To celebrate the 2007 Sabbath Year, LCWR members will support our sisters and brothers in poor, debt burdened countries by promoting debt cancellation, especially through participation in the fall 2007 Rolling Fast to call for a congressional hearing on the Jubilee Act. We LCWR members commit ourselves to choose at least two additional concrete actions that will promote the release from debt.
Since 2000, Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of faith groups and non-profit organizations, has advocated for cancellation of debt for the world’s most impoverished nations. 2007 has been proclaimed the Sabbath Year because this is the seventh year of this effort and marks the halfway point in reaching the Millennium Development Goals. In the Hebrew Scriptures, we find a vision of life in community that is liberating and just, governed by Sabbath cycles – the Sabbath Day, the Sabbath Year and the Jubilee year. Sabbath Year observance requires that every seven years debts are canceled and those enslaved because of debts are freed, restoring equal relations among community members/nations and preventing a situation of ongoing exploitation in which the rich accumulate ever more wealth at the expense of the poor. “…proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inheritants; it shall be a jubilee for you.” (Lev. 25: 10) In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus follows in this tradition in declaring a “year of God’s favor.” ( Lk. 4: 18-19)
Because the LCWR Assembly occurs halfway through 2007, in November, 2006 the Executive Committee endorsed the Sabbath Year and encouraged member congregations to take part in activities, especially the Rolling Fast in Fall 2007, and advocacy for the Jubilee Act when it is introduced into Congress. With this Assembly Resolution, LCWR members have the opportunity to endorse participation in the Rolling Fast. (In 1999, LCWR participated in a similar fast, with each congregation signing up for a specific date.)
The ongoing crisis and the work yet to be done: In late 1997, thousands of people came together, especially within the Catholic Church, in support of debt cancellation. Jubilee 2000 formed an organized effort in the U.S. and began to connect with Jubilee groups in other countries. In 2005, the G-8 countries forgave the debt of 18 countries, but the cancellation depended on conditions.