COVID-19: Toward authentic security rooted in nonviolence

The following reflection was written by Marie Dennis, a member of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative executive committee and senior advisor to Pax Christi International‘s secretary general. She served as co-president of Pax Christi International from 2007-2019.

The coronavirus has upended communities around the world, threatening livelihoods and lives, forcing a previously unthinkable change in daily routines, helping everyone to recognize the fragility of life and the deep injustice that leaves too many people, communities and countries vastly more vulnerable than others. At the same time, the impact of the pandemic is being universally felt as it crosses political, geographic, economic, social, religious and cultural boundaries, powerfully illustrating the reality of global interdependence and calling into question our basic assumptions about security and the politics of fear and division. Continue reading COVID-19: Toward authentic security rooted in nonviolence

A brief report on CNI efforts in 2019

Since its founding in 2016, the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (CNI), a project of Pax Christi International, has significantly advanced the conversation and understanding of nonviolence and just peace in the Catholic Church and beyond.

Formed after the April 2016 Nonviolence and Just Peace conference held in Rome, the CNI strives to see the Catholic Church help lead the world away from perpetual violence and war by an expanded investment of its intellectual, pastoral, academic, diplomatic, and financial resources in educating Catholics and society at large about active nonviolence as a practical and effective tool for building peace within families, local communities, nationally and globally. Continue reading A brief report on CNI efforts in 2019

New resource explores broad dimensions of “just peace”

This new resource, A Just Peace Ethic Primer, published by Georgetown University Press, includes contributions from several people who have been deeply engaged with the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative.

Ordering information is below.

The just peace movement offers a critical shift in focus and imagination. Recognizing that all life is sacred and seeking peace through violence is unsustainable, the just peace approach turns our attention to re-humanization, participatory processes, nonviolent resistance, restorative justice, reconciliation, racial justice, and creative strategies of active nonviolence to build sustainable peace, transform conflict, and end cycles of violence. A Just Peace Ethic Primer illuminates a moral framework behind this praxis and proves its versatility in global contexts.

Read more about just peace in this handout provided for the participants at the 2019 Path of nonviolence, Towards a culture of peace workshop held at the Vatican. Continue reading New resource explores broad dimensions of “just peace”

Nigerian bishop: Nonviolence is the only way

The following article was published by Catholic News Service, the news wire service of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

While Christians may feel angry, sad and tempted to carry out vengeance in the face of death, nonviolence is the appropriate response to violence, Bishop [Matthew] Kukah added. “It is the road less traveled, but it is the only way.”

Nonviolent response urged for terrorist killings in Nigeria
Posted February 12, 2020

KAKAU, Nigeria (CNS) — Describing a seminarian who was kidnapped and killed by terrorists as a martyr, a Nigerian bishop urged worshipers at the young man’s funeral to uphold their faith and demand that the country’s president protect people of all faiths in violence-prone areas of the country.

“It is time to confront and dispel the clouds of evil that hover over us,” Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto said during his homily Feb. 11 at the funeral Mass for the seminarian, Michael Nnadi.

Nnadi, 18, was kidnapped with three other seminarians and the wife of a doctor Jan. 8 during an attack at the Good Shepherd Seminary in Kakau, in Nigeria’s Kaduna state. Continue reading Nigerian bishop: Nonviolence is the only way

Future of nonviolence in Catholic social teaching

Several theologians who have been active with the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative contributed essays to a recent issue of Expositions (Vol. 13, No. 2), an online newsletter published by Villanova University’s Center for Liberal Education.

You can find the essays here.

They include:

“Renewing Catholicism: Toward Recommitting to Gospel Nonviolence throughout the Roman Catholic Church,” Ken Butigan

“The Realism Objection to Setting Aside the Just War Theory: A Response,” David Cochran

“War: Reversing the Works of Mercy,” Eileen Egan

“Nonviolence: The Witness of a Church of Mercy,” Leo Guardado

“Nonviolence as a Tradition of Moral Praxis,” Kyle B. T. Lambelet

“Nonviolence: Building Gospel-based Communities Addressing Situations of Violence Today,” Sr. Anne McCarthy OSB

“Catholic Nonviolence: Transforming Military Institutions,” Eli McCarthy

“What Will it Take: Learning from Pope Francis’ Peace Pedagogy,” Gerald Schlabach

“Pope Francis, Nonviolence, and Catholic Teaching on War,” John Sniegocki

Nonviolence nurtures hope, can renew the Church

The following statement was affirmed by most of the participants at the 2019 Path of Nonviolence: Towards a culture of peace workshop, sponsored by Pax Christi International and held at the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. (Photo of 2019 workshop by Johnny Zokovitch)

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As Christians committed to faithfully following in the footsteps of Jesus, we are called to take a clear stand for active nonviolence and against all forms of violence. In this spirit, people from many nations gathered for Path of Nonviolence: Towards a Culture of Peace, a consultation held at the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development on April 4-5, 2019 in Rome. This was an important follow-up to the Nonviolence and Just Peace conference held in Rome in April 2016 co-sponsored by the then-Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International.

Our recent gathering of people of God from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, Europe, and the Americas included lay people, theologians, members of religious congregations, priests, bishops, and cardinals. Many of us live in communities experiencing violence and oppression. All of us are practitioners of justice and peace.

We are grateful for the special focus that Pope Francis has placed on the spiritual and practical power of active nonviolence to promote integral human development and cultures of peace, including through the 2017 World Day of Peace message on “Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace,” where he proclaimed: “To be true followers of Jesus today…includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence.” We know that Jesus consistently practiced nonviolence in a context that was extremely violent, but “nonviolence was not just a response to particular situations in the life of Jesus – it was the whole life of Jesus” (Cardinal Peter Turkson, University of San Diego, October 7, 2017). Continue reading Nonviolence nurtures hope, can renew the Church