Michael Iafrate of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia and Fr. Edwin Gariguez of Caritas Philippines profile the Catholic response to the environmental and human injustices that result from coal mining.
Michael Iafrate—A West Virginia native, he is a doctoral candidate in theology for the University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, in addition to serving as co-coordinator of the CCA. He was also lead author of the CCA's 2015 "people's pastoral," The Telling Takes Us Home: Taking Our Place in the Stories that Shape Us. His writing has appeared in National Catholic Reporter and Religion Dispatches, in various journals and in the edited collections Secular Music & Sacred Theology (Liturgical Press, 2013) and Music, Theology & Justice (Lexington Books, forthcoming 2017). He is also a singer-songwriter and old-time musician.
Fr. Edwin Gariguez—In addition to his role with NASSA/Caritas Philippines, he is also the longtime pastor of the Mangyan Mission Catholic Church on Mindoro Island. He has worked for decades with the indigenous communities there, especially to protect their rights and ancestral lands against harmful large-scale mining projects. He is a cofounder of the Alliance Against Mining (ALAMIN), which united thousands of Mindoro's indigenous peoples, farmers and local and provincial political leaders. In 2009, with other ALAMIN members, he led an 11-day hunger strike which resulted in an investigation that brought to a stop the illegal mining operations underway by the transnational corporation, Intex.
January 26, 2017