The National Catholic Review
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Easier to Obtain Weapons Than Food?

The current lack of global arms regulations makes it easier to obtain weapons “than food, shelter and education,” said Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s observer to the United Nations. Illicit arms trade has turned tensions into armed conflicts and has compromised peace and development, he said.

The archbishop said the Holy See “shares the grave concern of conflict-ridden countries” where illicit arms trade and production hinder the peaceful settlement of disputes and prolong conflicts.”

In his address to the U.N. Security Council on Nov. 19, the archbishop praised the U.N. General Assembly for adopting a resolution that spells out initial steps that need to be taken toward regulating the trade and transfer of arms. He said the General Assembly’s discussion of this issue was both timely and vital and was also something the Holy See “fully supports and encourages.”

Anticipating the observance of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, the president of Caritas Internationalis urged greater efforts from governments and from medical experts in caring for children with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, president of the international organization of national Catholic charities, said that while a third of H.I.V.-positive adults in the world have access to antiretroviral drugs so they can live longer and better lives, “only 15 percent of children living with H.I.V. get these essential drugs. Many die before their second birthday.” He said, “Pharmaceutical companies and governments must show leadership by developing child-friendly medicine for H.I.V. and improving testing.” Cardinal Rodríguez said children will be the key focus of the 162 Caritas member organizations in 2009.

More Efforts Needed for Children With AIDS

Anticipating the observance of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, the president of Caritas Internationalis urged greater efforts from governments and from medical experts in caring for children with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, president of the international organization of national Catholic charities, said that while a third of H.I.V.-positive adults in the world have access to antiretroviral drugs so they can live longer and better lives, "only 15 percent of children living with H.I.V. get these essential drugs. Many die before their second birthday." He said, "Pharmaceutical companies and governments must show leadership by developing child-friendly medicine for H.I.V. and improving testing." Cardinal Rodríguez said children will be the key focus of the 162 Caritas member organizations in 2009.

‘Lack of Humanity’ Triggered Economic Crisis

“To speak of the global need for dialogue, peace and simple human kindness when the world economy is in crisis may seem ridiculous, but a lack of humanity and solidarity are what triggered the crisis in the first place,” said the founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio. Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Rome-based lay movement, spoke on Nov. 18 at the closing ceremony of the annual interreligious gathering for peace organized by Sant’Egidio. “Today, in the midst of a global crisis of great proportions, one for which all the consequences cannot be seen, we feel a need to affirm that the economy and finance are not everything,” Riccardi said. “Too much has been overlooked: all that regards the human person and the spirit,” he said. “In order to build a world of well-being for a few, we have given growth to a world of pain for many.” Hundreds of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh and other religious leaders gathered from Nov. 16 to 18 in Nicosia, Cyprus, to promote interreligious dialogue, the peaceful resolution of conflicts and joint action to alleviate poverty and human suffering.

Goals of Peace Pastoral Remain Unfulfilled

May 3 was the 25th anniversary of The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response, the U.S. bishops’ pastoral letter. In contrast to the highly public process that led to its adoption, the document’s anniversary passed with hardly any notice. But that does not mean the bishops’ core messages—challenging the world’s nuclear powers to rid their arsenals of nuclear weapons and discussing the importance of peacemaking in everyone’s life—have been lost, according to some of the country’s leading peace advocates. “It’s a different time. It’s a different world. But the principles are timeless,” John Carr, executive director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told Catholic News Service. “What the bishops said, what the church continues to say, is more important than ever,” Carr added. “I think the church these days is more involved in questions of international affairs and in questions of war and peace than back then.”

Palestinians Struggle to Attend Catholic Schools

For six months last year, Adel Handal was unable to pay his phone bill, and the electricity has been cut off more times than he cares to remember because he did not pay. But while Handal, 44, a Palestinian hairdresser, and his wife cut corners to maintain their household, they have never considered taking their four children out of Catholic schools. “They have been going to these schools since kindergarten, and we prefer them to stay there. It is better for them to be in a Christian environment. We will do whatever it takes to keep them there,” said Handal, who pays about $1,500 per year for all his children to attend the girls schools run by the Rosary Sisters and the De La Salle Holy Land school for boys. Tuition does not include the yearly $120-per-child registration fee or incidentals such as uniforms, books and daily transportation. For Handal, whose income barely reaches $400 a month, the monthly payments he must make constitute almost 25 percent of the family income. The Handals try to cut costs in small ways, like packing lunches instead of buying them.

Mother Teresa ‘Still Has Lessons for World’

More than 10 years after her death, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta still has lessons to teach the world, according to the priest who co-founded the Missionaries of Charity Fathers with her and has written a new book about her. The Rev. Joseph Langford, a 57-year-old native of Toledo, Ohio, said he wrote Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire (Our Sunday Visitor, $19.95) to try to explain “what made Mother Teresa Mother Teresa” and how she sustained hope, joy and a belief in the possibility of change in the face of inner and external challenges. “As America faces its own dark night of the soul,” he said, Mother Teresa shows Americans and the rest of the world “how to live joyfully, creatively, in a way that leaves a legacy.”

Rigoberta Menchú came from Guatemala to Postville, Iowa, for one purpose. “I have come to listen specifically to the testimonies of the people who have suffered abuses here from the raid,” she said. “I come not only to listen to your suffering, but also to identify with your suffering. Your pain is my pain.” So began the message of the 1992 Nobel Peace laureate. About 300 people gathered in St. Bridget Church on Nov. 8 to hear her message, to pray together and to hear the testimony of people who had been detained following the morning raid last May at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The majority of the immigrants were from Guatemala. In the raid 389 employees were arrested and detained. Most of those arrested were charged with felonies relating to the use of false personal identity documents. They accepted plea agreements calling for five-month sentences before they were to be deported.

Nobel Winner Meets Workers From Iowa Raid

Rigoberta Menchú came from Guatemala to Postville, Iowa, for one purpose. "I have come to listen specifically to the testimonies of the people who have suffered abuses here from the raid," she said. "I come not only to listen to your suffering, but also to identify with your suffering. Your pain is my pain." So began the message of the 1992 Nobel Peace laureate. About 300 people gathered in St. Bridget Church on Nov. 8 to hear her message, to pray together and to hear the testimony of people who had been detained following the morning raid last May at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The majority of the immigrants were from Guatemala. In the raid 389 employees were arrested and detained.Most of those arrested were charged with felonies relating to the use of false personal identity documents. They accepted plea agreements calling for five-month sentences before they were to be deported.