While there has been a distinct movement away from the death penalty worldwide in recent years, the United States remains near the top of the list -- actually fifth on the list of the world's top executioners, following China, Iran, North Korea, and Yemen. These figures come from a recent Amnesty International report.
Earlier this year, I was invited by our community of Daughters of St. Paul in Johannesburg, South Africa, to take part in a two-year program running up to the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council.
Pope John XXIII announced his intention to call for a council Jan. 25, 1959, a mere three months into his pontificate. He convoked the council on Oct. 11, 1962, and Pope Paul VI closed the council Dec. 8, 1965.
The program is titled "Hope&Joy," drawn from the opening words of the final document of Vatican II, "Gaudium et spes," or "The Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World." This document was not envisioned or planned before the council convened like the others, but emerged from the work and input of the council participants, and, one might surmise, their associates and consultants and the Holy Spirit. It was promulgated on Dec. 7, 1965, one day before the end of the Second Vatican Council. (I am not sure yet why they chose hope and joy rather than the exact translation "joy and hope.")
Isn't it refreshing?
For years it was something only peaceniks would openly discuss. Now, it seems, everybody wants to talk about nuclear disarmament, from former president Jimmy Carter to higher-ups in the Reagan administration.
This week, reports NPR, over 70 people once powerful in government are meeting at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to find ways to persuade governments to seriously work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.
The meeting, NPR says, reflects that nuclear disarmament is one of the few bipartisan issues left.
From the piece:
"Lawrence S. Wittner, a history professor at New York State's University at Albany, is the author of several volumes on anti-nuclear efforts, including Toward Nuclear Abolition: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, 1971 to the Present. Wittner is keeping close watch on the event at the Reagan Library, which he says "is indicative of how much progress has been made in convincing former members of the national security establishment and other world leaders that the maintenance of nuclear arsenals imperils the world.""
What a wonderful surprise this morning! It's not every day that I wake up to the news that someone I have interviewed on Interfaith Voices won the Nobel Peace Prize. But it happened today. NPR announced that Leymah Gbowee of Liberia was one of three women awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011.
I am thrilled for her and for the other winners as well: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen. And I am especially excited that all three are women, honored "for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."
I have had the privilege of interviewing Leymah, and the honor of presenting her with a Living Legends Award at a local church near Washington, D.C. In person, she is one powerful woman!
This just in from the U.S. bishops' conference media office: At their November meeting, the U.S. bishops will be electing new leaders for their various committees. Following is a slate of candidate for the various posts.
Bishops to vote for chairmen-elect of five committees, secretary-elect, international justice and peace chairman at November meeting
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will vote for their secretary-elect, the chairmen-elect of five committees and the new chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace when they gather in Baltimore for their November 14-16 Fall General Assembly.
If you aren't reading "Beat the Press," commentary on economic reporting by Dean Baker, you're missing some of the best progressive economic thought available.
Today, for instance, Baker takes on New York Times columnists, David Brooks, calling him the Bard of the 1 Percent. Baker writes:
In other words, Brooks wants all those people who are unemployed and losing their homes to just suck it up. Nothing is going to be done to help you: get over it.
On this day, a century ago, James M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy, illustrated by F. D. Bedford, was published in England by Hodder & Stoughton and in the United States by Charles Scribner's Sons. Later editions would be titled Peter Pan and Wendy, and later still, just Peter Pan.
The book was the novelization of Barrie's successful 1904 play, Peter Pan. On opening night, at the Duke of York's Theatre, Barrie "instructed the members of the orchestra to put down their instruments and clap when Peter appealed for help to save Tinker Bell's life and cried out, 'If you believe in fairies, clap your hands.' However, there had been no need for these instructions, for the audience clapped thunderously, causing Nina Boucicault, the actress playing Peter, to burst into tears."
St. Louis archdiocese forms academy with three Catholic schools. New format allows schools to stay open.
Staten Island -- Studying under God's watchful eye requires self-discovery, sacrifice, and occassionally some booty-rumbling beats that imbue you with the spirit of the Almighty.