U.S. Catholics: Write your bishop to encourage his support of active nonviolence

Updated July 5, 2017

“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.

Please use this form to let the campaign know if you take action.

Catholics in the United States are asked to choose a date in July (see suggestions below) 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 to respond to 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.

  • July 6: birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso), spiritual leader of Tibetian Buddhists and active proponent of nonviolence
  • July 7: birthday of Sr. Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN, martyred for protecting the Amazon’s land and indigenous people.
  • July 18: birthday of Nelson Mandela, who abandoned violence and embraced nonviolence; endured decades of imprisonment for his political stance; and helped end apartheid rule and enabled the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa
  • July 22: Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, first to testify to resurrection
  • July 30: World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

See here for more details, sample letter, and to report your action.

Photo of the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows, Chicago © 2008, Jeremy Atherton

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2 replies

  1. Peace was Jesus’ message and should be for the Church, especially the leaders.

  2. We desperately need another Martin Luther King. He was for non violence but he was not afraid to criticize the U.S. government. In a speech he gave on April 4, 1967, he said the U.S. government was “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” That is still true, but no clergy man comes out and says it, and that includes the Pope.

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