Faith leaders, peace practitioners deepen Church’s commitment to nonviolence and peace

Vatican City – On 4-5 April, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. for Promoting Integral Human Development and Pax Christi International’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative organized a workshop on the theme, “Path of Nonviolence: Towards a Culture of Peace.”

Final statement affirmed by workshop participants (in English, français, español)

Cardinal Peter Turkson’s opening remarks

Additional materials presented at the workshop are available here

With a consideration and understanding of current situations of conflict and violence, participants engaged in dialogue about the roots of violence, the hope for peace and reconciliation, and reflected on paths to a conversion to nonviolence. They noted that nonviolence is not only a method but a way of life, a way to protect and care for the conditions of life for today and tomorrow.

“Our conversations on nonviolence and peace filled our hearts and minds with a consideration of the dignity of each person – young people, women and men, people who are impoverished, citizens and leaders,” said Mons. Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Dicastery. “Nonviolence and peace call us to a conversion to receive and to give, to gather and to hope.”

“Pax Christi International deeply appreciates the support and participation of the Dicastery in this workshop, which has been a significant and positive step in the work of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative,” said Marie Dennis, Co-president of Pax Christi International. “We are touched by the interventions from all the participants, who reiterated the importance of nonviolence rooted in respect, patience and spiritual strength.” Continue reading Faith leaders, peace practitioners deepen Church’s commitment to nonviolence and peace

Accompaniment on U.S.-Mexico border

From CNI steering committee member Eli McCarthy:

(Updated) On Dec. 15, 2018, a trained group providing protective accompaniment joined a large posadas gathering at the San Diego/Tijuana border.

Las Posadas is a Christmas tradition, primarily within the Hispanic community, celebrated December 16-24. It is a processional ceremony which re-enacts the Holy Family’s search for welcome at the time of Jesus’ birth.

Some basic goals of protective accompaniment are:
1) Accompany those most in need
2) Prevent and defuse hostility/violence
3) Interrupt de-humanization
4) Re-humanize and cultivate empathy Continue reading Accompaniment on U.S.-Mexico border

CNI update, December 2018

Since its founding in 2016, the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, a project of Pax Christi International in partnership with several other international Catholic organisations, has significantly advanced the conversation and understanding of nonviolence and just peace in the Catholic Church and beyond.

We are convinced that an expanded and strengthened understanding of active nonviolence as the cornerstone of just peace can help build cultures of peace and promote the integral ecology that must be embraced for the sake of our species and all of creation.

The last quarter of 2018 finds us overwhelmed and grateful for the intense and ground-breaking efforts of five working groups (“roundtables”) which wrapped up a year’s work in August. Each group has submitted an extraordinary document focused on the application of nonviolence in our faith tradition: in our study of the Hebrew and early Christian texts; as the basis for deep theological reflection; as an ethical framework for effective responses to violence in this current age; as a subject for preaching and teaching in Church bodies and structures; and as a lifestyle and powerful peacebuilding practice already embraced by Catholics around the world. Continue reading CNI update, December 2018

Lebanon’s Catholic leaders urge peace

Posted by La Croix, 20 November 2018

Catholic religious leaders in Lebanon have appealed to the international community to stop wars in the Middle East and work to bring about a just peace.

In a statement following its Nov. 12-16 annual meeting, the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon urged Catholics “to endure the grace of God in the hope of rebuilding their homelands with their Muslim brothers in equal and responsible citizenship.”

The prelates expressed “anguish at the continuation of the wars in the Middle East, which continue to destabilize the peace, wreak havoc, destroy and displace citizens,” Catholic News Service reported.

The patriarchs and bishops condemned “violence in all its forms” and appealed to “the international community and concerned states” to stop wars in the region and “to bring about a comprehensive and just peace and to work seriously for the return of displaced persons, refugees, abductees and deportees to their countries, homes and properties.” Continue reading Lebanon’s Catholic leaders urge peace

Pope: Universities must be “involved in planting the seeds of peace.”

One of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative’s goals is an increased awareness of and commitment to teaching peace and nonviolence in Catholic schools and universities. We are heartened by the following article published on 12 November 2018 by Vatican News which reports that Pope Francis has urged the Pontifical Lateran University to promote peace.

Pope encourages promotion of peace in universities
In a letter to the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Lateran University, for the inauguration of the new academic year, Pope Francis emphasises the importance of following a curriculum that promotes peace in the world.

By Francesca Merlo

The heart of Pope Francis’ message to Cardinal de Donatis, Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, for the inauguration of the start of the new academic year is that students and all staff must feel “involved in planting the seeds of peace.” The Pope explains that this “begins with listening, professionalism and dedication” which he says must always be “accompanied by humbleness, meekness and the desire to be all things to all.”

Education for peace
In current times, the Pope says, there is an ever-growing need to prevent and resolve conflicts. “The Church, in the light of the Gospel, feels called to inspire and support each initiative that ensures…a journey of peace.”

To do this, the Pope continues, there is a need for “an educational effort to listen and understand”, but also for “knowledge and studies of the assets of value” and “of the instruments capable of demolishing tendencies towards isolation, closure and power that brings violence and destruction”.

Searching for solutions
In quoting Evangelii gaudium, Pope Francis goes on to explain that it is not only the Church who is called to favour “finding solutions to problems affecting peace, social harmony, the land, the defence of life, human and civil rights, and so forth.” The university world also has an important role in the pursuit of this objective, says the Pope. He describes university as “a place that symbolises the integral humanity that needs to be constantly renewed and enriched”. This, the Pope explains, helps produce the brave renewed culture that the current time asks for.”

However, the Pope continues, “This does not mean altering the sense of the institution and the traditions consolidated in our academic realities”, but rather “steering its function in the outlook of a more missionary Church”. He stresses that this must be done “first and foremost by addressing the younger generations”.

A dream of peace
Therefore, says the Pope, this is the task with which we are entrusted: “incarnate the Word of God for the Church and for the humanity of the Third Millennium.” All this, says the Pope “without being afraid of risking and dreaming of peace for all people and for all nations”.

Conscience and remembrance: 100 years after World War I

Photo of Commonwealth World War I cemetery in Belgium by Johnny Zokovitch, 2016

World War I, the “war to end all wars,” ended 100 years ago this week.

Pax Christi UK offers several resources for reflection on the Great War:

For King and country … and conscience“: Valerie Flessati writes about the experiences of British and Irish Catholic men who registered as conscientious objectors during World War I. Published on the Tablet, November 2018. Registration required. (Free, but it takes several steps.) Continue reading Conscience and remembrance: 100 years after World War I

Migrants process in caravan in spirit of salt march, March on Washington

Photo: KNAU, Arizona Public Radio

Our friend Pietro Ameglio, who works with SERPAJ-Mexico (Servicio Paz y Justicia/Peace and Justice Service), speaks in the video below about the caravan of migrants which is now crossing from Central America into Mexico. Pietro reminds us that the members of the caravan are people fleeing violence and poverty; they “refuse to be killed in the name of progress.” This caravan should be considered akin to the salt march in India led by Gandhi in 1930 and the March on Washington led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963.

Pietro calls on the Catholic bishops from Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States to join the migrants on their journey.