Omnibus News - Diocese of Nottingham

Omnibus News - Diocese of Nottingham


quarterly e-magazine produced by the National Board of Catholic Women


Consultative Body to the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales: Consultative status with the United Nations (ECOSOC)

“The Genius of Women”

(Letter of John Paul II to Women, 29 June 1995)

The National Board of Catholic initiate

Family Fast Day which led to the

establishment of the Catholic Agency for

Overseas Development (CAFOD)

Issue No. 53

April 2010


Click on an item to navigate to it

Section 1

The National Board of Catholic Women

2 So simple, so practical, so adaptable.

4 Tell Everyone.

5 Women continue to suffer in many

parts of the world.

6 Church needs women to unveil ‘masculine


Social Responsibility

7 Domestic Abuse.

26 NBCW Election questions


9 Let everything that has breath praise


Women in Europe

10 Andante.(European Alliance of

Catholic Women’s Organisations)


11 Better late then never.

Marriage and Family

11 So what is Family Mediation


12 God, Time and the Universe

Section 2 The Universal Call to Holiness

13 ‘I was in prison and you visited me.’

14 What to you call a 100 canon lawyers

at the bottom of the sea

15 Human Trafficking.

Section 3 Associated groups and agencies

16 Addressing the real wounds of the

human family: a call to action. (Pax


17 The murder of and icon. (Progressio)

19 Caritas Chile aid reaching most in

need. (CAFOD)

21 Naturally a Martha and not a Mary!

(National Justice and Peace Network

23 Campaigning Themes. (Vocation for

Justice- Columban Fathers)

Contact Omnibus Editor:

Angela Perkins at 12 Worsall Road,

Yarm, Cleveland, TS15 9DF.

Tel/Fax: 01642 791840



Editorial Team: Freda Lambert

Verena Wright:

omnibus 2


‘So simple, so practical, so adaptable’-

Giving hope by giving up

Original article written by Lucy Harrison (CAFOD) and edited by Freda Lambert.

How did a Belgian Nun, a poodle, and the

National Board of Catholic Women turn

giving up into giving hope

Without Fast Days, CAFOD would not exist

today. These times of compassion and

generosity have raised over £65 million and

changed millions of lives across the world!

So how did it all begin

Elspeth Orchard was the treasurer of the first

two Family Fast Days. In 1986 she wrote an

account of the history of the Fast Day which

shapes the story you are about to read of a

Belgian Nun, a pampered poodle and

Catholic women of England and Wales……

Let me take you back…

Elizabeth von Strachotinsky, the Austrian

representative of the World Union of

Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO)

was present in 1957 when the Director

General of the Food and Agriculture

Organisation(FAO) spoke to WUCWO about

the extreme situation of hunger and

malnutrition in the developing world.

Elizabeth wanted to address the plight of

those who were suffering and also to give

thanks for answered prayers and peace in her

country. This compassion sparked a Family

Fast Day in Austria.

“The idea was that every member of the

family would make a special act of self denial

– father could give up his beer, for example,

and the children their sweets, while mother

could cook with the cheapest ingredients.”

This first Family Fast Day in Austria was a

great success – and so the word spread.

Jacqueline Stuyt-Simpson was the UK

representative on WUCWO and a member

of the National Board of Catholic Women

(NBCW). Jacquie was inspired by this act of

generosity and compassion and took the idea

she had learned of to her fellow NBCW

members. Evelyn White, the chair of NBCW

at the time along with Jacquie, Elspeth and

the secretary, Norma Warmington, decided

that a Fast Day should be organised and

promoted throughout parishes in England

and Wales. As Elspeth wrote in her account,

the idea ‘was so simple, so practical, so


Dominica: making the difference

But where could they make the difference It

seemed there was so much need, where

could they start At WUCWO Jacquie had

already met Sister Mary Alicia MBE, a

dynamic Belgian nun from the Missionary

Sisters of St Augustine who was trying to

raise money for a project she had founded in

Dominica, one of the Caribbean Windward

islands. Children were dying from lack of

food and this was particularly acute in the

parish of Roseau, the capital of Dominica

where the project was based. Shockingly, 80

per cent of newborns had died in one year

and a home was needed to nurse

malnourished children and babies back to

health. Plans to build the Infant Jesus Nursing

Home began straight away and the first

Family Fast Day in England and Wales had

its focus.


Delegates at the WUCWO Conference, Rome, 1957

Jacquie along with Elspeth, Evelyn and

Norma, chose the Ember Friday of Lent on

11 March 1960 as the date for Family Fast

Day. They had leaflets printed and

distributed around the parishes of England

and Wales asking people to ‘Go without so

that others may have.’

The two biggest member organisations of

NBCW, Catholic Women’s League (CWL)

and Union of Catholic Mothers (UCM) were

there to help out in force. The women hoped

to raise £500, but actually collected over

£6,000! As the donations came in thick and

fast, time was spent counting the money on

kitchen tables and responding personally to

each and every one.

Work began on the building of the Infant

Jesus Nursing Home in Dominica. However,

to ensure the home had all the necessary

life-saving equipment, more money was

needed. The decision was unanimous;

Family Fast Day would be repeated the

following year.

The Fast Day leaflets that were sent out in

1961 communicated a very clear and strong


Millions of people in the world are hungry.

They are hungry largely because the good

Page 2 April 2010

omnibus 3


fruits of the earth are enjoyed by too few and

WE are among the few…….. There is

enough food for all – if only it could be fairly

shared. With our donations the HUNGRY





WORLD, for BREAD, for TRUTH, for GOD.

The language may have changed slightly, but

the messages behind the appeal of living

simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the

poor, continue to motivate the Catholic

community today.

The difference then, the difference now

That year over £32,500 was collected for Fast

Day, and the bank asked when the Fast Day

would be in the following year so that they

could take on extra staff! The money was

sent straight to Sister Alicia and ploughed

into the hospital. The success of Fast Day

even made national news:

“The little ex-patients can be found in most

villages of the island, enjoying health and

happiness. If the Home had not existed

Dominica might have lost the greater part of

a thousand young citizens”

In 1962 there were big changes. It became

obvious that the generosity of the Catholic

community was without limit and there was

only so much kitchen table counting that

could be done by the women volunteers. At

the same time, there was a recognition that

many countries throughout the world were

in need of support, and permanent staff

members would be necessary to address this.

To date over £65 million has been raised

through Fast Days alone.



Consultative Body to the Bishops’

Conference of England and Wales.

Saturday 19 June

Annual General



Address given by

Julian Filochowski CMG 2pm

“History of Family Fast”

At the Bar Convent,

17 Blossom Street York YO24 1AQ

Enquiries to

Jean Horan Hon. Secretary

Mitzi – the pampered poodle

In order to gain more publicity for the 1961 Fast Day Jacquie wrote to Cardinal Godfrey and asked if he would include a mention of

Fast Day in his pastoral letter. He wrote:

“We propose to respond to the appeal for a Family Fast Day on Ember Friday 24th February. What we save thereby can be offered for

the hungry and starving. Such a sacrifice would be very much in the Spirit of Lent, for it would touch both the palate and purse.

Something could be saved too in the care of our pets. They also could benefit by being fed with less expensive foods. A plump and

pampered poodle may run more gaily after a reduced diet on simpler fare and, perhaps a denied visit to a hair stylist.”

In a letter to The Catholic Herald Mrs Joan Burn responded:

‘Dear Sir,

I am writing on behalf of my poodle Mitzi, who hastens to say she is not pampered, although her hair-dos cost 25/- a time and are

necessary as her hair just grows and never falls out. As she is expecting her third family to arrive on Easter Sunday, she feels that it

would be most unwise for her to fast even for one day a week, and as we have the children at college everything we manage to save

goes to pay their bills and clothes and books. We therefore suggest that as much as we all wish to help this fund, Mitzi offers one of

her puppies, which will be ready to go to a new home the week following Whit-Sunday....If your ladies could arrange a Dutch auction

or something of that kind, no doubt they could make more than 25gns for the fund.’

Poodle puppy Peer Gynt was born and bought at auction for £25 by Bishop Thomas Pearson.

Jacquie Stuyt always hoped that the Fast Day would continue to be in the spirit of self-denial that

was central to the original Fast Days. She said, “In many places it has become just a second

collection, but it is supposed to be a personal sacrifice so that we can say we’ve actually given

something up. That is the nearest thing to my heart – to make that clear.” In the year 2000 Jacquie,

with Elspeth, unveiled an icon of Mary the Magnificent as part of the 40 years celebration. It was

commissioned by CAFOD for their office and is dedicated to the women past, present and future

who are part of CAFOD’s work here and abroad.

Pat Jones, then Deputy Director of CAFOD, pointed out, “It’s so important for us to remember the

origins of the story. There are many unsung heroines who’ve quietly worked with CAFOD over the

years without any fuss or fanfare”. The icon represents the spirit of justice that’s integral to

CAFOD’s work. Mary the Magnificent, mother of Peter, stands for all the things we do now. And

for everyone, men and women, the icon is an invitation to travel with us.

Elspeth Orchard & Jacquie Stuyt

Page 3 April 2010

omnibus 4


Tell everyone Jesus and women in the gospels

Familiar events and stories can be read in

different ways when seen from a different

perspective. Feminist analysis identifies

strategies that women as marginal figures

use to articulate knowledge which

remains invisible to a dominant reading.

Such strategies assert the authority and

social value of that lived-experience.

Jesus’ defiance of convention is particularly

sustained in his public verbal and physical

dialogue with women, since all such

interaction is socially taboo. These marginal

encounters have little initial effect

on the dominant authority groups

(Romans and Jews). Yet they disturb and

challenge Jesus’ immediate local group (

as voiced by the apostles). Women are

also an important part of his teaching

strategy; indeed it seems to me that Jesus

actively invites and enjoys critical theological

debate with them, in a way that

does not happen with men, even the

apostles. His exchange with women like

Mary his mother, Mary and Martha of

Bethany, the Samaritan and Syro-

Phoenician woman, and Mary of Magdala

is enquiring, egalitarian and open to

mutual discovery of knowledge and

insight about faith and theology. Martha’s

faith statement ( ‘I believe that you are the

Christ, the son of God, the one who was

to come into this world’) is at least as

important as Peter’s (‘You are the Christ,

the son of the living God’). Mary

Magdalen is commissioned as ‘apostle to

the apostles’ and entrusted with the resurrection

story. In this way, Jesus demonstrates

a valuing of intellect, wisdom and

groundedness of women and ‘women’s

work’, and makes use of what is commonly

seen (and later condemned by

Paul, and the Church Fathers) as one of

women’s ‘weaknesses’. While men such

as the leper who returns to thanks him,

and the man cured of blindness, are asked

to keep quiet, Jesus urges women ( Mary

Magdalen, the Samaritan at the well) to

go out and talk – tell everyone about him.

Is this because he has tested their theology

and faith - understanding and affirms

the women as authorities

( Verena Wright, Maid in God’ Image

(p17-18). Darton Longman and Todd)

The lay vocation of a remarkable women.

Jaqueline Simpson was the daughter of

Geoffrey Simpson and Henrietta Marie-

Therese, born Princess de Linge of

Belgium. She was educated bilingually,

being fluent in French, and during the

Second World War Jacquie was seconded

by the Foreign Office to Naval Intelligence

and was responsible for activities in French

speaking regions.

In 1955 she married Giacomo Stuyt, a

Dutch architect and diplomat. They settled

in Paris where Giacomo died at the age of

46 in October 1955. Jacquie has been a

widow for over 50 years.

Jaquie was dedicated and committed to

her faith and to improving the lives of others.

She devoted her talents to numberous

roles in the life of the laity and represented

Catholic women at the highest levels,

nationally and internationally, including

being appointed by the Vatican Secretariat

of State as the only woman and lay person

on the Catholic team on the Commission

on the Theology of Marriage 1971 – 76.

She was International Secretary of the

National Board of Catholic Women, Vice

President General of the World Union of

Catholic Women’s Organisations and Chair

of its Commission for Ecumenism. She was

involved in the founding and development

of the National Council for the Lay

Apostolate, of which she was the first

Woman President. She was instrumental in

joining the European Forum of the Laity.

She was also very much involved in the

forming of the Ecumenical Forum for

European Christian Women.

Amongst those most closely connected

with UCM, she was WUCWO Board

member form 1957 – 1970 and as

described in the lead article, introduced

Family Fast Day to England in 1959.

In 1968 she received the Papal award,

Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, and her contribution

to society was also recognised by the

Queen when she was appointed a

Member of the Order of the British Empire

in 1980.

In 1995 she became the England’s first

Dame of St Gregory.

Those fortunate enough to have known

her, speak of her generosity of spirit, and

her grace and dignity which was always

leavened by self deprecating humour. She

was a life member of the UCM National


Jaquie died on May 6, 2008.

Reproduced with kind permission of The

Union of Catholic Mothers.

The National Board of Catholic Women

and the World Union of Catholic Women

are grateful beneficiaries of Jackie Stuyt’s


Page 4 April 2010

omnibus 5


Women Continue to Suffer in

Many Parts of the World

On International Women’s Day, 8 March 2010, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy

See's permanent observer at the United Nations, addressed the 54th session of the

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Here is an edited version of his address

As this Commission undertakes a 15-year

review of the implementation of the

“Beijing Declaration and Platform for

Action”, and the outcomes of the 23rd special

session of the General Assembly,

“Women 2000: Gender Equality,

Development and Peace for the 21st

Century”, my delegation wishes you and

your Bureau a productive session for the

good of all women in the world.

From the general debate, it seems that the

assessment is not entirely positive: It

includes some light, but also many disturbing



Global advancements in the status of

women in the world in the last 15 years


• improvements in the education of girls;

• the promotion of women as key to eradicating

poverty and fostering development;

• growth of participation in social life;

• political reforms aimed at removing forms

of discrimination against women;

• specific laws against domestic violence.

In particular, among the many parallel

events, some have stressed the indispensable

role played by civil society in all its

components, in highlighting the dignity of

women, their rights and responsibilities.

Continuing Abuse and Discrimination

However, women continue to suffer in

many parts of the world:

• Violence in the form of female foeticide,

infanticide, and abandonment are realities

that cannot be brushed aside.

• Discrimination in health and nutrition

occurs throughout the lives of girls and

malnutrition affects girls much more than

boys, stunting future physical and mental


• Girls continue to account for the majority

of children out of school;

• girls and women (15 years of age and

over) account for two-thirds of the

world's illiterate population.

• It is a sad fact that three quarters of those

infected by HIV/AIDS are girls and

women between the ages of 15 and 24;

the proportion of women infected with

HIV is increasing in Asia, Eastern Europe

and Latin America; and in sub-Saharan

Africa, 60% of all adults and three out of

four young people living with the virus

are female.

• Of those who are trafficked across international

borders each year, minors

account for up to 50% and approximately

70% are women and girls, with the

majority of transnational victims being

trafficked into commercial sexual


• Around the world girls and women are

victims of physical, sexual and psychological

violence, including rape as a

weapon of war in various parts of the

world, not to mention economic abuse.

The reasons for this precarious situation are

various. The analyses tend to be found

mostly, and not without good reason, in

cultural and social dynamics, as well as

delays and slowness of policy. Yet we

would do well to look also to principles,

priorities and action policies in force in

international organizations, namely, that

system of motivations, values, guidelines

and methodologies that guide the UN's

work on women's issues.

Gender equality and the dignity of women

Achieving equality between women and

men in education, employment, legal protection

and social and political rights is

considered in the context of gender equality.

Yet the evidence shows that the handling

of this concept, as hinted at in the Cairo

and Beijing Conferences, and subsequently

developed in various international circles, is

proving increasingly ideologically driven,

and actually delays the true advancement of

women. Moreover, in recent official documents,

some interpretations of gender dissolve

every specificity and complementarity

between men and women. These theories

will not change the nature of things, but

certainly are already blurring and hindering

any serious and timely advancement on the

recognition of the inherent dignity and

rights of women.

Almost no outcome document of international

Conferences and Committees or

Resolution fails to attempt to link the

achievement of personal, social, economic

and political rights to a notion of sexual

and reproductive health and rights which

is violent to unborn human life and is

detrimental to the integral needs of

women and men within society. While at

the same time only seldom are women's

political, economic and social rights mentioned

as an inescapable clause and commitment.

This is particularly distressing given the

widespread maternal mortality occurring in

regions where health systems are inadequate.

A solution respectful of the dignity of

women does not allow us to bypass the

right to motherhood, but commits us to promoting

motherhood by investing in and

improving local health systems and providing

essential obstetric services.

Fifteen years ago the Beijing Platform for

Action proclaimed that women's human

rights are an inalienable, integral and indivisible

part of universal human rights. This is

key not only to understanding the inherent

dignity of women and girls, but also to

making this a concrete reality around the


The Holy See reaffirms its commitment

for improving the condition of women. Its

call to Catholic institutions on the occasion

of the Beijing Conference, for a concerted

and prioritized strategy directed to girls and

young women, especially the poorest, has

yielded many significant results, and

remains a strong commitment to implementing

and promoting this task for the


Page 5 April 2010

omnibus 6


Church needs

women to unveil



A greater presence of women in

decision-making roles in the Church

might have helped remove the "veil of

masculine secrecy" that covered

priestly sex abuse cases, a front-page

commentary in the Vatican newspaper,

L'Osservatore Romano has said.

Writing in the 10 March issue of the

Vatican newspaper, Lucetta Scaraffia,

an Italian journalist and history

professor, who has been a frequent

contributor to the paper in recent

years, says that despite calls by popes

and others to welcome women into

equal, though diverse, roles in the

Church, women have generally been

kept out of positions of responsibility.

As a result, the article states, the

Church has failed to take advantage of

the many talents and contributions that

could have been provided by women.

As an example of what the Church has

lost by not taking advantage of

women's contributions, Scaraffia points

to the "painful and shameful

situations" of sexual abuse by priests

against the young people entrusted to

their pastoral care.

"We can hypothesise that a greater

female presence, not at a subordinate

level, would have been able to rip the

veil of masculine secrecy that in the

past often covered the denunciation of

these misdeeds with silence," the

article in L'Osservatore Romano states.

"Women, in fact, both religious and

lay, by nature would have been more

likely to defend young people in cases

of sexual abuse, allowing the Church

to avoid the grave damage brought by

these sinful acts," Professor Scaraffia

says. (Source: Catholic News Service)

Laywoman promoted

to senior Vatican post

Flaminia Giovanelli, 61, becomes undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice

and Peace, the Vatican department that deals with issues of justice, peace and human

rights. She is the first woman ever to serve in the post, which had been vacant for four

years, and will be the second highest ranking woman in the Curia, the Vatican hierarchy.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, of Ghana, the head of the Council since last October, said the

appointment of Ms Giovanelli by Pope Benedict XVI "demonstrates the concern of the

church for the promotion of the dignity and rights of women in the world," which is one

area of special concern to his office.

Cardinal Turkson, 62, former Archbishop of Cape Coast, who is seen by some as a

potential future black contender for the papacy, noted that the late John Paul II had also

stressed the need for a “fuller and meaningful participation of women in the development

of society'.”

Ms Giovanelli, who is Italian, was brought up in Brussels in a family of diplomats. She

holds a degree in political science from Rome University and another in religious studies

from the Pontifical Gregorian University, and has worked at the Council for thirty six

years dealing with development and poverty issues.

Sister Rosanna Enrica, a Salesian nun, is undersecretary of the Congregation for Institutes

of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The last woman to serve as an undersecretary

at a pontifical council was Rosemary Goldie, an Australian, who held the post

from 1966-76 at the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Ms Giovanelli told Vatican Radio that her work on behalf of the poor and the Third

World was "more than a job, it is a vocation...we feel the joy and the suffering of the

world, minute by minute". Il Messaggero, the Rome daily, noted that only a fifth of

Vatican employees were women, most of them in positions "subordinate to men"

despite the fact that many were highly qualified.

Richard Owen in Rome

From Times Online Jan 22 2010

Middlesbrough Diocesan Women’s


Mrs Sentamu

will speak on

Acts 4:35

“They laid it at the apostles’ feet and it was distributed to each as any

had need.”

Saturday 8th May 2010

10.30 a.m. -12.45 p.m.

followed by the AGM at 2.00 p.m.

(Tea/Coffee from 10.00 a.m.)


English Martyrs Church Hall

Dalton Terrace, York

Fairtrade Stall | Tea/coffee available | Bring a packed lunch | Closing Liturgy at 12.30 p.m.

A donation towards expenses would be appreciated

Page 6 April 2010

omnibus 7

nbcw - social responsibility


“Julia had suffered a

wide range of abuse

over many years only

culminating in physical

violence on the night of

her murder.”

Frank Mullane supports the launch of the

booklet ‘Domestic Abuse’ with his personal


The director of the Greater London

Domestic Violence Project, Davina

James-Hanman introduces this subject

powerfully. “Sometimes, the church reviolates

victims of domestic abuse, using

the scriptures as a club to force them

back into a dangerous situation”.

Perhaps no more if “Raising Awareness of

Domestic Abuse” published by the

National Board of Catholic Women permeates

the church community. This

excellent guidance provides substantial

theological support for a position from

which domestic abuse is not tolerated.

But those being abused, need church

members to read and react to this guidance.

Priests have unique opportunity and special

influence. They must regularly hear

many victims and perpetrators seeking

help or forgiveness or both, so we should

hear more condemnation of domestic

abuse from the pulpit. Silence is a deadly

enemy of victims, normalising the abuse

and sometimes legitimising it in the minds

of perpetrators.

A good move would be to educate priests

on the risk factors which indicate greater

likelihood of escalation to extreme violence.


might then not recommend mediation or

couple counselling which can put some

victims at serious risk, including murder.

Frank Mullane, Elizabeth Davies (Bishops Conference, Marriage and family), Adrian

Child ( Children and Vulnerable Adults), Phillipa Gitlin ( Bishops Confernence, Caritas

Social Action)

Diana Barren, Head of Co-ordinated

Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA)

which trains the Multi Agency Risk

Assessment Conferences (MARACS) “We

need them “religious ministers” to be

familiar with the risk factors on our checklist

– that alone will be a big step forward”.

But priests need help too. They could be

supported by the safeguarding team and

lay leaders to focus on safety by providing

a safe place to disclose abuse while supporting

that individual non judgementally.

They could provide information, referrals

and religious guidance supporting non

abusive ideals. Synagogues have helpful

telephone numbers for victims in the

ladies toilets. Why don’t we do the same

straightaway in Catholic churches

But we mustn’t stop there. In parts of the

USA, hairdressers are made aware of risk


So why not the various

church groups and societies With

knowledge of risk factors, we all might

become more helpful to those that disclose

abuse and we might prevent murder.

My sister Julia often presented me with

information that indicated she was at high

risk but I was ignorant. Julia was later

murdered by her husband Alan

Pemberton who also took their son

William’s life before ending his own.

Continued on following page...

Page 7 April 2010

omnibus 8

nbcw - social responsibility Julia

had suffered a wide range of abuse over many years only culminating

in physical violence on the night of her murder.

Incidentally, her priest had been a good and helpful listener. We

all attended Alan’s funeral held separately to Julia and Will’s.

Perhaps this sent a symbolic message to anyone suffering domestic

abuse that the church supports separation where there is


Domestic abuse is not just black eyes and bruises. Linda Regan

and Professor Liz Kelly of the London Metropolitan University

told me that if you want to predict murders, look at the coercive

controllers. Their abuse may include micro-management of every

day life, isolating victims from family and friends, shaming,

degradation, intimidation, surveillance and sexual violence.

Recommendation one of the homicide review into my family’s

murders includes that faith leaders will need support and guidance

in this area. Let’s hope the church asks for it.

The church can and should do much more to liberate victims of

domestic abuse.

Frank Mullane speaker at the NBCW launch

Frank Mullane is the co-ordinator of the charity Advocacy After

Fatal Domestic Abuse and a member of the government's

Victims Advisory Panel. He writes in a personal capacity

The National Board of Catholic Women

is pleased to announce the new, upgraded version of their booklet

Raising Awareness of Domestic Abuse

Now available price £3.00 or £1.50 for 20 copies or more for a limited period (postage included).

From: or tel: 020 8372 6865 or tel: 01642 791 840

or by post from: NBCW Enquiries 12 Worsall Road, Yarm, Cleveland, TS15 9DF

National Board of Catholic Women

Raising Awareness of Domestic Abuse Booklet Order Form

I wish to order…………..copies

I enclose a cheque for £…......…… (payable to NBCW)

To be sent to:

Name .......................................................................................................................................................................................



Tel: .............................................................................. Email ……………........................................................……………..

An excellent resource for dioceses and parishes.

Compiled by Celia Capstick Social Responsibility Committee

Page 8 April 2010

omnibus 9

nbcw - ecumenical

Let everything that has breath praise God

On Friday 5 March over three million people gathered in 170

countries and islands around the world to observe an international

and ecumenical Day of Prayer organised by the Women’s World Day

of Prayer Movement, using a form of service prepared by Christian

women in Cameroon and translated into over 1,000 different

languages and dialects. The day began as the sun rose over the island

of Tonga in the South Pacific and the great wave of prayer continued,

day and night, until the final service was held, some 36 hours later,

when the sun was setting off the coast of western Samoa.

Eight years ago, when women from the National Committee for

Cameroon offered to write a service, they had no idea which year they

would be asked to write for or what theme they would be given. It

was a year later, in 2003, at a quadrennial meeting of the International

Committee that they were given a year – 2010 – and a theme: “Let

everything that has breath praise God.” Subsequently the WWDP

international director, Eileen King, from the head office in New York,

visited Cameroon, met with the writing group and held workshops

around the country to meet with as many women as possible, in all

kinds of different situations, to learn what they felt were the needs of

their country that should be brought before the world in prayer. The

first draft reached the International Committee in December 2008 and

the final copy was circulated to National Committees in September

2009. In November of that year members of the National Committee

for England, Wales and Northern Ireland met to edit the material

received and prepare additional resource materials for use by the

3,000 local branches that organise the day of prayer in this area.

The service each year is always far more than just a ‘service’: it is a cry

from the hearts of the women who drafted it. It reflects their hopes for

the future of their country and asks for prayers for present difficulties.

For the women of Cameroon the theme was particularly appropriate

for the Cameroonian nature is to praise God in every circumstance of

their lives – the good and the bad – for they believe that God’s greatest

gift is the gift of life itself and while there is still breath in the body

there is hope And it is hope, rooted in their strong belief in God’s

Woodcutting of women in Cameroon tilling the field

loving providence, which sustains them.

The Movement has its roots in an number of denominational days of

prayer held in the USA and Canada in the middle of the 19th century

offering prayerful support to women in missionary work, both at home

and overseas. It gradually evolved into a day of prayer supporting

women in their struggle to have their gifts and talents recognised and

accepted, both by the Church and by society and it quickly spread

throughout the world. The first service was held in this country in

1932. By focusing on a different country each year women are made

aware of the situation in other countries and can demonstrate their

concern. This sense of solidarity is very important to the women of the

writing country each year. The prayer does not end with the Day of

Prayer; we are encouraged to keep the prayer intentions in our hearts

and bring them before God in our own private devotions.

For move information about WWDP visit

Women’s Co-ordinating Group of the Churches Together in England

Sharing News & Views

As women are leading busier lives and are finding it more difficult to

get to meetings, the group has decided that the time has come to think

outside the box and try to work and communicate in a different way.

We had come to realize that valuable and creative initiatives and

events, which had been shared at meetings, often failed to reach many

women in the pews. As a result a working party was given the job of

setting up a new web-page on the CTE website, particularly for

women in the CTE member churches to share their news and views

and advertise events. The Group will continue to meet annually in

London, and will continue to be represented on the National Council

of Women and Women’s National Commission and the Four Nations


This web-page was launched on 10th March suitably close to

International Women’s Day, at CTE headquarters in Tavistock Square.

It is attractive and customer-friendly. For some of us this is a new and

unfamiliar way of communicating, but for the younger generation it is

the most natural way. It can be found under Women’s Issues and

consists of six sections – a Discussion Forum, News and features,

Forthcoming Events, Book reviews etc., Prayers, poems & prose, and

the Pauline Webb Fund (which is available to subsidise women’s

travel to ecumenical events and meetings. We encourage all of you to

take a look, share your news and events and join in ongoing

comments and discussion.

Jackie Foster

(Member of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Committee & representative

of the Board on the Women’s Co-ordinating Group of the Churches

Together in England )

Page 9 April 2010

omnibus 10

catholic women in europe - andanté


Andante’s third general assembly too

place from 15-19th April in Strasbourg.

The theme of the Study day was Women,

Demoracy and Human Rights. The

principal speaker was Mrs. Eleanor

Fuller, the British Ambassador at the

Council of Europe. (Full report in next


In January I attended the NGO sessions

at the Council of Europe.

Among the many issues of interest

raised and discussed were the following:

● The European Convention on

Trafficking – 27 countries had ratified

and 15 signed, which means only 5

countries had neither signed nor

ratified. Even if a country has signed

and ratified NGOs should check

whether their government has an

action plan.

● The Convention on Violence against

Women and Domestic Violence. The

committee was given a mandate for

two years in 2008 to draw up this

Convention. A draft text has been

prepared – this and all other working

documents are available on Some states

think it is too detailed, others too brief,

but there is general agreement that

services and their quality should be

improved. Prevention, Protection,

Prosecution and Policies are key

words. The pre-final text will be

available for comment in May and

submissions must be made by June. A

final text will be prepared for

September and it will be voted on in


● It was claimed that unequal access to

healthcare is threatening the social

fabric of our society. Figures on infant

mortality were quoted, e.g. one death

per 1000 births in Iceland compared

with 120 to 1000 in Mozambique.

Similar inequality is visible in asbestos

and HIV/AIDS related illnesses.

● One of the delegates reported on a

recent visit to South Africa. The South

African government is reported to be

pressing for a law to allow prostitution

to be made legal before the Football

World Cup as it is in Germany and the

Netherlands. The thinking behind this

is that it would help to keep men off

the streets and reduce violence!

Also it is reported that sex abusers of

children who are found guilty in the

lower courts often have the decisions

overturned in the higher courts

because the victim may not have been

a virgin, having been raped previously.

● In preparation for the next meeting of

the European Committee for Social

Cohesion in February, there was a

discussion on taking action for social

cohesion in the context of the

economic crisis. What will the

economic landscape in Europe be like

in 10 years time More migrants will

have an impact at local level, What

migration policies are there at

European level

Migration will have a greater social

impact than economic impact. There

will be a greater demand on services. It

is the illegal migrants who will suffer.

There could be a democratic crisis as

the debate on rights will be less

vigorous because of the economic

crisis and fewer resources.

● It was reported that Thomas

Hammarberg, the Council of Europe

Commissioner for Human Rights has

published a viewpoint on the topic of

rape, discussing the shocking levels of

impunity as well as the low level of

reporting when it comes to the crime

of rape. Most rapes are never reported

either because the perpetrator is

known to the victim or because the

assault is not taken seriously by the

police or during a trial. Even when a

case is brought before the courts the

conviction rate is extremely low. It is

essential that the principle of free

consent is always necessary before

sexual intercourse is recognised. Rape

is a human rights concern as

governments have not given sufficient

protection to individuals against this

great harm.

● There is work being done on Human

Rights and media education. The

Council of Europe has a current

campaign against discrimination. This

primarily targets media professionals

and has three main objectives:

· To train media professionals on how

to treat news relating to


· To help people with a minority

background to make their voices

heard by facilitating their access to

media professions and productions;

· To inform public opinion about

policies that combat discrimination.

● Religions and human rights. A seminar

was arranged in the context of the

religious dimension of intercultural

dialogue. The speaker was Jean-Paul


Freda Lambert, representative NBCW on

the co-ordinating committee.

Page 10 April 2010

omnibus 11




Faithful Omnibus readers may remember

that several years ago the

International Committee devoted considerable

energy to supporting the

Tobin Tax. This tax, originally proposed

by the American economist

James Tobin in 1972, suggested a levy

of 0.1% on all foreign currency transactions

on the international money

markets, the proceeds to go towards

fighting world poverty. During the

recession of the early ‘90s the idea

was promoted vigorously by bodies

concerned with international development.

The then UK Chancellor looked

favourably on the scheme and several

countries took positive steps to include

it in their financial policies. As the

boom years returned, the triumph of

free market economics extinguished

this flickering flame of altruism and the

transaction tax seemed to have no

future. It disappeared from our committee’s

agenda as from all media

attention. But lo and behold! As the

financial storm-clouds gathered over

the past two years, politicians and

other long-term supporters of Tobin

have re-launched it under the catchier

title of the “Robin Hood Tax”.

The NBCW International Committee

considers that such a tax has much to

recommend it: £561 trillion is traded

every year on the world foreign

exchange markets. The minuscule tax

proposed would discourage short-term

currency speculation and generate

much-needed funds for developing

countries. Welcome back, Tobin!

Jenny Banks Bryer

Convenor International Committee

nbcw- international & marriage and family



The Marriage and Family Life Committee

will be compiling a response to the

Government’s Green Paper on “Support for

All”. One of the recommendations which

the Committee will be supporting is the

greater use of mediation when couples

split up. Family mediation helps couples

(married or unmarried) at any stage of separation

or divorce to deal with family

arrangements and practical matters, arising

from their separation, avoiding stressful

court proceedings.

Couples are invited to meet together with

a mediator in an informal, but structured,

confidential atmosphere. They are helped

to identify the issues, arising from property,

finances and having children, that they

need to address, to improve communication

and then to consider different options

and negotiate together, to reach solutions

acceptable to them and their children.

Mediation can help parents plan their

children’s lives co-operatively, so that they

can see as much of both parents as possible

with the least possible conflict. The mediator

helps them to focus on the best outcomes

they can devise for their children

and for their own futures.

Mediation begins with an Initial Meeting,

to hear about mediation and consider its

future use. This meeting may be joint or

individual. The purpose of this meeting is to

enable people to make an informed decision

about using mediation. Issues such as

appropriateness, safety, confidentiality and

financial eligibility are discussed at this preliminary

meeting. There are then a number

of joint meetings, with the outcome and

any decisions reached, being drafted into a

Memorandum of Understanding or an

Outcome Statement. This is given to the

participants, so that everyone is clear about

what has been decided.

During the course of Mediation, and subject

to mutual consent, children may have

their own private meeting with the mediator,

to enable their voice to be heard.

Rosemary Keenan, convenor Marriage

and Family Committee.

Although there are fees for Mediation

Sessions and Initial Meetings, these are considerably

cheaper than going through solicitors

and backwards and forwards through

the courts. The Legal Services Commission

(LSC), pays fees for clients assessed as eligible.

The mediator will assess financial eligibility,

usually, at the Initial Meeting.

To find details of mediation services

across the UK contact:

The Family Mediation helpline on:

nd-service.php or telephone 0845 60 26


This helpline will also provide information

on mediation services dealing with

children, domestic violence, abduction and


For family mediation where couples are

separating and wish to address property,

finance and / or children, the Catholic

Children’s Society (Westminster) runs a

mediation service in West London. For further

information on this please call Leigh

Moriarty on 020 8578 6378 or visit

Rosemary Keenan

Page 11 April 2010

omnibus 12

nbcw - environment

God, Time and the Universe

In times of crisis we are always

challenged by questions about God.

Would a just God allow this to happen to

me, or my family, or those innocent


Our idea of God is always inadequate to

the reality of God, which is far beyond

our comprehension. Yet we want to try to

see how the God of our Christian belief,

and what we have been taught of his

action, fits into our new knowledge. This

is why teaching religion to young people

is always challenging and exciting! They

are always asking, “How can this be”.

Past generations have seen God as

inextricable linked with creation, Thomas

Berry points out that even if we might try

to talk about God as a being prior to and

independent of creation “in actual fact

there is no such being as God without

creation”. There might be such a God but

we as part of creation only know God in

creation. God was perceived as

manifested throughout the natural world,

which moved in seasonal cycles of

change. The universe so they thought,

always existed as it was,: and so it would

always be. No actions by human beings

could alter it!

In the Biblical tradition there emerges a

new sense of history, in which the

universe is thought to have come into

being at a particular moment. Time was

still thought of as cyclical, and in terms of

humans, developmental.

In the Middle Ages they had the idea of

the Great Chain of Being with all of life

linked in ascending ranks up to God at

the pinnacle.

Today we share the biblical consciousness

that the universe had a beginning in time.

But unlike the biblical writers who

thought the cosmos was created once and

for all time, we know today that the

universe is emergent, changing,

undergoing irreversible sequences of

transformations over billions of years. Our

notion of a world that “is”, must change

into that of a world that “is becoming”.

Thomas Berry says that it is vital for us to

see this new age as that of new

possibilities for enlightenment and

understanding not merely of the

enthralling revelation of what the

world/cosmos is and can be, but also of

the God that is the creator of this newly

perceived universe. Time is now not only

developmental time, it is also Sacred


Cf. Berry and Clarke: “Befriending the

Earth, a Theology of Reconciliation

between Humans and the Earth”. 1991

All Creatures

All the creatures of the sense world lead the mind of the

contemplative and wise man to the eternal God. For these

creatures are shadows, echoes and pictures of that first most

powerful, most wise and most perfect Principle, of that eternal

Source, Light and Fullness, of that efficient, exemplary and

ordering Act. They are vestiges, representations, spectacles

proposed to us and signs divinely given so that we can see God.

These creatures, I say, are exemplars or rather exemplifications

presented to souls still untrained and immersed in sensible things

so that through sensible things which they see they will be

carried over to intelligible things which they do not see as

through signs to what is signified. The creatures of the sense

world signify the invisible attributes of God, partly because God

is the origin, exemplar and end of every creature, and every

effect id the sign of its cause, the exemplification of its exemplar

and the path to the end, to which it leads.

(St, Bonaventure The Soul’s Journey Into God, trans. Cousins, NY


St.Thomas Aquinas: All Creatures, in the analogy of Being,

have existence insofar as they participate to one degree or

other in the very being of God

Sr Louisa Poole, Convenor, Environment Committee

Page 12 April 2010

omnibus 13

the universal call to holiness - the ordained minstry

“I was in prison and you visited me”

Father Patrick Cope - Regional Chaplain for the North East Region

(Matthew 25:36)

Having been a priest now for nearly 28

years, 20 of those years have been spent

within the closed environment of a prison

and mainly working with young offenders.

Not something I was anticipating when I

was either training for the priesthood or

indeed once ordained! However, for me, I

think this is a ministry which is at the very

heart of the Gospel and where, as a priest,

I very much belong.

Working as a priest in a prison sees no

day alike. Each morning begins with a

briefing meeting, outlining what has happened

in the prison during the last 24

hours, any incidents from the previous

evening or during the night and anything

to be forewarned about in the day ahead.

One thing you never ask in a prison: "Is

everything quiet" because you bet, if it

is, it won't be for long! Each day is structured

around the Statutory duties which,

in law, a duty chaplain has to fulfil.

Prisoners in the Segregation Unit and the

Health Care have to be visited. All newly

arrived prisoners have to be seen by a

Chaplain with 24 hours.

Applications from prisoners requesting to

see a Chaplain or requiring some help

likewise have to be responded too within

24 hours. In addition to all this there is

then the round of one to one follow up

and counselling, group work, informing

someone of the death of a relative - and,

of course, the inevitable pile of paperwork

and meetings to attend.

My present role as Regional Chaplain for

the North East gives me overall responsibility

to support and coordinate the multi

faith chaplaincy work within this Region.

This has been a great learning curve and

given me many insights into the workings

of other religions and faiths and also to

ensure that any prisoner of any faith has

adequate access and support whilst he or

she are in prison. The Multi Faith aspect of

prison chaplaincy has been a great development

in recent years alongside the

development of lay chaplaincy - all working

and cooperating together to bring an

element of faith to what could be an otherwise

bleak and cold environment.

Many prisoners make use of the

Chaplaincy and what it has to offer. This is

one of the more satisfying aspects of the

work. Helping people when they are at

their lowest rediscover a God who loves

them and accepts them. This in itself can

be a tremendous aid to recovery and the

reducing of future offending.

A priest, like any other vocation needs to

feed and sustain his ministry through

prayer and the sacraments. This is vital to

keep going and to remain focused and

energised. It is also good to know that the

wider Church appreciates and supports

this vital and difficult ministry.

Silver Jubilee


Mass, which


was held by


permission in

the prison

chapel with

"my young


Page 13 April 2010

omnibus 14

the universal call to holiness - religious life

‘What do you call 100 canon lawyers

at the bottom of the sea A good start’.

Canon law has sometimes been described

as the ‘arteriosclerosis within the Body of

Christ’, and canon lawyers have themselves

not always had a positive image. This was

certainly my view in 1983 when, on seeing

a copy of the newly published Code of

Canon Law, my response was to shake my

fist at it and mutter something

unrepeatable. I was very much of a mind

with some of those at the Second Vatican

Council who were negative about the

purpose of canon law in a church founded

on love. However, more than 25 years

later, I find myself with two canon law

degrees and researching for a third, and

teaching the subject at undergraduate and

postgraduate levels. What brought about

such a Damascene conversion

Looking back, it was a combination of

events and influences that led me from

fierce opposition to the whole idea of

having law within the Church, to a

passionate belief that it is one of the most

enjoyable and interesting subjects that an

individual could ever engage in. One

major influence was a colleague who had

taught canon law for 40 years (and

remained sane), but who was far removed

from what might be the stereotypical dusty

legalist meticulously handing down the

rules to be followed. He taught me that it is

possible to see canon law as something

that is dynamic and pastoral, rather than

static and unbending. In short, the law

was for people, and not the other way


Having progressed in my life through a

study of history and politics, to

accountancy and management, to pastoral

theology and Christian ethics, the study of

canon law has drawn these strands

together, and provided me with new

avenues to explore. From dissertation

topics on whether a person who has OCD

(Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) is

capable of giving consent to a marriage, to

the issue of clerical sexual abuse, to how

dioceses are responding to the challenge of

reporting ‘public benefit’ in their annual

financial statements, canon law has been a

revelation as to its richness, a delight in the

process of discovery, and a challenge to

my own preconceptions.

One of the MA degrees offered at

Heythrop College (which is part of the

University of London,) is in Canon Law,

and this has been running now for ten

years. During these years, it has become

clear that there is a great desire to know

more about the law of the Church, its

history, the theology underpinning it, and

the ‘why’ of the formulation of certain

canons. Many of those who have studied it

have done so to enhance their ministry,

and are pleasantly surprised to find that,

when properly understood and applied,

Canon Law can fulfil a pastoral, educative

and guiding role within the Church.

The introductory module of the degree

looks at where canon law came from and

the influences on its development. This

includes the influence of the Second

Vatican Council on the revision of the

1983 Code of Canon Law, the structure of

the Code (in comparison to its predecessor

of 1917), and how to interpret individual

canons. Emphasis is on an appreciation of

the theology underpinning the law, an

insight into the mind of the legislator, and a

grasp of the spirit, and not just the letter of

the law.

The module on Marriage in Canon Law

explores the meaning of marriage as a

partnership of the whole life, in a society

where separation and divorce is

commonplace and ‘permanence’ has

become a difficult idea to grasp and live.

The module investigates the implications of

the fact some who present themselves for

marriage in the Catholic Church might be

deemed to be ‘baptised unbelievers’, and

explores what the Church has to say to

those who are divorced and civilly

remarried. It investigates consent, nullity,

the effects of prenuptial agreements on

these concepts, and the difference between

dissolution of marriage in the Roman

Catholic Church and a civil divorce. MA

students are often preparing themselves to

work in marriage tribunals, but the topics

covered are also relevant to those who

provide marriage preparation courses.

The module on Obligations and Rights

in the Church considers how rights came

to be outlined in the 1983 Code and

classes look at rights in areas such as

sexual abuse cases, wrongful accusation,

privacy, the use of psychological screening

of candidates for the priesthood, and

canons related to financial security,

political activity, and ongoing formation.

Very topically, the module also considers

the rights of parishioners in questions

relating to the merger and closure of


The final taught module of the MA

discusses the canons relating to the

sacraments and their celebration,

including consideration of the

corresponding canons in the Eastern Code

(1990). It looks at questions such as

whether preparation for baptism should be

obligatory, some of the canonical issues

surrounding the Sacraments of Initiation

and the treatment of the dead, clerical

formation, and obstacles to ordination.

Finally, the study of canon law is no

longer the preserve of men (or indeed

clergy). A number of women have gained

the degree, and put it to good use in

working on marriage tribunals, in dioceses

and parishes, and in civil law. If you know

of someone interested in pursuing the

study of canon law, do encourage them. It

is not a wasted journey.

Sr Helen Costigane, Programme

Director for the MA Degree in Canon Law

This degree is open to all with a first degree or equivalent qualifications (part-time, once

a week, or fulltime, twice a week). Contact More details

can be found on the website

Page 14 April 2010

omnibus 15

the universal call to holiness - religious life

Human Trafficking

Sr. Isabel Kelly (Franciscan Missionary of St Joseph) visited the Fflint parish on

Wednesday 10th March at the invitation of the Justice and Peace group. She

came to talk about the trafficking of women and girls for the sex industry. She

showed a moving and disturbing DVD that followed the story of a little girl,

who looked about 8 or 9years old. Actors were playing the parts but it was an

amalgam of the true stories of many.

The trafficking of human beings is now the second biggest international crime

after drug smuggling. A recent undercover investigation revealed up to twenty

five thousand people a year are trafficked into the UK.

Sr Isabel is a volunteer for the Medaille Trust, which was set up in 2006 by a

number of religious congregations as a response to the plight of the thousands

who are being trafficked in the UK. The Trust is a charity and opened it's first

safe house in January 2007. Since then they have helped 74 women to regain

their freedom and their dignity. These women have come from 25 different

countries. The largest number coming from Nigeria and Romania.

Money for the trust comes mainly from the Religious Orders and donations.This

'industry' extends to North Wales. Sr Isabel told us of one woman, rescued,

who had been held in Rhyl. There could be many others in other towns

Dioceses. Massage parlours, lap dancing clubs, restaurants even a photocopying

shop (in Milton Keynes) can be fronts for this activity.


She has asked us to support a letter writing campaign by ECPAT (End Child

Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children), to the Secretary

of State for Children, Schools and Families. They have a Three Small Steps campaign.

1. Improve accommodation provision for child victims of trafficking

2. Introduce a system of guardianship for child victims

3. Appoint an independent watchdog to monitor and report publicly on child

trafficking in this country and recommend changes.

She also gave us a card with questions for the candidates of the next election.

Please visit the websites listed below, inform yourself and join the campaign.

Sr Isabel would be pleased to come and talk to any group in the Diocese. She is

based in Blackburn. Email address –


Maria Pizzoni

From Kings Cross to

Buckingham Palace:

Sr. Lynda MBE meets the


Sr. Lynda


received her

MBE from the

Queen a few

weeks ago for

her work at

Women at the

Well, the drop-in

centre for

women of the streets of Kings Cross. She

records how, on returning from the palace, she

went to visit one of the women in Holloway

prison. The screams of delight which greeted

her arrival filled the visitors’ centre. It encapsulates

the way in which the honour is felt as a

shared award – by the women, the staff of the

centre, the Sisters of Mercy, and even the NBCW

Social Responsibility Committee which has followed

Lynda’s vision and watched it become


Lynda has been the driving force behind the

establishment of Women at the Well which last

year saw 158 women come through its doors.

Inspired by her Institute’s foundress, Catherine

McAuley’s dedication to poor Dublin women,

she opened the Kings Cross Centre two and a

half years’ ago providing a place of refuge and

support for vulnerable women, many working in

prostitution, on drugs, sleeping on the streets and

in and out of prison. Her work has been recognised

also by the Ministry of Justice which

recently awarded W@W £240,000 to expand

the work of the Centre in keeping women out of

prison. Even Lynda could not have dreamt of

such recognition and support. However she is

acutely aware that it also gives the charity new

challenges. In expansion will come the need for

sustained funding, for which we, the trustees,

will be responsible in helping her find. Ideas

from readers will be welcome (

Celia Capstick, Trustee Women @the Well

Convener of NBCW Social Responsibility


Page 15 April 2010

omnibus 16

associated groups & agencies - pax christi

Addressing the real wounds of the

human family: a call to action

‘They dress my people’s wound without concern: “Peace! Peace!” they say,

but there is no peace. They should be ashamed of their abominable deeds.

But not they!’ (Jeremiah 6:14-15)

In common with those at the heart of this

cry of the prophet Jeremiah, millions of

people today are offered a false and

dangerous peace which not only ignores

but often exacerbates the real suffering of

the human family and the very planet. For

too long approaches to achieving peace

and security have been dominated military

and coercive models – we seem unable to

think out of the box. The Quakers have a

saying, “If the only tool in the toolbox is a

hammer, then every problem is a nail”. As

we prepare for a General Election we have

a great opportunity to talk with prospective

candidates about the kind of ‘tools’ best

suited for world – at home and overseas.

Pax Christi, together with its sister

organisation the Fellowship of

Reconciliation have produced “Security for

the Common Good: A Christian challenge

to military security strategies” to stimulate

the debate, believing that if we use the

right tools and get our priorities right, we

can better solve problems of human

insecurity, injustice and poverty.

One indicator of the care we have for

the poor of the Global south are the

Millenium Development Goals. They tell

us that $30 billion would provide universal

primary education and $11 billion would

halve those without access to clean water.

Closer to home, Citysafe is a London based

initiative to help young people in particular

feel more secure in our cities by supporting

community-led responses to the problem

of crime and the fear of crime. The project,

which would not be costly, seeks to

building trust and confidence between a

variety of groups within communities and

encourage joint responsibility for creating

secure places to live. Support for such

projects would go a long way to meeting

human needs and create genuine human

security. Why is it then that so much is still

invested in military or violent solutions to

problem solving In 2008 global military

spending was $1464 trillion and UK

spending £38 billion

We invite churches, dioceses,

congregations, parishes, groups, and all

individuals of goodwill, to join our appeal

to build security for the common good

where the pursuit of love and justice set the

political, economic and social agenda.

Now is the time to redirect military

spending, research and development into

life-giving projects that address our real

security needs today. There will be many

new candidates standing in the General

Election, now is the time to talk with them

about reframing approaches to defence

and security in favour of security for the

common good.

To help in this process we have also

produced an Election Briefing with a focus

on four areas: Middle East, the Arms Trade,

Nuclear Proliferation and Military

Spending. Easy to use, with a short

introduction to each section followed by a

number of questions, we encourage

churches to work ecumenically in

organising hustings and other pre-election

gathering. We have an important message

to share and should not be afraid of raising

our voices now!

Both of these documents can be found at on the Pax Christi

website or ordered from the office. Just call 0208 203 4884

St Joseph's, Watford Way,

London NW4 4TY.

Tel 0208 203 4884

Page 16 April 2010

omnibus 17


The Murder of an Icon

A Bishop who stood side-by-side with the poor and the opressed

Back in March, I was among millions of

people around the world remembering a

man gunned down in El Salvador by a

government-sanctioned bullet. In the early

1980s in El Salvador, a single death in an

era of disappearances, repression and

massacres was not remarkable. But this

death was.

The murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero

– by a bullet to the chest as he said mass

at the altar – was not just a personal attack

on a man who was a thorn in the side of

El Salvador’s corrupt ruling elite. It was the

murder of an icon: a man who was

prepared to “speak truth to power”; a

Bishop who stood side-by-side with the

poor and the oppressed.

Far from being a ‘revolutionary’, Oscar

Romero was a quiet, mild-mannered soul

whose faith compelled him to speak out

for the people who couldn’t. When he

took office as the Archbishop of San

Salvador in 1977, violence and murder

were claiming the lives of 3,000 people

each month. In the words of one witness:

“the streets were flooded with blood.”

What was an Archbishop to do about

such brutality Most of the senior clergy

had remained tight-lipped out of fear or

out of complicity – and Romero was

expected to follow suit.

But this Bishop was different. Romero

quickly became a ‘Bishop of the people’,

demanding answers for the mounting

deaths, visiting the poorest and most

oppressed in far flung communities, and

bravely speaking out against what the poor

told him was happening. It was a

dangerous task, and one for which he paid

the ultimate price.

Romero became a martyr overnight. Over

the last thirty years, he has been a guiding

light for me and thousands of Catholics

concerned for peace and justice. Today his

memory lives on. In the towns and villages

of his home nation – and in our very own

Westminster Cathedral and right around

the UK and the world – masses, vigils and

talks were held in March to remember the

man who gave his life for the poor in El


But to remember Romero, as important as

that is, is only a part of the story. His life

and death also hold a prophetic message

for us now and in the future. Romero calls

on each of us to be transformed into good

Page 17 April 2010

omnibus 18


news for the poor and oppressed in our


Today, there are many who say that rather

than walking hand-in-hand with the

oppressed, the hierarchy of the Catholic

Church is too disengaged from the plight

of the vulnerable and marginalised.

In principle, the Church is with the poor.

Take this, for example, from a statement

by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference just

weeks before a general election:

“Development requires that people are

rescued from every form of poverty, from

hunger to illiteracy…”

But, as Romero himself said, “things can’t

just be written on paper.” His prophetic

message is that it is our duty as Christians

to bring these values to life. We have to

act to put our principles into practice.

A young man in El Salvador, Luis

González, told me recently: “Monsignor

Romero provided a means through which

social protest could be expressed. If a poor

person said that beans were expensive,

they were killed. No-one could talk. But

he could say those kinds of things.”

His courage was such that he was

prepared to challenge the status quo, even

in the face of the threat of death. He put

his power and authority at the service of

the poor, in his denouncing of violence

and repression, in his friendship and

solidarity with peasants in villages.

Thirty years on from his death, Romero’s

life and murder is a challenge to the

Church and to all believers: are we

prepared to actually put that power at the

service of others, and to fight for justice for

the world’s poor and marginalised,

whatever the cost to ourselves

Christine Allen is Executive Director of

Progressio, an international charity with

Catholic roots that enables poor

communities to solve their own problems

through support from skilled workers. It

also lobbies decision-makers to change the

policies that keep people poor. For more

information about Progressio, see A version of this

article first appeared in The Guardian

Romero - quotes

“‘I must tell you, as a Christian, I do not believe in death without resurrection. If I

am killed, I will rise again in the Salvadoran people” (date unknown)

“Water the earth with truth, justice, love and kindness” 24.3.1980

“The shepherd does not want safety, as long as his own people are not safe”


“The church suffers the fate of the poor: persecution. It is proud that it mingles

the blood of its priests with the pain of the people.” 17.12.1980

“The world of the poor teaches us that liberation will arrive only when the poor

are not simply on the receiving end of handouts from government or from

churches, but when they themselves are the masters and protagonists of their own

struggle for liberation.” From Romero’s diary

“The government should not consider a priest who takes a stand for social justice

as a politician, or a subversive element, when he is fulfilling his mission in the

politics of the common good.”

Mass at San Salvador cathedral following death of Fr Rutilio Grande

“Those who surrender to the service of the poor through love of Christ will live

like the grain of wheat that dies…The harvest comes because of the grain that

dies…We know that every effort to improve society, above all when society is so

full of injustice and sin, is an effort that God blesses, that God wants, that God

demands of us.” (Final homily, 24.3.1980)

"I am bound, as a pastor, by divine command to give my life for those whom I

love, and that is all Salvadoreans, even those who are going to kill me."


"When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the

social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry

arises." (8.6.78)

We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We

must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed at night

with nothing to eat, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with

newspapers in doorways. (24.12.1979)

Progressio has been working in El Salvador since 1994.

It is one of the ten poorest countries in Latin America and despite a rapidly

increasing population - which now totals some 7.2 million people - and one of

the highest population densities in the world, there has been little economic

growth here for several years. Many grassroots organisations are now attempting to

address the economic and social problems of the Salvadoran people. Progressio is

working alongside a range of local partner groups to help strengthen their work

and expose economic and social policies that are having a detrimental effect on

the lives of Salvadorans, with encouraging results. To get involved with Progressio,

find out more about our work or become a member, visit our website:

Page 18 April 2010

omnibus 19

cafod now

Caritas Chile aid

reaching most in need

Ruben Sebulbeda hugs his little 18 month

granddaughter Anina to his chest. Just like

he did a week ago. When the earthquake

struck Chile on Saturday, February 28th, in

the dead of night, he woke up. Everything

in his little house in the village of Santa

Clara had fallen on the floor.

Ruben Sebulbda and his wife had just started

to clean up, when they heard their

neighbours running by and shouting: “The

sea is coming!” By the time Mr Sebulbeda

rushed out of his door, Anina in his arms,

the wave, one and a half metres high, was

already upon his house. His wife was carried

away by the flood, but he managed to

grab her trailing hair and pulled her towards

dry land. The sea took everything, not much

is left of the little village.

Today Mr Sebulbda is living in a meeting

room, which belongs to the church of Santa

Cecilia close to Concepción. The priest who

lives here normally receives food kits from

Caritas, one kit will feed a family for two to

three days. “At the moment, providing food

for people in need is of priority: So far we

were able to hand out 25.000 food kits to

families, comprising sugar, rice, tuna, tea,

powdered milk and salt,” says Gabriela

Gutierrez, Executive Secretary of Caritas


Over 200,000 food kits have been donated

by people all over Chile. Caritas volunteers

in a huge warehouse in Santiago put the

food into boxes and load them on trucks,

which leave every day for Concepción and

other regions to deliver the food to victims

of the quake and the tsunami.

Ruben Sebulbeda and his family are safe for

now. They found a place to stay and they

are fed. However, with 1.5 million people

who have lost their homes all over Chile,

not just food, but shelter will become the

next big issue.

Support CAFOD’s work in Chile:

Recipients of

Caritas food aid in

the Santa Clara

township in


Haiti: the need for shelter

Phenol Estiverne’s home wasn’t

reduced to rubble, like many others

hit by Haiti’s earthquake, but he still

hasn’t returned to live in it. “It’s too

dangerous. Mr Estiverne, 54, now

lives with his wife and four children in

the garden of his small brick house in

Port-au-Prince. Poor building practices

in Haiti’s towns and capital city hugely

contributed to the destruction and

massive loss of life in the 12th January


Caritas has distributed emergency

shelter kits to over 60,000 people

Caritas has distributed emergency shelter

kits to over 60,000 people since the earthquake


since the earthquake happened. Mr Estiverne recently received a family-sized tent which

he has pitched in his garden. “We’re so grateful and relieved Caritas provided us with a

tent,” he says. However, for Mr Estiverne and hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people

like him a tent is just a short-term answer. The massive hardship faced by Haitians will

only be alleviated when they have solid houses, new schools and a life of dignity.

Haiti: You can help lift their burden of debt

Last month’s earthquake in Haiti killed at least 200,000 people. Rebuilding will take years

and cost billions – yet Haiti is already burdened by enormous debts built up by corrupt

governments of the past. It’s wrong to expect Haiti’s people to repay this debt. Email the

Prime Minister to call on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for all of Haiti’s debt to be

cancelled immediately, and to ensure that debt cancellation is automatically on the agenda

when a poor country is struck by disaster.

For Haiti’s future, please act now.

Page 19 April 2010

omnibus 20

Have a hand in history

What’s your vision At

CAFOD, we’re striving for a

world free from poverty and

injustice where every person

can flourish, live in dignity and

safety, and in harmony with

the rest of creation. That vision

underpins everything we do.

By influencing people in

power locally, nationally and

internationally, we believe we

can make this vision a reality

and make the world a fairer

place for millions of people

living in poverty.

Prioritising international


The decisions taken by the

incoming government, on

issues like aid, climate change

and regulating business will

have far-reaching consequences

for poor communities

worldwide. In 2009 millions of

people around the world

joined the call for climate justice

but Copenhagen didn’t

produce the deal the world’s

poor so urgently need. We

must keep up the pressure this

year by asking the incoming

government to keep pushing

for a fair climate change deal

at the UN.

But we must also ensure

other issues vital for tackling

global poverty are on the new

government’s agenda. All three

main political parties have said

they are committed to spending

0.7 per cent of national

income on aid, but we need to

cafod now

make sure that once in power

they honour this commitment,

and that this money is directed

at reaching the poorest.

We must also recognise the

growing importance of the private

sector in the developing

world, and building on the

success of campaigns such as

CAFOD’s “Unearth Justice”

campaign, make sure that the

incoming government acts to

ensure that businesses are

accountable to the people in

poor countries who are affected

by their operations there.


In the coming general election, MPs and parliamentary candidates

will all be looking for our vote. It’s a great time for us to

get our issues on the agenda. Whether it’s talking to someone

knocking on your door, through to attending, or even organising

a hustings, make sure you ask your candidates what action they

would take to prioritise action on poverty.

CAFOD has produced a handy guide to the election. You can

download it at

“Change is possible. But it cannot be left to politicians alone to

bring about. It needs all of us,” says “Choosing the Common

Good”, a pre-election report from the Bishops’ Conference. The

report calls on all of us to reflect on what sort of society we live

in and how we want it to be.

We know change is possible, after all less than 100 years ago

women were not even allowed to vote. Now let’s make sure we

use this vote to carry on bringing about the change we want to

see in the world.

CAFOD asks of parliamentary candidates and the incoming


To make tacking global poverty a priority by:

* pushing for a fair climate change deal at the UN

* honouring commitments to spend 0.7 per cent of national

income on aid

* ensuring businesses are accountable to people in poor

countries who are affected by their operations

Time for a

Robin Hood Tax

Join CAFOD and many others to campaign for a new global

tax that will create huge change for the world’s poor. Just a

tiny tax on bankers will raise billions to tackle poverty and

climate change.We are only asking for 0.05 per cent traded

by banks - 50p for every £1,000. And yet this could raise

around $400 billion per year to help fight poverty and help

developing countries combat climate change.

We are also calling for governments in favour of these taxes to

implement a tax on trade in currencies now, to show it can be

done, and to raise much-needed cash. A Robin Hood Tax will

also ensure banks pay their share of the costs of the global crisis

they helped to generate and also discourage risky and shortterm


CAFOD Director Chris Bain says: "It would be morally bankrupt

to miss this opportunity. At a time when the financial crisis

has pushed developing countries further back in their fight

against poverty, we need financial markets that work for development

and not against. A Robin Hood Tax is an important and

symbolic step in the right direction."

Please so your support at

To sign up to become a MP Correspondent, visit

To order cards or support materials contact CAFOD on

020 7095 5692 or

Page 20 April 2010

omnibus 21

national justice and peace network

Naturally a Martha and not a Mary

An Interview with Sr Pat Robb

Sr Pat Robb is a member of the Congregation of Jesus. She worked for

several years as a nurse and midwife in hospitals and refugee camps in

Africa. She is now based in Cambridge and works as chaplain at an

immigration centre. She is active in East Anglia J&P Commission.

Where do you think your commitment to

justice and peace comes from

“Initially from my mother, an Anglican, who

was always “doing good” and whom I

often accompanied on these missions of

mercy. Even though we were not well off

we shared what we had with others. I

remember, in World War 2, first of all

British Tommies, who were billeted near us,

coming to share our simple Christmas Day

fare, and then, in following years, German

prisoners of war from the local camp,

coming to Christmas tea.

It was to be many years before I realised

that, as a Christian, I was being asked to do

more than just works of charity; I was being

asked to go the extra mile. I am a nurse and

midwife by training and was working in a

poor township in Zimbabwe when a victim

of Mugabe’s first reign of terror (in the 80s)

came for help. His back had been flayed as

a punishment for being a member of the

opposition. As I treated his wounds I felt an

anger rising in me. “I must be able to do

more than just bandage the wounds” I said

to myself. “Why is this happening What

can I do”. And so I got involved with the

Justice and Peace Commission of the

Catholic Church in Zimbabwe... Since that

time I have been amazingly privileged to

work in some very difficult conflict areas

and this has heightened my commitment to

help inform others of unjust situations and

to look at possibilities for action.

Working in refugee camps in various

African countries in civil war situations I

was aware of the marginalisation of women

as they fought to get their rations, not so

much for themselves as for their children

and the sick. A lot of my time and energy

was directed towards this group through

health care and administration. On

returning to the UK I did a spell at The

Passage before going to Brazil for 6 months

to see the Basic Christian Communities at

work. That was a very interesting

experience and showed me just how much

the people on the ground are able to do

when other Christians are in solidarity with

them: not doing as I had in Africa, but

being alongside. It was a very good lesson

for me as I am naturally a Martha and not a

Mary! Now I work as a chaplain in an

immigration detention centre and am

alongside those facing up to many

injustices of our Home Office policies.

What for you are the most important areas

of concern today

Human rights abuses and the destruction of

the environment would be the umbrella for

my concerns. Human Rights abuses all over

the world are making the gap between rich

and poor grow wider by the day. Millions

lack water and sufficient food. Millions

more are driven off their land by the greed

of others who steal natural resources.

Conflict affects the lives of millions forcing

people to become refugees, others face

imprisonment, torture and death. Rich

governments seem to do little to lift the

poor out of poverty, but they continue to

support large multinationals who exploit

people and planet. (NB RBS using tax

payers money to prop up, with loans,

environmentally UNFRIENDLY energy

companies such as E:ON, instead of

supporting Green Energy projects).

As a follower of Mary Ward I am naturally

very concerned about the way women are

treated in so many cultures and

organisations. I long for ALL women to

have the right to make choices, be

educated and to be safe from sexual abuse,

but their lot seems to be getting worse. We,

however, must not give up putting pressure

on abusive powers. If we give up the bullies

and abusers have won!

I am very concerned about the inhumane

treatment the Palestinians are receiving from

Israel and feel there is a need for a much

stronger and effective United Nations to act

on this and many other unjust situations

around the globe.

In the UK huge issues of concern for me are

the inept and unjust Migration Policies of

the Government that deny sanctuary to

many who are in need, and that traumatises

many, especially children, with detention

and delays in finalising appeals.

What sustains you in your commitment

The life of the carpenter of Nazareth, the

inspiration of people like Mary Ward and

her followers, and the companionship of

others with whom I have the privilege of

working on J&P issues. And I often think of

those amazing African women I met in very

difficult situations yet keeping alive their

dignity, sense of humour, and working so

very hard to scrape a living for their


Jesus’ option for the poor and the

marginalised is the energising force in my

life and also Mary Ward, who founded the

Congregation of Jesus to which I belong.

She was prepared to suffer imprisonment,

humiliation and suppression, by the

Church, of her new Institute as she

Page 21 April 2010

omnibus 22

national justice and peace network

endeavoured to carry out God’s will for a

“new way of being” which included the

education of women and girls. This did not

come about in her life time, but she never

lost faith. There are many who inspire me in

different ways: the poor women of Africa

who maintain their dignity and selflessness

in the most inhumane of situations, the

many refugees I have met in this country

who keep their hope alive and their trust in

God when the powers of the British

government are pitted against them. I find

Oscar Romero, and Aung San Sui Kyi

inspiring and I get energised by so many,

who today, work with NGOs here and

overseas, and others who dedicate time and

love to their local J&P needs, challenging

unjust structures, being alongside the

marginalised, simplifying their life styles

and being prepared to be called “Fools for

Christ’s sake.”

What are your hopes for a Church like

ours in the 21st century

I would hope to see Catholic Social

Teaching central to parish worship and

activities and the windows, originally

opened by Vatican 2, pushed even wider

open to allow for new ways of living our

faith in this multicultural world. I feel

women could play a much greater part in

the life of the church and I would hope that

the Church will speak out more on issues of

justice and peace and the environment, and

not only speak out, but give an example by

their own actions making use of modern

methods of communication and always

making the situation of the poorest and

marginalised known and responded to. I

would like to see a Church that goes out

more to those on the margins in all parts of

the world to strive for peace with justice.

The Church has a huge responsibility to

work towards lessening the gap between

the rich and the poor of God’s world. As

Archbishop Tutu said: “As long as there is

one person in the world hungry, or

oppressed, in fear and lacking dignity, the

work of the Christian is not done.”

National Justice & Peace Network

2010 Annual Conference

‘Our Daily Bread’


16-18 July 2010

The Hayes Conference Centre, Derbyshire

Keynote speakers include:

Vandana Shiva

Indian ecologist and environmental activist

Shay Cullen ssc

Preda Foundation, Philippines

Alastair McIntosh

Scottish writer and campaigner for justice and

environmental sustainability

Elizabeth Dowler

Professor of food and social policy,

University of Warwick

Conference will present a


Chaired by John Vidal, Environment Editor of The Guardian

Plus: Programmes for children and young people, stalls from

many organisations

Workshop leaders include:

Sarah Brown (Farm Crisis Network), Barbara and Edward Echlin

(Christian Ecology Link), Sean McDonagh ssc (Columban JPIC),

JoJi Carino (Piplinks), Mary Colwell (Alliance of Religions and

Conservation), Deborah Jones (Catholic Concern for Animals),

Ashley Ralston (Better Tomorrows), Paul Whitehouse

(Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority), Tim Gorringe (Transition

Towns), CAFOD, Progressio.

For more information contact:

NJPN, 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX,

Tel: 020 7901 4864


Or download booking forms from

National Justice & Peace Network

Networking Day and AGM

Saturday 15 May 2010


CAFOD Offices, Southwark


Frank Regan

“A Magnificat Church for Today: New Wine in Old


All welcome: For more details contact:

The Administrator, NJPN,

39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V IBX

Tel: 020 7901 4864:


General Election Resources on

Visit the NJPN website for links to resources for the

General Election from around the Network


Statements on

“Why it matters for Catholics/Christians/People of faith

to engage in the political process”.

Contributors include Clare Short, Caroline Lucas, Timothy

Radcliffe OP, John Battle, CAFOD partners, Neil Jameson

(London Citizens)


Article by Paul Donovan: Catholics must be participants not

bystanders in the General Election.

Page 22 April 2010

omnibus 23

vocation for justice

Vocation for Justice Compiled

by Ellen Teague

Columban JPIC Team

St. Joseph’s, Watford Way, Hendon, London NW4 4TY

020 8202 2555

General Election 2010



• More than 80 percent of the greenhouse

gases currently in the atmosphere are

the result of emissions by rich, Northern


• Some 262 million people were affected

by climate disasters annually from 2000

to 2004, over 98 percent of them in the

global south.

“The ecological crisis offers an historic

opportunity to develop a common plan of

action aimed at orienting the model of

global development towards greater

respect for creation and for an integral

human development.”

Pope Benedict XVI

Useful websites:

Question to candidates:

Do you support working towards a fair and

binding global climate deal as an immediate

priority By a fair and binding global

climate deal we mean this deal should:

• be legally binding,

• include emissions cuts of more than 40

per cent on 1990 levels by 2020,

• include US$195 billion each year by

2020 on top of existing aid pledges to

help poor countries cope with climate



• The estimated costs of the replacement

of Trident, the UK’s nuclear missile system,

is in excess of £75 billion.

• Each year the UK exports around £5 billion

worth of military equipment around

the globe.

“We need to work at getting relationships

right: relationships between people and

relationships between people and planet.

This is what peacemaking is about.”

Pat Gaffney, Pax Christi

Useful websites:

Questions to candidates:

Do you think Trident should be replaced

The UK Trade and Industry Defence &

Security Organisation is a government

unit which helps private companies sell

military equipment and services overseas.

Do you think this government unit should

be closed

What are the options for the future of



• Approximately 450 million small-scale

farmers feed roughly two billion people,

so they are a key group in fighting


• If temperature increases in the Andes to

the extent that glaciers disappear, the

water supplies of up to 50 million people

will be endangered.

“Continuing hunger is a deep stain on our

world. The time has come to remove it –

forever. We have the wealth and knowhow

to do so. Let us do our utmost to

keep hunger at the centre of the political


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Useful websites:

Questions to candidates:

How can the UK government give greater

support to the world’s small-scale farmers

Do you support fairtrade initiatives

What will you do to ensure the access of

poor communities around the world to



• In 2006, Norway unilaterally cancelled

$80m in debt owed by five poor countries,

on the grounds that the loans were

examples of a “development policy failure”

linked to irresponsible lending.

• In November 2009, two vulture funds

won £20 million against Liberia in the

UK High Court. A ‘Vulture fund’ is a

company that seeks to make profit by

buying up cheap defaulted poor country

debt and then attempting to recover the

full amount immediately, often by suing

through the courts.

Page 23 April 2010

omnibus 24

vocation for justice

“An imaginative and radical set of policies

is needed to address the triple crunch of

debt, peak oil and climate change.”

Ann Pettifor

Useful website:

Questions to candidates:

Would you recognise the concept of coresponsibility

and illegitimacy in lending

and take steps to deal with historical illegitimate


Would you legislate to prohibit the activities

of vulture funds in UK courts



• The gap between rich and poor in the

UK is greater now than at any time in

the past 40 years. This is not only unjust;

research shows that inequality has a

corrosive effect on the whole of society,

linked with higher crime, health problems

and other social ills.

• People on low incomes who cannot get

credit from mainstream banks are forced

to borrow from doorstep lenders or

‘payday’ lenders. In the absence of any

legal limit on cost of loans, many are

forced to pay interest rates as high as

1000 percent. This traps people in a

cycle of debt.

“There must come a point at which the

scale of the gap between the very wealthy

and those at the bottom of the range of

income begins to undermine the common


The Common Good, Catholic Bishops

Conference for England and Wales.

Useful website:

Questions to candidates:

Does the growing gap between rich and

poor in this country concern you, and if

so, what will you do about it

Are you willing to call for a legal limit on

the interest rates that can be charged by

moneylenders, and would you support

the Debt on our Doorstep campaign of

Church Action on Poverty



• An estimated 500,000 people in

England alone are ‘hidden homeless’.

These people are not visible rough

sleepers but are sofa surfers, squatters,

or sleeping in their cars, in tents or in

bin sheds.

• More than 60,000 households in

England are homeless and living in temporary

accommodation. That is over

100,000 people and includes at least

87,000 children. About 20% of these

households have been in temporary

accommodation for more than two


“The change I think would do the most to

end injustice and bring about righteousness

in housing would be a move to think

of the buildings we live in primarily as

homes rather than as investments.”

Alison Gelder, Housing Justice

Useful websites:

Questions to candidates:

It is widely recognised - at least by all the

main parties - that there is a shortage of

housing in our country. How do you propose

to ensure that there is an adequate

supply of affordable housing in this area

At the moment a large number of needy

homeless people - for example single

adults - fall outside the statutory duty of

local authorities to provide housing. What

would you do to help them



• Many people seeking sanctuary in the

UK are destitute. No one knows exactly

how many people have been left destitute

at the end of the asylum process,

without any status, permission to work,

or access to benefits.

• Tens of thousands of men, women and

children (both immigrants and those

seeking sanctuary) are detained under

the UK’s immigration rules each year.

“We need a ministry of welcome and

accompaniment for migrants”

Bishop Patrick Lynch, auxiliary in

Southwark Diocese and Bishop with pastoral

responsibility for migrants.

Useful websites:

Questions to candidates:

How can the system of asylum processing

be improved to be swifter and fairer

What are the alternatives to the detention

of children and families of people seeking



• During the past 45 years about a quarter

of Britain’s hedgerows have been

destroyed, at a rate of about 4,000 miles

a year and with a massive loss of biodiversity.

• Each family in the UK throws away an

average of one tonne of waste per year!

73% of this goes to landfill, even though

90% of this is recoverable. It could be

recycled, composted or used to generate


“Jesus encouraged love of children. If our

generation continues to disrupt climate,

not least with cars and planes, we will

destroy our children’s future.”

Edward Echlin, Christian Ecology Link

Useful websites:

Questions to candidates:

Will you demand that ministers and parliament

promote sustainable quality of life

rather than infinite growth

How will you personally live a low carbon

lifestyle, and persuade your constituents

to do likewise

Page 24 April 2010

omnibus 25

vocation for justice

A General Election will be held sometime before 3 June 2010. Like everyone else, Christians will be engaging with a range of

important issues facing our country. Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, in collaboration with the Methodist Church, have

prepared an excellent paper:


Preparing Churches for the General Election 2010.

It can be downloaded from:

It looks at key issues, providing a concise overview, and then suggests questions to candidates. Concerns include the countering of

religious-inspired terrorism and how far the churches are listened to when they speak up for the vulnerable in the public sphere, for

example, condemning the detention of the children of asylum seekers or denouncing the British National Party when it claims to

represent British Christians. is a really good site for finding out what your current MP has been doing. It includes easy-to-read

summaries of how your MP voted on key issues and what their performance is like in parliament - how many times they have

attended, voted or spoken and how much they have spent.


DVD: Stations of the Forests

Columban Missionary Society

In the mid 1980s, Columbans in the Philippines

developed a ‘Stations of the Forests,’ using the

popular ‘Stations’ format to lament the stages

in the death of a part of God’s Creation, the

tropical rainforests. Various versions of it were

used by Catholic agencies over the next

decade. This is a revised audio-visual and incorporates

more global issues related to rainforest destruction, such as

the impact of extractive industries, all leading to climate change.

A Resource Booklet accompanying the DVD provides the script,

an agenda for public meetings using the DVD, a reflection for

each of the Stations and material for liturgies.

£7.00 inclusive of p&p from Columban JPIC OfficeSt. Joseph's,

Watford Way, Hendon, London NW4 4TY. 020 8202 2555.

And the following resources are written by Ellen Teague of the

Columban JPIC Team:

Our Earth, Our Home - Green Assemblies for Key

Stage 1-2.

These assemblies, for primary age children,

aim to help them understand their relationship

with the environment as part of the

web of life, and to develop respect for other

species and natural resources. They also

create awareness about the need for a

healthy and fruitful environment for livelihoods

and health of human society in every

part of the world. Designed to be presented by the children, they

are easily adjustable to suit both the very young and slightly

older, and incorporate arts, crafts, dance and mime. There are

suggestions for images to display during each assembly, youtube

clip ideas and activities for follow up.

£15.99 from Kevin Mayhew Publishers on 01449 737978 or

Paint the Church Green

- A group course.

This guide enables church groups to

explore the relationship between faith

and concern for the natural world. By

highlighting environmental issues, unsustainable

development and the link with

global poverty, it prompts reflection on

western lifestyle and makes suggestions

for change. Paint the Church Green features

six session agendas: People and Planet, Food and Drink,

Battling the Elements, Energy for the Future, Abundant Life, and

Covenant with Creation.

Price: £5.99 + £2 p&p from Kevin Mayhew Publishers

Becoming a Green Christian.

It seems like everyone is “going green”.

What about joining them This booklet

will help individuals to do just that. There

are many different ways to be a little

greener, such as recycling, cycling to

work, reusing plastic bags, and reducing

food miles. Even growing your own fruits

and vegetables is making a comeback

among young families, and children have

fun doing it. Working together to be more

environmentally responsible in parishes and schools can be

rewarding for church communities too.

£8.99 + £2 p&p from Kevin Mayhew Publishers.

Page 25 April 2010

omnibus 26

nbcw - social responsibility

NBCW Election Questions

formulated at Board meeting on 20.2.10 & revised at Soc Res Committee on 23 Feb 2010 + changes and additions 6 March

As Catholic Women we believe that policies

which promote the sanctity of life, the

stewardship of creation, the dignity of the

human person, the preferential option for

the poor, education for all and support for

marriage and family life are among the best

ways of achieving the Common Good.

The following are questions which can be

asked of all candidates for the forthcoming

election. They were formulated at a recent

NBCW meeting and set out here as suggestions

only. You may want to add others of

your own.


1 How can we ensure that the fees and

support costs of HE do not disadvantage


2 How would you redress the balance

between academic & vocational education

3 Many women have dropped out of

mainstream education - what do you

think could be done to promote opportunities

for women to re-enter education

and training

4 Would you agree to support the retention

of Faith schools in our state school



1 What would you do to promote local

action to cope better with environmental

problems including waste management,

recycling & energy conservation

2 Where is climate change in your own

and your party’s list of priorities for the


3 Do you agree that the next UK government

needs to support work towards a

fair and legally binding global climate

deal as a top priority If so, what action

would you take to press for this if elected

4 How would you and your party support

the target of the rich countries achieving

carbon emissions cuts of more than 40

per cent on 1990 levels, by the year

2020 Would you support a strengthening

of the UK Climate Change Act

What influence would you and your

party use in the EU to ensure other rich

countries in Europe commit to these

cuts too

5 How would you and your party

ensure that the UK and other rich countries

help poor countries to adapt to and

cope with climate change

6 Would you agree to a level of $195 billion

per year by 2020 which is additional

to existing overseas aid budgets

Health & Bioethics

1 Faith communities have strong views on

the sanctity of life. What are you views

on assisted suicide

2 Do you support free health care for all

at the point of need

3 How would your party promote and

fund social care for the elderly

4 How would your party support the

growing number of family carers who

save the govt £87 billion a year yet

earn £1.52 per hour

Overseas Aid

1 All the UK’s main political parties agree

that the UK should honour its commitment

to spend 0.7% of GDP (national

income) on aid. How would you & your

party honour this commitment & ensure

that women & children, who bear the

brunt of poverty, are the beneficiaries

2 It seems that, in the light of the current

international financial crisis, the

Millennium Development Goals set for

2015 are unlikely to be achieved. If the

UK’s pledge to the poor of the developing

world are to be honoured, how can

your party justify spending billions of

pounds to replace Trident, a weapon

system suited to the Cold War era and

which we cannot even operate independently

Financial transaction Tax

3 The Prime Minister has recently stated

that he supports a financial transaction

tax (long known as the Tobin tax &

recently referred to as the Robin Hood

tax) as a fair way of recouping some of

the money lost to UK taxpayers by the

irresponsible conduct of international

finance and banking. Does your party

support this proposed tax


4 Given that the European Convention on

Human Rights is embedded in our

country’s legal framework and given

that many political decisions are made

in Europe to which this country makes

major contributions, what is your attitude

towards closer co-operation with

other nation states in the European


Marriage & Family Life

1 How would you promote marriage as

the best way to raise children in a stable


2 Advertising to children is grooming for

consumerism. Where would you stand

on banning advertising to children

2. Smacking of children is regarded by

some as a form of DA/DV. How would

you vote on smacking in a free vote

3. The age of criminal responsibility in the

UK is the lowest in Europe at 10 years.

Do you think it should be altered

5 There is a lot of pressure on mothers to

leave their children in child-care and go

out to work. Do you agree it would be

equally important to give mothers the

option to stay at home to care for their

children for the first 5 years of life

6 Grandparents are increasingly used for

child care. What ideas does your party

have for supporting this role

Page 26 April 2010

omnibus 27

nbcw - social responsibility

Public Affairs

1. How do you propose to engage with

bodies that represent women of faith,

such as the National Board of Catholic

Women which represents around 1

million women in England & Wales

2 How will you encourage more women

to be active in the political process

3 How do you think the voting system

could be improved to make it more representative

Poverty and Debt

1 People on low incomes, particularly

women, are driven to borrow from

doorstep lenders. There is no legal limit

on interest rates and some people pay

up to 1000%. Would you call for a

legal limit on interest rates charged by

money lenders

2 Would you support a government

scheme for micro-credit unions Do you

think this could be rolled out through

the Post Office

Refugees and Asylum Seekers

1. Do you support the ending of detention

of mothers and children who have

come to this country for sanctuary

2. Refused asylum seekers are frequently

completely destitute – they have no

means of support and are not allowed

to work. Do you agree that they and

other asylum seekers should at least be

allowed to work and support themselves

Domestic Abuse

1. Given that around 72 women per year

are killed by partners or former partners,

how will you and your party ensure that

the provision for dealing with domestic

abuse is of the same quality throughout

the country


1. Does your party have any plans to tackle

the probability of increased trafficking

of women and children for sexual purposes

during the 2012 Olympics

Page 27 April 2010

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