Peace and Justice
"If you want peace, work for justice." Pope Paul VI
Seek first the reign of God and God's justice, and all these things will come to you as a matter of course.
With what measure you mete out, it shall be meted out to you. Jesus of Nazareth
The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry.
The garments hanging in your wardrobe are the garments of those who are naked.
The shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of one who is barefoot.
The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor.
The acts of charity you do not perform are so many injustices you commit.
St. Basil the Great
Compared with the remoter cults of Asia and Africa, Islam and Christianity are sister religions, with an immense shared heritage and with a shared -- or more often disputed -- domain. Each saw itself as the bearer of God's final revelation to humankind, with the duty of bringing that revelation to the rest of the world. Each recognized the other as its principal, indeed, its only, rival in this claim and in this task. The result was a long series of conflicts, beginning with the early holy wars -- jihad and Crusade, conquest and reconquest -- and continuing with the ebb and flow of Muslim empire in Europe and of European empires in the lands of Islam. In this long and - alas - unfinished struggle, the two civilizations have been divided by their resemblances far more than by their differences. Islam and the West, by Bernard Lewis, Princeton Arabic scholar, 1983
Linking terrorism to poverty, pope calls for overhaul of social structures. NC Catholic, 12/16/01
"People around the world today are marked more than ever by fear, which coincides with the unstable situation our world knows... Many people seem unable to envisage their future serenely... The international situation throws light on the grave tensions that menace the fragile equilibrium between nations, and on the situations of injustice that, being rampant for too long and sparking rancor and hatred, have become the true sources of violence between people." The gap between rich and poor countries that globalization is threatening to exaggerate demanded a new sort of relationship between nations, one that was marked by selflessness and solidarity, he said. "It has become more evident that political and economic relations between nations and people need to be built on a new basis... Self-interest and efforts to reinforce positions of dominance must be left aside." Weatlhy countries should not see developing nations as mere destination markets or sources for raw materials but as "true partners in a more just international order, partners who have a vital contribution to make to the good of the entire human family. In effect, the developing countries must be aided for themselves, and not as a function of the prticular interests of the nations to whom they would be in debt..." However, "Changes in outward structures and programs are never enough in themselves: True social renewal requires an underlying renewal of hearts and minds which can change hardened attitudes and inspire practical programs." More than ever there is urgent need for people of different religions, including Christians and Muslims, to learn to respect each other on the basis of the fundamental truths they held in common, he said. "Given that Islam and Christianity worship the one God, creator of heaven and earth, there is ample room for agreement and cooperation between them. A clash ensues only if Islam or Christianity is misconstrued or manipulated for political of ideological ends."
Pope says offering aid to migrants, refugees is matter of justice
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Offering assistance to migrants and refugees is a matter of justice, not almsgiving, Pope John Paul II said. The pope met Nov. 12 at the Vatican with donors and council members of the International Catholic Migration Commission, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding. Over the course of five decades, the pope said, "patterns of human migration have changed, but the phenomenon is no less dramatic and your work grows more urgent as the problem of refugees grows ever more acute." The commission was founded in 1951 by German, Italian and U.S. Catholics to coordinate assistance to migrants and refugees forced to leave their homelands during and after World War II.
North Carolina executes for fifth time in 2001, turns down pope's plea
By Patrick O'Neill
RALEIGH, NC - First-term Catholic Gov. Michael Easley shunned a plea for
mercy from Pope John Paul II, and went through with the Nov. 30 execution of
convicted murderer John Hardy Rose.
Prior to Rose's 2 a.m. execution, about 50 people gathered in Sacred Heart
Cathedral for a prayer service for Rose, his family members and the family
members of Patricia Stewart, the woman Rose murdered on the Jan. 3, 1991.
At the service, Rose's appellate lawyer, Michael Minsker, lamented his own
failure to save the life of his client who had a history of severe mental
"For six years I've worked to be sure tonight didn't happen, and I could not
fend off this monolithic death machine," said Minsker, a Catholic from
Charlotte who delivered the news to Rose that Easley had denied clemency.
At the request of Franciscan Friar David McBriar, pastor of Durham's
Immaculate Conception Church, Easley was contacted by Apostolic Nuncio to the
US, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, who wrote on behalf of the Pope asking the
governor spare Rose's life.
Fr. McBriar consulted with Catholic attorney and parishioner Alex Charns and
Jewish attorney Marshall Dayan, both death penalty appellate lawyers in
Durham, before he sent his letter to the Vatican via overnight mail.
An excerpt from the six-paragraph letter from Montalvo to Easley dated Nov.
16 said: "This appeal is not intended to ignore or condone the crimes this
man has been accused of. This appeal does not also deny the sufferings caused
by those crimes. It is rather a heartfelt call for mercy beyond justice. It
is an appeal for life.
"I am sure that you are aware that the Holy Father has constantly called for
a general moratorium on and an eventual termination of the death penalty. ...
"Committed to upholding the sacredness and dignity of each human life, our
Holy Father prays that the life of Mr. Rose may be saved through your
compassion and generosity of spirit."
Just hours before Rose's execution by injection, Easley, who worships at
Raleigh's Our Lady of Lourdes parish, released a brief statement that made no
reference to the Pope's request.
"After careful review of the facts and circumstances of this crime and
conviction, I find no convincing reason to grant clemency and overturn the
unanimous jury verdict affirmed by the state and federal courts."
Rose's execution was the fifth of 2001, the most in the state in more than
50 years. Easley signed off on all five executions, and he granted clemency
Rose, 43, was sentenced to die for the Jan. 3, 1991 murder of Patricia
Stewart. Rose apologized for the murder, and he asked his lawyers to not
request clemency from Easley, the former state attorney general.
The effort to win clemency began in earnest Nov. 26 when Minsker and Charns
held a Raleigh press conference to state the defense team's case for clemency.
While the lawyers were pushing for clemency, Rose himself was making things
a little easier for the governor. He decided to not seek clemency from
Easley, and seemed at peace with his fate after 10 years on death row.
In a prison interview on Nov. 26, Rose, who sat behind a thick partition,
spoke softly through a wire grate as six reporters listened attentively. The
day he was told of his execution date was joyful, Rose said.
"Since that day I've been the happiest guy here," said Rose, who was a
practicing Baptist. "I mean I'm really, really happy. I've lived in hell all
my life. My life is kind of like full of evil monsters, but there's that
little boy in me that's a good guy. He's just been overrun all his life. He's
never had the chance to grow. But now he knows hisself that the evil is
fixin' to die, and he's happy because he knows he's going to go to heaven.
Man, he's going to live forever. He finally won a round. That little boy in
me, he says he finally won.
"There's no sadness in me whatsoever. I'm happy. I'm just gonna be at peace.
I've lived my whole life the way a man shouldn't have to live, and I'm at
peace now. My mind is eat up with evil. It's stuff that an average man wants
to know nothing about. It started when I was a kid and it's still there
today. I don't know where it comes from. I just know it's there."
Rose, who read the news of the Pope's letter in the Raleigh News and
Observer, said he was surprised by the Pope's intervention.
"I thought it was pretty amazing; very unexpected," he said. "It just shows
that there are people who care. I was in kind of shock when I read that
because I wasn't expecting anything like that. I thank him very much."
On Nov. 27, Fr. McBriar, Baptist minister, the Rev. Robert Seymour of Chapel
Hill, and Steve Dear, executive director of People of Faith Against the Death
Penalty, a statewide interfaith group opposed to capital punishment, met with
Easley for about 10 minutes asking the governor to please abide by the Pope's
McBriar, who had met twice with Gov. James B. Hunt in clemency hearings,
said he thought Easley was probably troubled by the Pope's letter, and that's
why he gave the three so little time in the meeting.
"He smiles, and he says he considers everything," McBriar said of Easley.
Seymour, a longtime death penalty opponent, said the governor was just
"going through the motions," and had probably made up his mind before the
"Unfortunately in North Carolina [the Pope's letter] doesn't matter a whole
lot because the Roman Catholic voice is a rather small voice in North
Carolina," Seymour said.
Still, the retired Baptist minister said he pushed the point. "I told the
governor, the Roman Church used to support the death penalty. They had the
courage to change. Your spiritual leader has made this change and is asking
you to join with him."
In an interview after the meeting, McBriar told reporters: "Certainly this
Pope now, and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, certainly our
bishop, Joseph Gossman, they're all opposed to the death penalty. It's an
Said Dear, who is also Catholic and who worships at Holy Family parish in
Hillsborough: "I hope the Pope makes the governor feel uncomfortable; rattles
his foundation a little bit."
Members of Stewart's family, who all hail from the small far western North
Carolina town of Robbinsville in Graham County, also met with Easley asking
him to go forward with the execution.
Sharon Key, Stewart's mother, was often close to tears as she spoke with
reporters. Key said the Pope was likely misled into supporting Rose.
"Let me say something about the Pope," Key said. "The Pope is a very
dignified gentleman, and he deserves all the respect in the world. And I'm
sure if this gentleman finds out that he's been misled in any way with any
kind of false information he would highly upset.
"We don't know how he got involved, but I'm just saying if he was to find
out he was misled in any way he would be upset because he holds a very
Robin Key, the victim's eldest sister, said she was not upset by the Pope's
letter, but she agreed with her mother.
"It's hard to get offended at the Pope," she said. "You've got to give him
respect. But I think that if he had all the information that we've been
exposed to and if he had ever had to go though this himself, I don't think he
would have ever done that."
A mother of two teenage daughters, who were very close to their late aunt,
Robin Key said executing Rose was necessary.
"I think that somebody that does something like this is an animal, and when
you have an animal that can't be controlled and that is dangerous to others,
you put it down. I love my dogs, but if they bit somebody, I'd shoot 'em."
Sharon and Robin Key, both Baptists, were among those who witnessed Rose's
execution as did Minsker and Rose's mother, Eloise Pace.
candlelight procession to the governor's mansion and later for a vigil in
front of Central Prison, where the executions are carried out. Charns, of
Polish extraction, held an eight-by-ten inch picture of the Pope with the
words, "Papa says No," printed on the frame. He also held an icon of the
Black Madonna of Czestochowa.
Charns, a father of two, who also represents a man on death row, said he was
empowered by McBriar's homily the Sunday after the execution, the first
Sunday of Advent.
"Sooner or later the truth will win out and the moral outrage of people will
swell to a fever pitch," McBriar said.
In an interview, McBriar said the United States is one of the few
industrialized nations that imposes the death penalty.
"France and England and Italy and Germany, Switzerland, the Scandinavian
countries, all of Europe, Greece, they're not fools; those people aren't
fools," McBriar said. "So here we are a country of high moral values, and we
have the death penalty, but there is a growing moratorium against it."
Said Charns: "The best response, particularly during Advent, is we're
waiting. We're waiting for the truth to win out, and we're waiting for our
state government to not use this inhuman and barbarous practice."
People of Faith Against the Death Penalty
Directed by Holy Family parishioner Steve Dear
To learn more about People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, please visit www.pfadp.org
Dedicated to the Well-being of Triangle Hispanics
Directed by Holy Family parishioner Alan Archibald