Pax Christi Massachusetts to Host 2016 Fall Assembly with Marie Dennis and Jonathan King

Marie DennieJonathan King

Pax Christi Massachusetts will be hosting its 2016 State Assembly entitled “Ending the Nuclear Nightmare! Faithful Witnesses and Non Violent Strategies!!” with presentations from Marie Dennie and Jonathan Alan King.  The Assembly will take place on Saturday, October 22nd at St. Susanna Parish, 262 Needham Street, Dedham MA from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (with registration beginning at 8:30am).  See the below link for full details and a printable registration form (in PDF format)

PCMA 2016 ASSEMBLY

Vatican Conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace Report

Conference

Nonviolence and Just Peace:

Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence

Rome, April 11-13, 2016

For More Information visit: www.nonviolencejustpeace.net.  You can also endorse the statement here

 

An Appeal to the Catholic Church

 to Re-Commit to the Centrality of Gospel Nonviolence

 

As Christians committed to a more just and peaceful world we are called to take a clear stand for creative and active nonviolence and against all forms of violence. With this conviction, and in recognition of the Jubilee Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis, people from many countries gathered at the Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International on April 11-13, 2016 in Rome.

 

Our assembly, people of God from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania included lay people, theologians, members of religious congregations, priests, and bishops. Many of us live in communities experiencing violence and oppression. All of us are practitioners of justice and peace. We are grateful for the message to our conference from Pope Francis: “your thoughts on revitalizing the tools of nonviolence, and of active nonviolence in particular, will be a needed and positive contribution”.

 

Looking at our world today

 

We live in a time of tremendous suffering, widespread trauma and fear linked to militarization, economic injustice, climate change, and a myriad of other specific forms of violence. In this context of normalized and systemic violence, those of us who stand in the Christian tradition are called to recognize the centrality of active nonviolence to the vision and message of Jesus; to the life and practice of the Catholic Church; and to our long-term vocation of healing and reconciling both people and the planet.

 

We rejoice in the rich concrete experiences of people engaged in work for peace around the world, many of whose stories we heard during this conference. Participants shared their experiences of courageous negotiations with armed actors in Uganda and Colombia; working to protect the Article 9, the peace clause in the Japanese Constitution; accompaniment in Palestine; and countrywide peace education in the Philippines. They illuminate the creativity and power of nonviolent practices in many different situations of potential or actual violent conflict. Recent academic research, in fact, has confirmed that nonviolent resistance strategies are twice as effective as violent ones.

 

The time has come for our Church to be a living witness and to invest far greater human and financial resources in promoting a spirituality and practice of active nonviolence and in forming and training our Catholic communities in effective nonviolent practices. In all of this, Jesus is our inspiration and model.

 

Jesus and nonviolence

 

In his own times, rife with structural violence, Jesus proclaimed a new, nonviolent order rooted in the unconditional love of God. Jesus called his disciples to love their enemies (Matthew 5: 44), which includes respecting the image of God in all persons; to offer no violent resistance to one who does evil (Matthew 5: 39); to become peacemakers; to forgive and repent; and to be abundantly merciful (Matthew 5-7). Jesus embodied nonviolence by actively resisting systemic dehumanization, as when he defied the Sabbath laws to heal the man with the withered hand (Mark 3: 1-6); when he confronted the powerful at the Temple and purified it (John 2: 13-22); when he peacefully but determinedly challenged the men accusing a woman of adultery (John 8: 1-11); when on the night before he died he asked Peter to put down his sword (Matthew 26: 52).

 

Neither passive nor weak, Jesus’ nonviolence was the power of love in action. In vision and deed, he is the revelation and embodiment of the Nonviolent God, a truth especially illuminated in the Cross and Resurrection. He calls us to develop the virtue of nonviolent peacemaking.

 

Clearly, the Word of God, the witness of Jesus, should never be used to justify violence, injustice or war. We confess that the people of God have betrayed this central message of the Gospel many times, participating in wars, persecution, oppression, exploitation, and discrimination.

 

We believe that there is no “just war”. Too often the “just war theory” has been used to endorse rather than prevent or limit war. Suggesting that a “just war” is possible also undermines the moral imperative to develop tools and capacities for nonviolent transformation of conflict.

 

We need a new framework that is consistent with Gospel nonviolence. A different path is clearly unfolding in recent Catholic social teaching. Pope John XXIII wrote that war is not a suitable way to restore rights; Pope Paul VI linked peace and development, and told the UN “no more war”; Pope John Paul II said that “war belongs to the tragic past, to history”; Pope Benedict XVI said that “loving the enemy is the nucleus of the Christian revolution”; and Pope Francis said “the true strength of the Christian is the power of truth and love, which leads to the renunciation of all violence. Faith and violence are incompatible”. He has also urged the “abolition of war”.

 

We propose that the Catholic Church develop and consider shifting to a Just Peace approach based on Gospel nonviolence. A Just Peace approach offers a vision and an ethic to build peace as well as to prevent, defuse, and to heal the damage of violent conflict. This ethic includes a commitment to human dignity and thriving relationships, with specific criteria, virtues, and practices to guide our actions. We recognize that peace requires justice and justice requires peacemaking.

 

Living Gospel Nonviolence and Just Peace

 

In that spirit we commit ourselves to furthering Catholic understanding and practice of active nonviolence on the road to just peace.  As would-be disciples of Jesus, challenged and inspired by stories of hope and courage in these days, we call on the Church we love to:

 

  • continue developing Catholic social teaching on nonviolence. In particular, we call on Pope Francis to share with the world an encyclical on nonviolence and Just Peace;
  • integrate Gospel nonviolence explicitly into the life, including the sacramental life, and work of the Church through dioceses, parishes, agencies, schools, universities, seminaries, religious orders, voluntary associations, and others;
  • promote nonviolent practices and strategies (e.g., nonviolent resistance, restorative justice, trauma healing, unarmed civilian protection, conflict transformation, and peacebuilding strategies);
  • initiate a global conversation on nonviolence within the Church, with people of other faiths, and with the larger world to respond to the monumental crises of our time with the vision and strategies of nonviolence and Just Peace;
  • no longer use or teach “just war theory”; continue advocating for the abolition of war and nuclear weapons;
  • lift up the prophetic voice of the church to challenge unjust world powers and to support and defend those nonviolent activists whose work for peace and justice put their lives at risk.

In every age, the Holy Spirit graces the Church with the wisdom to respond to the challenges of its time.  In response to what is a global epidemic of violence, which Pope Francis has labeled a “world war in installments”, we are being called to invoke, pray over, teach and take decisive action. With our communities and organizations, we look forward to continue collaborating with the Holy See and the global Church to advance Gospel nonviolence.

Pax Christi International, Rue du Progrès, 323, 1030 Brussels, Belgium. Phone: ++32 (0)2 502.55.50

 

Vatican to host first-ever conference to reevaluate just war theory, justifications for violence

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Rome – 

The Vatican will be hosting a first of its kind conference next week to reexamine the Catholic church’s long-held teachings on just war theory, bringing some 80 experts engaged in global nonviolent struggles to Rome with the aim of developing a new moral framework that rejects ethical justifications for war.Participants say the conference — to be cohosted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the global Catholic peace network Pax Christi International April 11-13 — may recommend displacing the centuries-old just war theory as the main Catholic response to violence.They also express hope that Pope Francis might take up their conversations by deciding to focus his next encyclical letter, the highest form of teaching for a pontiff, on issues of Catholic peacemaking.

Terrence Rynne, a U.S. theologian who will be attending the event, said he considers it “phenomenally important.”

“Coming out of it, Pope Francis might see his way clear to articulate a fresh vision of peacemaking to the church,” said Rynne, who helped found Marquette University’s Center for Peacemaking. “That would be wonderful.

Just war theory is a tradition that uses a series of criteria to evaluate whether use of violence can be considered morally justifiable. First referred to by fourth century bishop St. Augustine of Hippo, it was later articulated in depth by 13th century theologian St. Thomas Aquinas and is today outlined by four conditions in the formal Catechism of the Catholic Church.

A number of theologians have criticized continued use of the theory in modern times, due to the powerful capabilities of modern weapons and evidence of the effectiveness of nonviolent campaigns in response to unjust aggression.

The Catechism currently outlines as one criteria for moral justification of war that “the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated” and notes that “the power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.”

Conference organizers say in a note to participants about the April event that just war teaching “can no longer claim center stage as the Christian approach to war and peace.”

“After more than 1,500 years and repeated use of the just war criteria to sanction war rather than to prevent war, the Catholic Church, like many other Christian communities, is rereading the text of Jesus’ life and re-appropriating the Christian vocation of pro-active peacemaking,” they state.

“Emphasizing the need to work for a just peace, the Church is moving away from the acceptability of calling war ‘just,'” they continue. “While clear ethical criteria are necessary for addressing egregious attacks or threats in a violent world, moral theologians and ethicists should no longer refer to such criteria as the ‘just war theory,’ because that language undermines the moral imperative to develop tools and capacity for nonviolent conflict.”

As part of their goals for the conference, organizers state they seek a “new articulation of Catholic teaching on war and peace, including explicit rejection of ‘just war’ language.”

They state that they want “an alternative ethical framework for engaging acute conflict and atrocities by developing the themes and practices of nonviolent conflict transformation and just peace.”

April’s conference will be the first to be cohosted by the Vatican’s pontifical council and Pax Christi, an international Catholic coalition akin to Amnesty International that maintains separate national groups in many countries.

Started in 1945 by a French laywoman and a French bishop in the aftermath of the Second World War, Pax Christi has long sought to address the root causes of conflict and advocate for nonviolent solutions.

The conference is being organized around four sessions allowing participants to dialogue and share experiences with one another. The only scheduled talk at the event is to be given by Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of the pontifical council.

The four sessions are given the themes: Experiences of Nonviolence, Jesus’ Way of Nonviolence, Nonviolence and Just Peace, and Moving Beyond Unending War.

Each of the sessions is being led by experts in the separate topic areas, including: Rose Marie Berger, an editor at Sojourners magazine and social justice activist; Fr. John Dear, a former Jesuit known internationally for his writings and civil disobedience actions; Maria Stephan, a senior policy fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace; and Lisa Sowle Cahill, a theologian at Boston College.

Rynne said that the participants are hoping their discussions will allow them to draft some sort of document summarizing their sessions. The organizers’ note to participants says they hope to create an “action plan for promotion of Catholic teaching on war and peace, violence and nonviolence.”

Rynne said that participants are coming from many places, including: Chile, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Palestine and Burundi.

“It’s a dream that I’ve had for a long time that the church would embrace peacemaking as its central manta, and not have the just war theory be settled teaching the way it has been for so many centuries,” said the theologian.

“If people understood they had this powerful method of non-violent action that has been demonstrably proven again and again, we would begin to move away” from just war theory, he said.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

Pax Christi Massachusetts 2016 Retreat

Facing Violence Unafraid:

Building Jesus’ Nonviolent Alternatives

Retreat Leaders: Sr. Jane Morrissey and Philip Harak

Saturday, April 9, at St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish

151 Mendon St, Upton, MA 01568

Registration begins at 8:30 – Program 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

View The Flyer Here

Members at the State House

Pax Christi members (left to right) Irene Desharmais, Pat Ferrone, and Fr. Rocco Puopolo at the Good Friday Stations of the Cross at the statehouse.  The Stations of the Cross at the Statehouse is an annual event initiated by Agape and co-sponsored by Pax Christi MA, Sisters of St. Anne and the House of Peace.

Salima Abbas

Read the poem here.

War Toys XMas

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday—It must be the season of gift-giving again! And why not? What can be nicer than giving gifts to show people we care about and appreciate them? And what can be more gratifying than seeing joy and excitement when the recipient is a child?

But what to give? This is a season for celebrating love whether it is Love born in a manger on Christmas day; or the Love of God providing for an oppressed people at Chanukkah; or the Love of family, community, and culture acclaimed during Kwanzaa. Love is at the heart of all faiths and traditions. And it is love that prompts us to give gifts, especially to the children in our lives.

So let us be very thoughtful about the gifts we choose. Our children live in a society plagued by war, terrorism, street crime, bullying, and many other kinds of violence. They deserve much better from us. They deserve to play in ways that allow them to have fun free of conflict. Let the things you give nurture love, not fear or prejudice.

Consider toys that:

  • Can be used in many ways
  • Allow children to be in charge of the play
  • Appeal to children at more than one age or level of development
  • Are not linked to video games, computers, TV, or movies,
  • Can be used with other toys for new and more complex play
  • Will stand the test of time as children develop new interests and skills
  • Promote respectful, non-stereotyped, nonviolent interactions among children
  • Help children develop skills important for further learning and a sense of mastery
  • Can be used alone or with others Can be enjoyed by boys and girls

    Choose:

  • Toys for constructing, like building blocks and molding clay
  • Toys that inspire creative arts, like craft supplies and musical instruments
  • Toys that promote movement, like bikes, wagons, and sports equipment
  • Toys that promote dramatic play, like costumes and props, puppets and magic sets
  • Toys that foster cooperation and teamwork, like dolls and puzzles and some board games
  • Toys that enhance the imagination, new ideas, and problem solving, like science and nature kits
  • Toys that respect the environment, that can be reused and recycled And don’t forget books, magazine subscriptions, tickets to a show or movie, Teddy Bears, and you.
  • There’s nothing better than YOUR time!

Thanks to www.truceteachers.org for the information presented in this flier. Visit their website, as well as www.responsibleshopper.org, and www.greenamerica.org for more ideas about gifts that promote the positive values we want for our children and have the extra benefit of being sweatshop-free and non-toxic.

Pax Christi MA and St. Susanna Peace and Justice endorse this effort.

War Toys Xmas

Peace Pages

You can view our Peace Pages in the Newsletter Archive!

2015 Annual Assembly

PCMA 2015 Assembly Flyer Sister Helen, the author of the autobiographical book Dead ManWalking and of The Death of Innocents, says: “The death penalty is one of the great moral issues facing our country, yet most people rarely think about it and very few of us take the time to delve deeply enough into this issue to be able to make an informed decision.”

Welcome to our new site!

Welcome to the web home of Pax Christi Massachusetts! As we develop our new website, please let us know if you see anything wrong!