There are many campaigns and activities that Parishes around the Diocese promote and support. These include:
Peace Sunday is in January each year and focuses on the Pope’s annual Peace message. Parishes have used resources provided by Pax Christi to promote and highlight Peace Sunday raising awareness of the need for peace worldwide. It is also a good opportunity to raise funds for Pax Christi to support the wonderful work they do.
Jubilee Debt Campaign
Many Parishioners from around the Diocese attended the Drop the Debt event in Birmingham in 1998 – joining thousands of others from all over the country to ask world leaders to drop the debt of the poorest most indebted countries.
Despite some debts being cancelled and many lives transformed there are still countries who are suffering under the burden of debt so this is an ongoing campaign for many.
There has been some good news in relation to this topic, with a law being passed to protect the poorest countries in the world from profiteering by so-called "vulture funds". The bill became law on 8th April 2010 after passing in the House of Lords during the ‘wash-up’ at the end of the Parliamentary, session thanks to ongoing campaigning and some determined MP’s.
The Debt Relief (Developing Countries) bill restricts the ability of Vulture Funds to sue some of the world’s poorest countries for full repayment of debts that they have bought up cheaply. However a "sunset clause" was introduced which means that the Act may drop off the statute book after 12 months. Campaigners need to ensure that they continue to put the pressure on our politicians. This is still something that we need to continue to campaign on. Please keep an eye on the Jubilee Debt website for information on how to keep campaigning on this issue. www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk
Some Parishes have been looking at and campaigning on environmental issues, highlighting how we as Catholics should be involved. This has taken the form of a variety of activities from raising awareness of environmental issues, and promoting them through liturgy to practical action such as carrying out an environmental audit of the Parish. The Christian Ecology Link and Eco-Congregation websites have a range of ideas that Parishes can take on board.
CAFOD’s Climate Justice campaign highlights the fact that Climate Change not only threatens the environment we live in but also the lives and livelihoods of our neighbours around the world, especially the world’s poorest communities.
2009 was a crucial year in the international effort to address climate change, culminating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The overall goal for the Conference was to establish an ambitious global climate agreement for the period from 2012 when the first commitment period under the Kyoto protocol expires.
Parishioners were involved in promoting and supporting the Climate Justice campaign. Calling on the Prime Minister to help protect our world and its people, parishioners sent postcards asking the Prime Minister to put the needs of poor communities at the heart of a fair and binding agreement at the United Nations conference.
On 5th December over 40,000 came together in London to demand action on climate change at The Wave, the biggest ever UK climate change march before the UN Conference on Climate Change.
The morning began with an ecumenical service at the Central Methodist Hall in Westminster. The hall was packed and it was very moving to see so many come together to pray for Climate Justice. People had come from all over the country and as far a field as Newcastle, Cornwall and Lancashire. There were addresses by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Rowan Williams. The address from Archbishop Vincent was particularly inspiring; he spoke of why our religious faith is so important in tackling the problems that we face because our faith is directly concerned with how we live each day, how we put truth and belief into practice - “In that daily living you and I know that there is much to do before we achieve sound and sustainable relationships between the peoples of this earth and with the environment of the created world. This is why we are right to repeat again and again the straightforward appeal: ‘Live simply!’; ‘Live simply so that others may simply live and so that our planet may be cared for and not exploited!’ “
There were also moving testimonies from speakers from Bangladesh and Burkina Faso.
Some started the march from Grosvenor Square and walked a 3 mile route passing the Houses of Parliament. Others joined the march from Westminster Central Hall with everyone calling for a Fair and Binding agreement in Copenhagen.
Following the disappointing outcome of UN Climate talks there is an ongoing need to campaign for a Climate Justice.
Christan Campaign for Nuckear Disarmament
Christian CND is a specialist section of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament working with the Christian Churches. Representatives from the Diocese campaign against the use of Nuclear arms and among their activities recently went to the 50th anniversary at Aldermaston.
NJPN Justice and Peace Calendar – link to www.justice-and-peace.org.uk