Pope Francis prays for healing for victims of violence in Chicago

From CBS News:

Chicago’s continuing problems with gun violence have caught the attention of Pope Francis, who has told Cardinal Blase Cupich he is praying for “healing and reconciliation.”

“Please convey to the people of Chicago that they have been on my mind and in my prayers. I know that many families have lost loved ones to violence. I am close to them, I share in their grief, and pray that they may experience healing and reconciliation through God’s grace,” the pope wrote in a letter to the cardinal on Tuesday [April 4, 2017].

Cupich read the letter from the pope as he announced plans to get more involved in anti-violence efforts in the city.

The cardinal chose the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to announce the new efforts, which include using $250,000 as seed money to expand existing anti-violence programs that have been working.

Shootings and homicides in Chicago skyrocketed in 2016, with more than 760 murders, the highest number in 19 years. There were more than 4,300 people shot last year in Chicago, an increase of about 1,300 over 2015.

While Chicago police have said shootings are down about 15 percent this year compared to the first three months of 2016, and homicides are down about four percent, there still have been more than 750 shooting victims and nearly 150 homicides.

Pope Francis said he supports the commitment Cupich and other local leaders have made to promoting nonviolence, and said he’ll be praying for the victims of violence in Chicago when Cupich leads an anti-violence march next week. Continue reading Pope Francis prays for healing for victims of violence in Chicago

The nonviolent resistance of Jesus/La résistance nonviolente de Jésus

The following essays — the first on driving of the moneychangers from the Temple, the second on Jesus’ refusal to condemn the woman caught in adultery — were written by Dr. Jean-Marie Muller, a French philosopher and writer who was one of the participants in the April 2016 Nonviolence and Just Peace conference in Rome.

Ces essais – le premier sur la conduite des changeurs d’argent du Temple, le deuxième sur le refus de Jésus de condamner la femme prise en adultère – ont été écrits par Jean-Marie Muller, un philosophe et écrivain français qui était l’un des participants à la conférence de nonviolence et paix de avril 2016 à Rome. 

When Jesus frees the animals from the Temple

Disponsible en français ici.

It is generally asserted that by “chasing the merchants of the Temple” (Mark 11: 15) Jesus himself did not hesitate personally to resort to violence and that, in consequence, Christians can also legitimately resort to violence to fight against injustice. Such an interpretation radically distorts the meaning of the Gospel text. This mis-reading and mis-understanding of the text has had a huge pernicious effect on Christian thought.

What is the truth of the matter? On several occasions, Jesus denounced the sacrificial practices involving the immolation of animals. Taking up as his own the ancient word of Hosea (Hosea 6: 6), he says: “It is mercy that I want, not sacrifice.” (Matthew, 9, 13 and 12,7).  The prophet Amos (5: 22-24) had also rejected these practices: “When you offer me burnt-offerings, I do not approve of your oblations, I set no store by the sacrifice of your fat beasts. (…) But let the law flow as water, and righteousness as a torrent that never dries up.” However, the word of Jesus was not heeded by the merchants of the Temple who had taken over the esplanade to sell oxen, sheep and doves to the pilgrims so that they might be offered as sacrifices and who were willing to continue their trade.

Jesus then decided to have recourse to direct action in order to force them to cease their activity. Mark says that the previous day, he had entered the Temple and had “looked around at everything” (Mark 11:11), as if he had come to take stock of the place. One may therefore think that his action was premeditated and that it was therefore not decided on in the heat of anger. Continue reading The nonviolent resistance of Jesus/La résistance nonviolente de Jésus

Martyr for nonviolence Josef Mayr-Nusser to be beatified on 18 March

Adapted from Pax Christi UK

On Saturday 18 March 2017, Josef Mayr-Nusser will be beatified at the cathedral in Bolzano, Italy.

Like the Austrian farmer Franz Jägerstätter, Mayr-Nusser died as a consequence of his refusal to swear the military oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler when he was forcibly conscripted into the German army. Jägerstätter was beatified in 2007, and now Pope Francis has recognised Mayr-Nusser as another martyr for his Christian faith and conscience. Continue reading Martyr for nonviolence Josef Mayr-Nusser to be beatified on 18 March

Women at the heart of nonviolence

Following is the address given by Marie Dennis at the 2017 Voices of Faith event, held at the Vatican on March 8 (shown above.)

Almost a year ago, 85 people from around the world gathered here in Rome for what has been called a “landmark” conference on nonviolence and just peace. Invited by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace [now part of the newly-formed Dicastery for the Integration of Human Development] and Pax Christi International, participants came together to imagine a new framework for Catholic teaching on war and peace that could help the world move beyond perpetual violence and war. Central to our conversation were the voices of people promoting active nonviolence in the midst of horrific violence and among them, the voices of women.

Many participants came from countries that have been at war or dealing with serious violence for decades: Iraq, Sri Lanka, Colombia, South Sudan, the DR Congo, Mexico, Afghanistan, Palestine, El Salvador, the Philippines, Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Burundi, Guatemala and more. Their testimony was extremely powerful.

Iraqi Dominican Sister Nazik Matty whose community was expelled from Mosul by ISIS said, “We can’t respond to violence with worse violence. In order to kill five violent men, we have to create 10 violent men to kill them…. It’s like a dragon with seven heads. You cut one and two others come up.”

Ogarit Younan, who co-founded the Academic University for Nonviolence and Human Rights in Lebanon, shared her positive experience of equipping youth, educators and community leaders throughout the Middle East with nonviolent skills to end vicious cycles of violence and discrimination.

Jesuit Francisco DeRoux told the story of Alma Rosa Jaramillo, a courageous woman, an audacious lawyer, who had joined their team in the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia to support displaced small farmers. She was kidnapped by the National Liberation Army, the ELN, and finally released. Then she was captured by the paramilitaries. “When we managed to recover Alma Rosa,” Francisco told us,“she was lying in the mud, dead; they had cut off her arms and legs, with a chainsaw.” Immediately, another women stepped in to take her place, as did Alma Rosa’s son, Jesus – and the team continued to talk with the guerrillas, the paramilitaries and the army, searching for a nonviolent solution a war that had gone on for 50 years. Over and over again they heard from campesinos, native people, afrocolombians – people whose youngsters had joined the guerrilla groups, the paramilitary groups and the army: “Stop the war, stop the war now, and stop the war from all sides!” Continue reading Women at the heart of nonviolence

UN event, March 2: Nonviolence, a style of politics for peace

Watch the event on the UN feed here.

On Thursday, March 2, the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative joined with the Holy See Mission to the United Nations in New York City and the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns for a panel discussion on Pope Francis’ 2017 World Day of Peace (WDP) message, Nonviolence: A style of politics for peace.

Archbishop Bernadito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio to the UN, moderated and reflected on the WDP.

Panelists included:

The event can be watched on the UN’s webcast feed.

Women peacemakers: We need to listen to their voices

Voices of Faith advances the role of women in the Catholic Church and supports them in their infinite potential to create meaningful change for the common good, contributing fully to the life of the Catholic Church and to wider society.

The Voices of Faith event — held on 8 March, International Women’s Day — provides what has been a notably absent: the voices of Catholic women and their capacity to exercise authority within and outside the Church and faith that emerges not from abstract theological ideals but in confronting the reality of those who are poor. This event is a gathering where timely relevant topics are presented by talented, dedicated and committed leaders to create momentum for action and resolution.

Join the event by live stream.

Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International and key participant in the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, will attend this year’s program to present the Voices of Faith award to honorees who will be announced at the event. Continue reading Women peacemakers: We need to listen to their voices

Join the #ThisIsNonviolence campaign

From Pax Christi International:

Pope Francis began 2017 with a World Day of Peace message entitled, Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace. Pax Christi International is making a special effort to “affirm the vision and practice of active nonviolence at the heart of the Catholic Church” during this next year through projects like the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative. And we’re inviting all of our member organisations, supporters and partners, Catholics and other people of good will to help us spread the message of the vitality and strength of active nonviolence to create social change in our world today.

In January, we’ve been circulating messages over Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms encouraging people that “This is what NONVIOLENCE looks like” with the hashtag #ThisIsNonviolence. Help us spread the word by sharing these messages now and tagging it #ThisIsNonviolence. The messages are in English, French and Spanish (below).

  • This is what nonviolence looks like
  • Esta es la verdadera no violencia
  • La non-violence ressemble à cela

We’re also including weekly excerpts of Pope Francis’s World Day of Peace message on nonviolence and other addresses he has given which mention nonviolence. You can see and share those also (below).

Pope Francis on nonviolence #1

Go here to find additional resources for prayer, study and action on nonviolence and just peace.

And read articles on the Peace Stories blog featuring the reflections by Pax Christi International member organisations or examples of the ways they’re cultivating and promoting nonviolence in situations of war, conflict, human rights violations, racial and economic injustice. Click here to see stories specially curated on the subject of nonviolence.