Friday, May 22, 2015

Baltimore Activist Alert - May 21, 2015

47] Help distribute peace diplomas at JHU graduation – May 21
48] Swords to Plowshares Belltower – through May 28
49] Beyond Extreme Energy Call to Action – May 21 - 29
50] Stop Fast Track – May 21
51] Nonprofit housing – May 21
52] Get help with housing – May 21
53] Help AK Press – May 21
54] Black Lives Matter – May 21
55] Teaching for Change – May 21
56] Bernie Sanders – May 21
57] Film WATER DRUMS – May 21
58] Sunset the Patriot Act – May 21
59] Sunset the Patriot Act – May 21
60] Film HOLY OUTLAW – May. 21
61] Baltimore Rebellion May 21
62] Sign up with Washington Peace Center
63] Join Fund Our Communities
64] Donate books, videos, DVDs and records
65] Do you need any book shelves?
66] Join Global Zero campaign
67] Join Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil
47] – The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore annually distributes peace diplomas at Johns Hopkins University’s graduation ceremonies at the Homewood campus.  Help distribute peace diplomas on Thurs., May 21 from 8 AM to 9 AM outside the football stadium on University Parkway.  Afterwards, participants will go to One World Café for breakfast.  Call Max at 410-366-1637 or email mobuszewski at

48] – Come to the National Mall through Wed., May 27 at noon to witness the Swords to Plowshares Belltower.  Mourn ALL the Dead and Wounded. Rid the Earth of the Waste of War. Beat Swords into Plowshares. Let Peace and Freedom Ring. Contact Roger Ehrlich at

49] – Beyond Extreme Energy is a growing coalition of communities and individuals on the front lines—and taking casualties—in the extreme energy economy. The coalition demands to be heard, and gets in the way of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s rubber-stamping of fracked-gas projects all over the country. So BXE has issued a Call to Action. From Thurs., May 21 through Fri., May 29, BXE is heading back to the FERC building on First Street in Washington. Intensify the nonviolence campaign, while the oil and gas industry is reeling from the massive drop in fuel prices worldwide.

On the first day of action, May 21, the monthly FERC meeting takes place-- FERC Headquarters, I Street NE, WDC 20002,.  There will be a weekend of training May 24 – 25 and then four days of action May 26-29. If you can participate, sign up at

50] – Gather at the southeast corner of the Spirit of Justice Park (the park corner closest to D Street and New Jersey Ave. SE) right on Capitol Hill on Thurs., May 21 from noon to 2 PM.  Join Popular Resistance on Thurs., May 21 for a march and rally to Stop Fast Track! Make noise (bring noise makers!), and rally around the House Office buildings to pressure House members before they go on recess. Then, the people will march down to the Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave. SW, to highlight the ecological destruction and climate impacts associated with secret corporate treaties like TPP and TTIP. Visit

51] – Go to the John A. Wilson Building 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, WDC on Thurs., May 21 at 1:30 PM, as each year the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development's members gather and meet with DC Councilmembers to advocate for affordable housing and neighborhood economic development in the DC budget. This is a critical time just days before the Council votes on the Fiscal Year 2016 budget.  Contact Elizabeth Falcon 202 745 0902 x205 or click here

52] – Are you struggling to make payments on your home? Have you stopped making payments and don’t know what to do? Get help from a certified housing counselor to understand what your options are. This free seminar at 11002 Viers Mill Rd, Suite 700, Wheaton on Thurs., May 21 from 4 to 5:30 PM will help you understand the various options and what you will need to do to prevent foreclosure. Go to  Contact Yesenia Rivera · or 202-540-7431.

53] – Get over to a Social Justice Happy Hour with AK Press on Thurs., May 21 from 5 PM @ Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21201. For 25 years, the AK Press collective has been on the front lines of keeping anarchist and anti-authoritarian history, political theory, and even fiction in print, providing support for the movement, support for independent bookstores, and serving as a reminder that collective businesses work, even in a capitalist world. The warehouse in Oakland, CA that houses the AK Press offices and much of the collective's back stock was badly damaged in a fire. They are still publishing, but are financially uncertain. So, in addition to celebrating AK's 25th anniversary with drinks and snacks, Red Emma’s will donate 15% of any book sales during the time to the fire relief fund! Call 443-602-7585.  Go to

54] – Go to the Washington Ethical Society, 7750 16th St. NW, WDC on Thurs., May 21 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM for an event which happens every Thursday. Participants will hold signs with the names of people who were killed by police, #BlackLivesMatter signs, and other messages.  There will be a Person of the Week-- Kajieme Powell, 25, St. Louis, Mo. Killed August 19, 2014--that will be studied and remembered. While holding signs, participants are encouraged to share what they learned about this person.  Visit

55] – On Thurs., May 21 from 6:30 to 8 PM at Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St. NW, WDC, Enid Lee will be interviewed by Allison R. Brown about ways in which schools can ensure that all #BlackLivesMatter. This event is sponsored by Teaching for Change, Washington Teachers Union, and Busboys and Poets. This is one of Teaching for Change's 25th Anniversary events. See

56] – Come to the Hunan Dynasty, 215 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, WDC on Thurs., May 21 at 6:30 PM to discuss the Bernie Sanders Candidacy.  What does it mean for DSA, the country & the progressive left? The Hunan Dynasty is about 2.5 blocks from the Capitol Hill stop on the Orange & Blue Lines of the Metro. It's also nearly opposite from the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress across Pennsylvania Ave. Go to

57] – Get over to The Potter's House, 1658 Columbia Rd. NW, WDC on Thurs., May 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM as the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is showing "Water Drums."  A panel discussion will follow featuring Dr. Sheila Walker, Executive Director of Afrodiaspora, Inc. and Mr. Carlos Ron, Minister Counselor of the Embassy of Venezuela. See

58] –  Join an Emergency rally to oppose the PATRIOT Act on Thurs., May 21 at 7 PM outside Sen. Barbara Mikulski's office, 901 S. Bond St., Ste. 310, Baltimore 21231.  The Senate will vote this week on whether to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act. CREDO, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, MoveOn and Restore the Fourth are organizing dozens of emergency rallies across the country to demand that Congress let the PATRIOT Act expire. RSVP at

59] – Join an Emergency rally to oppose the PATRIOT Act on Thurs., May 21 at 7 PM on the West Lawn of the Capitol.  The Senate will vote this week on whether to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act. CREDO, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, MoveOn and Restore the Fourth are organizing dozens of emergency rallies across the country to demand that Congress let the PATRIOT Act expire.

60] – Honor the anniversary of the Catonsville 9 Viet Nam War draft file burning action taken by brothers Dan and Phil Berrigan and 7 others. On Thurs., May 21 at 7 PM see rare screening of "Holy Outlaw," a documentary about Dan Berrigan, at the 2640 Space, 27th & St. Paul St., Baltimore 21218.  A performance by the Charm City Labor Chorus will precede this screening.  A Q&A and discussion will be led by Joe Tropea & Skizz Cyzyk, directors of “Hit & Stay.” The screening is co-sponsored by a number of groups including Veterans for Peace, Viva House, and Jonah House. 

The documentary has been long-lost documentary.  The Lee Lockwood film originally aired on TV in 1970 on NET Journal, but has been seen very rarely. It features Howard Zinn, William Kunstler and members of the Milwaukee 14, and chronicles the life and time spent underground of Father Daniel Berrigan as he evaded the FBI and temporarily avoided serving his prison sentence for conviction for the Catonsville Nine draft board action.

61] – Come to All Souls Church Unitarian, 1500 Harvard St. NW, WDC 20009 on Thurs., May 21 at 7 PM and discuss the Baltimore rebellion, many people’s eyes have been opened to the extreme economic devastation and systemic racism that has been inflicted on that city’s Black working class for decades. Neoliberalism’s impact on Baltimore has included not only cuts to education and other services, but also massive deindustrialization of the once-booming seaport and massive white flight, transitions that were deliberately laced with racism. While developers invest in downtown tourist attractions and stadiums, the Black majority is left severely impoverished. The presence of a Black political elite that holds most major posts only shows how this racism is structural and used to attack the working class.

Join for a discussion on neoliberalism, how it has affected Baltimore in particular, and what this means for the rebellion and other forms of popular resistance. All Soul's Church is just a couple blocks from Columbia Heights Metro. Go to

62] -- The Washington Peace Center has a progressive calendar & activist alert! Consider signing up to receive its weekly email:

63] -- Fund Our Communities campaign is a grass roots movement to get support from local organizations and communities to work together with their local and state elected officials to pressure Congresspersons and senators to join with Congresspersons Barney Frank and Ron Paul, who have endorsed a 25% cut to the federal military budget.  Bring home the savings to state and county governments to meet the local needs which are under tremendous budget pressures.  Go to

64] -- If you would like to get rid of books, videos, DVDs or records, contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

65] -- Can you use any book shelves? Contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

66] -- Join an extraordinary global campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons: A growing group of leaders around the world is calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons and a majority of the global public agrees.  This is an historic window of opportunity.  With momentum already building in favor of Zero, a major show of support from people around the world could tip the balance. When it comes to nuclear weapons, one is one too many.

67] – A Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil takes place every day in Lafayette Park, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 24 hours a day, since June 3, 1981. Go to; call 202-682-4282.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better" - Daniel Berrigan


A Baltimorean's reflections on the Baltimore riots

A Baltimorean's reflections on the Baltimore riots

5/20/2015 (1 day ago)

Catholic Online (

"The God of peace is never glorified by human violence," wrote the famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton.


Catholic Online (

5/20/2015 (1 day ago)

Published in Living Faith

Whether it's on an individual, city, national, or international level, violence always dishonors God, and makes bad situations worse. The recent Baltimore City riots were no exception: people were injured, neighborhood stores were burned, and violence was further engrained into a city and world already steeped in violence.

But, and this is a big but: What are the reasons that led to violence? What motivated some African-Americans in Baltimore to riot? To ask and to try to answer these questions - in dialogue with the rioters - is certainly not meant to justify the violence; rather it is a necessary step on the road to ending it. 

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "A riot is the language of the unheard."

I grew up in Baltimore. And in the 1950's and 1960's when I was a kid there, Baltimore - while it certainly had significant problems like racial segregation - overall was a kinder and gentler place to live.

In those days crime was much lower, there were no gangs to speak of, drugs were far less a problem, schools were good, neighbors watched out for each other's children, and blue-collar Baltimore had lots of good manufacturing jobs - like those provided by Bethlehem Steel - that offered hard-working people of all colors a living wage.

Sadly, those days are mostly gone.

I spoke with Brendan Walsh, who with his wife Willa, co-founded Viva House - the Catholic Worker House serving homeless, poor people located in southwest Baltimore where some of the rioting occurred.

Walsh who has lived at Viva House since 1968 shared with me his reflections regarding root-causes of the rioting that occurred after the death of Freddie Gray - who died from a fatal injury that happened while in transport by Baltimore police, according to an initial investigation.

Walsh noted that many U.S. corporations have moved their operations from cities like Baltimore, to very poor countries where they can get away with the injustice of slave labor (see, and in the process have left many Americans without decent paying manufacturing jobs.

Walsh asked, "What are people to do when there are so few blue-collar jobs available that pay a living wage"?

Walsh believes that every city police officer should be required to live in the city. He said this would help police to better under the difficulties faced by many city residents, and in the process better relationships would be established.

Walsh noted there are not nearly enough drug treatment facilities. He said people need to be medically treated for drug addiction, not thrown into prison.

Many years ago I remember police districts in Baltimore ran recreational centers where kids could go to play sports, games, and do homework with police officers who offered guidance and friendship.

Back in those days numerous companies offered students summer jobs. For a couple of summers I worked for the Baltimore Gas and Electric company in their machine shop.   

We need to bring back the recreational centers and summer jobs.

Federal, state and city governments, in partnership with corporations, need to create a comprehensive, well-funded plan to rebuild our cities.

Baltimore's Catholic Archbishop William E. Lori, perhaps said it best here: "For without love, respect and personal relationships, our lives make no sense. We shouldn't expect a person whose life makes no sense to pull himself up by his bootstraps into a productive and prosperous life."

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. Please contact your diocesan newspaper and request that they carry Tony's column. Tony is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings about Catholic social teaching. His keynote address, "Advancing the Kingdom of God in the 21st Century," has been well received by diocesan gatherings from San Clemente, Calif. to Baltimore, Md. Tony can be reached at

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Hundreds of Tech Companies Line Up to Oppose TPP Trade Agreement

 Thielman writes: "More than 250 tech companies have signed a letter demanding greater transparency from Congress and decrying the broad regulatory language in leaked parts of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bill."

Los Angeles residents share the reservations of more than 250 tech companies which oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). (photo: Damian Dovarganes/AP)
Los Angeles residents share the reservations of more than 250 tech companies which oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). (photo: Damian Dovarganes/AP)

Hundreds of Tech Companies Line Up to Oppose TPP Trade Agreement

By Sam Thielman, Guardian UK

21 May 15

 Letter signed by more than 250 companies demands greater transparency and says ‘dangerously vague’ language would criminalise whistleblowers

   More than 250 tech companies have signed a letter demanding greater transparency from Congress and decrying the broad regulatory language in leaked parts of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bill.

The TPP would create an environment hostile to journalists and whistleblowers, said policy directors for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fight for the Future, co-authors of the letter. “TPP’s trade secrets provisions could make it a crime for people to reveal corporate wrongdoing ‘through a computer system’,” says the letter. “The language is dangerously vague, and enables signatory countries to enact rules that would ban reporting on timely, critical issues affecting the public.”

Among the signatories are activist, sci-fi author and Guardian tech columnist Cory Doctorow. “Democracies make their laws in public, not in smoke-filled rooms,” Doctorow wrote. “If TPP’s backers truly believed that they were doing the people’s work, they’d have invited the people into the room. The fact that they went to extreme, unprecedented measures to stop anyone from finding out what was going on – even going so far as to threaten Congress with jail if they spoke about it – tells you that this is something being done *to* Americans, not *for* Americans.”

Also on the list were prominent members of the open source community, including David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of the popular Ruby on Rails web development framework, image hosting company Imgur and domain name manager Namecheap.

There was a notable absence from the letter of big, international tech companies like Apple, Google and Facebook. Apple and AT&T are part of the president’s International Trade Advisory Committee (which advises the Oval Office on matters relating to industry) and their representatives have presumably been able to read sections of the bill that would apply to their industry.

The letter’s signatories also criticized the fast-track bill – known as the Trade Promotion Authority – which is being discussed in Congress this week. If passed, the TPA would give Obama a yes or no vote on the trade pact without the ability for legislators to amend it. The fast-track bill needs to be passed to even give the TPP a shot at approval.

Several other companies and industry trade groups sent statements to Congress in support of the legislation, among them Cisco and the Consumer Electronics Association. The Seminconductor Industry Association (SIA) said: “SIA strongly supports trade promotion authority (TPA) and applauds the introduction of this bipartisan legislation. TPA paves the way for free trade by empowering US negotiators to reach final trade agreements consistent with negotiating objectives laid out by Congress. Free trade is especially critical to the US semiconductor industry, which designs and manufactures the chips that enable virtually all electronics.”

TPP has sparked a growing row within the Democrat party. Senator Elizabeth Warren renewed her attack on the pact this week, issuing a scathing report on past trade deals.

Of particular concern to the tech community is an “Investment Chapter” of the TPP drafted in 2010 and leaked by Wikileaks. The letter’s signatories argue the provisions would allow corporations to use an international legal system to override national sovereignty: “The TPP Investment Chapter contains text that would enable corporations to sue nations over democratic rules that allegedly harm expected future profits. Companies can use this process to undermine US rules like fair use, net neutrality, and others designed to protect the free, open internet and users’ rights to free expression online.”

The section has likely been revised in the last five years, but whether the provisions have changed has not, and cannot, be disclosed.

“The future of the internet is simply too important to be decided behind closed doors,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future. “The Fast Track/Trade Promotion Authority process actively silences the voices of internet users, startups, and small tech companies while giving the biggest players even more power to set policy that benefits a few select companies while undermining the health of the entire web.”

© 2015 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert May 22 – May 25, 2015

Baltimore Activist Alert May 22 – May 25, 2015

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Friends, this list and other email documents which I send out are done under the auspices of the Baltimore Nonviolence Center.  Go to  If you appreciate this information and would like to make a donation, send contributions to BNC, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218.  Max Obuszewski can be reached at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski [at]

1] Books, buttons & stickers
2] Web site for info on federal legislation
3] Join Nonviolent Resistance lists
4] Buy coffee through HoCoFoLa
5] Two friends are looking to buy a house in Baltimore
6] Cyprus Friendship Program
7] Get your animal friend in the Maryland SPCA 2016 calendar – through June 15
8] Jobs with Justice – May 22
9] Peace Vigil at the White House – May 22
10] All Lives Matter – May 22
11] Stop Farm Fresh – May 22
12] “Do Guns Make Us Free?” May 22
13] Pray for Peace– May 22
14] Ballroom Dancing – May 22
15] Annual School of Life Celebration – May 23
16] West Chester, PA demo – May 23
17] March Against Monsanto – May 23
18] Ethical District Showcase – May 23
19] “Remembrance Sunday” – May 24
20] Protecting tenants – May 24
21] Baltimore’s rebellion – May 24
22] Pentagon Vigil – May 25
23] Marc Steiner on WEAA – May 25 – May 29
24] Orioles game benefit May 25
25] 2015 Solidarity Cyclers – May 25
26] Pledge of Resistance/FOC meeting – May 25 - maybe

1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available.  “God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions” stickers are in stock. Donate your books to Max. Call him at 410-366-1637.

2] – To obtain information how your federal legislators voted on particular bills, go to  Congressional toll-free numbers are 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. The White House Comment Email is accessible at

3] – THE ORGANIZING LIST will be the primary decision-making mechanism of the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR].  It will be augmented by conference calls and possibly in-person meetings as needed.  It will consist of 1 or 2 representatives from each local, regional, or national organization (not coalitions) that wishes to actively work to carry out the NCNR campaign of facilitating and organizing nonviolent resistance to the war in Iraq.  To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to mobuszewski at Verizon dot net.  Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.  

THE NOTICES LIST will include only notices of NCNR actions and related information and is open to any interested person to subscribe.  It will be moderated to maintain focus & will include periodic notices about getting involved in NCNR national organizing.  To join the NOTICES List, send an email message to mobuszewski at Verizon dot net.

4] – You can help safeguard human rights and fragile ecosystems through your purchase of HOCOFOLA Café Quetzal. Bags of ground coffee or whole beans can be ordered by mailing in an order form. Also note organic cocoa and sugar are for sale.  For more details and to download the order form, go to The coffee comes in one-pound bags.

Fill out the form and mail it with a check made out to HOCOFOLA on or before the second week of the month.  Be sure you indicate ground or beans for each type of coffee ordered.  Send it to Francine Sheppard at 5639B, Harpers Farm Rd., Columbia 21044. The coffee will arrive some time the following week and you will be notified where to pick it up. Contact Francine at 410-992-7679 or

5] – Two friends are looking to buy a house in Baltimore.  Let Max know if you have any leads—410-366-1637 or

6] – Since a civil war in 1974 the island of Cyprus has been divided in two with a United Nations patrolled border. Turkish/Muslim Cypriots are in the north. Greek/ Christian Cypriots are in the south. Animosities and prejudices run deep. Experts believe that Cyprus is at a crossroads between renewed conflict or becoming as example in the Middle East of how two such cultures can live in peace.

The Cyprus Friendship Program, based on the successful model that helped build peace in Northern Ireland, brings over a Muslim and Christian teen to stay with an U.S. host family for the month of July (or ½ month if paired with another host family). This bonding experience in a neutral environment almost always results in a strong friendship. Programming here and after their return to Cyprus turns them into peace builders who are trained in how to influence their peers.  The teens are chosen for their maturity, leadership potential, and English speaking ability. You choose the gender and age (from 15 to 17). To learn more contact Tom McCarthy at 301-774-7069 or

7] – It's time to look through all your pet photos and to enter your favorites in the Maryland SPCA 2016 Pet Calendar Contest. The 2016 Pet Calendar will be a full-color, wall calendar, released in the fall of 2015. Thirteen of the best photos will be selected for the cover and pet-of-the-month pages. All entered photos will appear in the calendar. Only 400 photos will be accepted through June 15, so enter today! One free calendar is provided for each photo entered; each entry is $50 to the Maryland SPCA.  Call 410-235-8826 or email

Photographs must be of animals, no people. High-resolution photos are preferred. Small photos, especially those taken by phones, are difficult to enlarge (photos filtered through Instagram and other social sharing apps are often low-resolution and will appear grainy in print). There is a $10 discount for each online photo entry. Be sure to use discount code SAVE10 at checkout! Go to

8] – Be at the AFL-CIO, 815 16th St. NW, WDC on Fri., May 22 from noon to 1:30 PM for a screening of an organizing discussion between DC restaurant workers, members of the EJC worker committee, and painters fighting for a union contract at a local company.  The event is co-sponsored by DC Jobs With Justice and Restaurant Opportunities Center of Washington DC.  Check out

9] – On Fri., May 22 from noon to 1 PM, join the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in a vigil urging the powers that be to abolish war and torture, to disarm all weapons, to end indefinite detention, to close Guantanamo, to establish justice for all and help create the Beloved Community! The vigil takes place at the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. NW.  Contact Art @ or at 202-360-6416.

10] – There is usually a silent peace vigil on Fridays, from 5 to 6 PM, sponsored by Homewood Friends and Stony Run Meetings, outside the Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St.  The next vigil is on May 22.  On that Friday it will remind us that Black Lives Matter as well as All Lives Matter. 

11] – There is a community meeting at 7 PM on Fri., May 22 at the Church of the Messiah, White Ave. & Harford Road.  Go to  The organizers opposes the Royal Farms gas station, but they are for a Northeast Anchor library.  Elected representatives, including Del. Cory McCray, Councilperson Curran and 2016 City Council candidates will be invited so they can inform the community of their vision for the district and how to make the North East Anchor Library in Harford Road a reality.  Contact Roop Vijayan at <

12] – On Fri., May 22 at 7:30 PM, attend a book release event—“Do Guns Make Us Free?” with Firmin de Brabander--@ Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21201.  Possibly the most emotionally charged debate taking place in the United States today centers on the Second Amendment to the Constitution and the rights of citizens to bear arms. In the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut, the gun rights movement, headed by the National Rifle Association, appears more intractable than ever in its fight against gun control laws. The core argument of Second Amendment advocates is that the proliferation of firearms is essential to maintaining freedom in America, providing private citizens with a defense against possible government tyranny, and thus safeguarding all our other rights. But is this argument valid? Do guns indeed make us free? The author is a MICA faculty member, whose new book, “Do Guns Make Us Free? Democracy and the Armed Society” is out this month from Yale University Press. At 6:30 PM, there will be a reception to celebrate the book's release. Call 410-433-3269 or go to   

13] – Pray for Peace at  7:30 PM at the Sacred Heart of Jesus,  600 S. Conkling St., Highlandtown , Baltimore ( one block south of Eastern Ave.) on Fri., May 22.  There is walled parking behind the church with a ramp to the church. Contact Charles Cloughen, Jr., Interfaith Peace Partners coordinator, at or 410-321-4545.

14] – There is an opportunity to participate in ballroom dancing, usually every Friday of the month, in the JHU ROTC Bldg. at  8 PM.  Turn south on San Martin Dr. from the intersection of Univ. Parkway and 39th St.  Drive on campus by taking the third left turn. The next dance will be May 22. Call Dave Greene at 410-599-3725.

15] –  The Annual School of Life Celebration in honor of the Patroness, Mary, Help of Christians is happening on Sat., May 23 from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM.  A mass will be performed followed by interfaith prayers, songs and chants.  At 12:30 PM enjoy a vegetarian lunch. At 1:30 PM watch a film “Proof of Heaven” with Eben Alexander.  RSVP at

16] –  Each Saturday, 11 AM – 1 PM, Chester County Peace Movement holds a peace vigil in West Chester in front of the Chester County Courthouse, High & Market Sts. Go to Email

17] – On Sat., May 23 at noon gather in Lafayette Square, H and 17th Sts. NW, WDC.  Join with millions of activists from around the world who will once again March Against Monsanto, calling for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals. Currently, marches will occur on six continents, in 52 countries, with events in over 400 cities. In the US, solidarity marches are slated to occur in 47 states. See

18] – On Sat., May 23 from 6:15 to 9:15 PM at the Impact Hub DC, 419 7th St. NW, WDC, this Ethical District Showcase starts as a networking mixer with a Panel Discussion including representatives from all across the fashion/maker and sustainability industries. Afterward, a few select ethical accessory designers and wellness companies will showcase products and services within a vendor market, and finally it ends with a runway show. Then the Elemental Fashion Show will turn up a tempestuous combination of chic garments and accessories. For every element, there is a related fashion campaign being launched along with an "underground" theme challenging ideals and promoting the importance of advocacy, social justice, and solidarity.

Proceeds from the Ethical District Showcase and Elemental Fashion Show will support EcoHermanas, a local coop of female social ecopreneurs, and artists leading international projects and educational programs in environmentalism, and the arts. Go to

19] – Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 306 W. Franklin St., Suite 102, Baltimore 21201-4661, meets on Sundays, and generally there is a speaker and discussion from 10:30 AM to noon. On May 24, “Remembrance Sunday” will be hosted by Karen Elliott and Hugh Taft-Morales.  BES members and guests will have a chance to celebrate people who have died but left us with gifts that enrich our lives. Whether the person was a family member or a historical figure, we owe so much to those no longer with us. We miss their living presence but take solace in the work, ideals, friendship, and love they offered to the world. In our quest to live more meaningful and ethical lives, we can turn to those who have gone before for inspiration, guidance and strength. During this platform program, members and guests will be offered a chance to honor someone important in their lives. It can be in honor of a relative, friend, mentor, or historical figure. Call 410-581-2322 or email

20] – Jews United for Justice has started a campaign to win strong DC investments in affordable housing and to strengthen laws that protect tenants. It’s important to the Jewish community that DC is diverse and affordable. Join JUJ at Moishe House, 1452 Harvard St. NW, WDC on Sun., May 24 from 1 to 3 PM on Shavuot to eat, learn some traditional and modern Torah on housing, and get the details on how to preserve affordable housing in the city! Go to

21] – Get over to the Baltimore Solidarity Center, 2011 N. Charles St. on Sun., May 24 from 5 to 7 PM for a discussion hosted by Workers World Party & FIST; "Why we call the Baltimore Uprising a rebellion, not a riot." The discussion will be led by Lamont Lilly, an anti-police community organizer from Durham, North Carolina and a contributing writer to the Workers World newspaper. Call 443-221-3775 or visit

22] -- There is a weekly Pentagon Peace Vigil from 7 to 8 AM on Mondays, since 1987, outside the Pentagon Metro stop.  The next vigil is Mon., May 26, and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker.  Email or call 202-882-9649.  The vigil will be outside the Pentagon's south Metro entrance and in the designated "protest zone" behind bicycle fences across from the entrance to the Metro.  By Metro, take Yellow Line and get out at the "Pentagon" stop. Do not go to the Pentagon City stop! Go up south escalators and turn left and walk across to protest area. By car from D.C. area, take 395 South and get off at Exit 8A-Pentagon South Parking. Take slight right onto S. Rotary Rd. at end of ramp and right on S. Fern St. Then take left onto Army Navy Dr. You can "pay to park" on Army Navy Dr.,  and there is meter parking one block on right on Eads St. Payment for both of these spots begin at 8 AM.  No cameras are allowed on Pentagon grounds. Restrooms are located inside Marriott Residence Inn on corner of S. Fern and Army Navy Dr. 

23] – The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday through Friday from 10 AM to noon on WEAA 88.9 FM, The Voice of the Community, or online at   The call-in number is 410-319-8888, and comments can also be sent by email to All shows are also available as podcasts at  
24] – There's an O's-Astros Memorial Day, Mon., May 25, game at 1:35 PM.  Also it is a game with an O's cookout apron giveaway.  For $13, you can get great seats! Tickets can be delivered to Baltimore area residents, or one can meet Lou Curran at the Babe Ruth statue or pick up tickets at Will Call.  Call or text 410-499-8899!    Net proceeds will be shared among MdSPCA, Md Public Interest Law Program (MPILP), University of Baltimore Students in Public Interest Law (UBSPI), Maryland Legal Aid, Public Justice Center, Md. Criminal Defense Attorneys' Assn. (MCDAA), NACDL's Foundation for Criminal Justice, Association for the Public Defender of Maryland (APDM), and the Norm Uziak memorial children's scholarship fund.

25] –Go to 1211 Delafield Pl. NW, WDC on Mon., May 25 at 6:30 PM and join CISPES in welcoming the dedicated 2015 Solidarity Cyclers back from their 3-day excursion! A group of cyclists are undertaking a Herculean 180-mile ride through Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland over Labor Day weekend, and they aren’t just doing it for fun and exercise (though we imagine they will get lots of both). They are riding to raise funds so CISPES can continue to support the struggle of Salvadoran communities and workers against US-funded “development” projects that threaten human rights and environmental health. Bring food, and drinks will be supplied. Let know what you’re bringing or ask her for suggestions. See

26] – The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore usually meets on Mondays at 7:30 PM, and the meetings take place at Max’s residence.  However, it must be determined when to do the next meeting.  Should May 25, Memorial Day, be skipped.  If yes, the next meeting would be June 1. The proposed agenda will include anti-drone activities, Freddie Gray, John Sarbanes/Ben Cardin, JHU graduation peace diplomas, annual July 4 visit to the NSA and the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration. Call 410-366-1637 or email mobuszewski at

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Does Romero's beatification signal where Francis is leading the church?

National Catholic Reporter

Published on National Catholic Reporter (

Does Romero's beatification signal where Francis is leading the church?

Pat Marrin  |  May. 19, 2015


The beatification of martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero on May 23 will acknowledge what has been celebrated throughout Latin America since his assassination at the altar on March 24, 1980, in El Salvador. Romero gave his life as a good shepherd for his flock in a time of persecution. He modeled what a bishop looks like in a church committed to justice for the poor. Romero's death and the baptism of blood endured by the people of El Salvador during its 12-year civil war (1980-92) inevitably have larger implications for the universal church, and for us in North America.

Pope Francis' determination to advance Romero's cause for sainthood recognizes this witness. It also reveals the influence Romero is having on Francis' own goal as pope -- to move the global church closer to the kind of church that emerged in El Salvador under Romero, whose story is a road map to such a church.

This article explores some of its characteristics: a church faithful to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, fully engaged in the modern world and its economic and social struggles; a pastoral church reaching out to the suffering and neglected people at the margins of society; a more vocal and prophetic church challenging global systems that oppress and exploit the poor; and an evangelizing church that practices what it preaches and lives what it prays.

A Vatican II church

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, chief advocate for Romero's cause, called him "a martyr of the church of the Second Vatican Council." Romero's choice to "live with the poor and defend them from oppression" flowed from the documents of Vatican II and of the 1968 meeting of Latin American bishops at Medellin, Colombia.

It was at Medellin that the phrase "God's option for the poor" first entered official church language, a major shift at a time when the Catholic hierarchy in Latin America was seen by many as aligned with the rich and powerful.

At the heart of the debate over the nature of the church that ensued during Vatican II was whether God's entry into human history in Jesus was only for eternal life beyond this world, or if salvation also included God's presence in the struggle for social justice, human development and freedom from poverty and oppression in this world.

The "Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World" gave the answer in its opening lines: "The joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joy and hope, grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well" (Gaudium et Spes 1).

For Romero, the Incarnation meant that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus are a present reality, the engine of history, active in each generation of the church. As the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his flock, so Romero chose to die with his beloved people rather than flee to safety or compromise the Gospel to accommodate the forces attacking the church. After Medellin, theology had to grapple with history.

A church in history

As popular liberation movements flared up in the developing world in the post-colonial period of the 1960s, the United States saw communist infiltration everywhere and interjected its Cold War interests around the world. This set up the context in which complex geopolitical and economic forces collided in Latin America with tragic consequences. El Salvador came under this template in the 1970s. As the influence of Vatican II led to greater church advocacy for human rights for the poor, entrenched regimes became more repressive, appealing to the United States for support and accusing opponents, even Catholic priests and nuns, of spreading Marxist ideology.

Romero was chosen as archbishop of San Salvador in 1977, because he was regarded as a safe, conservative spiritual leader who would not challenge the status quo in the small Central American nation run by a few wealthy families backed by the military.

But within weeks of Romero's installation, one of his rural pastors and a close friend, Jesuit Fr. Rutilio Grande, was murdered by government soldiers for supporting the poor campesinos trying to organize for land reform and better wages. Romero emerged from the crisis as a devoted pastor and champion of the people. Six priests and scores of pastoral workers, catechists and faithful church members were killed in the months ahead. When asked by a reporter what he did as archbishop, Romero answered, "I pick up bodies."

He immersed himself in the plight of the victims and their families. He became the voice of the voiceless, using his Sunday homilies, broadcast by radio [1] throughout the country and the region, to tell their stories and to demand that the government account for the hundreds of people arrested, tortured and disappeared as tensions worsened toward civil war.

Romero was accused by critics inside and outside the church of "meddling in politics" and subverting the spiritual mission of the church, which they said was to save souls. Far from abandoning church teaching, Romero was applying the documents of Vatican II and Medellin, and the papal encyclicals of Pope Paul VI to the reality of the people of God in El Salvador.

A church of the poor

Once Romero had decided to challenge El Salvador's wealthy minority backed by the army, his fate was joined to the poor majority. His term as archbishop (1977-1980) became a three-year martyrdom of vilification and constant death threats. Romero and the martyred church of El Salvador revealed the cost of church advocacy for the poor.

The historic complicity of the church with wealth and power was one of the scandals of the pre-Vatican II church. It continues to be a challenge, as evidenced in recent efforts to cleanse the Vatican bank of secret accounts and money laundering. The question is whether the church's silence can still be bought with philanthropy for charitable works from wealth created in unjust ways that exploit the poor and ignore the common good.

Pope Francis has insisted that real solidarity with the poor in their struggle to participate in shaping the future for the entire human family is essential to the church's mission of evangelization.

A pastoral church

Such a church will not happen without good leaders. Romero modeled Pope Francis' image of the pastor "who smells like the sheep," immersing himself in the lives of workers, students and families, especially children and the elderly. Wherever he went, they surrounded and embraced him. As personal attacks from the highest levels of power increased, even emanating from the Vatican, Romero found solace and strength in the people. He discovered in them what John Henry Newman had called the "third magisterium" -- the experience of the laity -- which forms the sensus fidelium on which church doctrine is ultimately grounded.

Pope Francis knows from his own experience in Argentina that this is where bishops encounter the church of the poor and receive their credentials as servant leaders.

A collegial church

Vatican II was synonymous with dialogue toward consensus. The council's four sessions helped the bishops recover their role as apostolic partners with the pope. The process of decision-making is as important as the outcome. Full, active participation by all in discerning and owning pastoral policy is what forms us as church.

Romero led by consensus, consulting his clergy and pastoral staff of religious and laity on his homilies and the four pastoral letters he wrote as archbishop, which addressed every aspect of the life of the church in crisis. He was a "martyr of meetings," something everyone understands, convening and attending endless meetings to listen exhaustively to every point of view before decisions were made.

Conscious of the scrutiny he was under, Romero recorded everything, even his personal reflections, into a tape recorder each day. He left a paper trail that protected him from revisionist critics who called him a Marxist, a dupe to Jesuit influence and a heretic. His meticulous records show how engaged he was with his local church.

Romero valued consultation over top-down, closed-door decision making because he saw how it led to better pastoral solutions. Pope Francis affirmed this same principle when he opened the 2014 Synod of Bishops on the family to broad input from the laity and encouraged debate among the participants. He has also affirmed regional conferences of bishops and subsidiarity at all levels.

A collegial church is messier and riskier than one that prizes continuity over adaptation and enforcement over discernment. Pope Francis wants a living church open to God's surprises. This is what enables us to resolve the apparent paradoxes of joining mercy to justice, love to truth, ideals to reality.

Authentic worship

Romero understood the power of public worship to reveal the deeper mysteries of God. Especially at Sunday Masses, he reminded the faithful of their baptismal identity and communion as members of Christ's body. His homilies made the Scriptures and the liturgical seasons come alive in the experience of the people, uniting their struggles and sufferings with those of Jesus. Even in the most violent times, he reassured them that they were never alone, because God was accompanying them in their pilgrimage through history.

Romero's final days mirrored Lent and the approach to Holy Week. His last homily, delivered the week before Palm Sunday, the day of his funeral, was on the Gospel from John 12:24-26: "Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains alone. But if it dies it produces much fruit." Moments later, in full vestments, standing at the altar in a small hospital chapel, he was shot and killed by a sniper. The meaning of the Mass was graphically revealed, and the Word of God he had just preached "came true in our hearing" (Luke 4:21).

Romero's death summarized his priesthood and joined him to the priesthood of thousands of martyrs who had already died and were to die in the years that followed his murder.

Worship that is ritually correct but empty of the realities it symbolizes makes religion irrelevant. Only when liturgy does justice and connects the life of Jesus to our lives is it effective as Christian formation. Pope Francis seeks to re-evangelize the church today by making the same connections. He is scripting his papacy from the Lectionary readings he preaches on at his daily Masses. By word and example, the life the church is being proclaimed as the life, death and resurrection of Jesus unfolding within the liturgical year and within history.

Call to conversion

An uncomfortable but inescapable history lesson awaits North American Catholics who want to know about this newest saint and martyr. Romero's beatification will attract global attention to El Salvador and to the questions, "Who was Oscar Romero, who killed him, and why?"

Responsibility for crimes committed in El Salvador continues to elude full adjudication. Yet it is hard to deny that among the many factors that created political and economic instability in the region was the long history of U.S. involvement, including the overthrow of governments not in step with our national interests, and the support of corrupt, repressive governments that served our Cold War agendas.

Within this framework, the United States funded the war in El Salvador that killed over 75,000 people, most of them civilians. Salvadoran soldiers trained and advised by the U.S. military, using U.S. weapons, planes and helicopters, massacred thousands of defenseless people in El Mozote and the Sumpul River. Elite troops who murdered six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter on the campus of the University in San Salvador in 1989 had just returned from training at the U.S. School of the Americas.

The road to sainthood for Romero is a call for us to be aware of the role our country is playing in the world. Romero's message of peace and reconciliation, justice and mercy is meant for us. Even more, Romero now points the way forward in the direction that Pope Francis has said he wants to lead the entire church.

What role American Catholics and our elected government play going forward will depend on whether we experience a profound transformation of mind and heart. Can we question economic systems we benefit from that are built on the backs of the global poor? Our own survival is at stake in an increasingly unstable world. The cost of change is our conversion to greater solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world. A different world is possible and necessary.

It will take a committed global church to alter the direction of history toward a more just, sustainable future. Romero and the people of El Salvador gave their lives for such a church, and Pope Francis seems determined to invite all of us to be part of it.

Blessed Oscar Romero and the Martyrs of El Salvador, pray for us.

Pat Marrin is editor of Celebration [2], NCR's sister publication. This article first appeared in the July 2015 issue of Celebration.

(Julie Lonneman)


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs