Handouts #3 Issues affecting the Quality of Life A. Prisoners and Death Penalty 1. Read Matthew 25:34-41 2.

The PCP II recognizes the urgency of the Church’s apostolate for prisoners. The Lord Himself suffered in prison. The Church has two overriding considerations in her special concern for prisoners. The first is based on the attitude of the Lord towards those who have strayed from the right path. He sought them and aided them, reconciling Him with his Father [ the Prodigal Son ]. The second, Jesus underlined assistance to prisoners as one of the works of love that is a mark of discipleship: “ I was…in prison and you visited me..whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” In the future the Church has to identify its advocacy of more humane conditions in prisons, more humane treatment of prisoners, the release of those unjustly detained., as well as the integration of those who have been released into life in society. Above all, the Church must ensure that the Church can offer by way of Catechesis, prayer, and the sacraments. 3. To be a prisoner means to cease to live a life, to stop from growing and from moving on---and may even mean dying. The dignity of the human person is not only made available to those who are righteous but to the sinners as well. Christ brings dignity to humankind and the reason why he was sent here is for the sinner to be liberated and be given a new hope and life. This dignity is not only true to the righteous persons but greatly is address to all sinners… especially the neglected, those people being imprisoned. Jesus underlined assistance to prisoner as one of the works of love that is mark of discipleship… “I was in prison you visited me… whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did it for me… Mt. 25:31-46 Jesus himself showed a compassionate heart to the sinners, this is the very reason why he was sent by the Father and offered his very life – for the sinners, out cast. Freedom is a shared capacity with other in the community for choosing – not anything at all – but what is the good, in order to become our true selves. It involves both: Freedom from, whatever opposes our self-becoming with others in the community. Freedom from growing as full persons before God and our fellow human persons, in authentic love. (CFC # 720) We experience freedom most naturally in our free choice to act or not to act, or not to do something. We accept responsibility for these acts. Besides our individual free acts there is the very freedom of our very self formed gradually by our free acts. Often called fundamental freedom or option, is not primarily a psychological term, but rather refers to our “moral being”. (CFC # 721) We also oppose death penalty because it is contrary to our belief to a God who gives life and forgives a repentant sinner. Every sinner has the capacity by the help of the grace of God to renew him/herself and to start anew. B. REFUGEES AND DISPLACED PERSONS • Refugee comes from the Latin word “refugium” which means a place of safety from trouble or danger. • Refugee means one who flees for protection to a foreign land especially from war or from political or religious persecution. • For many times this so called unknown world is cruel, non- accommodating and inhuman conditions of the refugee. • Therefore, the refugee must adjust to the demands of this new and unknown world of realities. 1. Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.” [ Gaudium et Spes # 40 ] 2. Read: Matthew 2:13-25 “ Joseph and Mary took refuge in Egypt” 3. Be kind to strangers because they themselves were once a stranger.

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( Exodus 22:20-26 ) • Excessive economic, social, and cultural inequalities among peoples arouse tensions and conflicts, and are danger to peace. Populorum Progressio #76 ( On the Development of Peoples ) Pope Paul VI,1967 • “ For you are all the children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male or female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” ( Luke 1:51-55;Gal.3 :26-28 ) WHO A refugee is someone with a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, who is outside of his or her country of nationality and unable or unwilling to return. Refugees are forced from their countries by war, civil conflict, political stife or gross human abuses. WHAT Enshrined in Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the right to “seek and enjoy in the other countries asylum from persecution. “This principle recognizes that victims of human rights abuse must be able to leave their country freely and to seek refuge elsewhere. Governments frequently see refugees as a threat or a burden, refusing to respect this core principle of human rights and refuge protection. WHERE The global refuge crisis affects every continent and almost every country. In 2001, 78n percent of all refugees came from 10 areas: Afghanistan, Angola, Burma, Burundi, Congo-Kinshana, Eritrea, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Somalia and Sudan. Palestinians are the world’s oldest and largest refugee population, and make up more than one fourth of all refugees. Asia hosts 45 percent of all refugees, followed by Africa [ 30%], Europe [ 19%], and North America [ 5%]. WHEN Throughout history, people have fled their homes to escape persecution. In the aftermath of World War II, the international community included the right to asylum in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [ UNHCR ] was created to protect and assist refugees, and, in 1951, the United Nations adopted the Convention relating to the status of Refugees, a legally binding treaty that, by February 2002, had been ratified by 140 countries. WHY In the past 50 years, states have been largely regressed in their commitment to protect refugees, with the wealthy industrialized states of Europe, North America and Australia- which first established the international refugee protection system- adopting particularly hostile and restrictive policies. Governments have subjected refugees to arbitrary arrest, detention, denial of social and economic rights and closed borders. In the worst cases, the most fundamental principle of refugee protection, is violated, and refugees are forcibly returned to countries where they face persecution. Since September 11, many countries have pushed emergency antiterrorism legislation that curtails the rights of the refugees. HOW Human Rights Watch believes the right to asylum is a matter of life and death and cannot be compromised. In our work to stop human rights abuses in countries around the world, we seek to address the root causes that force people to flee. We also advocate for greater protection for refugees and Internationally Displace People [ IDPs] and for an end to the abuses they suffer when they reach supposed safety. Human Rights Watch calls the United Nations and on governments everywhere to uphold their obligations to protect refugees and to respect their rights—regardless of where they are from or where they seek refuge.