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Bending the Arc references a quote by Rev. Dr. King who said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This twice-monthly digital newsletter from the CSA Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation office showcases the work of changemakers, opportunities to learn, and opportunities for you to help “bend the arc” toward justice. Full contents of the newsletter are published on this page. 
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Archive for the "Peace & Nonviolence" Category

Call for Peace and Nonviolence

May 09, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

The Catholic Advisory Council of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), Pax Christi USA, Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns, and the Franciscan Action Network invite all Catholic individuals and organizations in the United States to sign on and to an open letter expressing our grief and dismay over the horrors that have occurred in Israel-Palestine over the last six months. Read the entire letter and see all the signatures here. Sign the letter here. Please share!

Don’t stop there! Each day, mothers are witnessing the death of their children in the Middle East. Please join Franciscan Action Network - click here to again urge your legislators to call for peace in the Middle East. This will take less than one minute.

Also, use this SSND Voter Voice Tool to urge President Biden and members of Congress to do all they can do to stop the bloodshed and move all involved to a just and lasting peace. Letters to the editor are also an effective tool for communicating messages. Click here for assistance in putting one together.

An Amnesty International petition gathered more than a million signatures from people around the world. You can follow their work and reporting

Want to be better informed? For an alternative news source with live updates, visit Al Jazeera.

We must be relentless in our call to peace and justice - Read, Listen, Sign, Call, Write, Act!

Biden Administration Approves Expansion Of Background Checks On Gun Sales

April 11, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Today, April 11, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a new action that will save lives by reducing the number of firearms sold without background checks. This final rule implements the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act’s expansion of firearm background checks-the only significant expansion of the background check required since then-Senator Biden shepherded the Brady Bill over the finish line in 1993. The President and Vice President are moving as close as possible to universal background checks without additional legislation.

This New York Times article describes the rule released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which will require anyone “engaged in the business” of selling guns at a profit to register as a federally licensed firearms dealer. That means sellers must run background criminal and mental health checks on potential buyers. Read the full article.

This is a huge win for gun violence prevention groups like Nuns Against Gun Violence. A few months ago, many of us submitted comments on the ATF site to close this loophole and the exciting news today is proof President Biden paid attention.

Read more about the specifics of the Engaged in the Business rule in this White House Fact Sheet.

The photo here is one I took last September when visiting my daughter in upper Wisconsin. This was a roadside sale (next to a fresh produce and pumpkin stands) that I found absolutely frightening.

Gaza—Let Us Not Waver

March 07, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

17,000 children of Gaza have been orphaned or separated from their parents.

You are invited to watch a short video of 11-year-old, Dareen al-Bayaa. As you consider her suffering and the suffering of other children, also reflect on the thousands of innocents killed and the million plus people displaced living in poverty and at risk of famine and disease. 

This is far beyond too much. Our hearts and their spirit challenge us to stay vigilant with our prayers and calls to stop the violence. Our message must not waver. Silence the weapons, now. Bring in the aid and take care of the displaced, now. Secure freedom for the captives and do the hard work of negotiating a just peace, now.

The U.S. has a particular responsibility to make sure this gets done. You are invited to use the SSND Voter Voice tool to urge President Biden and members of Congress to do all they can to stop the bloodshed and move all involved to a just and lasting peace. Letters to the editor are also an effective tool for communicating messages. Click here for assistance in putting one together.

On March 4, Vice President Kamala Harris demanded an immediate ceasefire to allow for humanitarian efforts. Some criticize her message as long overdue, watered down, and hypocritical as the U.S. continues to provide Israel with military aid. What do you think? What are you planning to do about it?

Gun Violence in America

February 22, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Test your knowledge on gun violence, laws, read other news, AND PRAY with a plethora of recommended resources:

Quiz from The Trace

How much do you know about background checks? Concealed carry? Take this 12-question quiz, offered by The Trace, to find out. is the only newsroom dedicated to covering gun violence. Please add this to your list of resources on the subject.  


NEW! The St. Louis Archdiocese’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force is inviting Catholics to pray a Stations of the Cross on March 1 for gun violence victims. Read about it or participate here.

Intercommunity Justice & Peace Center

Here is another recommended resource devoted to gun violence. It is published by the Seattle-based Intercommunity Justice & Peace Center. You may see some familiar faces on page 5! 


In the U.S., we continue to have near daily mass shootings. Do not let up on contacting your lawmakers and demand common sense gun laws as proposed by groups such as Everytown, Brady United Against Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action, and many more like these.


And just when you wondered if things could get any more ridiculous… the CSA JPIC Office was alerted to this article in a recent Wall Street Journal this week (free article link): The $50 Device that turns handguns into automatic weapons

Braver Angels Discussion of "American Creed"

February 08, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

What does it mean to be American? What holds us together in turbulent times?

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy came together from remarkably different backgrounds, life experiences, and points of view to explore the idea of a unifying “American creed” in a film with the same name.

The film, American Creed premiered in February 2018 and was one of the most widely carried PBS documentaries of the year. The documentary relaunched in November 2018, followed by an all-new short film featuring teenagers whose perspectives on American ideals and identity have been influenced by seeing the documentary. 

With support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the film’s launch marked the beginning of a public engagement campaign including community conversations, classroom activities and local storytelling in cities and towns across the country—all designed to foster a bold national conversation about American ideals and identity.

You can watch the trailer, stories, or the film for free here. Be sure to share this with others!

After watching the film, you are invited to join a discussion hosted by Braver Angels on February 15 at 7 pm CT. Sign up here to join the conversation.

Start Disagreeing Better

February 08, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Want better conversations with people whose politics aren’t yours? Wish family members and friends on the other political side would hear your views about politics? Then sign up for Braver Angels new 90-minute, interactive "Skills for Disagreeing Better" workshop this Saturday, February 10 at 1 pm CT. You’ll learn about the value of listening – really listening – and about how to make your points in ways that the other person can absorb. Register here.

Questions? Contact Mary Beth Stibbins at

Lenten Fast for an End to Gun Violence

February 08, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

This Lent, Sisters, Associates and Allies of Nuns Against Gun Violence are invited to pledge to fast for an end to gun violence in whatever way they can. Be sure to join their virtual Ash Wednesday service too.

To date, nearly 150 participants have pledged to offer their personal sacrifice and prayer for a more peaceful society. CSA JPIC Coordinator, Tracy Abler, has pledged to abstain from food one day a week during Lent. Anyone can still pledge to participate by filling out the Lenten Fasting Commitment Form

Fasting can be whatever works best for an individual. One can give up some food during Lent, perhaps meat; eat one less meal  a day; abstain from food for a whole day; or anything else they are able to commit to.

“As Catholics, our faith calls us to protect life, and yet our country continues to be plagued with an epidemic of gun violence,” said Mary Ann McGivern, a Sister of Loretto and one of the organizers of the fast. “Our fast will be a prayer to God and an opportunity to publicly appeal to our civic communities for action to reduce gun violence.”

Organizers invite members of its coalition congregations and all like-minded individuals to join in this fast against gun violence. Participants will join their hearts, minds and bodies in a sacrifice—according to each one’s capability—as an expression of love, in a spirit of generosity, willingly abstaining from food and drink or undertaking other meaningful sacrifices as they put forth a united call for people to lay down their guns and enact gun violence prevention legislation.


Nuns Against Gun Violence will gather virtually for an Ash Wednesday prayer service to inaugurate the fast on Wednesday, February 14 from 4-4:30 p.m. EST. The service will include prayer, Scripture, silence and a reflection by Mary Ann McGivern, SL. Register at


Nuns Against Gun Violence is a coalition of Catholic Sisters and their allies that affirms the value of human life through prayer, education, and advocacy for common sense, evidence-based, gun violence prevention. The coalition was founded in April 2023 to bring together congregations of Catholic sisters to speak with a united voice against the crisis of gun violence. Supporters meet bi-weekly to share resources and events and plan advocacy efforts. More information is available at

H.R. 77

February 08, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

The threat of nuclear war is growing. Global tensions are on the rise, and in our own country, there are plans to rebuild the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal at the staggering cost of $1.7 trillion over the next three decades. This includes plans to build more “usable” nuclear weapons for nuclear war fighting, increasing the chance that these weapons could be used. U.S. taxpayers already spend $10.3 million/hour or $172,000/minute every day maintaining the U.S. nuclear arsenal. 

Back from the Brink is calling for renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first, taking the United States nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert, and ending the sole, unchecked authority of any U.S. President to launch a nuclear attack.   

Below are two sample letters you may use and send by mail or email to your representative. Please personalize your letter if possible. 

Letter 1

Letter 2

 If you cannot send a letter, click here for a one-click option to contact your representative.

 Another good resource is a January webinar by Pax Christi, Building a World Without Nuclear Weapons: An Urgent Imperative.  If you go about 28 minutes in, you will hear the testimony of Ira Helfand, MD, a member of the International Steering Group of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and a co-Founder and Past President of Physicians for Social Responsibility, IPPNW's US affiliate, speak of the implications of the use of nuclear weapons.

Israel-Palestine and Catholic Social Teaching

January 25, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

The Ignatian Solidarity Network offers the recording of a December 5 webinar that explores the deeper context and history of the Israel-Palestine conflict, including the hardships faced by Palestinian Christians. 

In a webinar that was being planned months before the October 7 attack by Hamas, presenter Jordan Denari Duffner, PhD. explores the deeper context and history that shape today's challenges—including the hardships faced by Palestinian Christians—and discusses how Catholic social teaching can inspire our efforts to advocate alongside Jews, Muslims, and others for a just peace for all people in the Holy Land.

Jordan Denari Duffner, Ph.D., is an author, educator, and scholar of Muslim-Christian relations and Interreligious dialogue. Her books are Finding Jesus among Muslims and Islamophobia: What Christians Should Know (and Do) about Anti-Muslim Discrimination. She is an alumna of Brebeuf Jesuit and Georgetown University.

Watch the recording on YouTube.

This resource is being shared especially for those outside of the Fond du Lac area who’ve been struggling to find understanding in the conflict and peace in their hearts, and have been unable to attend CSA’s program called, “Faith Perspectives of the Israel-Hamas War: A Human Response.” This intimate, in-person program, presented by Sisters Cyndi Nienhaus and Marie Scott, aims to provide some historical context, but primarily to help mitigate any antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab sentiments people are experiencing. The January 18 program was well received and will be repeated on February 1. The evenings include a presentation, dialogue with other participants, prayer, and song.


“Stranger at the Gate” Documentary

January 25, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

The community is invited to engage with a short film and discussion that proves, Love Conquers Hate.

In this short (29-minute) 2022 documentary, a U.S. Marine plots a terrorist attack on a small-town American mosque, but his plan takes an unexpected turn when he comes face-to-face with the people he is about to kill.

You are invited to attend the free showing of this short film at the Moraine Park Technical College Conference Center (235 N.National Ave, FDL - Lot C, Door 02) Thursday, February 29, 2024, 4:00 - 6:00 PM. No registration required.

A panel discussion with special guests will follow the film.


National Day of Action Calling for a Ceasefire in Gaza

January 25, 2024
By Tracy Abler, Justice Coordinator

Wisconsin groups join others worldwide in demanding action from American politicians who seem complicit in Gaza’s nightmare.

According to a tracker from Working, as of January 22, 2024, at least 65 members of Congress have called for a ceasefire or cessation of hostilities in Israel and Palestine, none of which are from Wisconsin.  

There is a national day of Action calling for a ceasefire on Friday, Jan. 26. Here in Wisconsin, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, World Beyond War Madison, Building Unity, and Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison will be organizing at the state capitol in Madison from 11 am - 1 pm with a press conference at noon. Among other things, they will be joining together in support of the lawsuit against the Biden Administration for its complicity in genocide. Per this Intercept article, 77 groups worldwide back the lawsuit against Biden in the U.S. Court. 

According to an AP News report on December 29, 2023, for the second time, the Biden Administration bypassed Congress on an emergency determination to cover $147.5 million for the sale of equipment Israel needed to make more weapons of war. 

Now, the US Senate is set to vote on the Biden administration's request for ANOTHER $14 BILLION of weapons for Israel. Imagine the things our country could do with those billions of dollars in peaceful ways that would allow people to live?! Wisconsin groups are imploring Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson to vote NO on more weapons. Members of Congress are being asked to divest us from militarism and call for a permanent ceasefire and an end to the occupation of Palestine.

The Sisters of St. Agnes are women committed to being peacemakers; women who believe, as citizens of a democracy, that it is our responsibility to add our voice to the public discourse. “We are women who believe our nation spends too much on making war possible and far too little on creating and empowering just societies in the world.” These are words from the CSA’s Statement of Belief on Peace & Nonviolence.

While the complexity of this historical conflict over the holy land in these areas is great, one thing is for certain...war is not the answer and all human lives should matter.


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