in the late 1970s. He was present at the beatification two years ago, just as he had been at his funeral in 1980 – where the military dropped smoke bombs on mourners leading to around 40 deaths. In the 1980s, during his visits to El Salvador as Director of CAFOD, he made a photographic record of the mutilated corpses left out on the streets of San Salvador daily by death squads. Julian is one of many who have long regarded Romero as an extraordinarily meaningful figure far beyond El Salvador, and an important witness from the Church to the world for the 21st century. When Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez was recently elevated to become El Salvador’s first cardinal, one of the first things he did was to say Mass at the tomb of Blessed Oscar Romero and say, “I dedicate this appointment to Archbishop Romero”.

Taking questions after Saturday’s preview from assembled Catholic journalists and friends of the Archbishop Romero Trust, filmmaker Gianni Beretta explained that the likely title, ‘Making Amends’ refers to the “moral reparation” of recognising Romero, nearly four decades after his death, as a champion of the common good, of the same standing as Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. It was pointed out that the date of his killing – 24 March – is now the United Nations ‘Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims’. The day is explicitly linked to Archbishop Romero and could be described as a secular canonisation.
Look out for details of the film’s availability on the website of the Archbishop Romero Trust www.romerotrust.org.uk

As part of celebrating the centenary of Archbishop Romero’s birth in 1917, the Archbishop Romero Trust has organised a Centenary Pilgrimage to El Salvador in November. Places are still available:
www.romerotrust.org.uk/news/romero-centenary-pilgrimage-el-salvador-2017

 

Finsbury Park Mosque Community Service of Hope

A Service of Hope held by Finsbury Park Mosque and Muslim Welfare House

Hundreds attended a prayer service held at very short notice for the victims of the Finsbury Park hate attack today, July 3rd, which was attended by many London leaders, including the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor of London for Policing and Crime, Sarah Newton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism,  Dr Ahmad Al Dubayan, Director General of the London Central Mosque, Bishop Pete Broadbent, Acting Bishop of London,  Councillor Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, the Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP,  Member for Islington North and Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, and Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, President of the Muslim Association of Britain.

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Mohammed Kozbar, Chair of Finsbury Park Mosque, and Jeremy Corbyn MP

Every speaker offered condolences to the victims, especially to the family of Mr Makram Ali, who was murdered, and also offered praise and thanks to Imam Mohammed and  the members of the community who prevented further violence who prevented retaliation towards the attacker,  as well as to the emergency services for their prompt response.   Many speakers further made the point that such non-violent responses did not just happen out of the blue, but were the work of years of community-building and peace-making between groups.

Mohammed Kozbar, Chairman and Director of the Finsbury Park Mosque, cited the Constitution of Medina as central to Islam, in proclaiming a bond between all humanity, with equal rights for all, together with the right to practise one’s religion in peace.   The recent crimes were hate crimes, and that terrorism had no religion.  He stressed that Islamophobia is a fact, and is experienced by his and mosques throughout the country, despite the fact that they have opposed extremists such as Abu Hamsa for the last 12 years.   He called for open discussion of why young Muslims turned to violence, and not to be afraid to analyse the causes.

 

Bishop Pete Broadbent celebrated the fact that London communities have been able to work together for the Common Good, and that this is the reality, not the hate crimes.  We should resist the media myth that social problems are caused by migration, and affirmed that any scapegoating and hate crime are not done in the name of Christianity.

 

Several Muslim leaders paid special tribute to MP Jeremy Corbyn, who, despite his recently assumed national leadership role, has not slackened his longterm support for the Muslim Community in Finsbury Park.  Corbyn  declared that all local communities and faith communities were united against the attempted divisions of violence, having come together in great numbers several times over the last 2 weeks to offer support to the mosque communities.  He further thanked the Finsbury Park Mosque and Welfare House for their services to the whole community over the last decade, reiterating that such solidarity is not the fruit of a few hours, but is produced over years of service and interaction.

Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, President of the Muslim Association of Britain led the final prayers, including,

‘O Allah, … Allow us to work together in that which we agree upon, and allow to pardon each other on matters we disagree … and to rejoice in that which brings us together’.

Westminster Justice and Peace deeply disappointed by US environment backtracking

The Westminster Justice and Peace Commission is deeply disappointed by the actions of President Trump regarding energy and climate change, which cuts across all the endeavours of Pope Francis and the Catholic Church towards a new way of caring for creation.

On 29 March 2017 Donald Trump signed legislation – an Energy Independence Executive Order – which has undermined all Barack Obama’s policies to combat climate change by reducing emissions from fossil fuels. Central to the changes is a review of Barack Obama’s clean power plan – a pledge to cut US emissions by 26-28% by 2025 – which paved the way for the Paris agreement on tackling climate change involving 195 countries

Through this action, he has swept away green legislation at a stroke of the pen, and has enforced his statement that global warming was a ‘hoax’ invented by the Chinese. Crucially, the Paris accord of 2015 has been seriously undermined on greenhouse emissions and his actions also threaten to derail the worldwide fight against global warming. His plan will therefore make it impossible for the US to meet its Paris obligations.

Yet the US is the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases – behind China, and most of the world looks to the US for leadership and shared responsibility when it comes to saving our planet for future generations. When leaders of poorer nations see the lack of resolve on the part of the US they are likely to think twice about investing cash into schemes that will not produce immediate results in their political lifetime.

To be committed to climate change means that one has to be there for the long haul and work to pass on a sustainable world to future generations. There is NO ‘quick fix’ which is what many people would like in life. Environmental groups and all who are concerned with the care of our planet need to unite together in a sustained plan of action. We need to proclaim the message of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ letter on ‘the care of our common home’, as never before. We must not be diverted by those who either deny or are indifferent to the task in hand. Now is the hour for renewed efforts.

Fr Joe Ryan (Chair) and Barbara Kentish (Fieldworker)

On behalf of Westminster Justice and Peace Commission

For further information contact the Commission on 0208 888 4222

justice@rcdow.org.uk

Caring for the Environment: Justice, Faith and You

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There will be a panel event on interfaith Environmental Concerns at Fyvie Hall, Regent Street Campus on Thursday 23rd March 2017 between 6:30pm and 8:30pm. All are welcome.

To register for this event, please see: http://interfaith-and-environment.eventbrite.co.uk

The panel includes the following speakers:

Chair: Roland Dannreuther, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Westminster

Barbara Kentish, from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster Justice & Peace Commission

Maiya Rahman, Campaigns Coordinator of Islamic Relief UK

Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Professor of Law & Theory at the University of Westminster

Don de Silva, Buddhist environmentalist, journalist, and CEO of Changeways International

Fairtrade Fortnight and the Westminster Fairtrade Diocese Campaign 2017

Westminster Justice and Peace are pleased to announce that there are now 95 parishes in the diocese signed up to Fairtrade, and in partnership with CAFOD we are pressing on to become a Fairtrade diocese.

Holborn Fairtrade

We organised two important talks during Fairtrade Fortnight on Brexit and its implications for trade justice. Mary Milne in Hitchin and Emilie Schultze in Holborn, Campaigns team for the Traidcraft company, explained that leaving the EU will probably mean leaving both the Single Market and the Customs Union, so that all trade negotiations will need to be renegotiated. Around £34billions’ worth of goods are imported by the UK from Less Developed Countries (LDCs), including not only fresh fruit and vegetables, but also more importantly, clothing and footwear. One-third of Belize’s exports reach the UK, along with 23% from Mauritius, and 10% from Bangladesh.

There are currently some good deals in place with LDCs and Europe, including one entitled ‘Everything but arms’, involving no tariffs. Less favourable is the Economic Partnership Agreement, which imposes bilateral conditions. If our government does nothing, a colossal £1billion extra taxes will be imposed by the World Trade Organisation on goods coming in. The Traidcraft speakers used the example of a group of grandmothers in Malawi caring for their grandchildren and running the Black Mamba chutney enterprise. Their prices would increase by 7 1/2 % and the niche Traidcraft market would inevitably sell less.

Possible advantages in leaving the EU could include ‘taking back control’ and giving countries a better deal. Kenya exports a large quantity of raw coffee beans but only 5% of roasted with a target of increasing to 10%. The more they process, the more they will have to pay in higher tariffs.

Parish representatives wanted to know why countries had such vulnerable economies, dependent on one commodity only, such as coffee, flowers or bananas, and it was explained that as well as an importer, Traidcraft as a charity was able to help small farmers to develop and diversify. Markets were often complicated, with other European countries having their own trading patterns.

Traidcraft begged the churches to raise this issue vigorously with our MPs and other groups; government is currently focussing on main suppliers and buyers in lead countries such as China, the US and Australia. The LDCs stand a good chance of being forgotten. Traidcraft has a card-signing campaign at the moment, for sending to our MPs, and some were distributed at the talks. Those who want to get involved should contact Traidcraft’s campaign office in South London: Traidcraft London Office (Campaigns), +44 (0) 203 752 5720 , 2.12 The Foundry, 17-19 Oval Way, London, SE11 5RR

Justice and Peace wants parishes to sign up to Fairtrade so as to support small farmers and producers such as the Black Mamba group to develop their own communities.

For further information contact:

Westminster Justice and Peace at justice@rcdow.org.uk

0208 888 4222

Trade Justice, Brexit, and Fairtrade Fortnight 2017

Holborn Fairtrade

We had good cause for celebration during Fairtrade Fortnight this year, when the theme was ‘It’s time to put Fairtrade in your break’. We now have 95 parishes signed up to Fairtrade – out of 214 comprising our diocese. Supporting Fairtrade means giving producers from small farms and cooperatives a fair price for their goods, and a chance to improve their lives.

Justice and Peace held 2 gatherings, at St Cecilia and St Anselms in Holborn and at Our Lady Immaculate and St Andrews in Hitchin, on the theme of ‘Free Trade and Fairtrade – Towards trade justice in the Post-Brexit era’. The speakers, Mary Milne and Emilie Schultze, from the development organisation, Traidcraft, explained how many new trade deals would have to be negotiated after Brexit, and that the poorer countries were a long way down the UK’s list of priorities. It is up to supporters to campaign on their behalf, they argued, so that Brexit does not mean that even more cards are stacked against them in the international trade scene.

Traidcraft is the organisation which many parishes order from when they run a stall, and Marion Hill, a ‘Fairtrade trader’ from St Dominic’s parish kindly ran a stall offering their goods. Traidcraft, explained Emilie Schultze, is not only an importing company, but also a charity which supports growers and producers to develop their goods and communities. It is currently running a card campaign to encourage us to contact our MPs and raise the issue of justice for the small farmers who produce the Fairtrade goods we buy, whether at a church stall or in the supermarket.

St John Vianney’s organised a cake sale early in the Fortnight, and raised £300 for fairtrade producers.

If your parish has not signed up, do get in touch and we can send you a pack telling you what is needed.