Making a Difference

Committed to a negotiated settlement over the real possibility of armed conflict, six world powers and Iran have decided to give peace a chance.

With much patience, persistence and hard work for over 20 months, the P5+1 Group (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany) have reached a nuclear agreement with Iran that is nothing short of historic.

According to the respected Arms Control...

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July 06, 2015
Remembering another great encyclical!
By Tony Magliano

While Pope Francis’ new encyclical Laudato, Si’ is enjoying wide publicity, few people are aware this year marks the 20th anniversary of another powerfully prophetic social justice and peace encyclical: Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life”).     

Trying to awaken the conscience of the world to reject the “culture of death” which creates “structures of sin,” Pope St. John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae, “How can we fail to consider the violence against life done to millions of...

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June 22, 2015
The green encyclical has arrived!
By Tony Magliano

It’s courageous, it’s prophetic, it’s challenging, it’s holistic, it’s wonderful: That’s what I think of Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.

Quoting his patron saint, Francis of Assisi – who is also the patron saint of ecology – Pope Francis begins his papal letter with a beautiful verse from the saint’s Canticle of the Creatures:  “ ‘Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who...

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June 09, 2015
The hidden poor of Appalachia
By Tony Magliano

Back in the mid-1980s, I was working as a director of religious education at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in western Maryland.

That part of Maryland, like parts of 12 other U.S. eastern states – from Alabama to New York, and all of West Virginia – is part of the Appalachian Mountain region.

In those days, as I got to know the beauty of Appalachia, and some of the simple, friendly and caring mountain folks, I discovered the grinding poverty many of them were experiencing. Hidden largely...

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

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...

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May 05, 2015
The courageous witness of Blessed Oscar Romero
By Tony Magliano

Who would have predicted it?

Who would have imagined on Feb. 23, 1977, the day of his appointment as Archbishop of San Salvador, that the highly conservative Oscar Romero – who was suspicious of the Catholic Church’s involvement in political activism – would die a martyr’s death for courageously defending his people against the murderous assaults of the Salvadoran government, military and right-wing death squads?

Romero’s appointment was welcomed by the government, but many...

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April 28, 2015
'Peace be with you'
By Tony Magliano

“On the evening of that first day of the week,” according to the Gospel of John, “when the doors were locked, where the disciples were … Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ ”
To his closest followers, who feared that they too would suffer crucifixion, Jesus stood in their midst on Easter Sunday, and shared with them his peace.  

But the peace Jesus offered them, and us, is greatly different from the “peace” offered by the world....

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According to the New York Times, during a White House luncheon in 1954 Winston Churchill said, “To jaw-jaw [talk-talk] always is better than to war-war.”

While clearly not a pacifist, the United Kingdom’s World War II prime minister had seen upfront the absolute horror of war, and became convinced that tirelessly striving to resolve disputes through respectful dialogue was always preferable to war.    

Yes indeed, “to jaw-jaw always is better than to war-war.” But then why is...

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March 31, 2015
Unholy political positions in the Holy Land
By Tony Magliano

As the minds and hearts of Christians throughout the world focus on the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, we naturally think of the Holy Land.

Throughout much of history, in the land where the world’s savior taught human beings to love one another as he loved us, instead of experiencing love, Palestinians have often experienced the great suffering of injustice, war and foreign occupation.

And today the story is sadly much the same.

In the Occupied Territories of the...

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March 17, 2015
The way of the cross
By Tony Magliano

Writing a column on social justice and peace offers me plenty of timely issues to choose from. And I always truly sense from God the exact issue he desires that I write on.

I’m not claiming here any special revelation. God’s active, guiding presence is available to everyone. All we need to do is deeply trust, quietly listen and patiently wait.

Now in my case, God knows I’m on a deadline. And almost always his Spirit graciously gives me plenty of lead time. But regarding this...

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