- September 2010 Faith, Joy and Love - Sister Teresina of O. J. - Society of the Queen of the Lilies
- August 2010 July the 16th 2010
- August 09 Justice and Mercy are One
- June 09  Purity Revolution
- October 08 The wonderful Land of John Paul the II
- April 07 Wolves or Lambs?
- April 05 Human Rights of Prisoners
- March 05 Interview to Baroness Vivien Stern
- February 05 Mission Report by Mr. Christian Kuhn
- Jenuary 05 Justice, Rights, Solidarity and Gratuity in our time
- March 04 Living "Lenten Time" in Poggioreale Jails
- March 03 Killing to Prevent?
- February 03 Blessed are you when...
- January 03 The "scandal" of Purity
- December 02 December 2002
- November 02 Christ the King
- October 02 Criminal Justice in U.S. (2)
- September 02 The Spirit is like the wind
- August 02 Criminal Justice in U.S.
- July 02 Drop the Rock!
- June 02 June 10, 2002
- November 01 Starting again from (Ground) Zero!


- January 2003

The "scandal" of Purity


The “scandal” of the Cross, which Saint Paul talks about: “For God in his wisdom made it impossible for people to know him by means of their own wisdom. Instead, by means of the so called ‘foolish’ message we preach, God decided to save those who believe. Jews want miracles for proof, and Greeks look for wisdom. As for us, we proclaim the crucified Christ, a message that is offensive to the Jews and nonsense to the Gentiles; but for those whom God has called, both Jews and Gentiles, this message is the wisdom of God. For what seems to be God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and what seems to be God’s weakness is stronger than human strength”  (See 1Cor 1:21-22) . Nowadays this “scandal” of  the Cross  seems to turn out to be the “Scandal” of Purity:

  “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God!” (Mt. 5,8)

Purity is to be on God's side

In fact for this kind of world we are living in nowadays, it is a scandal that somebody may still believe that being on God’s side imply that: 


-          “He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (See Col. 1:13-14)


-         “By our baptism, then, we were buried with him and shared his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from death by the glorious power of the Father, so also we might live a new life.”  (Rom 6,4) 


-         To “Try to learn what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the worthless things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light. (It is really too shameful even to talk about the things they do in secret.)” (See Eph. 5:10-12) 


Because “... you, brothers, are not in the darkness, and the Day should not take you by surprise like  a thief. All of you are people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.”  (See 1Tess. 5:4-5) 

Put into consideration that “... the message that we have heard from his Son and announce is this: God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him. If , then, we say that we have fellowship with him, yet at the same time live in the darkness, we are lying both in our words and in our actions. But if we live in the light – then we have fellowship with one onother, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from every sin.”  (See 1Gv. 1:5-7) 

Therefore “Do not lie one onother, for you have put off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself.”  (See Col.3:9-10) 

Because “You know the saying, “A little bit of yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise.’ You must remove the old yeast of sin so that you will be entirely pure...For our Passover Festival is ready...Let us celebrate our Passover, then, not with bread having the old yeast of sin and wickedness, but with the bread that has no yeast, the bread of purity and truth.” (See 1Cor. 5: 6-8)

The world needs Purity. 

If for the world we are living in nowadays, purity is something incomprehensible, is a sort of a “scandal”,...

Well,  those who want to be, with the help of God, real followers of Jesus must be ready to scandalize it!

  The Christians people will be ready to take advantage of every opportunity to upset this old, frail, obsolete world because of sin, with the witness of a life lived in the light of the Risen Lord who gives us His Holy Spirit.

  And if Christians are asked if they are still looking for a deeper experience of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

They will answer that it is the same Spirit of God that in their hearts shouting: Abba’ Father. And at same time the Holy Spirit assures them that they are Children of God.

  And if Christians are asked if they still feel to belong to the Church.

They will answer that they are proud to be part of the Church that is the body of Christ. ( See 1 Cor. 6:15)

  And if  the world will suggest to the Christians that they should not believe any longer to Christ and to look for money, power, and enjoy the pleasures of this life.

They will answer that not only they will keep on  believe in Christ, but that they will be ready, at all times, to answer anyone who asks them to give reason of the hope they have in them (See 1 Peter 3:15). They are on Jesus’ side at any cost. They are ready even to die for Christ because it is just when they die for Christ that they have life.

  Those who want to be real followers of Jesus and want to help him in the work of salvation of the human kind must get rid of any sort of compromises with the power of the darkness.

  “So if your right eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it away! It is much better for  you to lose a part of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose one of your limbs than to have your whole body go off to hell.”  (Mt. 5:29-30)


"Purity makes you go into ecstasies"

And they will be at the same time  humble and strong witnesses of the light, which comes from above, for this world that love darkness. They will be witnesses of light for the people of the “night” who need pills to keep on living, who need pills to go into “ecstasies”.

The Christian will tell them that if they have the courage to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ, they will need no pills anymore because will be God himself, who through the power of the Holy Spirit, that will lift them to a kind of unimaginable highest.

Because “as the scripture says, ‘ What no one ever saw or heard, what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love him.” (See 1Cor. 2:9)

If this world want to be saved needs the clear transparent witness of the Christians who, with their lives, proclaim that Jesus is the Lord!

He is the only Savior  “yesterday, today, and forever”. (See Heb. 13:8)


Blessed are the eyes that see what you see...

To the world of the 21st Century, this world which has become a “Global Village”, the world of the Media, of the Internet,  Jesus Christ would say:

There is a “Wonderful Show” ,  not a virtual one which doesn't exist, but a real one you are called to join, not as spectators but as Actors. You cannot miss it!  Yet there is a price you have to pay for it: the purity of heart!

  It is better for you to enter the Kingdom of the light where you will never stop to marvel at the incredible deeds performed by God rather than to fail in your life and go to hell. 

  In that day we will hear the words of Jesus addressed to us:

  “How fortunate you are to see the things you see! I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, but they could not, and to hear what you hear, but they did not.” (See Lc.7:18-23; 10:17-24).



-December 2002

War or Peace?

Christmas 2002 

Peace on earth?


God through the great Prophet Isaiah, centuries before the coming of Jesus Christ his Son, had foretold:

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, “Your God is King!” (Isaiah 52:7-10)


The same Prophet Isaiah in a vision says:

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;…For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-forever, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:1-6)

  And the Angels in the night Jesus is born sing:

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Lc 2:1-14)

  So it seems that there is no doubt: Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and He comes in the world for bringing peace.


Not Peace, but a Sword!

  Paradoxically enough the same Jesus warns us: If you want peace prepare to War!

“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword…” (Matthew 10:34)

Then the Son of God tells us what kind of war we are called for:

“If anyone wants to come with me, he must forget himself, carry his cross, and follow me”. (Mk 8:34)

  The war we are called for is against ourselves, against our selfishness, against the evil that is inside us.

The more we are able to forget ourselves for the sake of God and our Brothers and Sisters the more we are in peace. On the other hand: the more we put our own self at the center of our life the more we are unhappy, always worry, and without peace.


Our enemy 

The Christians, know who is the real enemy: the devil!

He suggests to everybody the same he told to Adam and Eve:

God is a liar: “because He knows that when you eat it, you will be like God!” (Gen. 3:5)

So the devil is trying to deceive us, fostering our selfishness. The devil knows that if we fall in his trap we will fail eternally.


We all are children of God

  If we give a look at the world we can notice a lot of problems, lots of tensions, “rumors” of war.

What we have to clarify once for all is that if the people of the world fight each other the reason is not because of Religion!

If God exist is one and He is the Father of all.

It cannot be his will to have his children fight each other.

  In this difficult time every person who states his or her beliefs in God must try to make every effort to fight his or her own selfishness and find peaceful ways to meet and solve the problems of the world.


We have a dream

In a paraphrase of the famous quotation of  Dr. Martin Luter King, we can say we have a dream. We dream the day when all those people who believe in God, in any religion of the world, especially the three big monotheistic ones: The Islam, the Jewish, and the Christian, will walk together to bring peace and justice to the people of all over the world.




- November:

Christ the King 


In the Old Testament the simile of the Shepherd has always been used by God to describe the nature and the mission of those God appointed in charge of the people. The King, in a special way, should be the guide of the people and He had the mission to defend it from its enemies.

Historically the guides of the people not always had been up to their task. (Had been up to scratch) That’s why in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel God promises that He himself will be the Shepherd of his people. He will tend his flock and he will do that with justice.

“I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I myself will look for my sheep and take care of them in the same way as a shepherd takes care of his sheep that were scattered and are brought together again. I will bring them back from all the places where they were scattered on the dark, disastrous day. I will take them out of foreign countries, gather them together, and bring them back to their own land. I will lead them back to the mountains and the streams of pastures. I will let them graze in safety in the mountain meadows and the valleys and in all the green pastures of the land of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will find them a place to rest. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. I will look for those that are lost, bring back those that wander off, bandage those that are hurt, and heal those that are sick; but those that are fat and strong I will destroy, because I am a shepherd who does what is right. Now then, my flock, I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I will judge each of you and separate the good from the bad, the sheep from the goats. Some of you are not satisfied with eating the best grass; you even trample down what you don’t eat! You drink the clear water and muddy what you don’t drink! My other sheep have to eat the grass you trample down and drink the water you muddy. So now, I, the Sovereign Lord, tell you that I will judge between you strong sheep and the weak sheep. You pushed the sick ones aside and butted them away from the flock. But I will rescue my sheep and not let them be mistreated any more. I will judge each of my sheep and separate the good from the bad.”  (Ez 34:11-22)


Jesus is the King

  In Jesus this prophecy would come true completely. Jesus is the Emmanuel: which means: God with us! Since Jesus is God made man He has the right to judge and his judgment is right! The reading from the Gospel of Matthew tell us the criteria Jesus will follow for judging all humankind. (Mt 25:31)

Jesus is the Shepherd-King who “is worthy to receive power, wealth, wisdom and strength, honor, glory, and praise” (Rev. 5:12) because: 

-         … He bandages the sheep that are hurt…

-         … He heals those that are sick…

-         … He brings back those sheep that wander off…(Ez. 34:16)

-          … He is the good Shepherd who is willing to die  for the sheep. (Jn.10:11)

  When it comes to this I would like to point out that the very Shepherd-King who will judge all the people is indeed the same shepherd that in this earthly world left the 99 sheep searching for the lost one…( Lk 15:1-7)

The Bible tells us that all the people in this world were born “lost”, were born “far away” from God, but given the context I have to deal with (Since June 2002, I am the catholic Chaplain of Brooklyn Detention Complex. And the previous two years I had been Chaplain in the Poggioreale Jail in Naples Italy) I cannot forget our Brothers and Sisters that have to live a part of their lives in Prisons. The bottom line is that we must consider them innocent until proven guilty by a Court of low. What’s more it’s not a mystery that lot of people condemned were found innocent after the DNA evidence. The last case is that of Eddie Joe Lloyd who spent the past 17 years of his life in prison. In August 2002 he was set free. DNA tests clearly showed that he could not have committed the crimes he had been sentenced for. Lloyd became the 110th person in the U.S. to be found guilty of a crime but later proven innocent by DNA tests. And finally a lot of people could have received a sentence too harsh for the crime they committed.


  Anyway a question comes up often to my mind:

  How the simile of the Good shepherd applies to the Disciples of Christ?

To be more precise: The verb used by Jesus is a verb that helps us understand that the shepherd use all his energy, skills, and power to try and save the lost sheep (The Shepherd leaves the 99 sheep, searching for the lost one)

The verbs used in the simile of the shepherd helps us understand that God is ready to do everything in order to “rehabilitate” the sheep that is lost, sick, hurt…

The joy the shepherd feels after finding the lost sheep helps us understand that the sheep is “worthy” no matter how lost it can be.

Have we understood the value every sheep has for God?

Are we ready to put every energy we have trying to rehabilitate the lost sheep?

What more can we do for those of our Brothers and Sisters who live in the labyrinth of crime and seem to be unable to get out of it?


- October:

Criminal Justice in U.S. (2)

According to FBI the number of U.S. crimes rose last year for the first time in a decade. An increase that coincided with an economic downturn that many experts say played a key role.

Murder, armed robbery, rape and burglary all were higher in 2001.


James Lynch, Professor at American University’s Department of Justice, Law and Society said: “The economy has to be the prime suspect” and Annette Bickford, a sociology professor at Long Island University, said that poverty and insecurity increase when the economy falters, breeding more crime. Violent crime in particular tends to rise when the gap widens between the haves and have-nots.”


If the criminal behavior is related to social-economic situations (i.e. related above all to the gap between those who have and those who have-nots and the consequent insecurity and uneasiness) it is important for reducing crimes trying to create a social system where everybody might have access to the education, jobs and so be productive part of the society.

Criminality is a phenomenon to be prevent before to be punish

According to the report of the Criminal Justice Department, the African Americans are 19% of the U.S. Population but make up the 48% of the Prisons population.

What do we mean when we say that criminality is a phenomenon to be prevent before to be punish?

In order not to be abstract I would like to quote a passage from the book of Jimmy Dumas titled: “24 reasons why African-Americans suffer”.

According to him lack of unity is one of these reasons and talking about the different Christian denominations the Author says:

“I propose that African-Americans churches unite under a common umbrella, with each contributing a minimum of $ 20.00 per week. This will create a strong economic base out of which we can begin to heal the sick, feed the hungry, create new business, educate children, and heal families. The African American Church and its congregations must get in step and unite today…together, these denominations represent 65,00 churches and a membership of more than 20 million people…We must work with the Congress of National Black Churches to create the economic stability that we need to survive. If each one of the 85,000 member churches assumed responsibility for incubating one business which would then hire one employee, them 85,000 people would then removed from unemployment roles. The weekly contribution of $20.00 per week would generate $885 million for community renewal and development initiatives. I know I am dreaming, but this is not impossible. It can and must be done.”

And talking to the black people the author says:

“ So we know we can vote, protest, and boycott, but can we come together to make money and build a strong Black economy? We did, once. In 1900, Booker T. Washington invited prosperous African American business owners from across the country to meet to discuss the formation of a national organization. According to Charles Wesley, 400 business leaders from 34 states met in Boston to form the Negro Business League.

If we did it then, we can do it again.

We have everything we need to develop unity around economic issues. Love, respect, and our love of God can withstand any attack. We have the power to move against poverty, unemployment, poor education and health care, and all the other ills that face our community.”




- September:

The Spirit is like the wind  

(see Jn.3,8)


A wonderful blue sky and a radiant Sun with thousand of people gathered for the anniversary of the terrorist attack to the Twin Towers This was the scenario I saw the past September eleven at the World Trade Center.

 Since the dawn a lot of people, in pilgrimage-style came to the Ground Zero.

The main event of the day took place at the 8,45 a.m. a minute before the first plane struck the North Tower.

The mayor Michael Bloomberg called for a minute of silence for paying respect to the victims.

“Why such a waste of human life” - the Mayor asked himself- “Today we say to the terrorists: Look at us! We are here, and we will be stronger than before!”

Governor Pataki read a thought of Abraham Lincoln and after that he gave the word to the former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani who, applauded from everybody, started to read the name of the 2823 victims identified in the Twin Towers

Secretary of State, Colin Powell, Senator, Hillary Clinton; Actor, Robert De Niro; and many of the relatives and friends of the victims continued reading the names.


A moving experience

  I got the opportunity  to go down to Ground Zero where only the relatives of the victims and the Authorities were allowed. It was a moving experience!

Everybody with the pictures of the relatives that died in their hands. Many of them were crying. There were people in charge of the commemoration giving flowers to everybody. You went down to Ground Zero in an unreal silence interrupted by the constant reading of the name with some wonderful-moving-patriotic song in the background.


The Spirit is like the wind.

Nevertheless what struck the imagination of us all was a …strong, incredible wind.

A strong wind and not a few people ( I confess I got the same feeling) got the idea that in that wind the very souls of the victims were present to give the certainty of their presence in the midst of us. It was like the souls wanted to tell us: We are here with you now!

I remember that such a wind reminded me of two passages of the Bible which fostered my meditation in that moment.


The Spirit of God gives life to the dry bones

  The first quotation from the Bible is form the Prophet Ezekiel (Ez: 37,1-14)

 “I felt the powerful presence of the Lord, and his Spirit took me and set me down in a valley where the ground was covered with bones”

After God asked the prophet whether in his opinion the bones could come back to life He said to the Prophet: “Mortal man, prophesy to the wind. Tell the wind that the Sovereign Lord commands it to come from every direction, to breathe into these dead bodies, and to bring them back to life.”

The passage from the Bible goes on describing how the Spirit as a strong wind gave life to the dry bones.


The Spirit unites all the people from all over the world in one people of God.

The second quotation from the Bible is from the Acts of the Apostles, chapter two. There in the Pentecost day the Apostles with Mary the Mother of Jesus witnessed the coming of the Holy Spirit

“When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting”

The result of the coming of the Holy Spirit is the gathering of all people from all over the world in one people: the people of God! In this way all the divisions, the injustice between people will be destroyed.


A very precious “dust”

I got dusty from the World Trade Center. “You were made from dust and you will become dust again” so God said to Adam after the original sin and indeed the Word of God should convince us to be a little more humble.

“You were made from dust and you will become dust again”, yet God loves this “dust” so much up to give His only Son… and wanted to prepare for us a place in heaven. This “dust” was meant to enter the eternal life! So that in the light of the faith we know that we are a very precious “dust”



- August:

Criminal Justice in U.S.  

Some aspect of the Criminal Justice System in U.S.


Reading the document of the American Bishops, Responsability, rehabilitation, and Restoration, pubblished in the occasion of the Jubilee of the year 2000, you can realize (reading the paragraph about the characteristics of the Inmate Population, pag 9) that the most of the inmate population are Blacks and Latinos.

 The document states that “Just as African and Hispanic Americans are victimized at higher rates, so too, are they incarcerated at higher rates.

African Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population but represent more than 49 percent of prisoners in state and federal prison. Nationally, one in ten African American males is in prison, on probation, or in parole.

Hispanic American make up 9 percent of the U.S. population but 19 percent of prisoners in state and federal prisons.”

The Catholic Bishops state that “Recent studies ...confirm that the racism and discrimination that continue to haunt our nation are reflected in similar ways in the criminal justice system.”

After reading this document I decided to deepen this reality for finding out the reasons of it and to understand the role the African American and Latinos play in the American Society.

In a article pubblished in the ‘Message’ Magazine, Gilbert B. Cooper II (He is a teacher in Cleveland, Ohio, at Romah Jumior Academy) outlines the wider picture of the black situation at the beginning of the third Millennium.

 Cooper states that in spite of the many accomplishments that African-Americans have experienced in the twentieth century yet it is apparent that not much has changed for African-American.

 “In a time of enlightment and grand societal acceptance of alternativee lifestyles, to bring up the words ‘racism’ and ‘equality’ seems awkward, a term of the past. Unfortunately racism is not a thing of the past. This is not to understate the many accomplishement that African-American have experienced in the twentieth century yet it is apparent that not much has changed for African-American.

In the August 1999 issue of Emerge magazine, it was reported that blacks are migrating into the corporate arena and operating major firms. In the article ‘Minding Our Business’, we were reminded that Kenneth Chenault is only the second African-American chosen to head a fortune 500 company, and he won’t assume that post until the year 2001.

On the political front one cannot forget the recent accomplishments of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who negotiated the freedom of Lt. Robert Goodman in Damascus and the three U.S. soldiers in Yugoslavia.

The June 7,1999, issue of Newsweek highlights Black income at its highest rate, and unemployment at its lowest in a quarter century.

The rate of Black high school graduates has increased significantly since 1973. African-Americans are improving on their standardized-testing proficiency scores, and college attendance is up. Neverthless most of the figures relate the same story, that although headway has been made on many fronts, African-Americans significantly trail far behind White Americans.

 So – states Cooper - why rain on the parade? Why make race a factor? Isn’t true racism obsolete? Have not even the most racist hatemongers reformed, and aren’t  Black people beginning to realize their true potential?

 There are many who feel inclined to say leave race out of this. But that is impossible when today’s social indexes present powerfully discouraging data od an African-American society in disarrey.

Attorney David Cole in his book No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System lists examples of an unbalanced judicial system. “The per capita incarceration rate among blacks is seven times that among whites. African-Americans makes up about 12 percent of the general population, but more than half of the prison population. They serve longer sentences, have higher arrest and conviction rates, face higher bail amounts, and are more often the victims of police use of deadly force than white citizens...Nationally, for every one black man who graduates from college, 100 are arrested.”

The high incidence of police brutality against Black male can be attributed to the way cops perceive Blacks as criminals by virtue of their ethnicity. These perceptions are reflected in crime-fighting tactics and are now the most charged racial issue in America.

Joffery Goldberg in a recent New York Times magazine article, ‘The Color of Suspicion’wrote about the Diallo case, which captured national attention a few years ago. “The systematic harassment of black drivers in New Jersey, the shooting of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, by New York City police officers earlier this year, and other incidents in other states have brought the relationship between blacks and cops to a level of seemingly irreversible toxicity.”

 The media has also played a dramatic role in this perilous plight by depicting African-Amwericans in roles that do not testify of their true essence. As a result, African-Americans are blighted because most people refuse to accept them as talented, capable, and willing contributors to society.

The images given to society are engineered by eithr cruel or careless producers, who consistently sponsor a barrage of misleading racial stereotypes (some of them are, for example, the lack of education, the lazeness with the lack of will to find a job that really do not testify the truth) such as the now-defunct Martin show. Fox’s “Pj’s,’ to say nothing of gangsta rap, (it is a kind of music which reflect the problem of the young people living in the inner city). which further perpetuates the negative myths about African American.

 More discouraging is the fact that African American support the things that destroy our self-image.

In a recent issue of USA Today, an article titled “Something to Offend Everyone” dealt with movies that were crossing the racial line by filling the screen with such stereotypes. Surprisingly, the movie that received the harshest criticism was George Luca’s “Star Wars, Episode I: the Phantom Menace”, whose character Jar Jar Binks was berated as “the most repulsive figure in the history of the sci-fi and fantasy genre...a computerized Sambo...a Rastafarian Stepin Fetchit on platform hoofs,” ha scritto Andy Seiler. By many we are still seen only through constricted social irises.




- July:

Drop the Rock!  

Push is on the reform

This was one of the headline of the “Daily News” Sunday, May 26,2002.

The story of Cherie Gallipoli related in the article point out that she is serving 15 years to life at Taconic Correctional facility in Westchester County. She was caught up in a sweep when her drug-dealer husband was arrested in 1991.

Only the most horrific killers get a similar sentence –  and many get far less.

“Harsh” and “Draconian” are the adjectives most frequently used to describe the Rockefeller statutes, which were signed into law 30 years ago this month and are the subject of a major legislative battle in Albany.

Gallipoli, like hundreds of other relatively low-level drug offenders, is being punished more severely than Joel Steinberg, who got eight to 25 years in the child-abuse killing of his 8-years-old daughter, Lisa;

More   than Wilfred Letlow, who fatally stabbed his wife 92 times in Queens (8, 2/3 to 25 years); more than Ann Perry, who killed her boyfriend by poisoning his milk shakes (6, ½ years)

  The campaign

Saturday June15, 2002 a sit in was held in NYC to support the “Drop the Rock campaign” to repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws.

A powerful, diverse array of individuals & organizations throughout NYS is working vigorously on the Drop the Rock Campaign. Through education, organizing, advocacy & action, Drop the Rock aims to repeal the drug laws, restore community programs &services & halt NY’s racist, ineffective, & inhumane prison expansion program.


The reasons for the Campaign

Enacted in 1973 under then-Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, the Rockefeller Drug Laws require harsh prison terms for the possession or sale of relatively small amounts of drugs.

The harshest provision mandates a judge to impose a prison term of no less than 15 years to life for anyone convicted of selling 2 or possessing 4 ounces of a narcotic substance. The penalties apply without regard to the circumstances of the offense or the individual’s character or background.

Guilt under the drug laws is determined not to by the offenders’ role in narcotics transactions, but by the amount of drugs in their possession at the time of arrest. The laws provide an incentive to police and prosecutors to concentrate their efforts on minor dealers and users who are the most easily arrested, prosecuted, and penalized, rather than on the drug trade’s major profiteers, who never carry drugs.

The drug laws fill prisons with non-violent, minor offenders and divert government funding from programs and services such as drug treatment and education.

There are over 19,000 drug offenders in NYS prisons, nearly 80% of  whom were never convicted of a violent felony. It cost NYS nearly $2 billion to construct new prisons to house them. The operating expense for confining drug offenders comes to over $610 million per year.

In 2001, over 40% of the people sent to NYS prisons were drug offenders, compared to only 11% in 1980.

From 1988 to 1998, the state increased annual prison spending by &761 million and decreased spending on state and city universities by about $615 million.


Studies show that the majority of people who use and sell drugs are white, yet African-Americans and Latinos-Americans comprise about 94% of the drug offenders in NYS prisons.


  We must look for alternatives

A recent 2001 Correctional Association report, a 1997 RAND Drug Policy Research Center study, and several studies by the National Institute on drug Abuse confirm that treatment is the most effective tool in the fight against drug abuse and drug-related crime.


-              While the yearly cost of keeping an inmate in NYS prison is about $32,000, most drug free outpatient care costs between $2,700 -$4,500 per person per year and residential drug treatment costs $ 17,000-21,000.


  President Bush administration

The very President Bush and his administration is looking for better alternatives: ( This is an extract from an article of the “Corrections Today” magazine of June 2002 The title is “President Aims to reduce illegal Drugs” pag. 14;  by Joey R. Weedon )


In announcing the 2002 National Drug Control Strategy, makes it clear that drug treatment and education will pay a much more important role in the fight against crime. After years of “tough on crime” policies that resulted in a dramatic increase in prison population, Bush decides to change the strategy. Based on three principles:

-              Stopping   drug use before it starts: education and community action

-              Healing   America’s drug users: getting treatment resources where they are needed.

-              Disrupting the market: attacking the economic basis of the drug trade


The goal of the 2002 strategy is to reduce the current use of illegal drugs by 10 percent within five years.

-              To accomplish the goals of the 2002 National Drug Control Strategy, Americans must set norms in homes, school, places of worship, the work-place, and civic and social organizations that reaffirm the values of responsibility and good citizenship while dismissing the notion that drug use is consistent with individual freedom. The strategy, through programs designed to promote the first principle, ties national leadership with community-level support to help recreate the formula that helped the United States succeed against drugs in the past.

-              The second principle focuses on getting people into treatment programs, “including programs that call upon the power of faith” . The success of this principle requires the creation of a new climate of “compassionate coercion” which begins with family, friends, employers and the community to encourage individuals to seek necessary treatment. Compassionate coercion also promotes the use of the criminal justice system to get people into treatment. The strategy envisions making drug treatment available to more Americans who need it.

-              The third principle regard attacking the economic basis of the drug trade. Simply put, the demand for drugs tends to vary with their price and availability. Disrupting this market relationship provides policy-makers with a clear lever to reduce use. Through the cooperative, combined efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement, the strategy seeks to reduce availability of drugs, increasing the costs to consumers who, unable to afford the increased prices, hopefully will turn to treatment programs.


According to the 2002 National Drug Control Strategy, the total economic cost to society of illegal drug use in 2000 was estimated  at $ 160 billion, a 57 percent increase from 1992. The three major components of the total cost are health care costs ($14.9 billion), productivity losses ($110.5 billion), and other costs ($35.2 billion), including the cost of goods and services lost to crime, the criminal justice system and social welfare.

The American Correctional Association has long supported efforts to provide drug education, prevention and gander-responsive treatment programs, both in community corrections and within facilities. The Association will work with its membership, community organizations and government officials to help the President meet his ambitious but achievable goal of a 25 percent reduction in illegal drug use in the United States.

The 2002 National Drugs Control Strategy seems to be an answer to the Statement  of the Catholic Bishops in the document :”Responsibility Rehabilitation, and Restoration, (December 2000) when They says: “Putting more people in prison and, sadly, more people to death has not given  Americans  the security we seek. It is time for a new national dialoque on crime and correction, justice  and mercy, responsibility and treatment” (pag 1)





June 10, 2002  


I’m going on my way to the 10th floor Department of Correctional office based in a wonderful building at Washington street in the lower Manhattan, where a employee will give me the pass I need for entering the prison and start my mission. The skyscraper is situated a few meters from Battery park where you can take the ferry to visit the statue of liberty and Ellis Island.

When I see this huge statue of Liberty I always think about freedom.

What’s freedom? How you can get freedom? When are you really free?

Jesus in the Gospel says He’s coming to give freedom to the prisoners. What does that means?

Today I start officially my mission as  chaplain of Brooklyn detention Center after two years spent in the prison of Poggioreale in Naples, Italy.

Nevertheless the question is always the same: How can I continue the mission of Jesus bringing freedom to the prisoners?

Jesus in the Gospel says to the people: “Your captivity is over!”  But which captivity is He talking about? When the listeners say they had never been slave of anybody Jesus reply is : Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. If I set you free you will be really free.

The captivity of sin. We are slave in our hearts because of sins.

Paraphrasing the words of Jesus we could say: Blessed are the free in hearts for they shall inherit the Kingdom of God!


Freedom in the Heart Operation


The freedom of the world starts…

For the coming of the messiah great changes in the Jew society and in the entire world as well, as Jews people believed - had been announced. New political structures, a Justice produced by God Himself, the freedom from the Roman Empire, the global leadership entrusted to the Jews, all the richness of the people would come to Jerusalem: the Holy City.

The disappointed speech of the disciples of Emmaus along the road (Lk. 24,13ss) reveals that hope for the great changes disappointed by the death of Jesus on the Cross: “And we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free!…) (Lk. 24,21)


…From the heart of the man.

  Everybody was surprised when the change they expected it should happen in the society (outside) happened but in their hearts (inside).

The freedom of the world starts from the hearts of the disciples worked by the Holy Spirit. (Act. Chapter 2)


  1-The announced Operation.

There is no doubt regarding the will of God of announcing through the prophets the coming of his Son in the world and his project to free humankind from the inside. Here is what He says through the prophet Ezechiel: “The Lord Yahweh says this:…I am going to take you from among the nations and gather you together from all the foreign countries, and bring you home to your own land. I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed,…I shall give you a new heart, and put  a new spirit in you.” (Ez.36,22-26)


Not body only but above all heart.

In the old Testament already, - but the revelation will be very clear in the New Testament – man is more than body, there is a inside reality (heart) that is not material but spiritual.


Superior to the matter the “heart” is – Biblical speaking – the dwelling of the spiritual and deepest self, where the basic desicions are made: desicions that decides the orientation of our life.


The heart can be… “dirty”

God does not look at the appearence as man does, (cfr.Sam.c.16), but He looks at the heart, because He knows that is in the deepest of our heart more than in the outside look that  the life is at stake. In fact for man the most terribile enemy is not outside but inside himself…Jesus will make this statement: “For from the inside, from a person’s heart, come the evil ideas which leads him to do immoral things, to rob, kill, commit adultery, be greedy, and do all sorts of evil things; deceit, indecency, jealousy, slander, pride, and folly – all these evil things come from inside a person and make him unclean” (Mc:7,21-23). The contamination made by sins makes man slave of sin: “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples, you will know the truth, and the the truth will set you free” (Jn: 8,31ss) When the people answered: “We are descendants of Abraham and we have never been anybody’s slaves”, Jesus said to them: “I am telling you the truth: everyone who sins is a slave of sin” (Jn: 8,33)

In fact sin contaminates in the deep the heart of man prevent him from loving and be free, because being free means being ebale to love. The more you love the more you are free. The real prison is egoism!


In fact following the relate of the original sin in the Bible we can notice that the root of every sin, egoism, is a self-destructing distortion of the orientation of the "self"; when refusing to love God and humankind and withdrawing into one’s self for a sort of diabolic illusion to become a god, (cfr.Gn.3,5) one loses himself in the labyrinth of depression and madness.

Misteriously enough Adam and Eve’s original sin become humankind’sin. The life, for man, contaminated in the deepest of the heart is getting a hell. Thus Ada, the old man, (Eph.4,22), turns to be the symbol of all humankind calling for salvation, called to get rid of sin and starting to be free from heart.


2) The launching of the new operation

The birth of Jesus in this world (cfr.Lc.c.2), marks the presence of a new humankindsegna la comparsa di una nuova umanità. The Word of God made man through Mary give the creation the last incredibile, wonderful shift forward. In Jesus the creation reach its goal S. Paul says that God created averything in order to Christ. (cfr.Col.1,16b). He is the First-Born of the new-creation (Col.1,18). The new-man, with a new heart, clean heart, whom refusing the temptations of the devil trying to convince Jesus to bend over himself being egoist (cfr.Lc.4,1-12) will show the beauty of a superior life, divine, free, oriented forward God and the people.

 Rising Jesus from the dead God confirm his support for… (cfr.Lc.3,21-22). Thus Jesus Gesù accomplishes his mission to get the God’ project about man comes true. Jesus will reach in that way the bounderies of every human perfection. In this sense , Jesus is the “future” of Adam (=every man born in this world) Jesus is our future! We have to become Jesus!


3) The operation is undergone”

It is clear that Adam “the first man” made of earth, (cfr.1Cor.15,47), that was being destroyed (=getting aged) by its deceitful desires. (cfr.Eph: 4,22); Adam is the symbol of all humankind whose  “thoughts have become complete nonsense, and their empty minds are filled with darkness. They say they are wise, but they are fools; instead of worshiping the immortal God, they worship images made to look like mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. And so God has given those people over to do the filthy things their hearts desire, and they do shameful things with each other. They exchange the truth about God for a lie; they worship and serve what God has created instead of the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever! Amen. Because they do this, God has given them over to shameful passions. Even the women pervert the natural use of their sex by innatural acts. In the same way the men give up natural sexual relations with women and burn with passion for each other. Men do shameful things with each other, and as a result they bring upon themselves the punishment they deserte for their wrongdoing. Because those people refuse to keep in mind the true knowledge about God, He has given them over to corrupted minds, so that they do the things that they should not do. They are filled with all kinds of wickedness, evil, greed, and vice; they are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, deceit, and malice. They gossip and speak evil of one another; they are hateful to God, insolent, proud, and boastful; they think of more ways to do evil; They disobey their parents; they have no conscience; they do not keep their promises, and they show no kindness or pity for others. They know that God’s law says that people who live in this way deserte death. Yet, not only do they continue to do these very things, but they even approve of others who do them. (Rom.1,23-32).

This Adam is obsolete, is the man of the “past” Jesus is the man coming from the future.Adam is slave of his egoism. Adam must submit himself to a freedom operation in the deep of his heart by God if he wants to get rid of the frustrations, failures, frailty, slavery, deep depression in which the sin had him fall down.


Jesus starts... 

“Is it easier to say to this paralyzed man, Your sins are forgiven,  or to say: Get up, pick up your mat, and walk?” (Mc.2,9).

This is the “bet” Jesus propose to the Adam of every century and every place. Jesus only has the power to convert the egoistic orientation of the human self that cause all sins that prevent mankind to be free. “I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to sorgive sins. So he said to the paralysed man, I tell you , get up, pick your mat, and go home!” (Mc.2,10)

For “Salvation is to be found  through him alone; in all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can save us” (At.4,12)


…with the power of the Holy Spirit…

We urge to repent in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and starting this liberation process of the heart from sins. (At.2,38)

“E perché non vivessimo più per noi stessi, ma per lui, che è morto ed è risorto per noi hai mandato, o Padre, lo Spirito santo, primo Dono ai credenti, per compiere ogni liberazione” (dalla liturgia della Santa Messa).


…Freedom in the heart Operation.

Life on this heart is a pilgrimage, a exodus, a spiritual trip that the heart (=the deep self) has to do from the “far country” (Lk. 15:13) (=being Adam the obsolete man, the old man) until the Father’s House, the “country” of the freedom, the “country” where our humanity will be fulfill (“When I will be in heaven , there I will be a real man” S Ignatious of Antiochia)

Everybody who will be able to reach this “house”, after washing their souls from sin, having them white through the blood of the Lamb, (cfr.Ap.7,14), never will stop to be surprised in the wonderful feast whith God and all his saints (cfr.Ap.22,14)



  - November:

Starting again from (Ground) Zero!

(New York,  November 7 - 17 )


Thank God I was able to visit  New York from November 7 - 17.   During that time I was able to look down from where the “World Trade Center" once stood to what is now called  "Ground Zero". The impression was a sort of enormous desolation. It seems that in the near future  there will be a light set which will be made in Italy and precisely in Fobiano, Alessandria, Italy. The lights ( 88 beams developing 88 millions watt they could reach a great height almost 7-8 kilometers ) will be able to reproduce in the skyline  of N.Y. the Twin Towers. they will be seen from everywhere.  Why these light?

First of all these lights will remember the thousands of innocent victims of the terrorist attack and consequently the firm condemnation of all terrorism. But we believe that those lights will have another and more important mission. 

Starting again from Zero!

Considering the terrorist attack against the USA, not only the American people but all of human kind must ask themselves:  Where are we going? We have to reconsider the basic values we are "using" to build our future.  And just in case we have to be aware of something wrong in it we  have to have the courage to change it. We must start again from Zero! Jeremy Rifkin, author of the book "L'era dell'accesso" ( The Age of the Access) (Mondadori 2000) and President of the "Foundation on Economic Trends" based in Washington D. C., in a article published by the weekly magazine "Panorama" 27  on September 27, courageously and against the trend made the statement that is very important to increase the rate of security in the country and to destroy the sanctuaries of the terrorism in the world, but this is not enough! We musk ask ourselves: "Why did the terrorists attack only the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center?" ...Even if the majority of the American people think that international commerce is the most important media to increase the welfare of the people of the entire world, some of them have experienced the dark side of  globalization..."

Which is the dark side of the Globalization?

The real solution of the terrorism is not the war! We have to search somewhere else. Rifkin says that:

  “…Today the patrimony of the richest 356 persons overtakes the total annual patrimony of the 40% of the human kind. While we are talking in enthusiastic mood of the globalization, e-commerce and the revolution in communicatios, the 60% of the global population don't have a telephone and never made a call phone. One third of the people in the world have no electricity. In the age of the global economy almost 0ne billion of person in the world are unemployed or under employed and they have to live on just one dollar a day; 850 millions cannot eat in a healthy way and hundreds of millions don't have potable water and gasoline to warm their houses.  Half of the global population are out of the official economy and are forced to work for the black market or for the organized crime. Furthemore, globalization ( the way we know it today) is an attack on the cultures of the people in the world.  Many people are afraid that globalization could make them lose their cultural identity.

The answer to the terrorism? Solidarity!

Who hit with a sword by the sword will be hit" These words of Jesus are very important even for our generation. The violence cannot be the definitive solution for any problem. The great Mahatma Gandhi used to say: Eye for an eye and all the world becomes blind!" Regarding this Rifkin says:

This is the sad reality of the world in which we live today and even if now we American are not in the right mood to talk about that if we not take into consideration the poverty existing in the world the  terrorism  will increase and spreading everywhere. The poverty and exclusion in which live lot of people drives them to despair. It is this despairing situation in which terrorism from political of religious of ethnic origin can work

 Refkin finally says that the nations must work together not only in the military fields but above all in " keeping the democratic spirit, openness and tolerance and dealing with the injustices that allow terrorism to find people for its goals. The second option is the only one that can  definitely and totally solve the problem of terrorism in the long term.

United we stand

In New York I was struck by a slogan that you could find everywhere saying:  United We Stand! As a matter of fact the solidarity expressed by all the world, but especially by the Americans towards the victims of the terrorist attack has been incredible!  For example,  it was striking to see how many people were standing on line waiting to giving their blood for the wounded because of the attack. During my stay in NY I thought a lot about that expression United We Stand! and as a day-dream full of hope I told  myself:  

What a wonderful day it will be when not only the American people but all the people all over the world, at last united, will say: United We Stand!

Don Bruno