On behalf of Columbans worldwide who see intimately the devastating impacts of climate change on both the human and non-human world, we offer our prayers especially for the people of Fiji and other small island nations as well the world leaders who have gathered in Bonn, that meaningful action will be taken to keep a commitment to the 1.5 degree threshold agreed to in Paris.
As the persecution of the Muslim minority in Rakhine State in Myanmar/Burma reaches a feverish pitch and forces thousands to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, Columban Superior General, Fr Kevin O’Neill, sends a message of solidarity saying: “We reject persecution of any community regardless of religion, race, or ethnic identity. We urge an end to the violence and violation of human rights of the Rohingya people and hope for their peaceful return to their homes in the Rakhine State of Myanmar/Burma.”
A new group of 40 Catholic institutions are divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in renewable energy as part of their response to the urgent call Pope Francis sounded in the Laudato Si’ encyclical and in response to the COP21 statement of Catholic Bishops from all continents. One year ago today, the Missionary Society of St. Columban announced that it would be divesting from fossil fuels over the next five years, and reinvesting in renewable energy: Seven Catholic Organizations Divest from Fossil Fuels on Occasion of Feast of St. Francis
Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations, 650 faith communities and 50 Jubilee global partners, including the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach. As a member of Jubilee USA, and in the wake of the devastation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, we stand in solidarity with the people of those islands and their religious leaders, urging the U.S. and international financial institutions to place a moratorium on existent debts. Columban missionaries work in many communities around the world that are devastated by typhoons and hurricanes. In 2013, we joined Jubilee USA in advocating for a moratorium on the debt for the people of the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Today we do the same for the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The U.S. Region of the Missionary Society of St. Columban joins Catholic leaders in urging dialogue with North Korea and Iran. Pope Francis has called for dialogue with North Korea and a rejection of “the narrative of fear…and the rhetoric of hatred.” At the UN, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister, said, ”The international community must respond by seeking to revive negotiations ... Peace and international stability cannot be founded on mutually assured destruction or on the threat of annihilation.”
Columbans stand firmly against today’s decision from the administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
As representatives of national and international Catholic advocacy organizations working for peace and justice, we condemn unequivocally the display of hatred, overt racism, and violence manifest this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia by members of white supremacist, Ku Klux Klan, and neo-Nazi groups.