Advent 2014: Pray - Study - Act
In This Issue
PRAY: Reflection for Third Sunday of Advent
STUDY: PCUSA's 2006 statement on torture
ACT: 2 actions - Vote NO on war and Demand accountability for torture
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Third Week of Advent, Dec. 14-20
A number of items have come across my desk during this second week of Advent which just bring whatever else I am doing to a complete stop: the revelations about CIA torture in the Senate Intelligence Committee report (read our 2006 statement on torture below in "Study"); the ongoing protests and statements across the U.S. crying out that "Black Lives Matter!" (see the excellent statement by Catholic theologians in the Quick Links section to your left); the possible escalation of war in Iraq and Syria as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes, possibly today (see the "Action" section below). These heavy issues are woven together this week with our observance of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, International Human Rights Day, and the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. And I am reminded, as our statement of purpose asserts, that we are working toward a world which is more peaceful, just and sustainable. Gospel work as we await the birth of the Prince of Peace, our "Pax Christi."
   Below and in the column to your left, you'll find opportunities and resources for prayer, study and action for the upcoming third week of Advent. We take heart that we don't do any of this work alone. We do it together, with you and thousands of other Pax Christi USA members across this land


In peace,

Johnny Zokovitch
Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA
 PRAY: Dec. 14, Third Sunday of Advent

By Adrienne Alexander

Is 61:1-2a, 10-11 | 1 Thes 5:16-24 | Jn 1:6-8, 19-28


He said: "I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
'Make straight the way of the Lord.'" (John 1:23)


This Gospel passage is particularly profound because of the messenger. Remember, John the Baptist lived in the wilderness and looks like it, probably smells like it. He is not refined, but God is using him to testify that Jesus is God. So naturally, the approach of the religious elite is to question John the Baptist's authority and gauge his ambition.

   A friend once told me that the marginalized have the most informed view of the world. That should not be a surprise because throughout the Bible God uses imperfect figures, those on the outskirts of society, to deliver messages or otherwise reveal God's work. And yet, it is human to find ourselves dismissing people whom we don't view as legitimate...


To read the rest of this reflection, click here. 

* If you have not ordered an Advent booklet this year and would still like to do so, you can still download the electronic version and download it immediately.
STUDY: PCUSA's 2006 statement on torture

NOTE: In light of the revelations in the Senate report on torture, released this week, we are revisiting the statement we published in February 2006.


"Christ's disciple refuses every recourse to such methods, which nothing could justify and in which the dignity of (humanity) is as much debased in (the) torturer as in the torturer's victim." 

                                                                                 - Pope John Paul II


Pax Christi USA, as a movement committed to creating a world that reflects the peace of Christ, firmly believes that torture violates the basic human dignity held at the core of the Catholic faith and international law, and can never be considered morally acceptable under any circumstances.

    As U.S. Catholics, we are deeply troubled by efforts of the Bush administration to circumvent national and international laws that prohibit the use of torture, under the auspices of national security. In particular, recent evidence suggesting the Bush administration implemented a system of 'rendition outsourcing' as a component of its War on Terrorism is exceptionally troublesome, and could involve several countries - under the direction and order of the United States government - implementing policies of torture outside national territory and beyond the authority of national intelligence services. This would be in clear violation of international law, and would violate the United Nations' Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which provides that no one may be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, even under exceptional circumstances. The Convention reaffirmed that "no State Party shall expel, return or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture."

    There is no room for debate on where the social teachings of the Catholic Church lie on the issue of torture...


ACT: 2 actions - Vote NO on war! (Urgent! Act NOW!) & Demand accountability for torture!

1. from Win Without War 


Call the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: Vote No to War! The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) is set to vote on authorizing our latest war in Iraq and Syria. Please click here to see who is on the committee.

    If one of your Senators is on the committee, your Senator needs to hear from you before the vote!

    Call Congress by using this special toll-free number: 877-429-0678 (from FCNL). This number will connect you with the Capitol Switchboard operator, and you should ask to be connected to your Senator's office.

   You can say: "I understand the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be debating the use of force against ISIS. I urge the Senator to oppose authorizing force in Iraq and Syria. However, if there are opportunities to constrain the use of force, such as by prohibiting ground troops, I urge the Senator to support those constraints."


Click here to see the full action alert.



2. from Amnesty International


The release of the summary of the Senate's report on CIA torture once again makes crystal clear that the U.S. government used torture. Torture is a crime. The U.S. government is obligated by law to ensure accountability, including a full investigation, prosecutions where warranted, and remedy for victims. 

Click here to demand accountability for torture.