“Instruments of reconciliation” is a new national campaign to amplify active nonviolence in the U.S. Catholic Church. Catholics in other parts of the world might adapt the information for their local situations.
Catholics in the United States are asked to choose one of three dates during May to share their hope for greater teaching and commitment to active nonviolence with their bishop and to invite him to affirm active nonviolence as the “nucleus of the Christian revolution” by 1) sharing and speaking about Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace message broadly within their diocese, seminaries, and other ministries and 2) concretely committing to an initiative to scale-up practices of active nonviolence.
As Pope Benedict wrote, “For Christians, nonviolence is not merely tactical behavior but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that he or she is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Love of one’s enemy constitutes the nucleus of the ‘Christian revolution.’”
We want to support our bishops in their efforts, like Pope Francis, who pledged the assistance of the church in “every effort to build peace through active and creative nonviolence.” Some dioceses – such as the Archdiocese of Chicago – are already experimenting with a commitment to a culture of nonviolence and practical steps to greater active nonviolence to address tensions and crime within the diocese. Pope Francis wrote them a letter of encouragement.
May 3 is the anniversary of “The challenge of peace: God’s promise and our response” (1983), the U.S. bishops’ pastoral letter.
May 21 is the feast of Austrian conscientious objector and martyr Franz Jägerstätter who was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.
Photo of the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows, Chicago © 2008, Jeremy Atherton