Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pope Francis’ Prayer for 2014: “The Courage of Dialogue and Reconciliation Prevail Over the Temptation for Vendetta, Arrogance, Corruption”

I usually avoid posting articles, cases, studies or issues that are not specific to this platform but this message should be read and shared by everyone for the New Year, so I am straying off topic - today. 


Pope's New Year's Message Stresses Strength, Courage, Hope By Frances D'Emilio, January 1, 2014: 

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis, laying out his hopes Wednesday for the just-begun year, urged people to work for a world where everyone accepts each other's differences and where enemies recognize that they are brothers. 

"We are all children of one heavenly father, we belong to the same human family and we share a common destiny," Francis said, speaking from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square, jammed with tens of thousands of faithful, tourists and Romans. 

"This brings a responsibility for each to work so that the world becomes a community of brothers who respect each other, accept each other in one's diversity, and takes care of one another," the pope said.

Setting aside his prepared text for a moment, he expressed impatience with violence in the world. "What is happening in the heart of man? What is happening in the heart of humanity?" Francis asked. "It's time to stop." 

He told the crowd this reflection was inspired by letter he received from a man — "maybe one of you" — who lamented that there are "so many tragedies and wars in the world." 

"I, too, believe that it will be good for us to stop ourselves in this path of violence and search for peace," Francis said. 

In his remarks to the often-applauding crowd, he also expressed hope that "the gospel of brotherhood speak to every conscience and knock down the walls that impede enemies from recognizing that they are brothers." 

The Catholic church dedicates Jan. 1 to the promotion of word peace. 

Earlier, during his homily at New Year's Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, Francis spoke of humanity's journey in the year unfolding and invoked what he said where "words of blessing," explaining that they are "strength, courage and hope." 

"Not an illusory hope," he added, "based on frail human promises, or a naive hope which presumes that the future will be better simply because it is the future." 

In his first year as pope, Francis has charted a path for what he calls a "poor" church attentive to the needy. While offering new year's wishes to the crowd in the square, Francis pressed his campaign on behalf of the downtrodden. 

"We are also called to see the violence and injustices present in so many parts of the world, and which cannot leave us indifferent and immobile," Francis said. "There is the need for the commitment of all to build a society that is truly more just and united." 

Hearing "the cry of peace from peoples who are oppressed by war and by violence," Francis prayed that "the courage of dialogue and reconciliation prevail over the temptation for vendetta, arrogance, corruption."

Washington Post Editorial on Johnathan Montgomery Case and All the Barriers and Delays that Prevented Justice from Occurring and Reparations for those Wrongful Incarcerated in Virginia

Two months ago I wrote about the long drawn out delay of the Johnathan Montgomery exoneration, he was falsely accused of sexual battery and wrongfully incarcerated. He was released and given a partial pardon in November 2012 but without a full exoneration he was a felon and a Registered Sex Offender listed on the public list of shame and mandated to abide by all the restrictions and regulations that accompany the label.

Since my post, there have been positive developments in Mr. Montgomery's case:
VIDEO EXTRA: Elizabeth Coast Interview Part 1
 VIDEO EXTRA: Elizabeth Coast Interview Part 2

But as with previous partial, conditional and full pardons and exonerations (Writ of Actual Innocence) in Virginia our law for reparations is not only paltry but a terribly drawn out process. The Washington Post Editorial Board says it's time to reform the process and the Virginia Legislature needs to step up and do it! 


Opinion: Virginia mangles justice in wrongful conviction case. Editorial Board, December 26, 2013

MUCH, MUCH too slowly, Johnathan Montgomery is getting justice. 

Mr. Montgomery, now 27, is the young man who served four years in a Virginia prison for a crime he did not commit. His conviction, for sexual battery and other charges, collapsed in October 2012 when his accuser, Elizabeth Paige Coast, admitted that she had fabricated her story from start to finish. 

The judge who reached the guilty verdict pronounced himself appalled. Prosecutors said they were mortified. And, on the strength of a conditional pardon issued by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), Mr. Montgomery was released from prison days later. 

At that point, the state of Virginia, which meted out the injustice that robbed him of his liberty, should have undertaken to make amends. But justice for Mr. Montgomery has moved at a snail’s pace. 

For no good reason, Mr. McDonnell conditioned his pardon on the Virginia Court of Appeals declaring Mr. Montgomery innocent. This was gratuitous. Ms. Coast already had been charged with perjury; she pleaded guilty in May. And, as the appeals court said last week, when it finally vacated Mr. Montgomery’s conviction, the governor cannot outsource his pardon power to the judiciary.

By delaying full exoneration, Virginia compounded Mr. Montgomery’s injury. Even as a free man for 13 months, he has remained a registered sex offender, unable to go near schools and parks, and has been compelled to meet regularly with a probation officer and barred from leaving town without permission. Since his conviction remained in force until last week, most potential employers showed him the door. 

Mr. Montgomery has been ineligible for financial compensation for the years he spent in prison. Even now that the appeals court has declared him innocent, he must wait until the state legislature authorizes payment.