A Cross of Human Bodies: How 71 Catholics Were Arrested for Protesting Immigrant Child Detention

aerial_in_rotunda_v.2

Image via Kayla Lattimore

By Rose Marie Berger, re-shared from Sojourners

I spent five hours as a guest of the U.S. Capitol Police last week. It was hot, really hot. And those plastic handcuffs leave bruises.

I was one of 71 Catholics arrested by the U.S. Capitol Police in the rotunda of the Russell Senate building in Washington, D.C., for “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding” while praying the rosary. My prayer was — and is — to end the warehousing of immigrant children in cages — 63,624 of whom have been apprehended by border patrol at the southwestern border between October 2018 and June 2019 and seven of whom have died after being in federal custody since September. More than a dozen Catholic orders and organizations sponsored the event. Seven Catholic bishops sent letters of support. Continue reading

Developers Are Trying to Build a Pipeline Through a Watershed. These Nuns Built a Chapel in Its Path.

unnamedBy Rose Marie BergerHeidi Thompson. Re-posted from sojo.net.

LANCASTER, Penn. — More than 500 people gathered in a hot and dusty Pennsylvania cornfield yesterday afternoon to join the Catholic sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ for the dedication of a new outdoor chapel, built on land about to be seized from them by a corporate developer planning to build a natural gas pipeline.

The chapel is an outdoor arbor built by a local craftsman, Jon Telesco, and contains an altar surrounded by wooden benches. (The tradition of building “booths” in the wilderness to mark prophetic presence has a long history in biblical tradition, including the “brush arbors” used by enslaved African Americans for worship.) The sisters dedicated the sacred space on Sunday by reading from their community’s land ethic adopted in 2005. Continue reading

We don’t have to soldier on; grief is part of Christian peacemaking.

Sarah MJ and Jonathan Brenneman

MJ Sharp in the middle with Sarah Thompson and CPTer Jonathan Brenneman

By Sarah Thompson and Tim Nafziger, Written for Sojourners Magazine.

3 July 2017, CPT International Reflection

Michael J. Sharp was a close friend. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) he was a Mennonite witness, scholar and peacemaker. Over five years, first with Mennonite Central Committee and then with the United Nations (UN) group of experts, he cultivated relationships of trust and respect with people who were experiencing dreadful violence, exploitation because of government corruption, and the oppressive impact of generations of corporate-colonial resource extraction. His teamwork there included demobilizing armed groups, investigating human rights abuses, and reporting to the UN Security Council towards their goal of creating the conditions for peace in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Continue reading

Welcome to the Resistance. Here’s Your Survival Guide.

rose.jpgBy Rose Marie Berger. Reposted from Sojo.net

Even during a constitutional crisis and a white nationalist assault on the executive branch of federal government, the kids still need to get to school, bills must be paid, homework done, groceries bought, clothes washed, church attended.

In addition to your regular job, you are now a full-time grassroots organizer and obstructionist, showing up for protests and rallies. You’re also trying to implement a full-time legislative strategy, calling representatives, signing petitions, encouraging others to do the same. And for some, your full-time government job or journalism job or advocacy job now requires a renewed understanding of the ethics of public service, while also developing strategies to implement or refuse unclear and possibly illegal directives.

How do you keep from flaming out? Continue reading

A Letter to Judge Wynn: Meditations on Breaking the Law

rose-berger

U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Dec. 7, 1995. Kneeling first row (left to right): Jim Wallis, Henri Nouwen, Eugene F. Rivers III, Graylan Hagler, Rose Marie Berger.

By Rose Marie Berger

If we could split ourselves
like a crack in the cement
(children’s names written when wet
a heart a flower a handprint)
like that mystical bread
(calloused hands holding up hunger
and night sweats and the one we once loved)

then we would say in our first voice: Law
and Order out of Chaos
we would listen and obey
teach our children hands up, look both ways
(pack them bubble-wrap safe
for shipping from this world to the next) Continue reading

The Catholicism That Made Pope Francis Possible

dan.jpgBy Rose Marie Berger Re-posted from sojo.net.

“Violence only exists with the help of the lie!

With these words Fr. Daniel Berrigan and I sealed our fate. It was the summer 1995. August sixth. We’d been invited read at the Washington National Cathedral’s service commemorating the 50th year since the U.S. used atomic weapons on civilians in Japan.

The Cathedral was full. Western light filled the rose window. I was supposed to read an adaptation from Thomas Merton’s scathing indictment of U.S. militarism, the poem “Original Child Bomb,” and the Scriptures for the Feast of the Transfiguration (“Master, it is good that we are here”), also recognized on that day. Dan was slated to read from Soviet-resister Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Nobel Prize lecture and from Maximillian Kolbe, the Polish priest who exchanged his life for a fellow prisoner in Auschwitz. Continue reading

Mourning a Mentor & Friend

dan 3.jpgBy Joyce Hollyday

Daniel Berrigan: May 9, 1921 – April 30, 2016

I was a young associate editor at Sojourners magazine when Dan Berrigan sent a poem for a special issue sometime in the early 1980s. Accompanying it was a note that read “Here’s the poem—my first on a word processor. Seems a bit jumbled. Might have got a food processor by mistake.” He was not yet a friend, so I wasn’t familiar with the mischievous grin that likely spread across his face as he wrote it. Continue reading