REFLECTION: The Church’s turn toward nonviolence

REFLECTION: The Church’s Turn toward Nonviolence from Pax Christi USA.

Reverend John Dear wrote wonderful article on Peace and NonViolence after the meeting of 25 nations at the Vatican when the church abandons the Just war theory.  313 years after Christ died until Constantine.  The next 1700 years when nations fought using the “just war” theory.   John Dear who life in Peace and Nonviolence is based in Thomas Merton has wrote this wonderful article on the meeting of 25 nations at the Vatican.



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An Appeal to the Catholic Church to Re-Commit to the Centrality of Gospel Nonviolence

Final Document of the Conference

FINAL Document of the Conference

Pax Christi International

Rue du Progrès 323, 1030 Brussels, Belgium. Phone: ++32 (0)2502.55.50

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.

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Pax Christi USA reported the protection of Christians by Muslims

Muslims protect Christians in attack by Somali Militants

In this Feb.17, 2011 file photo, hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area some 18 kilometers (12 miles) south of Mogadishu, Somalia. U.S. military forces targeted the Islamic extremist al-Shabab network in an operation Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 in Somalia, the Pentagon said. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)

Passenger says Muslims protect Christians in Islamist attack on Kenyan bus

In this Feb.17, 2011 file photo, hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area some 18 kilometers (12 miles) south of Mogadishu, Somalia. U.S. military forces targeted the Islamic extremist al-Shabab network in an operation Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 in Somalia, the Pentagon said. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)
Passenger says Muslims protect Christians in Islamist attack on Kenyan bus
.Reuters By Joseph Akwiri Dec 21, 2015 5:39 PM
By MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) – Somali Islamist militants sprayed a Kenyan bus with bullets on Monday, killing two people, but a passenger said he and fellow Muslims defied demands from the attackers to help identify Christians traveling with them.

The attack took place in Mandera, in northeast Kenya. A year ago, al Shabaab gunmen stormed a Nairobi-bound bus in the same area and killed 28 non-Muslim passengers execution-style.

Abdi Mohamud Abdi, a Muslim who was among the passengers in Monday’s incident, told Reuters that more than 10 al Shabaab militants boarded the bus and ordered the Muslim passengers to split away from the Christians, but they refused.

“We even gave some non-Muslims our religious attire to wear in the bus so that they would not be identified easily. We stuck together tightly,” he said.

“The militants threatened to shoot us but we still refused and protected our brothers and sisters. Finally they gave up and left but warned that they would be back,” he said.

In previous attacks, al Shabaab has often killed both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Julius Otieno, the deputy county commissioner, confirmed the account, saying that the militants “were trying to identify who were Muslims and who were not,” and that the Muslim passengers had refused to help.

The militants then fled the scene, both men said.

Passenger says Muslims protect Christians …
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military spokesman, said the group had fired shots at the bus.

“Some of the Christian enemies died and others were injured,” he told Reuters in a statement. The militants did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the role of Muslim bus passengers during the attack.

The 2014 bus attack shocked Kenya and led to a shake-up of security ministers. Since then, buses carrying passengers from Mandera have been given police escorts, but Kenya Police spokesman Charles Owino said that had not happened in this case because the bus had bypassed a police roadblock.

Owino said that in addition to the two deaths, four people were wounded.

Al Shabaab has said it will continue its attacks on Kenya until Nairobi withdraws troops from an African Union force fighting the militants in Somalia. It has also said northeastern Kenya should be part of Somalia.

Kenya’s long northeastern border with Somalia is widely considered a security weak spot. Factors include poor coordination between security services, and a culture of corruption that allows anyone prepared to pay a bribe to pass unchallenged.

Reporting by Joseph Akwiri; Additional reporting by Feisal Omar

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July 16th – 70th Anniversary of 1 of the WORST Dates in Human History – not so good for the Wildlife either

Today (July 17, 2015)  is the 70th Anniversary of one of the Most Horrific Events in Human History – the successful test of the 1st Atomic bomb right here in New Mexico. This would lead to Humans having the ability to destroy ALL (or most of) Life on OUR Planet & Destroy God’s Creation! The successful test lead President Truman to demand Unconditional Surrender of the Japanese even though we knew, because we had broken the Japanese codes pretty early in the war, that Japan was trying to Surrender to 2 European Countries & the only thing they wanted was safety for the Emperor, which is exactly what we gave them so obviously We DID NOT have to drop those 2 bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki!

For any of you who have seen the movie that Stuart Overbey & I made, The Forgotten Bomb  you would have seen how we presented all these Facts & have a film clip of President Truman talking about how we wanted to keep the Emperor safe so that we could use himto control the Japanese People. With the 70th Anniversary of the end of World war II in Europe already passed & the 70th Anniversary of the war in Asia will happen in August WHY do we still have OUR Troops stationed in both Germany & Japan?

I’d ask you ALL (and to pass this on to your Circle of Family & Friends) to Please do what you can to Rid the World of these Horrible weapons:  *Sign the Petition

*Call & Write your Congressperson & 2 Senators & tell them that you want the U.S. to live up to what we Signed in the Non-proliferation Treaty – Non-proliferation Treaty – and Get Rid of ALL of Nuclear weapons!

*Join Us in Los Alamos on Sunday August 9th at Ashley Pond for those of us who don’t live in New Mexico you can Join Us for ALL of our Events starting Thursday August 6th in Los Alamos for the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima, our Nonviolence Conference Aug. 7-8, & concluding Aug. 9th again in Los Alamos for the 70th Anniversary of Nagasaki. You can watch ALL of these Events online Join us online for Los Alamos Event in New Mexico/

The Abolition of nuclear weapons might seem impossible but so did the Abolition of slavery to the early Abolitionists as slavery had been around for thousands of years, and in OUR own Country for hundreds. It just takes hard work & perseverance & We the People can make it Happen! The Nuclear Age started in OUR Country 70 years ago Today so it is fitting that the Nuclear Age would come to an END with the ACTIONS of We the People!

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SUMMER of PEACE – Inner Peace & Inspired Action

A Free 3 Month Global Event  –  June 13 – September 21, 2015

Summer of Peace – Click here to Register and Join!

with Deepak Chopra, Jane Goodall, Ervin Laszio, Grandmother Agnes Pilgrim, Karen Armstrong, Congressman Tim Ryan, and Many more….

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