A worrisome report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that food production may not keep pace with population increases and dietary changes as some people become wealthier and consume more calories. Up to half-a-billion people could be chronically hungry in Asia alone, according to the report. Already, it is Asia, not Africa, which suffers the most from malnourishment and hunger.
Justice and Dignity: An Elusive Dream
In This Issue
As followers of Jesus, our commitment to social justice – inspired and nurtured by faith – is a privileged way to give witness to the faith we profess.
Joshua Alvarez and his family fear for their lives when the monsoon rains come. Last August, their two-bedroom flat in Manila was flooded when severe tropical storm Trami dumped 15 inches of rain (380mm) in a few hours and the local reservoir overflowed. They fled to a flyover with thousands of others as five large areas of the capital were inundated with muddy waters up to three meters deep and a state of calamity was declared in three Philippine provinces.
A notice board on the wall of the prosthetic department at Mae Tao Clinic’s prosthetic department shows the names of 54 patients who have visited the department since February – 52 of them have lost limbs to landmines.
First came Italy’s singing nun. Now a band of priests in France is having their own moment in the spiritual spotlight as they embark on a year-long concert tour to promote their latest album.
The cooperation between women religious and London’s Metropolitan Police to combat human trafficking has been of enormous importance and has produced great results. The hope is, therefore, that this experience can be repeated in other countries as well. This is according to the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Gerard Nichols, who chaired the international conference promoted by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, entitled “Combating Human Trafficking: Church and Law Enforcement in Partnership.”
Following scattered defiance of the Taliban earlier, a new wave of students is now heading for education in schools and colleges across the troubled north of Pakistan. “There is a steady increase in enrolment of students because parents have realised the significance of education, and now they want to thwart the Taliban’s efforts to deprive students of education,” Pervez Khan, education officer in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), stated. In 2012, he says, the literacy rate for girls was 3% in FATA. That rose to 10.5% in 2013. The boys literacy rate shot up correspondingly to 36.6% compared to a previous 29.5%.
November 29, 2013 was a very big day for religious life in the Church.
Homelessness can only be experienced by those who truly have nothing. But the experience of being homeless and poor can also enrich us, allowing us to appreciate what God has given us and to help those who have nothing to call home.
These days, the term “social justice” is regarded loosely, as if it were a mere utopian concept that cannot be achieved. Therefore, one cannot fully say that a society is truly free until a better understanding and dispensation of social justice in the context of upholding human rights can be attained.
Peace, freedom and ethnicity are some of the social values that are often taken for granted. Most of the time, peace is simply interpreted as the absence of violence, freedom as the absence of force or restrictions, and ethnicity as being unapologetically different. However, only with a genuine reinterpretation of these values can one say that a society is truly just.
Exercising social justice does not only mean confronting those who violate a person’s dignity or rights. It can also mean doing ordinary things that help others grow in their relationship with God and others. But before this can happen, the tools needed to promote an equal society for all must first be cultivated.
Rice is a key resource and commodity not only among Southeast Asian countries, but in significant parts of Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. However, many factors, both natural and man-made, have impeded the free trade of rice between countries, as if rice has attained the stature of gold as an article of commerce. Aside from climate change, greed still seems to be the major obstacle in ensuring food security and rice sufficiency all across the globe. Time and again, the Church has urged the international community to work together to eliminate not only the structures that hinder economic cooperation but those that perpetuate the menace of hunger as well.
Given the ecological crisis, we will have to rethink our obsession with overconsumption and focus on an ecologically sustainable economy that narrows the gap – the gap often ‘bridged’ by violence – between rich and poor. Capitalism, particularly financial markets, will need to be regulated more. This is just a part of the way out of a global system that tramples human dignity and threats people as discardable commodities. A vicious trap that Pope Francis so aptly resumed in a single exhortation: “Money must serve, not rule!”
On many occasions at the start of his pontificate, Pope Francis has talked about how God’s mercy touched him at a very young age. Often understood merely as God’s compassion, mercy is more than that. Aside from its capacity to heal one’s brokenness, it has the power to transform a person, and to cultivate a spirit of zeal and mission that enables one to share this wonderful and concrete expression of God’s love.
Actress, journalist, and broadcaster, June Keithley-Castro (1947-2013) had recently come back to the practice of her Catholic faith when, because of unexpected circumstances, she became the voice of the non-violent EDSA revolution through the microphone of the clandestine Radyo Bandido. Her courage to risk her own safety, among other things, inspired the masses who toppled the Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos. After a life of broadcasting for her faith, she fought bravely against cancer and, in 2013, managed to be present at the 27th year commemoration of EDSA Revolution and receive the “Spirit of EDSA” award, together with her mentor Fr. James Reuter who, however, had died the previous year. A few months later, the Lord took her as well.
“It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you” – Read Acts 13:44-51
Southeast Asia’s largest red-light district, in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, was shut down recently after pressure from locals. Authorities have announced the closure of the Dolly prostitution complex in Putat Jaya village, Sawahan subdistrict, stating that the area should be transformed into a “dignified” space that will attract businesses.
Strategies for Evangelization
October 2023 Issue
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