As followers of Jesus Christ, the Gospels impel us to speak and act on behalf of truth. Some of these are as simple as writing emails, letters to the editor or other outreaches protesting a breach of justice or promoting what is good and true. Sometimes the actions are more prophetic, such as we see among the holy prophets of the Old Testament who boldly spoke on behalf of God's truth and against falsehood and injustice (e.g. Jeremiah and Amos).
Our country has embarked upon a dangerous practice, call it what you will, of sanctioned torture, since 11 September 2001. In the name of security and anti-terror, we have seen its fallout in such hideous images from the Abu Graib prison outside of Baghdad, the complaints arising from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and other issues of "rendition" of prisoners ostensibly captured regarding terror. While we do not deny the reality of terror and those who commit those awful anti-human and anti-life actions, we also stand against the denial of human dignity of prisoners as well. Hence, the need to actively do something!
One such example is the article below -- Fr. Louis Vitale, OFM, is a Franciscan friar and former provincial minister of St. Barbara Province, headquartered in Oakland, CA. His compatriot is a Jesuit priest, Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ. They protested together at the military compound at Fr. Huachuca, AZ, outside of Tucson, last November 2006.
We Franciscans of the Assumption BVM Province support them as they suffer the predictable consequences of imprisonment for their prophetic action on behalf of justice and peace, their action of protest considered a crime against the US government.
They were taken to a privately run detention center in Florence, Arizona the day of their sentencing. It is not known if, when or where they may be transferred. If the priests are moved, your letters addressed to Florence will be returned to you. You may then send letters to them c/o The Nuclear Resister, PO Box 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733 and their mail will be forwarded to them.
Statement of the Franciscan Friars, Province of Saint Barbara regarding the sentencing of Father Louis Vitale OFM: