Take Action For Common Sense Laws

from Gabino Zavala, Justice and Peace Director
This week we entered Holy Week, the days leading to the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. As we reflect on the Paschal Mystery, especially the Cross of Jesus, we should recognize that in our midst there are many of our sisters and brothers who live their own stories of the passion. The immigrant mother who was inconsolable at the death of her 9-year-old daughter who drowned on March 20th while they were attempting to cross the Rio Grande into the United States. The Asian woman in New York, who was beaten, kicked and stomped while onlookers watched and did nothing and eventually closed their doors while she lay on the sidewalk. Families who have lost their loved ones to COVID-19. And in recent weeks, families who have lost loved ones to gun violence.
Without a doubt we know that there is a proliferation of guns in the United States. We have more guns in the hands of private citizens in this country and we have more violence due to guns as well. Anxiety and anger enflamed because of the pandemic, reactions to last summer’s racial justice protests, and the recent presidential election are suggested as reasons why 8.5 million previously unarmed people purchased a weapon in 2020.
The statistics show that 393 million guns are in the hands of private citizens in our country. As has been said, it is easier to buy a gun than to vote! And if you don’t know anyone personally who owns a gun, the average gun owner owns five weapons. Fourteen percent of gun owners have an arsenal of eight or more guns.
Many proponents of unfettered gun ownership don’t see this as problem. The Second Amendment, they say, gives them the right to own guns. It is also their right to protect themselves and defend their families. The reality is that the use of weapons for self-defense is exceedingly rare while, unfortunately, it is much more common that these weapons be used for homicide and suicide.
I believe it is time to look at common sense gun law reform, which does not mean doing away with the Second Amendment. The Boulder shooter used an AR-15, semi-automatic military style rifle that he was able to purchase legally. Why can anyone purchase such a weapon? Anger, bigotry, hate, mental illness, and depression, plus guns are not a good combination.
In their latest newsletter, the Franciscan Action Network provided links to the Newtown Action Alliance petition to President Bident and Congress saying, “We know a federal ban on assault weapons is possible because we’ve done it before, in 1994. However, political pressure and hefty campaign contributions from the NRA caused the ban to expire in 2004 at which point mass shooting deaths increased by 347%. We must renew the national ban on weapons of war.
Thoughts and prayers are useless without good works and we must urge President Biden and the 117th Congress to ban weapons of war. With a President and a Congress that support gun reform, now is the time to build bipartisan support for legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Take action today and urge your member of Congress to pass legislation banning assault weapons.”
As Members of the Precious Blood family let us continue to advocate for the dignity of each human being. Let us continue to promote life in every way including the promotion of common-sense reform of our gun laws.

Provincial Statement on Responsum Document

March 24, 2021
Dear Members and Companions,
In light of recent statements from a Vatican office regarding LGBTQ Catholics and their relationships, the Kansas City Province of the Society of the Precious Blood continues to uphold the dignity and equality of all people, regardless of sexual orientation. We affirm our respect for the LGBTQ community and rejoice in the gifts and light they bring to the world and specifically, the Precious Blood Community.
We recognize the deep faith LGBTQ Catholics have in belonging to a Church that is flawed and in need of reconciliation. We urge our missionaries to continue to be creative and resilient in creating safe spaces of welcome in our parishes and mission sites for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. To our LGBTQ community members, we say, “We love you and walk with you as companions on the journey. May God continue to bless you!”
Peace in the blood of Christ,
V. Rev. Garry Richmeier, C.PP.S.
Provincial Director

Provincial Statement On Recent Gun Violence and Hate Crimes

March 24, 2021
Dear Members and Companions,
We pray for the victims of gun violence in the United States, most recently, those in Boulder, Colorado and in Atlanta, Georgia. Our corporate stance against gun violence affirms our belief in the sacredness of life and calls us to demand that local, state, and national legislators to pass reasonable laws that will curb the culture of violence within our nation.
Equally concerning to our community is the continued violence against minority communities in the United States. The recent uptick in violence against people of Asian descent is unacceptable and is of special concern to the Kansas City Province because of our close relationship with the Vietnam Mission and our members from Vietnam.
The Kansas City Province stands in solidarity with victims of acts of hate. We embrace and support our Incorporated Members, Companions, and Precious Blood Volunteers of Asian descent. We will continue to educate ourselves about issues of violence and hate, and speak out against actions that lessen the sacredness of life.
Peace in the blood of Christ,
V. Rev. Garry Richmeier, C.PP.S.
Provincial Director

Orlando Companions Visit With Justice Advocate Working Against Human Trafficking

As we continually discuss where the cry of the blood is calling us, the Orlando Companions wanted to learn more about human trafficking. This horrific crime is prevalent not only in Florida but across the United States and around the world.  On Tuesday, March 8, the Orlando Companions invited other Companions and Members from around the country to participate in a virtual discussion with Sr. Jeanne Christensen. Sister Jeanne is a member of the Sisters of Mercy and serves as the justice advocate against human trafficking for the Sisters of Mercy. She works with many anti-human trafficking groups on the local, state, and national levels.

Sr. Jeanne suggested the following links for more information on the work to stop human trafficking:

 

End Capital Punishment-No To The Death Penalty

by Gabino Zavala, Peace & Justice Director

At 1:31 am EST on January 13 Lisa Montgomery was executed by the United States Federal Government. She became the first woman executed in nearly 70 years. Her life was marked by extreme child sexual abuse, torture and neglect which led to serious mental illness. Our government continued this abuse by executing Lisa. Our Federal Government has executed 11 people in the last seven months during a pandemic. The executions of Corey Johnson and Dustin Higgs are scheduled this week.

As a Precious Blood Community, we promote the sacredness of all human life. As such we have taken a corporate stance against the death penalty. We promote life from conception to natural death. That is what it truly means to be pro-life.

The execution of Lisa Montgomery and the others executed in the last seven months have furthered the cycle of violence in our society. As Precious Blood family members, let us continue to strive to be pro-life Catholics.

Please read the statement from Kelly Henry, issued after Lisa’s execution.

Provincial Council Statement Regarding January 6th’s Violence in Washington, D.C.

As a religious community dedicated to the spread of the Gospel, we condemn the violent protest at the capitol building in Washington today. It is one more indication that we as a society are more and more placing our trust in violence and force to solve our problems rather than working together to resolve our differences. Although these rioters are a relatively small group, their actions can make us think that what binds us together as a country, as a people, is disappearing. But in the days ahead, the rest of us will speak up with words and actions to make clear that we are one country, united by the Gospel of compassion, care, concern, justice, and love. So, as we move through this crisis, we will do so by trusting in each other and in God’s providential care. Let us keep our leaders and each other in prayer.