by Andrew Conradi, ofs; JPIC & Laudato si' Animator
who acknowledges and thanks the Lkwungen People for allowing me to live, pray, work, and play on their lands. I am deeply sorry for the injustices inflicted upon the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Turtle Island by the complicity of settlers in the colonialism inherent in the Indian Act and Residential Schools including racism and cultural genocide.
I commit to work for truth, healing and reconciliation
THE MYSTERY OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
THE HOLY FAMILY
by Kelly Latimore. See: https://kellylatimoreicons.com
NOVENA TO ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI
The pandemic shows us that “we have not heard the cry of the poor and our seriously ill planet” warns Pope Francis, describing this as "a time to choose what matters and what passes away". (Urbi et Orbi, 2020)
Tweet from Laudato Si' Movement (@LaudatoSiMvmt):
"What are we destined for, since our #creation? God created us to “cultivate” a garden, which we have made an arid desert, because we do not accept our limitations and consider ourselves rulers of creation."
Here read by Friar Murray Bodo, OFM
in the original Umbrian dialect (with English text on screen).
CALLING ON WORLD LEADERS!
Will ecocide become an international crime?
Takes Centre Stage at The Hague
The idea to add ecocide as the court’s fifth crime gained traction in 2019. Since then, Pope Francis, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres and more than a dozen countries, including Mexico, France, Sweden and Canada, have expressed varying degrees of support for the international initiative. Earlier [December 2021], Belgium’s parliament passed a resolution expressing support for both domestic ecocide legislation and the international effort.
3 Dec 2021 Brussels, Belgium. In a landmark event the Belgian parliament voted by a huge majority (96 to 39) to recognise Ecocide as an international crime. The resolution - proposed by a Green member of parliament calls on the Belgian government to initiate a treaty of countries willing to prosecute ecocide and to propose an amendment to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of The Hague to include the new crime. The United States has not ratified the Rome Statute and is not a member of the court. International criminal law is seen as a tool, alongside political processes like global climate negotiations, to fight widespread environmental harm. In particular, advocates say that making ecocide a crime would change the calculus of multinational corporations when making decisions about potentially environmentally harmful projects.
Take action: please sign this Petition
Organisations and associations can sign this to the Canadian Government
Therefore, all signatory organizations and associations below ASK THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT to:
Publicly declare its support for an international crime of Ecocide, joining those countries ready to amend the Rome Statute to include it as the fifth Crime Against Peace, alongside Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes and the Crime of Aggression, providing a simple, effective deterrent for those in positions of responsibility, enforceable within existing criminal justice systems.
Individuals can sign the International Petition
Support making ECOCIDE an international crime
We call on all governments to declare support for making ecocide an international crime, in the knowledge that many countries must stand together to put this law in place for the long-term protection of all life on Earth.
Remember this quote from Understanding JPIC:
“1.0.14.a. “Jesus himself warns us that the path he proposes goes against the flow, even making us challenge society by the way we live and, as a result, becoming a nuisance.” (Pope Francis, 2018 Gaudete et exsultate, n.90)”
So become a nuisance! Here below are two posters you can print if you can advocate publicly
(first enlarge both of them to fit a sheet of 8½ x 11 paper):
Fungi and trees form a symbiotic relationship. [i.e. everything is connected!] Symbiosis is a close, long-term relationship between two organisms. Trees produce food, in the form of glucose sugars, through photosynthesis. The plants share this glucose with the fungus. Humans use the internet to communicate. Similarly, trees use a complex underground network of fungi. These relationships are examples of symbiosis. Read more or See and listen to her fascinating TED talk (18 mins). She says we must save old growth forests (at 16.42).
Kelly Latimore: Francis shown listening to a chaffinch
Sign to stop glyphosate in Europe
But big producers of weed killer like Monsanto are still lobbying to protect their profits. Their deep pockets have been paying for “studies” and “expert” opinions to show that their product is safe. Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018. When Bayer, the giant German chemical and pharmaceutical maker, acquired Monsanto, the company knew it was also buying the world’s best-known weedkiller. What it didn’t anticipate was a legal firestorm over claims that the herbicide, Roundup, caused cancer. Bayer has funded and published reports saying glyphosate is safe! Surprise, surprise!
Now Bayer is moving to put those troubles behind it, agreeing to pay more than $10 billion to settle tens of thousands of US claims while continuing to sell the product without adding warning labels about its safety.
JPIC IN THE OFS International (CIOFS)
TRUTH, JUSTICE, EQUITY & RECONCILIATION
The Power and Peril of Injunctions
The foregoing link to The Tyee article is very informative. Are injunctions good or bad? What are court-ordered injunctions? And why is one now on trial? Injunctions are legal orders restraining a person, company or group from an action that threatens the legal rights of another party. The onus is on the courts to decide whether they should be granted or not. In past decades, First Nations have sought such rulings to stop industrial projects while asserting their rights over land but so have extractive companies. A report from the Yellowhead Institute found that over the last two decades, 81 per cent of injunctions filed by corporations against First Nations were granted, while only 19 per cent of those filed by First Nations were approved.
More recently, injunctions have become a go-to for corporations seeking to clear out protesters blocking their activities.
We protest rightly when journalists in Russia and Hong Kong etc. are jailed, but as Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun, 3 Jan 2022 wrote: “The other thing that’s worth pointing out is that few Canadian politicians or citizens angrily denounced the November arrest and jailing of photojournalist Amber Bracken and freelance reporter Michael Toledano at the Wet’suwe’ten blockades in northern British Columbia. They were charged with breaching a civil injunction rather than a criminal law, which meant they weren’t entitled to go before a judge within 24 hours of their arrest and, as a result, spent the weekend in jail. The charges have since been dropped.”
Actually some politicians did protest! As Vaughan Palmer wrote in the Vancouver Sun, 13 Dec 2021: “The B.C. NDP [New Democratic Party] convention on Sunday called for an independent investigation into allegations the RCMP used excessive force against protesters at the standoff over the Coastal GasLink pipeline.” …
[This] motion passed with 89 per cent support at the first B.C. NDP [virtual Convention November 2021] since the sweeping victory in the 2020 provincial election: “Significant concerns have been raised about the conduct of the RCMP during enforcement of a court injunction in Wet’suwet’en territory on November 18th and 19th , including the arrest of journalists and allegations of the use of excessive force,” the motion read, in part.
From Kai Nagata, Dogwood, 5 Jan 2022 email – subject: private police & prosecutors:
“Corporate lawyers, backed by American billionaires, are trying to jail Indigenous people in Northern B.C. for peacefully standing on their own land. Crown prosecutors argued there was no public interest in pursuing criminal contempt charges against Gitxsan hereditary chiefs and family members who allegedly blocked CN Rail traffic in the town of New Hazelton two years ago.
But a judge has ruled the trial will go ahead anyway, with CN’s lawyers serving as the prosecutors. CN Rail is a private multinational that ships oil and other raw resources all over the continent. Its biggest shareholder is Bill Gates, the fourth-richest person in the world.
Why did Gitxsan chiefs step onto train tracks on their territory in February 2020? Because their Wet’suwet’en neighbours had just been invaded by militarized RCMP forces trying to push through the Coastal GasLink pipeline. They demanded the police leave Wet’suwet’en territory. Instead, CN Rail had them arrested.
… B.C. adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in law in 2019. British Columbians need to put some serious questions to our lawmakers.
- Why are corporations being allowed to apply for injunctions on land that belongs to Indigenous nations?
- Why does the B.C. government keep authorizing militarized raids, instead of negotiating with Indigenous title holders?
- Why are private security guards and private prosecutions being used to put Indigenous people in jail?
The Gitxsan land defenders are due back in court next month. I’ll keep you posted.”
PILLAR OF SHAME
Right: Acteal 1999. After being asked if I was willing to visit Las Abejas, a Tzotzil Indigenous pacifist group who had lost 45 in a massacre 18 months earlier I was present on 30 July 1999 when they formed their own coop to sell Fair Trade coffee and I promised to promote/publicise the new coop’s coffee called Maya Vinic. Read more about Acteal and the Pillar and the coffee: Maya Vinic's Fair Trade Coffee.
POPE'S CHRISTMAS HOMILY
In his littleness, God is completely present. Let us acknowledge this: “Baby Jesus, you are God, the God who becomes a child”. Let us be amazed by this scandalous truth. The One who embraces the universe needs to be held in another’s arms. The One who created the sun needs to be warmed. Tenderness incarnate needs to be coddled. Infinite love has a miniscule heart that beats softly. The eternal Word is an “infant”, a speechless child. The Bread of life needs to be nourished. The Creator of the world has no home. Today, all is turned upside down: God comes into the world in littleness. His grandeur appears in littleness.
This is what we should ask Jesus for at Christmas: the grace of littleness. “Lord, teach us to love littleness. Help us to understand that littleness is the way to authentic greatness”. What does it mean, concretely, to accept littleness? In the first place, it is to believe that God desires to come into the little things of our life; he wants to inhabit our daily lives, the things we do each day at home, in our families, at school and in the workplace. Amid our ordinary lived experience, he wants to do extraordinary things. His is a message of immense hope. Jesus asks us to rediscover and value the little things in life. If he is present there, what else do we need? Let us stop pining for a grandeur that is not ours to have. Let us put aside our complaints and our gloomy faces, and the greed that never satisfies! Littleness and the amazement of that little child: this is the message.
We gaze once again at the crib, and we see that at his birth Jesus is surrounded precisely by those little ones, by the poor. The shepherds. They were the most simple people, and closest to the Lord. They found him because they lived in the fields, “keeping watch over their flocks by night” (Lk 2:8). They were there to work, because they were poor. They had no timetables in life; everything depended on the flock. They could not live where and how they wanted, but on the basis of the needs of the sheep they tended. That is where Jesus is born: close to them, close to the forgotten ones of the peripheries. He comes where human dignity is put to the test. He comes to ennoble the excluded and he first reveals himself to them: not to educated and important people, but to poor working people. God tonight comes to fill with dignity the austerity of labour. He reminds us of the importance of granting dignity to men and women through labour, but also of granting dignity to human labour itself, since man is its master and not its slave. On the day of Life, let us repeat: no more deaths in the workplace! And let us commit ourselves to ensuring this.”
[One way is to be aware and know where your purchases were made and how the workers were treated. Buy fair trade!]
From Bishop of Victoria, BC Gary Gordon’s Christmas 2021 letter: “First, the truth that the earth itself needs freedom from the captivity of insatiable consumption of the beauty and gifts of creation, which creates an ever-increasing expansion of the desertification of what should be a garden of delight and health for all. In the light of this truth, we pray for freedom from the captivity of “having”, so we may enjoy the liberty of being children of God and co-heirs with Christ.
And second, in the truth of our frailty and weakness, may this Christmas be a time for a deep renewal of our awareness of our vulnerability and smallness, in imitation of the smallness of our Saviour Jesus, born in a humble stable.”
“Today the path of peace, which Saint Paul VI called by the new name of integral development,  remains sadly distant from the real lives of many men and women and thus from our human family, which is now entirely interconnected. … As in the days of the prophets of old, so in our own day the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth  constantly make themselves heard, pleading for justice and peace. … Here I wish to propose three paths for building a lasting peace. First, dialogue between generations as the basis for the realization of shared projects. Second, education as a factor of freedom, responsibility and development. Finally, labour as a means for the full realization of human dignity. These are three indispensable elements for “making possible the creation of a social covenant”,  without which every project of peace turns out to be insubstantial.”
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio (26 March 1967), 76ff.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (24 May 2015), 49.
 Cf. Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti (3 October 2020), 218.
VIOLENCE TO WOMEN IS AN INSULT TO GOD
9.d Pope on Epiphany :
The Pope noted how the Magi, in defying Herod by not returning to him to tell him where they found the Christ child, demonstrated great courage and prophetic faith, unafraid to challenge worldly power and evil. “Like the Magi, let us lift up our eyes, listen to the desire lodged in our hearts, and follow the star that God makes shine above us. As restless seekers, let us remain open to God’s surprises. Let us dream, let us seek and let us adore.”
Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
A formal evaluation of the dicastery was carried out during the summer of 2021, requested by Pope Francis and conducted by Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago.
Following that inquiry, two high-profile personalities in the department made their exits: French Father Bruno-Marie Duffé, formerly the department’s secretary, or number two official, and Father Augusto Zampini, an Argentine who’d been named Adjunct Secretary in 2020.
Pope Francis has now decided to accept Cardinal Turkson’s resignation and name new leadership for the office. The Pope thanked Cardinal Peter Turkson for his five years of service as prefect of the Dicastery.
Beginning 1 Jan 2022 and for a limited time, Canadian Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ will serve as prefect and Salesian Sister Alessandra Smerilli will continue to serve as interim secretary, Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said in a statement 23 Dec 2021. [Friar Nicola Riccardi, OFM, Professor at the Pontifical University Antonianum, Rome, and Chair in Justice and Peace at the PUA Faculty of Theology is an Under-Secretary in the Dicastery. Whether he resigned because his five year term will terminate in July 2022 has not been indicated].
Here are two other comments: (1) “The unique synodal process taking place in Germany has surfaced demands for profound changes in the Catholic Church, causing great angst among some Vatican officials.” They were unable to “frame” it, i.e. limit or control it to a certain extent. Read more
(2) Reminds me, an ex Cold War Warrior, of the classic secret services strategy brilliantly satirised in the 1987 Soviet film A Forgotten Tune for the Flute, where a KGB character says: “The best way of stopping a spontaneous movement is to organise and lead it” as Vladimir Putin well understands!
Two famous Africans died recently;
One, a black South African Archbishop,
the other, a white Kenyan atheist
From Vatican News: Pope laments death of 'servant of the Gospel' Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu. Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolence on the death South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu who died at the age of 90. The Anglican Archbishop was born near Johannesburg but spent most of his later life in Cape Town and led numerous marches and campaigns to oppose the policy of apartheid (racial segregation) and discrimination.
When apartheid came to an end in the early 1990’s and Nelson Mandela became president of the country, Archbishop Tutu was named chair of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
As well as winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Archbishop was awarded the Templeton Prize for his "life-long work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness which has helped to liberate people around the world".
Pope Francis: Tutu was an inspiration
Pope Francis in the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti credits Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among others, as an inspiration for his encyclical: “286. In these pages of reflection on universal fraternity, I felt inspired particularly by Saint Francis of Assisi, but also by others of our brothers and sisters who are not Catholics: Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, Mahatma Gandhi and many more.”
Tutu was always a firm believer in the African philosophy of Ubuntu based on a culture of sharing, openness, mutual dependence, dialogue, and interpersonal encounter.
RICHARD LEAKEY (1944-2022)
Fossil hunter Richard Leakey, was the son of the famous Louis and Mary Leakey. He showed humans evolved in Africa. He has said we are all part of the African diaspora. [Makes racism seem foolish!] He found the oldest near-complete human skeleton in 1984, dating from 1.5m years ago. In 1984, he would enjoy his most famous fossil find: the uncovering of a near-complete Homo erectus skeleton. Nicknamed Turkana Boy, it dated from approximately 1.5m years ago and is the most complete fossil skeleton of a human ancestor ever found.
During this decade Leakey became one of the world’s leading voices against the then legal global ivory trade. In 1989 the Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi appointed him to lead the national wildlife agency, which became the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). He armed wardens and enabled them to fight back against elephant poachers reducing elephant kills. Then in 1993 his small Cessna plane crashed in the Rift Valley. He survived but lost both legs. Sabotage was suspected but never proved.
He told the Financial Times that he endured “regular threats” and lived with armed guards, adding: “But I made the decision not to be a dramatist and say: ‘They tried to kill me.’ I chose to get on with life.”
Two heroes: may they rest in peace.
11. A FINAL THOUGHT: for reflection from Fr Dan Horan, OFM:
Systems that allow income and wealth disparity are a form of violence
“Put bluntly, Žižek writes: "Charity is the humanitarian mask hiding the face of economic exploitation."
[I, Andrew, would agree that applies to charity from the super rich but not to most of us especially the widow’s mite!]
In case you were wondering about the size of the world's economies
I think Canada is small fry but still quite big compared to most, except, of course, the USA and China. See image below. Click on link.
Peace & joy, Andrew, ofs