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  • Letter of Solidarity to Cardinal Sfeir on Murder of Lebanon's Former Prime Minister
  • Letter to President Clinton Concerning Lebanon and The Peace Process
  • Lebanon After the Israeli Withdrawal
  • Address of His Eminence Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir Beirut, Lebanon
  • Who are Christians in the Middle East?


    International Justice and Peace


    Happening Now

    Background Information
    Human Rights in the Cradle of Christianity
    Nuclear Arms
    Poverty-focused International Assistance Programs Supported by USCCB and CRS
    Religious Persecution and Discrimination
    Root Causes of Migration to the U.S.
    South Sudan
    Syria and Iraq
    Sustainable Development Goals

    Letter to Secretary of State on Peace Regarding Continued Work for Peace in the Middle East
    In a January 20, 2016 letter to Secretary Kerry, Bishop Oscar Cantú writes to urge the United States to build on the achievement of the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by the U.S. and its P5+1 partners with Iran and to pursue peace in Syria and to Strengthen political stability in Lebanon and the regions.

    Letter to National Security Advisor Rice Regarding Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    Bishop Oscar Cantú writes to Ambassador Susan Rice, National Security Advisor, on  January 20, 2016 to bring attention to the urgency of resolving the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Statement of the Co-ordination of Bishops' Conferences in Support of the Church in the Holy Land
    In a January 14, 2016 statement, entitled You Are Not Forgotten, the Coordination of Bishops' Conferences in support of the Church in the Holy Land seek to reassure all in the Holy Land who seek peace that they are not forgotten.

    Joint Letter to Secretary of State Offering Support of Efforts to Encourage Peace in Burundi
    Bishop Oscar Cantú and Dr. Carolyn Woo write to thank Secretary of State Kerry for his attention to and concern about the growing unrest in Burundi.  They offered support for efforts to encourage peace and to share on-the-ground insights.

    Joint Letters to Congress and U.S. Department of State on Climate Change and Reduction of Carbon Emissions

    In advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, Archbishop Wenski, Bishop Cantú, Sr. Donna Markham, and Dr. Carolyn Woo write to Congress and to the U.S. Department of State to urge U.S leadership in addressing climate change by supporting global commitments to reduce carbon emissions.

    Letter to the Senate Requesting Support for Emergency Appropriations for Middle East Refugees
    Bishop Cantú and Dr. Carolyn Woo write to the Senate to request support for the Middle East Refugee Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2016 to address the crisis in Syria and its spillover.

    Support Trade and Travel with Cuba
    Urge Congress to lift the Cuban embargo and reject attempts to re-impose barriers to U.S./Cuban engagement. Take Action Now!

    Action Alert
    Urge Congress to press Israel to stop confiscation of Christian lands in Cremisan Valley Letter to Ambassador Regarding Christian Schools in Israel

    USCCB Shows Concern for Christian Schools in Israel

    Bishop Cantú writes to Ambassador Dermer to express concern about the challenges confronting Christian schools in Israel.

    The Pope and the Bomb: New Nuclear Dangers and Moral Dilmmas
    Bishop Oscar Cantú discusses Catholic Social teaching on nuclear weapons  at an event co-sponsored by the University of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.  Please view the event by visiting the Catholic Peace Building Network website.

    "The New Evangelization calls on every baptized person to be a peacemaker."

    - Pope Francis

    Mission & Identity

    The Office of International Justice & Peace is part of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development.

    The Office assists the bishops in advancing the social mission of the Church, especially in its advocacy for policies that advance justice, defend human dignity and protect poor and vulnerable communities around the world.


    IJP: Working on the Margins

    Congressional Testimony On Challenges to Religious Freedom in the Americas
    Testimony is submitted to the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere to raise awareness of the challenges to religious freedom in Latin American countries.

    Representatives Fortenberry and Eshoo Commended for Sponsoring Genocide Resolution
    In a letter regarding H.Con.Res. 75, the "Genocide" resolution, Bishop Cantú commends a resolution that heightens awareness of, and draws much needed attention to, the ongoing atrocities being committed against Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in many parts of the Middle East, but especially in Iraq and Syria

    USCCB and Catholic Relief Services Urge Support of the Compromise Peace Agreement in South Sudan
    In a joint letter to Secretary of State Kerry and National Security Advisor Rice, Bishop Oscar Cantú and Dr. Carolyn Woo urge the U.S. government to take measures to support and incentivize the implementation of the Compromise Peace Agreement between the opposing parties in the conflict in South Sudan.

    USCCB Urges Congress to Reauthorize the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
    Bishop Oscar Cantú writes to Congress in support of USCIRF, noting that the Catholic Church views protection of religious freedom as a "cornerstone of the structure of human rights" since it is rooted in the dignity of the human person.

    Letter to Secretary Kerry Protesting Israeli Confiscation of Cremisan Valley Land
    Bishop Oscar Cantú writes to Secretary of State Kerry regarding the injustice being perpetrated in the Cremisan Valley near Bethlehem in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as Israel works to build a separation wall.

    Mass at Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki Japan on the 70th Anniversary of the Bombings
    Bishop Oscar Cantú delivers a homily for a mass on peace and a world without nuclear weapons marking the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.

    Bishop Cantú Welcomes P5+1/Iran Nuclear Agreement
    In a letter to Congress
    , Bishop Cantu welcomes the momentous agreement reached between the United States and its P5+1 partners with Iran.  He calls the agreement a significant achievement which aims to curb Iran’s development of nuclear weapons while allowing them to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. 

    Support for Amendment to the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act Prohibiting the  Use of Torture
    In a letter to the Senate, Bishop Oscar Cantú expressed support for an amendment offered by Senators John McCain and Dianne Fienstein that would prohibit all U.S. government agencies and their agents from using torture as an interrogation technique.

    Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Review Conference
    Writing to Secretary of State Kerry
    , Bishop Cantú urges that the United States do its part to ensure the success of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Review Conference.

    The Use of Armed Drones in Targeted Killings
    In a letter to National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Bishop Cantú offers for consideration a policy framework on the use of armed drones in targeted killings.

    End Extreme Poverty Now:  Working Together with the Poor
    A conference was held on April 28, 2015 at The Catholic University of America's Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies featuring keynotes by two leading poverty experts: His Excellency Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Mr. Alex Thier, Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning, U.S. Agency for International Development. 

    International Religious Freedom Act
    Bishop Oscar Cantú urges the U.S. House of Representatives to support and pass the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2015 as an important first step in improving the ability of our nation to advance religious freedom globally.

    Nuclear Disarmament
    Bishop Oscar Cantú discusses the abolition of nuclear weapons at the Nuclear Weapons and the Moral Compass event at the United Nations.

    Bishop Oscar Cantú writes to Secretary of State Kerry  and to Congress welcoming the adoption of a framework by the Unites States and its P5+1 partners with Iran over Iran's nuclear program.

    In a letter to congressional leaders, Bishop Cantú urges support for the United States and its P5 + 1 partners in their ongoing dialogue with Iran over its nuclear program.

    Extractives Industry
    Bishop CantúI writes to express solidarity with and support for the Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano (CELAM) in its petition for a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the human rights implications of extractive industries in that region.

    Protecting the Poor and Vulnerable in the FY 2016 Appropriations Bill
    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA, in a joint letter to the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, urge Congress to resist cuts to both domestic and international food aid, as well as conservation and rural development programs.

    In written testimony, Bishop Cantú urges the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs to preserve funding for international poverty-reducing humanitarian and development accounts that address factors that cause or exacerbate poverty such as health, infrastructure, armed conflict, and forced migration.

    Religious Persecution
    Before the Senate Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs of the Committee on Appropriations, Bishop Oscar Cantú testifies on religious persecution with a focus on the Middle East.

    Funding for International Poverty-reducing Humanitarian and Development Assistance
    In a letter to the Senate and House Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Bishop Oscar Cantú and Dr. Carolyn Woo request robust funding to address global poverty.

    Federal Budget Resolution for FY2016
    In a letter to Congress, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski and Bishop Oscar Cantú address the moral and human dimensions of the federal budget and urge protection of programs that serve poor and vulnerable people.

    In Response to the Murder of Coptic Christians in Libya
    Archbishop Kurtz and Bishop Cantú write to President Obama and to Congressional Leaders Concerning Religious Freedom Violations in the Middle East and the Authorization for Use of Military Force currently pending before Congress.

    National Interreligious Leadership Inititiative for Peace in the Middle East Writes to President Obama
    In a letter to President Obama, religious leaders urge the United States, in coordination with the Quartet, to present a framework for negotiating a two-state peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.

    In an interview with Vatican Radio, Bishop Oscar Cantú states that intelligence-gathering techniques outlined in the Senate report violate basic moral principals.

    Bishop Cantú writes to Congress Regarding the Cremisan Valley
    In a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Bishop Oscar Cantú urges them to intervene with the Israeli government regarding their ongoing efforts to construct a barrier in the Cremisan Valley.

    Statement of the Co-ordination of Bishops' Conferences in Support of the Church in the Holy Land
    Bishop Oscar Cantú joined the annual meeting of bishops in the Holy Land and participated in the drafting of a statement calling for human dignity as the basis of peace.

    Bishop Oscar Cantú writes to congressional leaders of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to express support for the changes to the U.S. trade and travel embargo against Cuba announced by President Obama.

    News Release:  Bishop Cantú welcomes release of Alan Gross and change to U.S. policy toward Cuba.

    Bishop Oscar Cantú writes to the Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure regarding the expedited transfer of cleared detainees.

    Letter to Ambassador of Israel to the United States
    Bishop Cantú writes to Ambassador Dermer to offer condolences and to condemn the terrible murders and malicious injuring of worshippers at prayer in the synagogue in Har Nof, Jerusalem. He writes that innocent civilians should never be the direct targets of violent attacks and houses of worship ought to be respected as sacred sanctuaries.

    Ebola Outbreak
    Bishop Pates and Dr. Carolyn Woo, President of Catholic Relief Services, write to congressional leaders asking them to support proven efforts and responses in the fight against ebola.

    In a letter to the National Security Council, Bishop Pates and Dr. Carolyn Woo, President of Catholic Relief Services have welcomed the expanded response to the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

    U.S. Bishops Affirm Power of Prayer for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Following Pilgrimage to Holy LandNews Release
    U.S. bishops affirmed that prayer is powerful, peace is possible and that support for a two-state solution is an essential dimension of pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace in a September 22 communique, following a Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace in the Holy Land. 

    Nuclear Weapons
    In a letter to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Bishop Pates expresses concern over the expanding U.S. budget for nuclear weapons.

    Letter to U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Regarding Pastoral Message of Hope from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of South Sudan
    Bishop Richard E. Pates, October 22, 2014

    Letter to Ambassador Feingold Regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Bishop Richard E. Pates, October 16, 2014

    Central America
    Returning from a solidarity trip to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Bishop Pates recently wrote to Secretary Kerry to emphasize the need for integral development in the region over militarized assistance. He also raised concerns over trade policy and the extractive mining in those countries.

    Crisis in Gaza and Israel
    Statement Issued by National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI)
    On the Ceasefire in Gaza and the Need to Renew Negotiations for a Two-State  Peace Agreement, August 14, 2014

    International Assistance
    Letter to Senate on Cargo Preference Regarding U.S. Flagged Ships
    Bishop Richard E. Pates and Dr. Carolyn Woo, May 28, 2014

    Shia religious leaders in Iran and bishops of the USCCB have signed a joint declaration affirming their commitment to peaceful coexistence and condemning the use of indiscriminate weapons.

    In a letter to Congressional leadership, Bishop Pates encourages Congress to pursue the path of engagement and negotiation with Iran in order to reach a resolution to concerns over Iran's nuclear program.

    Crisis in Iraq
    Archbishop Kurtz has written to President Obama: Plight of Religious Minorities in Iraq Requires Increased Support

    Bishop Pates has written National Security Advisor Rice to raise the urge concerns of the bishops of Iraq and urge humanitarian assistance for Christians and other religious minorities there.Landmines

    In a letter to National Security Advisor Rice, Bishop Pates urges the Administration to exercise leadership by signing and ratifying the Mine Ban Treaty. The Church calls for a ban on landmines, which cause indiscriminate, irreparable and long-term harm.

    Conflict in South Sudan
    The USCCB is following the crisis affecting the people of South Sudan. On February 19, Bishop Pates wrote a letter of solidarity to the Church in Sudan. He also sent a letter to National Security Advisor Rice to encourage U.S. support for civil society, churches and a free press in South Sudan as they work to rebuild there.

    Torture and CIA Interrogation Practices
    In an interview with Vatican Radio, Bishop Oscar Cantú states that intelligence-gathering techniques outlined in the Senate report violate basic moral principals.

    Bishop Pates applauds the U.S. Senators urging declassification of Intelligence Committee information on torture, a serious debasement of human dignity.

    More International Issues

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