Standing with God’s
The Sisters of the Holy Cross are committed to being a prophetic voice for peace, justice and healing in the world, while standing compassionately with God’s suffering people.
One way we live out our commitment to justice is by taking corporate stands. Individual witness and action are very important, but there is a different energy, strength and emphasis to publicly witnessing to an issue of justice as a Congregation. These statements enable us to speak more strongly and act more intentionally on social justice issues around the world.
You are invited to learn more about these issues and take action to affect positive change for the oppressed and voiceless in society today.
As one of four congregations of Holy Cross—Marianites of Holy Cross, Congregation of Holy Cross (priests and brothers), Congregation of the Sisters of Holy Cross and Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross—the Congregation has committed to the following public statements:
Sisters of the Holy Cross
Corporate Stand Against Human Trafficking — 2013
Because we know that
- Human trafficking is global in scope; as many as 27 million people are trapped in slavery.
- Nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labor; several million more are sex slaves.
- “The convergence of widespread poverty, demand for cheap labor, gender discrimination, economic and social underdevelopment, conflicts, and corruption in the exercise of power and control by groups or by governments provide fertile grounds for human trafficking.”1
- “Human trafficking will never be truly defeated without eliminating the consumerism that feeds it and prosecuting those in receiving countries ... that benefit because of the exploitation of vulnerable human beings.”2
- The Universal Declaration on Human Rights prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude.3
We endorse the following Corporate Stand.
Corporate Stand Statement
We, the Sisters of the Holy Cross,
- affirm the dignity and human rights of all persons, and
- denounce the sin of human trafficking and the economic and social systems and conditions that breed it.
We support policies, initiatives and programs that:
- detect and severely penalize those guilty of human trafficking;
- eliminate the economic incentives for trafficking;
- promote sustainable, equitable development and eliminate extreme poverty;
- rescue, rehabilitate and reintegrate trafficking victims; and
- educate and mobilize groups to take effective action to end human trafficking.
We oppose economic practices that create conditions that increase human vulnerability and enable human trafficking to flourish:
- poverty and underdevelopment which result in limited employment opportunities;
- destruction of the environment which destroys sources of income and contributes to forced migration; and
- a culture of greed that permits the abuse of persons for profit and pleasure.
We acknowledge that to end the horrific crime of human trafficking, we must all work together — governments, international and national non-governmental organizations, communities and individuals. As Sisters of the Holy Cross, we must join with others to:
- eliminate the root causes and markets that make trafficking profitable,
- ensure that traffickers are pursued and prosecuted, and
- assist survivors to recover and flourish in mind, body and spirit.
1. “Human Trafficking: Freeing Women, Children, and Men.” Anglican Women’s Empowerment, 2011.
2. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “On Human Trafficking,” 2007.
3. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 4, 1948. [Although not quoted here, there are several other United Nations Conventions, legally binding international agreements that support an anti-trafficking stance. These include the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW-1981), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC-1990), and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant
We, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, affirm that
- Nonviolence is constitutive of the message of Jesus,
- Nonviolence is intrinsic to right relationship with all creation, and
- Nonviolent systemic change requires innovative, creative responses to social problems and conflicts.
- Therefore, we reject violence in its multiple forms.
We support actions and policies that
- Promote nonviolent means of conflict resolution,
- Disallow discrimination of any kind,
Generate an equitable economic system for all,
- Foster a culture of solidarity and peace, and
- Protect Earth and Life in all its diversity.
We oppose actions and policies that legitimate
- Violent responses to conflicts, particularly war and terrorism,
- Denial of human and civil rights,
- Economic and military policies that exacerbate poverty and inequality, and
- Degradation and destruction of natural resources and ecosystems.
We acknowledge that the nonviolent way of Jesus challenges us to
- Examine the quality of our interpersonal relationships,
- Own the complexity inherent in our struggle to live without violence,
- Embrace diversity, and
- Espouse the common good.
Water as a Human Right and Public Trust, 2004
Because we know that
Access to clean water in sufficient amounts is absolutely essential for human life and health. Freshwater is a limited resource: only 2.5 percent of Earth’s total water supply is freshwater and less than 1 percent of that is usable in a renewable fashion.
The world’s finite supply of accessible freshwater is so polluted, diverted and depleted that millions of people and other species are deprived of water for life. Lack of access to adequate freshwater increases the likelihood of violent conflict between nations. Commodification of freshwater and privatization of water services typically decrease accessibility of clean affordable water for poor persons and countries. Water is explicitly recognized as a human right in the General Comment on the Right to Water adopted by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in November 2002. John Paul II and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace assert that access to safe water is an inalienable human right.
Because we believe that:
- Water is a sacred gift: the lifeblood of Earth and rightful inheritance of Earth and all species.
- Water is a public good and all sectors of society should be involved in decision-making regarding its protection, management and distribution.
- Catholic Social Teaching and our commitment to the Earth Charter call us to take personal and collective responsibility for safeguarding the world’s freshwater and ensuring its equitable distribution.
We endorse the following Corporate Stand.
Corporate Stand Statement
The Sisters of the Holy Cross affirm that:
Access to clean water is a fundamental, inalienable human right. Earth’s freshwater is a shared legacy; a common good; a public trust; and a collective responsibility. As an essential element of life, freshwater must not be treated as a private commodity to be bought, sold and traded for profit. Therefore, we support actions and policies that ensure access to sufficient, affordable, safe water for all people, especially the most vulnerable; and protect freshwater as a sustainable, renewable resource.
We oppose actions and policies that endanger the world’s supply of freshwater; deprive humans and other species access to adequate, safe water essential for life; and commodify and privatize the global water commons.
Oppression of Women in Social and Religious Structures, 1998
The Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross corporately supports and will initiate efforts to eliminate domination and subordination of women in society, the church, our ministries, our sponsored institutions and our life together end our own and others’ silent acquiescence to oppressive behavior against women.
Land Use and Reform, 1994
Ownership and access to land and adequate housing is an issue of immense importance to the people of God. Land and housing rights, customary ones and those formalized through policies and laws have been disregarded by government agencies and by public and private companies.
The issue of land rights implies the consideration of the following points:
- the right to live on one’s own land;
- the right to the fruits of the land including mineral and water rights;
- the right to affordable housing, especially in urban areas;
- the responsibility for stewardship of the land;
- the responsibility to preserve and restore the land;
- support for groups working for reform;
- use of influence to bring about desirable changes in economic structures.
Therefore, the congregation corporately supports and, when possible, will initiate efforts to secure the rights of the poor and disenfranchised; ensure affordable housing especially for the poor; provide fair economic exchange between work and the fruits of the land; make persons aware of unjust use of the land to the detriment of the poor; challenge the structures that hold the poor captive to the greed of institutions, conglomerates and individuals of wealth; preserve and restore the land.
Opposing U.S. (War-related) Intervention in Central America, 1985
The Sisters of the Holy Cross corporately oppose U.S. intervention in Central America.
Called To Be Peacemakers, 1984
In order to demonstrate to the congregation that we are committed to political action, and because we believe it is crucial that steps be taken to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons, enter into a cooperative effort for reducing the danger of war, weaken the domination of fear in the world, and free economic and human resources in order to improve the quality of life for all people, The Nineteenth General Chapter of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, standing in solidarity with the Catholic bishops of the United States and with other groups throughout the world who are working for peace, calls upon the government of the United States to adopt immediate, bilateral, verifiable agreements, to halt the testing, production, and deployment of new nuclear weapons systems.