Why the Debt Ceiling Matters: “The biggest challenge facing Congress should be a non-issue. The debt ceiling is simply the amount of debt the U.S. is legally allowed to hold. It is about paying off the bills that Congress has already incurred from past appropriations – not about giving permission for new government spending, as many people falsely assume. Congress has raised it nearly 100 times since the end of World War II, but it only recently became a political football. Because the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling and defaulting on our nation’s obligations could be catastrophic, some leaders have tried to leverage it for political gain. …the stakes couldn’t be higher. The U.S. has always honored its debts.
“Should the country default, the market turmoil and long-term effects could be catastrophic for the global economy. Domestically, it could throw the U.S. back into recession. The costs are also significant. According to the Government Accountability Office, the credit downgrade caused by the 2011 fiscal showdown resulted in $1.3 billion in increased borrowing costs for that fiscal year. The Bipartisan Policy Center has estimated that interest payments could be nearly $19 billion higher over the next decade. These political showdowns have made the U.S. a more risky investment, which means creditors demand higher interest rates when buying our debt. …these manufactured crises have actually added to our fiscal challenges….Somebody needs to remind Washington that we elect leaders to solve problems, not create them.”
(From Sojourners, November 2013)
Is Wall Street Immune From Prosecution?: “The wheels of justice grind slowly indeed – perhaps slowest when they detour onto Wall Street, where generous campaign contributors, former Treasury Department officials (and future ones) and the super-wealthy operate the global finance market. Five years after a financial crisis that sent the nation and then the world into an economic tailspin, less connected citizens who watched home values plummeting or eviction notices being posted are still waiting for those wheels to grind down some careers in recompense. But despite multiple federal and state investigations, there is little to indicate today that any major figure from the world of U.S. high finance will ever be held accountable for all the turmoil and suffering endured over the last half decade. That is not to say that some measure of justice has not been meted out. …While cash penalties are welcome, what might better restore confidence in the rule of law would be some sign that a criminal investigation, which the Justice Department says is ongoing, will lead to actual indictments of actual perpetrators of the crimes that led to the crisis.
“An investigation by the Center for Public Integrity published in September found that the top executives from the 25 biggest pre-crisis subprime lenders are back in the mortgage business. Many lenders have recreated the same executive teams who stood by or openly encouraged dubious-to-fraudulent practices that were the foundation of the crisis in 2008. How is this possible? One investment banker told the center’s researchers that the absence of a ‘meaningful effort’ by regulatory agencies to identify the industry’s bad actors and hold them accountable has allowed them to quickly return to the field in new lending entities….Complex regulatory and corporate codes and structures, ‘investigation fatigue,’ slick national lobbying efforts and an understandable desire to leave all that unpleasantness behind cannot mean that the industry’s willfully bad players will be allowed to slink off unpunished. Justice must be served and accountability restored or the nation will simply be resetting for the next potentially more devastating banking breakdown.”
(From America, Nov. 11, 2013)
Climate Measures Falling Short: “Climate initiatives in the U.S., China and other nations aren’t putting the world on track to avoid dangerous temperature increases, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA’s new World Energy Outlook takes stock of efforts to curb carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector that accounts for two-thirds of global greenhouse gas pollution. The report offers some good news… ‘Although some carbon abatement schemes have come under pressure, initiatives such as the President’s Climate Action Plan in the United States, the Chinese plan to limit the share of coal in the domestic energy mix, the European debate on 2030 energy and climate targets and Japan’s discussions on a new energy plan all have the potential to limit the growth in energy-related CO2 emissions,’ it states. …but adds that it’s not enough.
“‘In our central scenario, taking into account the impact of measures already announced by governments to improve energy efficiency, support renewables, reduce fossil-fuel subsidies and, in some cases, to put a price on carbon, energy-related CO2 emissions still rise by 20% to 2035. This leaves the world on a trajectory consistent with a long-term average temperature increase of 3.6°C, far above the internationally agreed 2°C target,’ the IEA report, released Tuesday, states. Scientists say limiting the global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels would help avoid some of the most severe impacts of climate change. The IEA report echoes a United Nations study, released last week, which warned that the odds of cost-effectively avoiding the most dangerous effects of climate change will ‘swiftly diminish’ unless countries quickly begin taking stronger steps to curb emissions.”
(From The Hill, Nov. 12, 2013)
Using Algae to Eat CO2: “Converting flue gas emissions into biofuel may seem like a pipe dream, but a groundbreaking process at Duke Energy’s East Bend Station in Boone County [Ky.] could make it a reality. The Kentucky Department of Energy Development and Independence and the University of Kentucky are partnering with Duke Energy on the project, which converts the carbon dioxide in flue gas to algal biomass. The biomass is then periodically harvested to supply feedstock for upgrading into other products. To put it in laymen’s terms, pond scum feeds on a diet of carbon dioxide from a smoke stack and is then used to make stuff. Potential uses for the product, in addition to biofuel, include fertilizer, animal feed and the omega 3 fatty acids commonly used in pharmaceutical fish oil. …The procedure begins with a line connected to the flue gas stack atop the plant.
“The flue gas containing the carbon dioxide is transferred to a shed on the ground and then pumped into a feed tank. The mixture is fed into the 3.5-foot packing tubes with the algae at 160 gallons-per-minute, and the process of photosynthesis converts it into biomass and oxygen. When the biomass is harvested and dries, it hardens into dark-colored chips. …More than 90 percent of Kentucky’s power comes from coal, which produces carbon dioxide as a waste product when burned. The East Bend Station, near Rabbit Hash, was a candidate for the process because it removes or ‘scrubs’ the sulfur from flue gas before it is emitted, which makes it compatible with algae. It also met the environmental requirements for the process, which include a reasonable amount of sunlight, a water source and moderate temperatures.”
(From The Cincinnati Enquirer, Nov. 9, 2013)
Syria’s Struggling Families Need the World’s Help: “It was 4 a.m. in the dusty courtyard of the Raba’a al Sarhan transit center near the border between Jordan and Syria. At the far end of the dark courtyard, I saw a long line of people, refugees who had crossed the border at night, waiting to be registered. They were caked in dirt and eerily quiet – even the babies – seemingly dazed by the terror of their flight across the Jordanian border under cover of darkness. At their feet were tattered, overstuffed suitcases and bags tied with rope. The civil war in Syria has seethed for two-and-a-half years and sadly the story of these refugees is typical. One-third of Syria’s population has been displaced from their pre-war homes. Children have not been in school. Parents are not working. More than 2 million refugees have crossed into neighboring countries, particularly Jordan and Lebanon. More than 4 million people are displaced inside the country, and little food or medical aid is being distributed with any regularity.
“With millions of lives at risk, the United Nations has called for greater humanitarian access to all parts of Syria – as well as more aid donations from the global community. The aid effort has so far received only a fraction of the level of donations given in response to the Haiti earthquake or Indian Ocean tsunami. Millions more civilians are affected by the Syrian crisis than either of these two disasters. As the war grinds on, my fear is that the world community will grow tired of this crisis, that it will turn a blind eye to the Syrian families struggling to survive. The world cannot allow that to happen. The global community must step up and fund the United Nations’ unprecedented $4.4 billion appeal to deal with this crisis, and the world must support Syria’s neighbors, like Jordan, that are coping with an unprecedented surge of millions of new residents.”
(From The Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 8, 2013)
Congo and Colombia Working on Peace: “Both Colombia and Congo are home to two of the world’s most protracted civil conflicts. But this week, the main rebel groups in both countries announced they are ready to lay down their arms and rejoin society. While this brings hope to these violent trouble spots in Latin America and Africa, the hardest part may be yet to come. Each country must now decide which of the rebels should face punishment for past atrocities, especially crimes against humanity. Government leaders must balance a desire for peace and progress with a desire for retribution and deterrence. They need to seek justice and expose the truth but possibly grant forgiveness to rebels who are contrite about the suffering they have caused. In Colombia, the Marxist guerilla group known as FARC agreed Wednesday that a final peace agreement with the government would ‘imply the prohibition on using violence as a method of political action.’ Last August, it stated that it recognizes the ‘harshness and pain provoked by our forces.’
“Both statements are a breakthrough after a year of difficult negotiations between the government and FARC, whose forces have dwindled to some 8,000. They mark a turning point in a conflict dating back to the 1960’s that has killed an estimated 220,000 people. …In Congo, the rebel group called M23, which has about 1,700 fighters, said Monday it would lay down its arms after a 20-month rebellion that has terrorized the eastern part of the Central African country. Made up largely of former Congolese soldiers, the group had been in peace talks in recent months. But a military offensive by Congo’s Army and United Nations forces helped push M23 to surrender. The group’s head, Bertrand Bisimwa, said M23 would ‘pursue by purely political means the search for solutions to the root causes which led to its creation.’ Now Congolese leaders must decide which rebels to put on trial and which to integrate into the Army. Last year, M23 took over Goma, a city of 1 million people, wreaking havoc until they were forced to flee.”
(From The Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 7, 2013)
Corporations Buying Our Water: “Corporate raider T. Boone Pickens made billions as a Texas oil baron, but he’s betting that the real money will come from mining ‘blue gold’ – water. Pickens owns more water than anyone in the U.S. – he’s already bought up the rights to drain 65 billion gallons a year from the Ogallala Aquifer, which holds the ground water for much of the Great Plains. Almost all of the Ogallala water – 95 percent – is used for agriculture, but Pickens plans to pipe it down to Dallas, cashing in on the hotter-and-drier weather from climate change. (The result, according to an Agriculture Department spokesperson: ‘The Ogallala supply is going to run out and the Plains will become uneconomical to farm.’) Pickens isn’t alone in his new role as a water baron.
“Multinationals such as Nestle are buying up water rights, siphoning lakes, and selling our most precious resource to the highest bidder. Slick advertising has seduced many Americans into the mistaken belief that (expensive) bottled water is ‘purer’ or ‘healthier’ than tap water – and led to the annual consumption of 9.67 billion gallons of bottled water, with underserved Latinos and African Americans having the highest rates of bottled water use. And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warns that by 2030 nearly half of the world’s population will inhabit areas with severe water stress. …cities and towns across the country are in the midst of an epic fight to keep water as a public trust. Communities of faith have joined what they see as a battle for basic justice: Protecting the right of everyone, rich and poor alike, to the crucial stuff of life, water.”
(From Sojourners, November 2013)
Millions of Modern Slaves Exploited Worldwide: “The Global Slavery Index, a new comprehensive measure of compelled labor, estimates that there are 29.8 million people enslaved around the world. The countries with the highest numbers of enslaved people are India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Taken together, these countries account for 76 percent of the millions trapped in modern slavery, according to the report. The inaugural index ranked 162 countries, reflecting a combined measure of three factors: estimated prevalence of modern slavery by population, a measure of child marriage and a measure of human trafficking in and out of the country. …Mauritania, a West African nation with deeply entrenched hereditary slavery, is ranked number one. …Haiti, a Caribbean nation with deeply entrenched practices of child slavery (known locally as the restavek system) is ranked second on the index. …Pakistan, with its porous borders to Afghanistan, large populations of displaced persons and weak rule of law, is third on the index with as many as 2,200,000 people in various forms of modern slavery.
“The country with the largest number of people in modern slavery is India, with between 13,300,000 and 14,700,000 people enslaved….China had the second highest number, with an estimated 2.8 million to 3.1 million. …The country with the third highest absolute number in modern slavery is Pakistan, with an estimated 2 million to 2.2 million people. The United States ranked 134 with an estimated 59,644 enslaved. …Modern slavery can involve using children in the military, whether as combatants, porters, cooks or for other jobs. The chains of modern slavery are not always physical. Sometimes escalating debts, intimidation, deception, isolation, fear or even a ‘marriage’ that is forced on a young woman or girl can be used to hold a person against her will without the need for locks or chains.”
(From America, Nov. 4, 2013)
Cutting Food Stamps Not a Solution to Budget Woes: “Many of us are blessed enough to not know what it is like to be hungry, to regularly miss meals, or to consume diet void of essential nutrients for a healthy life. But now, millions of our brothers and sisters here in the United States may, sadly, be facing these situations because of a reduction in their food stamp benefits. As of Friday, all households receiving food stamp benefits will see their food budgets shrink as a temporary increase expires. A family of four could lose up to $36 a month in food stamps (also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP). …SNAP effectively and efficiently helps more than 47 million low-income Americans put food on the table. Even as unemployment and poverty have remained high, the number of families at risk of hunger has not increased since 2008. Contrary to popular belief, the average individual receiving food stamps is on the program for only nine months until he or she manages to get back on their feet.
“And if this $11 billion reduction in the food stamp program isn’t devastating enough, members of the House and Senate have begun to finalize a farm bill that will impact vital anti-hunger programs. Additional reductions to the food stamp program, as proposed in the House and Senate versions of the bill, range from $4 billion to $39 billion. …The farm bill debates don’t stop at American shores. Congress will also consider changes to life-saving international food aid programs. International food aid reached more than 66 million people affected by famine, disasters and other emergencies last year. …Forty-nine million Americans live at risk of hunger, and more than 1 billion people around the world live in extreme poverty. …The solution to these problems isn’t complicated. We live in a time where God has granted us the ability to end hunger and poverty. We pray that our lawmakers put an end to political brinksmanship so the economy can function.”
(From National Catholic Reporter, Nov. 2, 2013)
Men Left Out of Safety Net: “A relatively small but growing group of voices has been championing the cause of low-income men and fathers …Their reasons may vary but, at heart, all of those involved in the movement seem to agree that low-income men and fathers have an inherent value that is not being fully realized. Currently, far too many men are simply disconnected in far too many ways – from employment, their families and society. Employment rates for men with a high school diploma or less dropped more than 20 percentage points between 1970 and 2000, and those rates have not substantially increased since that time. Poverty is contributing to family breakdowns as 9.3 million poor children now live apart from their fathers and 44 percent of mothers in these families report that their children have no contact with their dads. Although growths in mass incarceration are subsiding, there are still 1.4 million men currently in prison – most having entered the system with limited education and therefore limited employment opportunities.
“Men of color are disproportionately affected in all of these areas. These challenges suggest that men should receive the best possible help from the safety net. However, limited numbers of men have access to job help and SNAP food assistance. Healthcare reform is just beginning to open doors to Medicaid in those states that choose to participate in a federal expansion of services. Overall, however, there isn’t much available for men unless they are in the direst of circumstances and are able to get a cot in a homeless shelter.” Welfare was originally created for women and children at a time when it was thought they were at more of a disadvantage than men. “Men were considered able to take care of themselves. With the changing fortunes of male workers, however, it has become clear that gender is not the determining factor in who might need a hand-up in their efforts to achieve economic security.”
(From NETWORK Connection, Fourth Quarter, 2013)
Philippines Pleads for Action on Climate Change: “Amid the devastating destruction of Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines has called for immediate action on climate change. In an emotional speech Monday at the opening of the United Nations climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, Yeb Sano, commissioner for the Philippines climate change commission and head of the Philippines delegation, called the climate crisis ‘madness’ and said he would refuse to eat until progress is made. During the two-week meeting, representatives for some 190 countries aim to forge a new global climate agreement that will take effect in 2020. ‘In solidarity with my countrymen who are struggling to find food back home, I will now commence a voluntary ‘fasting for the climate during the meeting until a meaningful outcome is in sight,’ Sano said. ‘What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness, the climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness right here in Warsaw,’ he said. …
“‘The energy that is stored in the waters off the Philippines will increase the intensity of typhoons and the trend we now see is that more destructive storms will be the new norm,’ Sano said in his speech. …The Philippines averages about 20 typhoons each year. It also experiences flooding, drought, earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions. It has recorded more than 182 disasters since 2002. ‘Extreme weather is becoming more frequent, you could even call it the new normal,’ [Mary Ann Lucille] Sering told the newspaper [The Guardian].” Sering is the vice chairman of the Philippine government’s climate change commission. “Sering had noted that opinion surveys revealed that Filipinos consider global warming as a bigger threat than rising food and fuel prices.”
(From United Press International, Nov. 12, 2013)
Replace More With Better: “Walking through the displays of innovative projects at the Green Festival in Washington, D.C., one can see vendors’ stalls selling items made of recycled goods. While it is impressive that so much can be recycled, it is still stuff that ultimately will be thrown away, begging the question of whether buying more things addresses the underlying problem…. The underlying myth that the economy simply needs to grow has us all buying into the story of ‘more’ and taking our focus away from ‘better.’ If we focus on ‘better’ we can work together to create better health, better jobs and a better chance to survive on the planet, rather than competing with one another to gain ‘more.’” Doing this “means changing the goal of our entire economy. But doing so might bring us more in line with ‘God’s economy.’ We’re at a crossroad of social, economic and ecological crises, and at the heart of it all is an economic system that tries to lock interconnected societies into unsustainable patterns of production, over-consumption and waste generation, all driven by the mandate to grow.
“To date, this growth-driven economic model has proven to promote overgrowth in some areas while leaving vulnerable populations with no benefits of development….Changing the goal of the global economy is a tremendous task, but if we turn our attention away from finding new ways to play the game of ‘more’ to game-changing solutions we can steadily build an economy that values a life of fullness, complete with the important things like safer, healthier water, land and people who have just what they need to thrive and flourish. Changing the point of the game…decreases the wealth gap between those who over-consume the world’s resources and those who have difficulty meeting basic needs; and it brings us closer to a world where people opt to live simply so that others might live with dignity.”
(From NewsNotes, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, November-December 2013)
U.S. Bishop Leaders Concerned With Poor: “U.S. Catholic bishops elected two centrist conservatives as new leaders on Tuesday, an archbishop from Kentucky and a Texas cardinal, both of whom expressed ‘solidarity’ with Pope Francis’ strong emphasis on the poor. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, 67, of Louisville, Kentucky, was elected to a three-year term as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, while Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, 64, of the Galveston-Houston diocese, was chosen as Vice President. Their election comes as Catholic bishops worldwide are being given new direction by Pope Francis, who has emphasized greater humility and more concern for poverty. The bishops oversee 69 million U.S. Catholics, or about a quarter of the country’s population.
“‘I believe we are very much in solidarity with Pope Francis, and that is, his way of articulating clearly that we need not only to serve the voiceless and the vulnerable, but to be an advocate,’ Kurtz told reporters after his election. Christopher Hale, senior fellow with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a progressive group that focuses on social justice issues, said he believes both Kurtz and DiNardo ‘will move the American Church in the direction Pope Francis desires.’ Hale cited Kurtz’s ‘long pastoral experience’ and praised DiNardo as a ‘tireless leader on immigration reform. He knows firsthand the problems of a broken immigration system.’”
(From Reuters, Nov. 12, 2013)
Vatican Group Calls Human Trafficking a Crime: “Human trafficking is a crime against humanity that should be recognized as such and punished by international or regional courts, a Vatican study group said on Monday. Nearly 30 million people live in slavery across the globe, many of them men, women and children trafficked by gangs for sex work and unskilled labor, according to a global slavery index issued last month by the Walk Free Foundation charity. ‘International or regional courts … should be created because human trafficking in [sic] an international phenomenon that cannot be properly prosecuted and punished at the national level,’ said a statement listing 50 recommendations made at a two-day seminar held at the initiative of Pope Francis on how to combat human trafficking and slavery.
“The Vatican statement gave no details of the proposal made by more than 100 experts who attended the seminar. …The group, which will give its recommendations to Pope Francis as well as to organizations fighting human trafficking, also said it should be defined as a crime against humanity in national and international legislation. [Bishop Marcelo] Sanchez Sorondo [head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences] said the pope had asked his department and the Vatican’s Academy of Social Sciences to hold the seminar because he was so concerned about human trafficking….Francis has made defending the poor and vulnerable a cornerstone of his papacy. He has made numerous appeals for the protection of refugees.”
(From Reuters, Nov. 4, 2013)
Will U.S. Support Arms Trade Treaty?: “In 1988, a bronze sculpture of Carl Fredrick Reutersward’s knotted gun was placed outside the United Nations headquarters in New York. As Kofi Annam, former UN secretary general and Nobel Peace laureate, remarked at its unveiling, the sculpture isn’t just a cherished piece of art, but a powerful symbol that encapsulates in a few simple curves the greatest prayer of humanity: not for victory, but for peace.” This past April, the UN General Assembly approved an Arms Trade Treaty. “The treaty seeks to regulate the international trade in conventional arms, from small arms to tanks, combat aircraft, and warships. It aims to foster peace and security by putting a stop to the destabilizing flow of arms to conflict regions. …The statistics are frightening. Globally, one person dies every minute from armed violence. This treaty will help halt the uncontrolled flow of arms and ammunition that fuels wars, atrocities, and rights abuses. The devastating humanitarian consequences of the two-year war in Syria, a war fueled in part by the irresponsible export of arms, underline just how urgently this treaty is needed. …
“Securing the Arms Trade Treaty has been a long, arduous journey, and there is much that needs to be done. To date, 83 countries have signed the treaty but only four have ratified it. As with other multilateral treaties, it will only come into force when it is ratified by 50 countries. Secretary of State John Kerry has indicated that the U.S., the world’s number one arms exporter, will sign the treaty as soon as the official translations of the document are completed, but he has given no indication as to when the U.S. might ratify it. Unfortunately, the Obama administration faces an uphill ratification battle in the Senate, which passed a resolution in March opposing the treaty. An Arms Trade Treaty without the active support of the U.S. would have little impact. Though the treaty doesn’t explicitly regulate domestic gun sales, the National Rifle Association has been a vocal critic, arguing that it threatens the rights and privacy of U.S. gun owners.” Unfortunately, 130 members of Congress are listening to the NRA and have asked the President not to sign the treaty.
(From Sojourners, November 2013)
Mortar Strikes Vatican Embassy in Syria: “As discussion got under way on the long-delayed Syrian peace talks, mortar fire struck the Vatican embassy in Damascus, Vatican Radio reported Tuesday. A mortar round struck the roof of the nunciate in the central part of the city early Tuesday, damaging the building but causing no injuries, Vatican Radio said. ‘We do not know why it happened. We cannot say the Vatican embassy was targeted,’ said Archbishop Mario Zenari, the apostolic nuncio to Syria. Zenari said the international community needs to strengthen its efforts to end the conflict in Syria. ‘The Syrian people want the violence should stop immediately. They are fed up with this conflict,’ he said.
“Discussions began in Switzerland among the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria and U.S. and Russian diplomats on the delayed Syrian peace talks. Wrangling over agenda items and who will attend have held up the Geneva peace conference negotiators have been trying to finalize for months, the BBC said Tuesday. U.N.-Arab envoy Lakhdar Brahimi also will meet delegates from the rest of the U.N. Security Council and Syria’s neighbors. The United States remains committed to the Syria peace summit despite the obstacles ‘because political reconciliation, a political negotiated solution, is the only way out of the bloodshed in Syria,’ White House press secretary Jay Carney said during a media briefing Monday.”
(From United Press International, Nov. 6, 2013)
SJB Friars Commit to Refugees, Migrants and Victims of Human Trafficking: The
Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province based in Cincinnati, Ohio, held their 2008 Chapter
at St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana May 19-23. Of the many proposals passed, the Chapter delegates
affirmed a resolution to learn more about the issues of migrants, refugees and victims of human trafficking
in order to better be able to respond to their needs. The resolution says:
“We, the Franciscans of St. John the Baptist Province, commit ourselves to increase our
awareness of issues surrounding refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking in order to develop
more proactive Franciscan responses on the provincial, friary and personal level.”
SJB Friars Commit to Non-violence: The
Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province based in Cincinnati, Ohio,
held their 2005 Chapter at the University of Dayton, May 23-27. Among the many
proposals that were passed, the Chapter delegates affirmed a resolution
introduced by their JPIC Office in which they committed themselves to
continued conversion to a life of Franciscan non-violence in support of a
consistent ethic of life. The complete resolution follows.
As Franciscans, we affirm the sacredness of all human life
and the inherent value of all creation. In a world where violence is rampant, we wish to be a sign of hope,
actively promoting the preservation of life, peace among people and nations,
justice for all and reconciliation. We commit ourselves to continued conversion to a life of Franciscan non-violence
in support of a consistent ethic of life.