Den här diskussionen är en fortsättning på: Catholic Nonviolence Initiative

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jan 19, 12:56 am

This is a continuation of a thread entitled "Catholic Nonviolence Initiative". The title referred to a Catholic initiative which has been visible in high profile conferences in Rome in 2016, 2019 and 2022, and in the Holy Father's World Day of Peace message in 2017, "Nonviolence: a style of politics for peace". However from the start it was recognised that nonviolence is not only a Catholic value, but is promoted by many other people, denominations, faiths and philosophies, so I've simplified and broadened the title for this continuation. But if you're new to this concept, it's well worth glancing at the previous thread for some background as to what nonviolence is and also what it isn't.

jan 19, 12:58 am

Martin Luther King's nonviolence provides a moral check on just war theory (NCR)

When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, he used the occasion to deliver an impassioned defense of nonviolence. This year, when the war in Ukraine has exposed the limits of nonviolence and the necessity of just war thinking, it is good to be reminded of the value of nonviolence as a kind of moral check on just war theory. There is no better reminder than King's magnificent speech...

jan 20, 11:21 pm

“Only Those Who Really Forgive Can Work for Peace,” Bishop Carlassare Ahead of Pope’s Visit to South Sudan (AMECEA)

As the youngest nation in the world count days to Pope Francis’ ecumenical visit slated for 3rd to 5th February, Bishop Christian Carlassare of Rumbek Catholic Diocese has reminded the citizens that it is through forgiveness that people can work towards peace. In a statement signed by the Local Ordinary of Rumbek, Bishop Christian Carlassare says there can be no progress in a country when there is no forgiveness but hatred. “The social fabric of our country will not be rebuilt by those who foment hatred and resentment, but by the people who identify with the vulnerability of others, who reject the creation of a society of marginalization and division, and act instead by lifting up and rehabilitating the fallen for the sake of the common good,” reads in part the statement by signed by Bishop Carlassare Saturday, January 14. He continued, “This is a very serious work and it demands our personal self-giving in order to forgive others, to make a change and contribute towards a community of peace. No one is really open to constructive dialogue unless they are open to that unconditional disarmament of the heart which is called forgiveness; and only those who really forgive can actually work for peace”...

For me, the bishop's reflections emphasise that peacebuilding is not just a matter of professional skills and technical tools (although these have their place in the mix) but it's primarily about personal conversion. That's why nonviolence is often described as a spirituality or a way of life rather than a technique.

I can again recommend the book Advancing Nonviolence and Just Peace in the Church and World, a collaborative effort between dozens of theologians, academics, scholars, bishops, peace activists and experts, victims and survivors of violence, clergy, religious and laity. And perhaps I can mention another book, The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace by John Paul Lederach, a groundbreaking work from 2005 which moves peacebuilding beyond techniques.

jan 23, 11:39 pm

Monterey Park shooting: Brandon Tsay who disarmed gunman had never seen a real gun (BBC)

The 26-year-old man credited with disarming the California shooting suspect had never seen a real gun before. Late on Saturday evening, working at his family-run dance hall in Alhambra, Brandon Tsay found himself staring at one pointed directly at him. "My heart sank, I knew I was going to die," Mr Tsay told the New York Times. He did not know the gunman was believed to have killed 11 people just minutes earlier at another dance hall. Mr Tsay lunged at the man and eventually disarmed him, averting another tragedy... When the gunman started prepping his weapon, Mr Tsay said "something came over him" and he knew he had to "disarm him otherwise everyone would have died". "When I got the courage, I lunged at him with both my hands," he said. When Mr Tsay finally wrestled away the weapon, he pointed it at the man and yelled: "Go, get the hell out of here!" After a moment, Mr Tsay said the man left and jogged to his van. "Immediately I called police with the gun still in my hand," he added...

He disarmed the man. He did not shoot him dead.

jan 24, 3:27 am

I missed this last year, but I think it is worth noting. I believe I've referred from time to time to Lapsley's "healing of memories" approach. He is an Anglican priest who lost both hands and one eye in the explosion of a parcel bomb sent to him by the South Africa apartheid regime.

Father Michael Lapsley, SSM, The 39th recipient, 2022, South Africa, 2022.06.30

The 39th Niwano Peace Prize was awarded to Father Michael Lapsley, SSM of South Africa in recognition of his relentless struggle against apartheid and social discriminations, his support for the liberation movement in South Africa and various peacebuilding activities in other parts of the world. Father Lapsley’s non-violent, multi-faith peacebuilding efforts and activities of healing based on restorative justice approach, dialogue, and reconciliation are continuing to contribute to the healing of South Africans as well as many others all over the world. He has contributed immensely to the cause of peace and inter-religious cooperation, which is in congruence with the mission of the Niwano Peace Prize.

jan 26, 11:08 pm

I forgave the Nazis who killed my family (BBC)

Eva Kor tells the powerful story of her time in Auschwitz, and why – many years later – she decided to forgive those responsible...

feb 2, 9:44 am

I am just rereading Choosing Peace: The Catholic Church Returns to Gospel Nonviolence and it includes the full text of the MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO CARDINAL PETER K.A. TURKSON ON THE OCCASION OF THE CONFERENCE ON "NONVIOLENCE AND JUST PEACE: CONTRIBUTING TO THE CATHOLIC UNDERSTANDING OF AND COMMITMENT TO NONVIOLENCE" (ROME, 11-13 APRIL 2016). I was struck by one short paragraph which perhaps I had not taken enough notice of before (with my italics):

The basic premise is that the ultimate and most deeply worthy goal of human beings and of the human community is the abolition of war. In this vein, we recall that the only explicit condemnation issued by the Second Vatican Council was against war,1 although the Council recognized that, since war has not been eradicated from the human condition, “governments cannot be denied the right to legitimate defence once every means of peaceful settlement has been exhausted.”2

This led me to follow up the two footnotes which refer to Gaudium et spes, nos 77-82 (1) and particularly 79 (2). I quote a few parts which strike me. Remember that this is the authoritative teaching of the Church:

80. With these truths in mind, this most holy synod makes its own the condemnations of total war already pronounced by recent popes, and issues the following declaration. Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man {sic} himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation. The unique hazard of modern warfare consists in this: it provides those who possess modern scientific weapons with a kind of occasion for perpetrating just such abominations; moreover, through a certain inexorable chain of events, it can catapult men {sic} into the most atrocious decisions. That such may never truly happen in the future, the bishops of the whole world gathered together, beg all men {sic}, especially government officials and military leaders, to give unremitting thought to their gigantic responsibility before God and the entire human race...

81. It is our clear duty, therefore, to strain every muscle in working for the time when all war can be completely outlawed by international consent. This goal undoubtedly requires the establishment of some universal public authority acknowledged as such by all and endowed with the power to safeguard on the behalf of all, security, regard for justice, and respect for rights. But before this hoped for authority can be set up, the highest existing international centers must devote themselves vigorously to the pursuit of better means for obtaining common security. Since peace must be born of mutual trust between nations and not be imposed on them through a fear of the available weapons, everyone must labor to put an end at last to the arms race, and to make a true beginning of disarmament, not unilaterally indeed, but proceeding at an equal pace according to agreement, and backed up by true and workable safeguards...

82. In the meantime, efforts which have already been made and are still underway to eliminate the danger of war are not to be underrated. On the contrary, support should be given to the good will of the very many leaders who work hard to do away with war, which they abominate...

Redigerat: feb 3, 1:35 am

"For Christians, nonviolence is not merely tactical behaviour but a person's way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God's love and power, {who 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'" (Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, St Peter's Square, 18 February 2007).

"We can't respond to violence with worse violence... It's like a dragon with seven heads. You cut one and two others come up." (Iraqi Dominican Sister Nazik Matty, whose community was expelled from Mosul by ISIS fighters, Rome, April 2016).

Both quoted in Choosing Peace: The Catholic Church Returns to Gospel Nonviolence, pp 19-20.

Redigerat: feb 5, 11:26 pm

Those Who Choose Christ Choose Peace: Pope Francis at Ecumenical Prayer Service in S.Sudan (ACI Africa)

During an ecumenical prayer service in South Sudan, Pope Francis called for Christian unity amid the violence in the country and urged the faithful to work and pray for peace to settle ongoing political conflicts... “Dear friends, those who would call themselves Christians must choose which side to take,” the pope said. “Those who choose Christ choose peace, always; those who unleash war and violence betray the Lord and deny his Gospel. What Jesus teaches us is clear: we are to love everyone, since everyone is loved as a child of our common Father in heaven. The love of Christians is not only for those close to us, but for everyone, for in Jesus each person is our neighbor, our brother or sister — even our enemies”... “Those who claim to be believers should have nothing more to do with a culture based on the spirit of vengeance,” Pope Francis said. “The Gospel must not be just a beautiful religious philosophy, but a prophecy that becomes reality in history. Let us work for peace by weaving and mending, not by cutting and tearing. Let us follow Jesus, and in following him, let us walk together on the path to peace”...

Pope Francis Calls for Laying Down Weapons of Hatred and Revenge (AMECEA)

His Holiness Pope Francis has on Sunday 04 February 2023 called on the people of South Sudan to lay down weapons of hatred and take up prayer and charity... “Let us lay down the weapons of hatred and revenge, in order to take up those of prayer and charity.” He appealed to the South Sudanese to overcome hatred, pitting of tribes and ethnic groups against each other. “Let us overcome the dislikes and that over time have become chronic and risk pitting tribes and ethnic groups against one another.” He advised South Sudanese to learn how to apply the salt of forgiveness to their wounds. “Let us learn to apply the salt of forgiveness to our wounds; salt burns but it also heals. Even if our hearts bleed for the wrongs we have suffered, let us refuse, once and for all, to repay evil with evil, and we will grow healthy within”...

My heart breaks at violence in South Sudan, says Archbishop of Canterbury (Archbishop of Canterbury)

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said “my heart breaks with sorrow for South Sudan” amidst ongoing violence and sectarian conflict in the country. Preaching at All Saints Anglican Cathedral in Juba this morning, the Archbishop urged those who have committed “secret crimes and evil deeds” to ask for God’s mercy and transformation and prayed they would know the “infinite love of Christ”... “If South Sudan finds peace, the world will find hope. The women in Congo will rejoice if you find peace. The refugees in Myanmar will rejoice if you find peace. The soldiers in Ukraine will rejoice if you find peace. Because you will show that God is great. With God, South Sudan has hope, and that hope is when its people take courage. And the courage is to live the scandalous Gospel of the infinite love of Christ”...

Pope Francis Wraps up South Sudan Trip, Urges End to 'Blind Fury' of Violence (US News)

Pope Francis urged the people of South Sudan on Sunday to resist the "venom of hatred" so they could achieve the peace and prosperity that have eluded them through years of bloody ethnic conflicts... The 86-year-old pope wove his homily around the themes that have dominated his trip to the world's newest nation -- reconciliation and mutual forgiveness for past wrongs. He begged the worshippers to shun the "blind fury of violence"... The "pilgrimage of peace" was the first time in Christian history that leaders of the Catholic, Anglican and Reformed traditions conducted a joint foreign visit...

Redigerat: feb 16, 11:10 pm

Pope: The world is headed toward the abyss if it won't end war (Vatican News)

“Today it really seems that the main problem is the production of weapons,” the Pope said, lamenting that people continue to manufacture arms when “there is still so much hunger in the world.” He said, “It is difficult to come back from this catastrophe. And we are not talking about atomic weapons!” However, the Pope continued, “I still believe in a work of persuasion,” adding, “We Christians have to pray a lot: ‘Lord, have mercy on us!’” Pope Francis also recalled the stories recounted by victims of violence and unimaginable cruelty, and, in remarks to the Jesuits of South Sudan, denounced “a pagan culture of war” that is concerned only with how many weapons one has...

And perhaps this cartoon from today's Guardian is relevant here.

Redigerat: feb 19, 2:57 am

Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell known as a "peacemaker" shot and killed in Los Angeles.

feb 19, 3:10 am

>11 MarthaJeanne:

That's sad. RIP.

Redigerat: feb 21, 8:41 am

Two items:

1. Pax Christi International's STATEMENT ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE WAR IN UKRAINE has been posted in full on LT here. It contains some powerful comments on nonviolence.

2. In the previous iteration of this thread, the conference on "Pope Francis: Nonviolence and Pacem in Terris" held in Rome in December 2022 was mentioned. The full report of that conference is now available here.

Edited to correct date. Thanks, MarthaJeanne!

feb 22, 10:17 am

For the US citizens amongst us:

Urge Congress to Support Nuclear Disarmament (Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns)

"Ask your Representative to co-sponsor H. Res. 77, that calls on the United States to “embrace the goals and provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” and pursue the five policy proposals of the Back from the Brink campaign..."

feb 22, 10:21 am

Pax Chrisi International Lenten reflections.

" Every Friday for the coming six weeks we will share with you a thought-provoking quote from a participant in our conference 'Pope Francis, Nonviolence and the fullness of Pacem in Terris' to foster reflection on steps to advance the spirituality, way of life, strategies, and ethic of nonviolence in the Church and the world."

I will try to post them each week.

Redigerat: mar 15, 5:13 am

A live event from the Catholic Peacebuilding Network which might be of interest to US members, and which is also being streamed online.

New and Old Wars, New and Old Challenges to Peace!

Wednesday, March 1
7:00-8:30 pm EST / 19:00-20:30 UTC
In Person at the University of Notre Dame, McKenna Hall 215/216, and Livestreamed

Ukraine and a new Cold War, a new nuclear arms race, “forever wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq, and forgotten wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Yemen. As foreign policies are being rethought in light of these new and old wars, the need for a moral compass is as great as ever.

At the height of the Cold War, two seminal documents, Pacem in terris (1963) and The Challenge of Peace (1983), provided that moral compass. In a similar way, Pope Francis’ encyclicals and statements have ignited a new debate about the ethics of nonviolence, nuclear deterrence, and war. Are nonviolence and nuclear disarmament the new moral and policy imperatives or do today’s new and old challenges to peace reinforce the need for the just war tradition and strengthened nuclear deterrence?

Join us for an inspiring talk by Cardinal Robert W. McElroy, followed by a panel discussion.

This event is part of the University of Notre Dame's 2022-23 Forum on War and Peace.

I had the privilege of meeting Cardinal McElroy at a conference in Rome last December, and I know two of the panelists, Gerard Powers and Rashied Omar, and I suspect it will be an interesting and informative event.

feb 25, 1:55 am

Two books from Georgetown University Press, both recommended by the US-based Catholic Peacebuilding Network:

Forbidden: Receiving Pope Francis's Condemnation of Nuclear Weapons by Drew Christiansen and Carole Sargent, Editors.

"At a 2017 Vatican conference, Pope Francis condemned nuclear weapons. This volume, issued after the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, presents essays from moral theologians, defense analysts, conflict transformation scholars, and nuclear arms control experts, with testimonies from witnesses. It is a companion volume to A World Free from Nuclear Weapons: The Vatican Conference on Disarmament (Georgetown University Press, 2020). Chapters from the perspectives of missile personnel and the military chain of command, industrialists and legislators, and citizen activists show how we might achieve a nuclear-free world. Key to this transition is the important role of public education and the mobilization of lay movements to raise awareness and effect change. This essential collection prepares military professionals, policymakers, everyday citizens, and the pastoral workers who guide them, to make decisions that will lead us to disarmament."

A World Free from Nuclear Weapons: The Vatican Conference on Disarmament by Edited by Drew Christiansen, SJ and Carole Sargent with an Address by Pope Francis and contributions from seven Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

"An important contribution to the debate and discussion about the path toward disarmament, for a range of communities."

feb 25, 11:10 pm

Pope opens Vatican judicial year: There is no peace without justice (Vatican News)

Addressing judges and magistrates for the opening of the 94th Judicial Year of the Tribunal of the Vatican City State Pope Francis recalls that every commitment to peace requires a commitment to justice, and that justice and mercy always walk together...

mar 3, 11:34 pm

>15 John5918:

The first two Friday Lenten reflections.

Sister Sia Temu, MM, Kenya: "It is important to create venues where people from different nations and diverse cultures can have meaningful conversations. Where true encounter and dialogue can take place. Where we can learn to hear each other's reality and even try to imagine to see that reality from their perspective and not our perspectives".

Archbishop John Wester, USA: "I am hearing from the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative that the Church has to model and catechise how we respond to violence nonviolently. The impact of this is incredible - tremendous".

I'll be away from my computer all of next week, facilitating a workshop on nonviolence for ecumenical church leaders in South Sudan, so I won't post much, although I should be able to read stuff on my phone.

mar 4, 3:20 am

Don’t Apply “this ultimate punishment”: Bishops’ Entity on Death Penalty in Zimbabwe (ACI Africa)

Members of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO) of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) are calling for the abolishment of death penalty in the Southern African nation. Zimbabwe has reportedly experienced a rise in criminal cases including robbery and murder in recent years. This has fueled debates on the execution of perpetrators with human rights groups calling for the removal of the death penalty from the country’s constitution. In a Wednesday, March 1 report, CPLO members express their opposition to death penalty and advocate for the safeguarding of human life, arguing that the pain of losing someone cannot be dealt with by killing the one who caused it. “As the Catholic Church, we state that the sanctity of life is to be upheld and that authorities must refrain from applying this ultimate punishment by taking the life of a person convicted of a heinous crime,” CPLO members say. They add, “We join the campaign in opposing the death penalty and call for upholding the sanctity of life in Zimbabwe”...

mar 14, 12:23 am

Third Week of Lent:

Rose Marie Berger, Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, 2022 Conference in Rome: "Pope Francis has revealed the sacrament of nonviolence, which was instituted by Jesus and entrusted to the church. Through these visible sacred actions, he opens an efficacious channel of God’s divine grace to all who are prepared to receive them. Here the symbol becomes substance as we embody the visible acts of nonviolence. This sacramental gift is part of the ancient wisdom of the Christian faith that is needed in this time as we engage existential transformations. How do we reaffirm Gospel nonviolence at the heart of the church? Let it be our Catholic institutions who teach, preach, and heal through the sacrament of nonviolence for the salvation of Mother Earth and all her children. The time is now. Pope Francis has opened, or I should say REopened, the Way."

Redigerat: mar 15, 10:12 am

>16 John5918:

The panel discussion with Cardinal McElroy can be seen online here. The cardinal makes a superb, balanced and thoughtful presentation, and all the panelists make important contributions.

mar 18, 12:39 am

Fourth week of Lent

Fr Emmanuel Katongole, CNI Rome, December 2022: "We should not have the pretence that we have the answers! For Pope Francis, he is reflecting the suffering of love, self-sacrificing love. The same suffering as Saint Oscar Romero, who spoke of the violence of love. The violence of brotherhood, sisterhood. The violence that beats swords into ploughshares".

mar 18, 5:26 am

I've mentioned a workshop on Gospel nonviolence for ecumenical church leaders which I facilitated in South Sudan at the beginning of this month. A statement signed by all the heads of churches in South Sudan, including our Catholic archbishop, can be found here, with a short introduction from the South Sudan Council of Churches Secretary General here.

mar 24, 1:14 pm

Fifth week of Lent: Dr Lisa Cahill, CNI Rome December 2022: "Here we have seen the importance of working with larger social political and cultural structures. This time there have been many people raising social conditions that produce violence - eg climate change, mining, unemployment - underscores the value of nonviolence as the responsibility of everyone."

mar 25, 12:41 am

Cardinal McElroy's presentation is now available in written form here.

Citation: McElroy, Robert W. (2023) "Our New Moment: Renewing Catholic Teaching on War and Peace," The Journal of Social Encounters: Vol. 7: Iss. 1, 266-271.

Redigerat: mar 25, 1:39 am

The latest issue of the (Catholic) Journal of Social Encounters contains more essays on "peace bishops", including my own essay on Ugandan Archbishop John Baptist Odama, a more general reflection on "Bishops of Peace", and Cardinal McElroy's presentation mentioned above.

apr 7, 1:32 am

Easter reflection from Pax Christi International Co-Presidents Sister Wamuyu Wachira IBMV, and Bishop Emeritus Marc Stenger, here.

Redigerat: apr 11, 3:31 am

‘They thought we were all communists’: Bradford’s peace studies department turns 50 (Guardian)

With the peace studies department celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, a number of golden anniversary events will be held to honour a department that today is known across the world as one of the leading centres of conflict resolution and international development. They include an event next month at the Houses of Parliament, a place where, in the 1980s, Conservative politicians regularly questioned whether peace studies was a suitable subject for academic study. Back then it was seen by some as a front for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament or mocked as the “department of appeasement studies”. At one point Margaret Thatcher was said to have asked: “Has that peace studies problem been dealt with yet?”... students were attracted to Bradford because it was “a space for dialogue and debate about what could be done”. “It wasn’t left wing, it was a safe space for critical thinking"... "the idea that we were all communists … it was a load of bullshit really”...

Seems there are quite a few posters on LT who still believe in that same "load of bullshit", that those who actively pursue peace and nonviolence are all communists!

apr 12, 10:44 am

A timely but neglected encyclical (Vatican News)

Sixty years after its publication, John XXIII's "Pacem in terris" retains a strong relevance in the world of piecemeal warfare that fails to "disarm the heart"...

Redigerat: maj 23, 3:37 am

Cardinal Czerny: Peace requires effort and dedication (Vatican News)

Marking the 60th anniversary of Pope John XXIII's encyclical "Pacem in Terris", Cardinal Michael Czerny addresses an event highlighting the teachings of the encyclical in today's world, and how Pope Francis has carried them out throughout his pontificate...

Pacem in Terris is still very relevant and valid in today's violent world, and is well worth reading if you have not already done so. There's a link to it in the article.

apr 13, 12:22 am


No one ever said making peace would be easy. I became part of a small group convened by Father Gerry Reynolds that met regularly in Clonard monastery with some of the republican leadership, and alongside this, we intensified our contacts with loyalists over monthly lunches in the home of David McMillan... politics is not just what happens in the room; it is often dependent on the relationships we bring into the room. Relationships built through common interests and shared space, which had not been possible during the violence. Republicans were at the table, but not in the tearooms where these relationships could be made... Peacemakers, the children of God, surely have something distinctive to offer in the painful process of talking through the hurt and pain that governments cannot provide. At the heart of our faith is God’s invitation to God’s table, not because we merit the invite, but because God is a God of grace, mercy and love. Hospitality, without agenda, became the watchword... ‘Creating Tea Rooms’ came into being...

‘Creating Tea Rooms’, bringing together key people from all sides of a conflict in a safe environment with no agenda, has become an acknowledged part of building peace, under different names. In Sudan we called it "neutral forums".

Redigerat: apr 23, 3:17 am

Sudan ‘resistance’ activists mobilise as crisis escalates (Al Jazeera)

Groups of activists around Sudan have set up networks of medics, nurses and engineers to respond to citizens’ needs... When conflict erupted in Sudan on April 15, activists from hundreds of neighbourhoods mobilised to establish committees of medics, nurses and engineers across the country. Their tasks varied from providing shelter to the displaced, rehabilitating hospitals and saving lives amid shelling, gunfire and bombing. The efforts came from Sudan’s “resistance committees”, neighbourhood groups that have spearheaded Sudan’s pro-democracy movement since 2019... The violence has prompted aid groups to suspend operations, yet resistance committees have worked to fill the void by mobilising informal networks that were once used to organise anti-government protests... “The resistance committees maintain their legitimacy because they do something differently than political elites in this country and that is service provision. They have always centred all their political work around service and they are doing that much more now during the war”... Many use the hashtag #NotoWar. and publish updated information about which roads and side streets are safe to escape heavy clashes... Beyond service provision and escape routes, resistance committees also play a role in maintaining the social cohesion of their neighbourhoods. Murtada emphasised that activists have urged their communities not to side with either the RSF or the army since both parties could weaponise ethnic rhetoric to recruit more fighters. “Neighbourhood resistance committees can play a huge role in making sure that … the narratives of the army and RSF … doesn’t lead to communities getting divided”... Resistance committees have risen to the occasion through activities such as spray-painting anti-war messages on houses and buildings while forming groups on social media to urge their peers to join the humanitarian response – not the fighting...

with much of Sudan depending on resistance committees, the international community should effectively engage with them too. However, she predicts that Western officials will still favour political elites and generals when it comes to political decision-making. {The global community} makes excuses not to deal with {resistance committees} … because they don’t make efforts to understand them. They just understand militaries where there are people in charge and there are people underneath them,” she said. “But when you have independent and robust organisations that can carry out momentum for change and you still don’t find ways to engage with it. Well, that is almost criminal.”

maj 10, 6:41 am

Catholic Social Teaching and nonviolence are "very much consistent with the African tradition which teaches that every human person is sacred from conception to death. We believe that those who are weak, vulnerable or marginalised deserve special respect, especially those who are unborn, disabled, elderly or dying. A key measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person. The principle is not merely a prohibition against killing or harming life; rather, it calls us to proclaim a new culture of life by revering life, loving life, and fostering life at all stages."

This quote from an unpublished manuscript struck me as succinctly summing up the consistent ethic of life.

Redigerat: maj 22, 1:23 pm

Pope Francis on G7 Summit: Nuclear Deterrence Offers "only an illusion of peace" (ACI Africa)

In a letter marking the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Pope Francis asserted that the mere possession of nuclear weapons creates “a climate of fear and suspicion” and offers “only an illusion of peace.” The Vatican released a letter on May 20 that the pope wrote to Bishop Alexis Mitsuru Shirahama of Hiroshima assuring his prayers as “the G7 Summit meets in Hiroshima to discuss urgent issues currently facing the global community.” “The choice of Hiroshima as the site of this meeting is particularly significant, in light of the continuing threat of recourse to nuclear weapons,” Pope Francis said... “Hiroshima, as ‘a symbol of memory,’ forcefully proclaims the inadequacy of nuclear arms to respond effectively to today’s great threats to peace and to ensure national and international security”... The pope added that “nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction represent a multiplier of risk that offers only an illusion of peace.” “We need but consider the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental impact that will result from the use of nuclear weapons, as well as the waste and poor allocation of human and economic resources involved in their development. Nor should we underestimate the effects of the continuing climate of fear and suspicion generated by their mere possession, which compromises the growth of a climate of mutual trust and dialogue,” he said...

The full text of the pope's letter can be found here.

There's also a letter from Pax Christi International to the Japanese Prime Minister here

maj 24, 9:03 am

“May God touch their hearts”, Bishop in Burkina Faso Prays for Conversion of Terrorists (ACI Africa)

The Catholic Bishop of Dori Diocese in Burkina Faso has offered prayer for the conversion of terrorists, who he says have taken up arms against their people. In his homily during Holy Mass to mark the end of a national day of fasting and prayer for peace and social cohesion that authorities in the West African nation organized, Bishop Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré advocated for peace, saying it is a necessity “for the people to live in harmony”... He added, “We also pray for those who, for one reason or another, have taken up arms against our country.” “May God touch their hearts so that they may come home, so that we can build this country of ours together”... The Catholic Church leader said the prayer day was an occasion to “ask God to grant all Burkinabe to feel like sons and daughters of this country and that each one can work so that no one feels excluded”... Also speaking during the May 20 Eucharistic celebration, the Archbishop of Ouagadougou, Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo underscored the need for peace in the West African nation. “Peace is a gift from God; peace is also the fruit of human efforts,” Cardinal Ouédraogo said, and urged the people of God in Burkina Faso to “unite their voices to ask God for the grace of peace”...

Redigerat: maj 28, 3:47 am

New scholarship on Catholic views of war and peace (Catholic Peacebuilding Network)

Forbidden: Receiving Pope Francis's Condemnation of Nuclear Weapons is part of CPN's Project on Revitalizing Catholic Engagement on Nuclear Disarmament. With essays from moral theologians, defense analysts, conflict transformation scholars, diplomats, and nuclear arms control experts, it explores the policy and pastoral implications of the Church's evolving teaching on the ethics of nuclear weapons. Chapters cover a wide range of topics, from the ethical and policy challenges of deterrence and disarmament to the moral responsibilities of politicians, military personnel, scientists, defense workers, investors, educators, and lay movements.

Jeff Shawn Jose, "A Catholic Pope and a Rawlsian Statesman: War and Peace through the Lens of Non-Public and Public Reason"

Abstract: A Catholic pope and a Rawlsian statesman respectively represent religious and political leaders who confront the reality of war and face the challenge of responding to it. A political decision during conflict based exclusively on religious or secular justifications will be unconvincing in a contemporary plural public space. John Rawls’s solution to this dilemma was to offer justifications based on public reason grounded on political values and not on religious or secular values that support non-public reason. However, restraining religious arguments can ignite passionate religious objections when the decisions of government contradict the demands of their religious values. Hence, this paper argues against an exclusive position and highlights the importance of a nuanced approach that engages religious and political perspectives. The arguments are presented by engaging both Catholic and Rawlsian responses to war by focusing on just war theory and the role of a statesman.

Jan de Volder, "Pope Francis’s Contribution to Catholic Thinking and Acting on War and Peace"

Abstract: In modern times, the papacy has consistently advocated peace, disarmament, and peaceful resolution of conflicts, limiting the scope of traditional just war theory, particularly in the era of weapons of mass destruction. However, no pope has gone as far as Pope Francis, who has stated that there is no such thing as just war and that “Only Peace is Just.” This contribution examines how Francis expressed and developed his thought in the context of his humanitarian diplomacy and theological thinking during the first ten years of his pontificate. The Ukraine war is a test for Pope Francis, who has repeatedly called for peace negotiations and condemned arms supply, while recognizing the moral right for Ukrainian self-defense. While this may seem contradictory, his policy shows Francis’s deeper conviction that “war is always a defeat for humanity.” More interested in peace-making and assisting victims than in doctrinal issues, Francis has not jettisoned the just war concept in theory, but has done so in his witness and actions.

NB: The Catholic Peacebuilding Network (CPN) is a voluntary network of practitioners, academics, clergy and laity from around the world which seeks to enhance the study and practice of Catholic peacebuilding, especially at the local level. CPN aims to deepen bonds of solidarity among Catholic peacebuilders, share and analyze “best practices,” expand the peacebuilding capacity of the Church in areas of conflict, and encourage the further development of a theology of a just peace. While it is a Catholic network, CPN believes that authentic and effective Catholic peacebuilding involves dialogue and collaboration with those of other religious traditions and all those committed to building a more just and peaceful world.

jun 10, 12:10 am

France knife attack: 'Backpack hero' praised for facing attacker (BBC)

French media have lauded a young "hero with a backpack" for his attempts to thwart a knife attack in Annecy which left four children seriously injured. Henri, 24, was filmed chasing the suspect and swinging his bag at him. The Catholic pilgrim - who has been touring France's cathedrals - said he had followed his instincts and did what he could to "protect the weak". He was praised for his bravery by President Emmanuel Macron when the two met in the town on Friday afternoon. Mr Macron told Henri that his actions were a "source of hope", but that the young man had "lived through... a trauma"... Footage of the incident itself and the immediate aftermath appeared to show Henri swinging one of his backpacks at the attacker, who tried to slash at him in return. Another clip showed him chasing the knifeman across a grassy area... Henri posted on Instagram to say: "Pray for the children, I am doing fine." Henri received messages of thanks, not only for his actions but also his apparent modesty... Henri said: "All I know is, I was not there by chance." He explained that it was "unthinkable to do nothing... I followed my instincts and did what I could to protect the weak"...

An example of selfless, courageous and effective nonviolent action in a dangerous situation.

jun 10, 3:11 am

When we lived in Geneva one of our favourite day trips was to Annecy. The pictures of the park by the lake took me right back. Just the idea of this violence there is so unthinkable.

jun 10, 3:38 am

Yes, I've also been to Annecy. If I recall correctly, it's a beautifully clear lake.

jun 10, 4:49 am

You missed one quote from the BBC story:

Commenting on the suggestion that the suspect in Thursday's attacks also identifies as a Christian, Henri said it was "profoundly unchristian to attack the vulnerable".

jul 20, 12:12 am

Vatican diplomat: Pope Francis ‘stubbornly believes in peace’ (CNA)

Veteran Vatican diplomat Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher last week defended what he described as Pope Francis’ “strong and courageous” push for peace in Ukraine in the face of criticism from some who have said the Holy Father should take a harder line against Russia as the aggressor in the conflict... “What moves the Holy Father is nothing but the will to make dialogue and peace possible,” Gallagher said, “inspired by the principle that ‘the Church must not use the language of politics, but the language of Jesus.’” Francis has often raised the issue of the war, calling it a “negation of God’s dream” and lamenting “the sacrifice of human lives, the suffering of the population, the indiscriminate destruction of civilian structures”... Quoting partly from “Ukrainian Lessons,” Gallagher said that “interpreting {Francis’ positions} as ‘acts of empty pacifism’ and ‘theatrical’ expressions of ‘pious desire’” is a misguided analysis of what the pope believes. Such a dismissal, Gallagher said, “does not do justice to the vision and intentions of the Holy Father, who does not want to resign himself to the war and who stubbornly believes in peace, inviting everyone to be creative and courageous weavers and artisans of peace”...

Concern lingers among Ukrainians after Vatican's peace mission to Moscow (NCR)

When the president of the Italian bishops' conference headed a Vatican delegation to Moscow in late June, there was intense speculation as to what might result. Three weeks on, observers await Bologna Cardinal Matteo Zuppi's next step. Doubts remain, not least in Ukraine, as to whether the Vatican should be drawn into attempts to settle a bloody conflict whose outcome looks set to be decided on the battlefield... Zuppi insisted he had been pursuing "humanitarian causes and the protection of innocent lives," rather than trying to mediate the conflict. A "real peace" could still be secured, he added, based "first of all on coexistence." But "dialogue is a canvas that can be woven in different ways — it's necessary to encourage many initiatives to reweave the delicate lace of peace," the cardinal said. "There is no peace plan and no mediation, only a great desire for the violence to stop." Zuppi's modified claim was repeated by the state-run Vatican News and endorsed by the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, prompting speculation that Zuppi's wider peace appeals had been turned down...

Redigerat: jul 22, 12:11 am

As Ukraine war rages on, Pope Francis should reorient the church toward 'just peace'

Citing growing conflict and instability around the world, Pope Francis shared an unequivocal message in mid-June: "The time has come to say an emphatic 'no' to war" and state decisively "that wars are not just"... The conditions for a just war are enshrined in the doctrine of the Catholic Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2309). While we may debate whether there has ever been a truly just war, Francis' claim — that the wars of today cannot be justified — is widely apparent. Our wars are not of last resort or of just cause. And they are no longer executed with rightful intention — the predominant theme in the wars of the 21st century is the dramatic rise in the harm and death of civilians. Ninety percent of wartime casualties today are civilians. Nonviolent activists, peace builders, and peace organizations, such as the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, have been sounding the alarm bell about this focus on "just wars" for decades. We've called for the church to adopt a just peace ethic. A just peace is "a way of political cooperation for the common good, respect for the dignity of all persons and the natural world, preventing violence before it begins, and the transformation of conflict by nonviolent strategies." Part of our limitation to adopting a just peace is our lack of moral imagination of what is possible without violence when faced with complex global, regional and interpersonal conflict. When we choose to look, however, examples abound of what peace and nonviolence makes possible... If Francis wants the church to join him in an emphatic "no" to war, he must actively promote nonviolent practices and strategies, such as unarmed civilian protection and conflict transformation. He must direct clergy to share homilies filled with stories of peace building in local communities, and of nonviolent resistance in times of war. He must use the full breadth of tools at his disposal to lead the church in seeing the current, lived reality of his vision of peace and, by extension, developing doctrine to match it (a consistent call from the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative has been for the pope to write an encyclical on a just peace ethic)...

Cardinal-designate from South Sudan seen as peacemaker in ethnic conflicts

Pope Francis announced Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla of Juba a cardinal-designate on July 9, the date of South Sudan's 12th anniversary of independence -- making it a double celebration for the church and the nation, considered the world's youngest. The 59-year-old prelate has been on the front lines of the peace and reconciliation efforts in the conflict-ridden East African nation. After over 21 years of civil war, the longest running in Africa, the country gained independence in 2011. Despite this, South Sudan continues to struggle with conflicts linked to ethnicity, politics and resources, and climate change-related disasters. Soon after the announcement, Ameyu Mulla said the church in South Sudan was happy "with this gift on Independence Day." "It's a double happiness. We need to take care of it. (May the) Lord strengthen us in the search for peace … so that every time we receive news like this, we may celebrate with peace being a reality," he said...

Both from NCR

jul 23, 3:49 am

Faced with a violent killing, a family chooses forgiveness over prison (Guardian)

Donald Fields Jr faced a life sentence after he was charged with his father’s murder. Instead, his case became a pioneering instance of restorative justice... Don Jr was charged with the murder of his father, Donald Fields Sr, in 2016. He faced a possible life sentence and had not spoken to members of his family since he was taken into custody in June that year. But today was the first step in a long journey that would see a tragedy transformed into a pioneering case of compassion in America’s punitive criminal justice system. It marked the first time that restorative justice – the act of resolving crimes through community reconciliation and accountability over traditional punishment – had been used in a homicide case in the state of North Carolina. And probably the first case of its kind in the US... “I just want you to know that what you did was horrific,” Alex said. “It’s been four years and your entire family is still suffering. But I have to forgive you. I want to forgive you. And I want you to forgive yourself.” It had taken Alex Fields the better part of three years to forgive his nephew...

“I learned that the healing from the restorative justice process is more complete for survivors... They feel far more heard and involved”... “He can be rehabilitated”... “Victims want to feel some sense of control, and they want to feel some feeling of healing. And unfortunately our system doesn’t offer anything apart from criminal charges. We are taught from a very young age that justice in America means a criminal conviction. It means prison"... principles of restorative justice have existed for centuries in ancient and Indigenous societies... victim-influenced alternatives to incarceration in violent crimes... solutions must be centered on survivors’ needs. They also should be driven by accountability, with the perpetrator acknowledging harm and expressing remorse. Any resolution in a case should place public safety at its center and also be guided by racial equity. There is increasing evidence that use of restorative justice lowers rates of recidivism...

aug 24, 2:21 am

Nigerian Cardinal, Catholic Bishop among “100 Most Notable Peace ICONS, Africa” (ACI Africa)

Two Nigerian Catholic Prelates, John Cardinal Onaiyekan and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, have been listed among 100 Most Notable Peace Icons in Africa... “This initiative stands as a testament to our commitment to acknowledging and applauding the remarkable individuals and collectives that have played key roles in nurturing peace, harmony, and positive change on the African continent,” Amb. Kinsley Amafibe, Project Director Africa for the 100 Most Notable Peace Icons, Africa said...

aug 24, 2:28 am

>45 John5918:

There are interesting reflections on restorative justice in some of Fr Richard Rohr's recent daily reflections. They're short and very readable.

Divine Love Restores

Jesus’ Work of Shalom

Truth and Reconciliation

Communal Restoration

aug 25, 2:07 am

Repairing Relationships

Criminal justice traditionally asks, “Who did it? What law did he break? How are we going to punish him?” Restorative justice asks, “What harm was done? What is needed to repair the harm? Who is responsible for repairing it?”

Redigerat: sep 25, 10:49 am

Recently the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative held a series of regional online meetings, including one in Africa. I was unable to participate as I was facilitating a workshop in South Sudan in a place which has very patchy internet access, but it was recorded and posted on YouTube, and anyone who is interested can have a look at it here.

You can also watch the other roundtables:
Latin America/Caribbean
Asia Pacific
Migration in the Americas

Unsurprisingly the Latin American one is in Spanish, and for some reason the link to the migration one seems to take you to the end of the video rather than the beginning, but it's easy enough to go back to the beginning once you're there.

sep 25, 11:56 pm

Forgiving “genuinely, quickly only way to end” Nigeria’s Multifront Violence: Archbishop (ACI Africa)

The practice of forgiveness is the “only way” to bring an end to violence in Nigeria, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of the country’s Abuja Archdiocese has said... Archbishop Kaigama advocated for genuine and quick forgiveness, and cautioned Nigerians against “poorly practiced” forgiveness, inviting them to “a change of heart”. “Our situation in Nigeria invites us to undergo a change of heart and to learn to forgive genuinely and quickly too as the only way to end political, religious, and ethnic violence which badly retard our effort in building a just and peaceful society devoid of rancor, hatred, and strife”... The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop faulted the way forgiveness is practiced in Africa’s most populous nation, saying, “In the Nigerian society, made up of adherents of Christianity, Islam, and African Traditional Religion where forgiveness is professed, it is very poorly practiced.” “Some of the recurring communal clashes and violent conflicts” in Nigeria, he said, emanate from “bitterness” and “an unforgiving spirit”...

sep 26, 1:09 am

Here is a Google translate version of a homily given last week in Dutch in Utrecht by Catholic Bishop Ad van Luyn to mark the 75th anniversary of Pax Christi, and in particular its Dutch branch, now known simply as PAX.

Three quarters of a century ago, in the years immediately following the destruction of the Second World War, the association “Pax Christi” was founded. It is a movement from society that is committed to peace and justice worldwide. She is guided by the two basic principles of Christian social teaching: the inalienable dignity of the human person, 'human dignity', and the general well-being, the 'common good'.

The first principle, human dignity, is unconditional and non-negotiable, it is inscribed in human nature before every organization of society and before every civil legislation and every political decision-making. It is the basis of human rights, which, as recognized in our Constitution, are inviolable and indivisible. 1) Human dignity applies to 'every person', without distinction. It is unacceptable that people are denied access to it due to inhumane living conditions, living below the poverty line, without education and medical care, due to discrimination, oppression, terrorism, war or genocide. 2) It also applies to 'the whole person'. The human "person" is not only a physical individual, she is also psychological, social, political and cultural, moral and spiritual; as an indivisible living being. The whole person includes in particular the relational bond with fellow man and with the One who transcends us all.

The second principle, the common good, is complementary to the first. People are all part of a community, dependent on each other and co-responsible for each other. The aim of the common good is to create the best possible conditions for a humane and humanizing existence for all. This not only concerns the basic physical needs of the people, but also the promotion of their integral development. Poor and vulnerable people at the bottom of society must be given priority

These principles of social teaching transcend both politics and economics, they are 'meta-political' and 'meta-economic'. The human rights arising from human dignity are not constituted by the state. The state, politics and the economy are obliged to respect and guarantee human rights at all times, even when this would be contrary to a perceived national or personal interest.

The common good requires the application of solidarity or the willingness to contribute effectively to the realization of the 'common good' at all levels. This requires attention and care for needs in one's own society and elsewhere, with moderation of one's own interests and with actual support from manpower and resources. This applies first and foremost in our own country, where hundreds of thousands of people still live without physical and 'human' security of existence, in poverty and social exclusion. This also applies to a large extent to solidarity worldwide.

These principles of social teaching are not about life or religious views, but about 'ethical' principles that apply to every person, without distinction of religion or philosophy of life. This means that not only civil authorities, politicians and entrepreneurs, but also leaders of church and social groups, must always test their policy plans and decisions against 'human dignity' and the 'common good'. Only through joint efforts can they arrive at the right considerations regarding universal values in response to current problems and challenges.

This does not require a discussion or debate in which only one's own insight and right are defended, but an authentic dialogue. This is an open exchange of views, in which no one is excluded, but together we strive for better understanding and appropriate policies for the challenges we face. An authentic dialogue first and foremost requires self-criticism from all interlocutors, because without the ability to self-correct, feelings of superiority and fundamentalism become obstacles to progress. The conversation partners must then be open to positive elements in other cultures, philosophies or religions, so that mutual enrichment is possible. Then, finally, a joint effort is required for the common good, so that the partial interests are brought into balance. Where necessary, sacrifices may also be asked, especially from those who are more decisive and have a voice, in favor of the less fortunate and the most vulnerable in society.

This dialogue is becoming increasingly relevant and urgent, given the many crises and dangers that threaten peace and justice worldwide. a) Humane reception of migrants and refugees is not possible without solidarity at European, national and also municipal level. b) Restoring confidence in politics requires a government that is always and without exceptions guided by the 'human dignity' of all citizens. c) The climate crisis can only be combated if governments, companies and citizens do not let their policies and behavior be guided by short-term interests, but always align themselves with the 'common good'. d) Peace in Europe (Ukraine!) and worldwide requires lasting international solidarity with people who suffer from war violence, geopolitical power seeking, capitalism and repression. . . . . . . . We could summarize all crises under one heading: how much does our responsibility now weigh for the coming generations?

It would be naive to assume that all governments and decision-making bodies will suddenly embrace peace and justice. The Christian peace movement will therefore have to continue to critically monitor global developments in injustice and conflict, and work together with the 'local capacities for peace' in conflict areas. That conviction and commitment were the intention of the founders of the PAX and still are the intention of the Christian peace movement: to bring peace and justice in the world closer through authentic dialogue and actual solidarity.

I would also like to encourage PAX to engage in conversation with the younger generation. They in particular should be interested and heard in the pursuit of a humane and humanizing future for humanity. They and the generations after them will later be confronted with the disastrous consequences of irresponsible policies and culpable negligence now. The intergenerational dialogue is therefore indispensable and urgent.

Utrecht, 21 sept. 2023
+ A.H. van Luyn, sdb, emeritus-chairperson Pax Christi

sep 26, 7:58 am

>50 John5918: On a lighter note I like to quote Oscar Wilde: 'Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.' to people who are unforgiving.

sep 26, 8:35 am

>52 bnielsen: That was not new with Wilde.

Proverbs 25:21-22
21 If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. 22 You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the LORD will reward you.

sep 26, 8:37 am

>53 MarthaJeanne: How about the twist with it being an annoyance to them?

sep 26, 8:50 am

You don't think burning coals are an annoyance?

sep 26, 8:54 am

Hmm, you're right!

sep 30, 12:51 am

One of the iconic British peace activists of our times has died. RIP. It's worth looking her up and reading about her remarkable and inspiring career.

CND co-founder Pat Arrowsmith dies aged 93 (Guardian)

Pat Arrowsmith, the activist and co-founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), has died at the age of 93... Her work as a peace campaigner began with protesting against the Vietnam war, before co-founding CND in 1958... Arrowsmith’s activism frequently brought her into conflict with the authorities. She served the first of her 11 prison sentences in 1958. Her convictions included 18 months in prison for handing out leaflets at a British army base in order to encourage soldiers to refuse to serve in Northern Ireland... As well as co-founding CND, Arrowsmith was also part of the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War, a precursor to CND, as well as of the Committee of 100 – the civil disobedience movement led by Bertrand Russell in the early 1960s...

Redigerat: okt 15, 12:10 pm

In the light of the current cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine, this reflection from Franciscan Fr Richard Rohr seems apposite.

Repairers of the Breach

If you remove the yoke from among you, the accusing finger, and malicious speech;
If you lavish your food on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted;
Then your light shall rise in the darkness, and your gloom shall become like midday….
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined dwellings.” —Isaiah 58:9–10, 12

Many of the Hebrew prophets maintain a restorative vision of “repairing the breaches” in our lives and world. Father Richard writes:

Polarities, dualisms, and seeming opposites are not opposites at all but part of a hidden and rejected wholeness. The task of true religion is to rebind (in Latin, re-ligio) that which is torn apart by temperament, ignorance, and institutionalized evil. Christians are led and grounded by Jesus the Christ, “in whom all things can be held together … and in whom all things are reconciled” (Colossians 1:17, 20).

Mere information tends to break things apart into competing ideologies. Wisdom received through contemplative seeing puts things back together again... the most radical, political, and effective thing we can do for the world and the church is to teach contemplation: a way of seeing beyond the surface of things that moves people toward credible action.

Contemplation, in non-mystified language, is the ability to meet Reality in its most simple and direct form. When I let go of my judgments, my agenda, my emotive life, my attachment to my positive or negative self-image, I am naked, poor, and ready for The Big Truths. Without some form of contemplative surrender, I see little hope for breakthrough, for new ground, for moving beyond ideologies, the small mind, and the clutching ego. Action without contemplation is the work of hamsters and gerbils. It gets us though the day, it gives us a temporary sense of movement, but the world is not made new by spinning wheels going nowhere.

Even religion has its own equivalent of hamster spinning wheels going nowhere. Since Jeremiah’s time, we clergy have been shouting, “The sanctuary, the sanctuary, the sanctuary!” And God keeps telling us through the prophets, “Only if you amend your behavior and your actions … if you treat each other fairly, if you do not exploit the stranger, the orphan, and the widow, if you do not shed innocent blood … only then will I be with you here in this place” (see Jeremiah 7:3–7).

Contemplation without action is certainly not contemplation at all. Jesus seemed to think it might even be the greater danger: “If the light inside you is, in fact, darkness, what darkness that will be!” (Matthew 6:23). Concrete action in the world of relationships keeps us from a world of self-delusion about our own “enlightenment.”

Adapted from Richard Rohr, foreword to Grace in Action, ed. Terry Carney and Christina Spahn (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1994), xiii–xiv, xv.

okt 17, 11:48 pm

There have been comments in this thread or elsewhere about how various popes failed in their efforts to transform conflicts by nonviolent means and to prevent or end wars. Here, quite by chance, I came across a reference to one conflict which a pope did succeed in preventing.

A road trip to the edge of the Earth (BBC)

an old military bunker facing the shoreline. It was a relic of a border dispute between Chile and Argentina over a trio of uninhabited islands – Picton, Lennox and Nueva – just east of Isla Navarino that brought the countries to the brink of war in 1978. Despite fears of an invasion, mediation by Pope John Paul II ultimately helped to resolve the dispute peacefully and the islands remain part of Chile...

Redigerat: okt 28, 4:31 am

Prayer for Peace led by the Holy Father, 27th October 2023

Edited to add: Pope Francis Consecrates War-torn World to Virgin Mary in Eucharistic Prayer Vigil (ACI Africa)

Pope Francis consecrated the Church and the world to the Blessed Virgin Mary in a Eucharistic adoration prayer vigil for peace in St. Peter’s Basilica on Friday, Oct. 27, amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Holy Land. Invoking the Virgin Mary as the Queen of Peace and Mother of Mercy, Pope Francis implored her to “intercede for our world in danger and turmoil” and to “convert those who fuel and foment conflicts.” “Mother of God and Our Mother, we come before you and we seek refuge in your Immaculate Heart,” the pope prayed...

nov 8, 5:55 am

“Throw All the Guns that Killed Your Brothers and Make Difference” Cardinal Ameyu to Young People (AMECEA)

South Sudan New Cardinal during his arrival from Rome on 30th October 2023, called on young people to throw away guns that killed their brothers, and sisters and make a difference to develop the country. His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Ameyu Martin called on young people to live the love of God that unites everyone. “I call upon the young, you are the majority, and you can make a difference, we can bring peace to this Country, throw away the guns that killed your own brothers and sister, and let us live the love of God that unites all of us.” Cardinal Ameyu in his speech at Juba International Airport on Monday Said, time has come for young people to look at his or her own heart and forgive. “My dear people of God, we are a nation that is regarded as a war zone because we have been fighting all these 50 years without any turning back and say let us forgive one another. Today is a chance that each and every one of us should look at his or her own heart and say my dear brother I have forgiven you from the bottom of my heart”...

nov 15, 3:02 am

The Troubles: 'Forgiving my sister's IRA killer healed me' (BBC)

A woman whose teenage sister was killed by the IRA 50 years ago says she has come to forgive the gunman who shot her. Kathleen Feeney, 14, was killed near her home in the Brandywell area of Londonderry on 14 November 1973... Kathleen's sister Mary Morrison said it took a long time to forgive the man who killed her. "I myself forgive him - that has healed me," she told BBC Radio Foyle's North West Today programme. "I was only hurting myself. "There were four people involved in it - two girls, two fellas - no-one has ever been convicted. It is their sin, not mine"...

This brings to mind Fr Michael Lapsley's "Healing of Memories" approach, referred to in >5 John5918: and elsewhere. He lost one eye and both his hands to a parcel bomb sent to him by South Africa's apartheid regime, but later realised that holding on to bitterness and anger only harmed himself, and that forgiving the one who wronged you actually heals and frees yourself. It's a difficult and painful journey, but thank God that Mary has found that path.

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