Cynthia McKinney, Presidential Candidate

3 October 08 | Posted in Social Justice, U.S. Catholic

Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party’s 2008 presidential nominee. She was not invited to participate in any debates, and outside NCR, has received little press coverage about her platform and campaign. cynthia-mckinney.jpg

A former Congresswoman, she served as a Democrat in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003, representing Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District. She left the Democratic Party in 2007 and became a Green.

McKinney identifies herself as Catholic and attended Catholic grade schools and high school.

“The environment is just one part of the Green Party’s focus,” McKinney said. “The party’s Ten Key Values include both ecology and social justice. We recognize that communities of color suffer the most from environmental degration. For example, waste treatment facilities or toxic chemical dumps sited near poorer neighborhoods cause both high asthma rates and and lead poisoning incidents to rise there.”

“The environmental and the social issues interrelate,” she said. “We can’t save people and not save the planet, or the reverse.”

McKinney defended herself from the accusation of being an election “spoiler,” and that a vote for McKinney will be a vote for McCain. “The only wasted vote is one that doesn’t reflect your values or conscience,” she said. 

“To say I should not run because I can’t prove I will win denies voters any real choice outside the parties funded and controlled by the corporations and the media that promote them.”

Fr. Theodore Hesburgh on Evolution

30 September 08 | Posted in Arts and Letters, U.S. Catholic

Father Theodore Hesburgh, 91, the president of Notre Dame  from 1952-1987, was known for his work on many of the biggest social issues of the day: equal rights, the ethical application of scientific advances, justice and academic freedom. thesburgh.jpg

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Fr. Hesburgh answered a question on evolution:

WSJ: You wrote that you and the popes you represented at the IAEA had deep appreciation of the sciences. Now, a m0vement, supported by some Catholics, is fighting the teaching of evolution.

Fr. Hesburgh: I have no problem at all with evolution. I think God can create in any way he wants. If he wants to create through an evolutionary process, it wouldn’t happen without him, because he has to put beings there in the first place. But it could be a very simple kind of life, and it could evolve, as I think it did, through various, different, more-complicated organisms until eventually you get to a point where there is a human being. That requires at least one act of God, to create an immortal soul. Evolution can’t create a spiritual and immortal moral soul.

I’m not afraid of science, because the more I learn from science, the more I know about God and his creation.

The Green Priest

26 September 08 | Posted in Stewardship, U.S. Catholic

Fr. Tom Lisowski is becoming known as the “green priest” in Springfield, Massachusetts. He tools around town on his electric bike.

“The increasing gas prices were a factor,” said Lisowski, but most important was the issue of stewardship. “It’s all about doing the best I can, any way I can, to promote the kingdom of God on earth. I try to do positive, life-giving things.” bike-priests.jpg

His desire to be a good steward goes beyond his e-bike.

“I have a 55-gallon water drum that collects water from my rain spouts.  I use this to hand-water my garden,” he said.

On a 100 x 150 foot city lot, Fr. Lisowski has an 8 x 20 foot garden. In it he grows tomatoes, cucumbers, snap peas, asparagus, okra, summer squash and zucchini. “I harvest enough for me to eat with plenty left over to share with my neighbors and friends.”

Fr. Lisowski said by scooting around the city on his e-bike he also finds he is doing a little evangelizing.

“There’s a mailman I pass at least twice a day and each time he sees me he gives me the thumbs up and a ‘God bless you,'” Lisowski said.  “People love to see a priest right there on the streets and it provides for a lot of opportunity for hand waving and talking.”

He added he does his own cooking, shopping, laundry and yard work. “I try to live the life that reflects the lives of the people I serve. I think it brings some substance to my work and my homilies,” he said.

We need more priests like Fr. Lisowski. 

Father, I’m sending you a cheer and a hand-wave from here. Keep up the good work.

Catholics on Climate Change

13 September 08 | Posted in Stewardship, U.S. Catholic

The Catholic Committee on Appalachia is distributing a 10-minute DVD for religious education classes, “Climate Change: Our Faith Response.”

A statement issued by the committee says the DVD presents “the irrefutable science behind global warming, how it will affect the poor and humanity’s moral responsibility to act.”

The committee is composed of the bishops, members of religious communities and lay leadership in the 27 Catholic dioceses in the Appalachian region.

“We hope (the DVD) raises awareness about creation as a precious gift from God and how climate change will particularly affect the poor and vulnerable,” said Fr. John Rausch, the committee’s director. rausch_tour.jpg

“Unless we change our wasteful lifestyles, we’ll reject God’s gift and the poor will be the first to suffer,” he said.

Sister Paula Gonzalez

1 September 08 | Posted in Stewardship, U.S. Catholic

Sister Paula Gonzalez, SC, Ph.D., is nicknamed the “solar nun.” paula.JPG

Sister Paula, 78, earned her doctorate in biology at the Catholic University in Washington, DC and was a biology professor at the College of Mt. St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio for 21 years. She entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 1954.

After learning about solar energy more than 20 years ago, Gonzalez designed and did much of the work in converting a former chicken coop to an apartment she shares with another nun. “Casa del Sol,” is a 1500 foot super-insulated, passive solar house built with recycled materials. She also renovated a building on campus that is heated in the winter entirely by solar and geothermal energy.

The first Earth Day in 1970 inspired Sister Paula to think seriously about energy and environmental issues and about how to incorporate them into her biology classes at Mt. St. Joseph. Later, when a proposed nuclear plant received strong opposition, she realized that resistance alone can not solve energy problems – or any problem for that matter. It is also vital to develop creative, life-sustaining alternatives. She firmly believes: “We have to reach the moral cores of people, as well as their brains.”

The American Solar Energy Society’s Ohio Chapter, Green Energy Ohio, gave Sister Paula their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.