Wednesday, May 22, 2013
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US bishops ask government to reassess drone policy
5/22/2013 6:03:00 PM
Washington D.C., May 22, 2013 / 05:03 pm (
).- In letters to top government officials, the U.S. bishops' conference urged a public discussion on the use of unmanned targeted killings, also known as drones, and their moral implications.
“Targeted killing should, by definition, be highly discriminatory,” wrote Bishop Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, in the May 17 letter.
“The Administration’s policy appears to extend the use of deadly force to alleged 'signature' attacks and reportedly classifies all males of a certain age as combatants,” he asked.
“Are these policies morally defensible? They seem to violate the law of war, international human rights law, and moral norms,” the bishop said.
Bishop Pates is the chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace.
The letters were sent to National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon and to leaders of the Committees on Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Relations, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform and the Select and Permanent Select Committees on Intelligence in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The bishop requested that these organizations reassess the use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, in carrying out targeted killings.
The policy has come under public scrutiny for its use in civilian areas against non-military targets, low cost to the United States, and thus risk for overuse, increased risk of civilian casualties, and for whether or not it is a proportional response to a risk of terrorist attacks.
Bishop Pates noted that the United States and other countries have a right to defend themselves, but stated that the success of “a counter-terrorism campaign cannot be simply measured in terms of “combatants killed.”
He urged the organizations to consider the “serious moral questions” raised by drone use and requested that the administration open a “broader discussion” with the public about the morality and consequences of the drone policy.
The bishop also warned that unjust policies and high civilian casualties related to drone use “are likely to exacerbate anti-American sentiment, encourage recruitment by extremists, and undermine the international collaboration necessary to combat terrorism.”
Instead, the United states “should employ non-military assets to build peace through respect for human rights and addressing underlying injustices that terrorists unscrupulously exploit,” and help to advance “international norms, standards and restrictions” for the use of drones.
Bishop Pates challenged the government officials to create “a more comprehensive, moral and effective policy to resist terrorism,” and hoped that expressing the bishops’ concerns “will contribute to the formulation of a more comprehensive, moral and effective policy to resist terrorism.”
Pope says everyone can do good, regardless of belief
5/22/2013 5:03:00 PM
Vatican City, May 22, 2013 / 04:03 pm (
).- Every human person despite his or her beliefs can do good, and a sharing in good works is the prime place for encounter among those who disagree, Pope Francis said at his Mass today.
“The Lord created us in his image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and he does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and avoid evil. All of us,” the Pope taught in his homily May 22 at St. Martha's residence in the Vatican.
“We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
The Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, and attended by employees of the Vatican's governorate, or executive branch.
During his homily, the Bishop of Rome reflected on Christ's response to his disciples, who thought that anyone outside their group could not do good.
“If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” This viewpoint, Pope Francis said, “was wrong...Jesus broadens the horizon.”
He went on to explain that all human persons are created in the image of God, who is goodness himself and the source of goodness.
“But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.' Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him.”
The pontiff called this view, that only Catholics can do good, an intolerance and a “closing off” that can lead to war and blasphemy. Blasphemy, he explained, includes “killing in the name of God.”
He emphasized the universality of Christ's saving act on the cross as a compliment to the universal call to holiness, regardless of religious belief.
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone.”
“Even the atheists. Everyone,” Pope Francis stressed.
He said that the saving blood of Christ “makes us children of God of the first class. We are created children in the likeness of God and the blood of Christ has redeemed us all. And we all have a duty to do good.”
The Pope said that because to do good is inscribed on the human heart and does not derive from creeds, “it is an identity card that our Father has given to all of us, because he has made us in his image and likeness. And he does good, always.”
Similarly, doing good “is a duty” for all people. The universal commandment to do good, he said, “is a beautiful path towards peace.”
“If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much.”
Noting the memorial of Saint Rita of Cascia, he concluded saying, “let us ask of her this grace, this grace that all, all, all people would do good and that we would encounter one another in this work.”
St. Rita of Cascia
5/22/2013 12:00:00 AM
On May 22, the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Rita of Cascia, who the late John Paul II called â€œa disciple of the Crucified Oneâ€� and an â€œexpert in suffering.â€�Known in Spain as â€œLa Santa de los impossibilesâ€� (the saint of the impossible), St. Rita has become immensely popular throughout the centuries. She is invoked by people in all situations and stations of life, since she had embraced suffering with charity and wrongs with forgiveness in the many trials she experienced in her life: as a wife, widow, a mother surviving the death of her children, and a nun.Born in 1386 in Roccaparena, Umbria, St. Rita was married at the age of 12 to a violent and ill-tempered husband. He was murdered 18 years later and she forgave his murderers, praying that her twin sons, who had sworn to avenge their fatherâ€™s death may also forgive. She was granted this grace, and her sons, who died young, died reconciled to God.The saint heard the call to become a nun in the Augustinian convent at Cascia, but was refused entry at first. She asked the intercession of Sts. Augustine, Mary Magadalene and John the Baptist and was finally allowed to enter the convent where she lived the last 40 years of her life in prayer, mortification and service to the people of Cascia.For the last 15 years of her life she received a stigmata-like thorn wound in answer to her prayers to be more profoundly conformed to the passion of the Lord Jesus. Rita was bedridden for the last four years of her life, consuming almost nothing except for the Eucharist. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 70 on May 22, 1456.On the 100th anniversary of her canonization in 2000, Pope John Paul II noted her remarkable qualities as a Christian woman: â€œRita interpreted well the 'feminine genius' by living it intensely in both physical and spiritual motherhood.â€�St. Rita was canonized in 1900 by Pope Leo XIII. She is the patron saint of impossible causes, sterility, abuse victims, loneliness, marriage difficulties, parenthood, widows, the sick, bodily ills and wounds.
First Reading - Sir 4:12-19
5/22/2013 12:00:00 AM
12 Wisdom inspireth life into her children, and protecteth them that seek after her, and will go before them in the way of justice. 13 And he that loveth her, loveth life: and they that watch for her, shall embrace her sweetness. 14 They that hold her fast, shall inherit life: and whithersoever she entereth, God will give a blessing. 15 They that serve her, shall be servants to the holy one: and God loveth them that love her.16 He that hearkeneth to her, shall judge nations: and he that looketh upon her, shall remain secure. 17 If he trust to her, he shall inherit her, and his generation shall be in assurance. 18 For she walketh with him in temptation, and at the first she chooseth him. 19 She will bring upon him fear and dread and trial: and she will scourge him with the affliction of her discipline, till she try him by her laws, and trust his soul.
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