A blog by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration about justice and peace issues

Posts tagged ‘nonviolence’

“Nonviolence is the love that does justice…”

Pax Christi has created a great toolkit to prepare us for International Day of Peace, Sept. 21, 2014:

Greetings of peace!

Beginning on the International Day of Peace, September 21st, and continuing through September 27, Pax Christi USA members and groups will be hosting and/or participating in a week of actions as supporters of Campaign Nonviolence. Pax Christi USA was an earlier endorser of Campaign Nonviolence, and if your local group or region has something planned, we want to know! Send your information to jzokovitch@paxchristiusa.org and we’ll help promote your event and connect others to your action.

Peace education and the practice of nonviolence are needed now as much as ever. Dr. King told us that “the choice is not between violence and nonviolence, but between nonviolence and nonexistence.” Events like the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, to the U.S. bombing campaign in the Middle East, and issues from climate change to nuclear weapons are the evidence for just how prescient Dr. King’s words were. But we can turn the tide. We can “mainstream nonviolence” and create a world which is more peaceful, just and sustainable. Join us between September 21-27 for this week of action. It is not too late to plan an event or make plans to participate. Let’s take our action to the street and show that nonviolence is “the love that does justice.”

In peace,
Johnny Zokovitch
Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA

Pray

by Eileen Egan and John Dear

Recognizing the violence in my own heart, yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, I vow for one year to practice the nonviolence of Jesus who taught us in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God…You have learned how it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy’; but I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way, you will be daughters and sons of your Creator in heaven.”

Before God the Creator and the Sanctifying Spirit, I vow to carry out in my life the love and example of Jesus…

Click here to see the rest of the Vow of Nonviolence.

Click here to order copies of the Vow in brochure format for your church, family, school, or others, with additional actions and resources for practicing nonviolence.

 

Study

Drawing from articles sent in to the Bread for the Journey blog on the Pax Christi USA website, we periodically reformat several articles into a free, downloadable process booklet of 4-6 sessions designed for small group discussion and reflection. We think that these two resources may be of particular interest for your group or even individual study as part of Campaign Nonviolence. To see more of these process booklets, click here.
“The Gospel, Nonviolence and Civil Discourse: Reflections on civil discourse, respectful dialogue across difference, and nonviolence” by Pax Christi International Co-President Marie Dennis
“For Now We See in a Mirror, Dimly: An Anti-Racist Critique of Pax Christi USA’s Theology and Practice of Nonviolence” by PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Tom Cordaro

Act

1. Join or plan an action in your local community. Click here for more information.

2. Take the Campaign Nonviolence pledge.

3. Join the Fast for Peace.

“Peacemaking is more courageous than warfare….” Pope Francis

Iraqi Children

A perspective from religious leaders to consider before President Obama’s address:

Dear President Obama:

As religious communities, leaders, and academics, we write to express our deep concern over the recent escalation of U.S. military action in Iraq. While the dire plight of Iraqi civilians should compel the international community to respond in some way, U.S. military action is not the answer. Lethal weapons and airstrikes will not remove the threat to a just peace in Iraq. As difficult as it might be, in the face of this great challenge, we believe that the way to address the crisis is through long-term investments in supporting inclusive governance and diplomacy, nonviolent resistance, sustainable development, and community-level peace and reconciliation processes.

Pope Francis has affirmed that “peacemaking is more courageous than warfare,” and more recently said that “it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underscore the verb ‘stop;’ I don’t say bomb, make war — stop him.” But how, we ask?

In addition to the complex factors spilling over from the civil war in Syria and pressure from other neighbors, decades of U.S. political and military intervention, coupled with inadequate social reconciliation programs, have significantly contributed to the current crisis in Iraq. More bombing will ultimately mean more division, bloodshed, recruitment for extremist organizations, and a continual cycle of violent intervention.

The current state of crisis and the breakdown of state institutions in Libya provide another stark example of the failure of a militarized strategy. Like Libya, the air strikes in Iraq will ultimately fail to build and maintain sustainable peace in the long-term.

We understand and deeply share the desire to protect people, especially civilians. However, even when tactics of violent force yield a short-term displacement of the adversary’s violence, such violence toward armed actors is often self-perpetuating, as the retributive violence that flares up in response will only propitiate more armed intervention in a tit-for-tat escalation without addressing the root causes of the conflict. We see this over and over again. It is not “necessary” to continue down this road of self-destruction, as Pope Francis called the hostilities of war the “suicide of humanity.”

There are better, more effective, more healthy and more humanizing ways to protect civilians and to engage this conflict. Using an alternative frame, here are some “just peace” ways the United States and others can not only help save lives in Iraq and the region, but also begin to transform the conflict and break the cycle of violent intervention. To begin, the United States should take the following steps:

  • Stop U.S. bombing in Iraq to prevent bloodshed, instability and the accumulation of grievances that contribute to the global justification for the Islamic State’s existence among its supporters.
  • Provide robust humanitarian assistance to those who are fleeing the violence. Provide food and much-needed supplies in coordination with the United Nations.
  • Engage with the UN, all Iraqi political and religious leaders, and others in the international community on diplomatic efforts for a lasting political solution for Iraq. Ensure a significantly more inclusive Iraqi government along with substantive programs of social reconciliation to interrupt the flow and perhaps peel-back some of the persons joining the Islamic State. In the diplomatic strategy, particularly include those with influence on key actors in the Islamic State.
  • Work for a political settlement to the crisis in Syria. The conflicts in Iraq and Syria are intricately connected and should be addressed holistically. Return to the Geneva peace process for a negotiated settlement to the civil war in Syria and expand the agenda to include regional peace and stability. Ensure Iran’s full participation in the process.
  • Support community-based nonviolent resistance strategies to transform the conflict and meet the deeper need and grievances of all parties. For example, experts have suggested strategies such as parallel institutions, dispersed disruptions, and economic non-cooperation.
  • Strengthen financial sanctions against armed actors in the region by working through the UN Security Council. For example, disrupting the Islamic State’s $3 million/day oil revenue from the underground market would go a long way toward blunting violence.
  • Bring in and significantly invest in professionally trained unarmed civilian protection organizations to assist and offer some buffer for displaced persons and refugees, both for this conflict in collaboration with Iraqi’s and for future conflicts.
  • Call for and uphold an arms embargo on all parties to the conflict. U.S. arms and military assistance to the government forces and ethnic militias in Iraq, in addition to arming Syrian rebel groups, have only fueled the carnage, in part due to weapons intended for one group being taken and used by others. All armed parties have been accused of committing gross violations of human rights. Along with Russia, work with key regional players such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait to take independent initiatives and meaningful steps towards an arms embargo on all parties in the conflict.
  • Support Iraqi civil society efforts to build peace, reconciliation, and accountability at the community level. Deep sectarian and ethnic divisions have long been exacerbated by various factors, including the U.S. military intervention in 2003. Sustainable peace will require peace-building and reconciliation efforts from the ground up.

With hope, deep-felt prayers, and a splash of courage, we ask you to move us beyond the ways of war and into the frontier of just peace responses to violent conflict.

Sincerely,

Susan T. Henry-Crowe, MDiv.DD
General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society
The United Methodist Church

Rev. Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (USA)

Janet Mock, CSJ
Executive Director
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Diane Randall
Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Shan Cretin
General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee

Rev. Julia Brown Karimu
Co-Executive, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

Rev. Dr. James Moos
Co-Executive, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ

Sandy Sorensen
Director, DC office
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

Eli McCarthy, PhD
Director of Justice and Peace
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Patrick Carolan
Executive Director
Franciscan Action Network

Stanley J. Noffsinger, General Secretary
Church of the Brethren

Sr. Patricia Chappell
Executive Director
Pax Christi USA

Marie Dennis
Co-President
Pax Christi International

Gerry G. Lee
Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Scott Wright
Director
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Rev. Michael Neuroth
Policy Advocate for International Issues
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

Very Rev. Michael Duggan, MM
U.S. Regional Superior of Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers

Very Rev. Carl Chudy, SX
Provincial Superior of Xaverian Missionaries in U.S.

Very Rev. Domenico Di Raimondo, M.Sp.S.
Provincial Superior of Missionaries of the Holy Spirit
Christ the Priest Province

Provincial Council of the Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians)

María Teresa Dávila, PhD
Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics
Andover Newton Theological School

Bill Barbieri, PhD
Professor of Religion and Culture and Moral Theology/Ethics
Catholic University

Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
Professor of Theology
Chicago Theological Seminary

Sr. Marianne Farina, CSC
Ethics Professor
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology

Laurie Johnston, PhD
Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
Emmanuel College

Rev. Priscilla Eppinger, PhD
Associate Professor of Religion
Graceland University/Community of Christ Seminary

Peter Phan, PhD
Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought
Georgetown University

Fr. Ray Kemp, S.T.L.
Theology Professor
Georgetown University

Francis X. Clooney, SJ
Parkman Professor of Divinity
Director, The Center for the Study of World Religions
Harvard University

Betty Reardon, PhD
Founding Director Emeritus
International Institute on Peace Education

Maureen O’Connell, PhD
Associate Professor of Theology and Chair of Department of Religion
LaSalle University

Amir Hussain, PhD
Professor of Theological Studies
Loyola Marymount University

Kathleen Maas Weigert, PhD
Carolyn Farrell, BVM Professor of Women and Leadership
Loyola University Chicago

David Cortright, PhD
Director of Policy Studies
Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
Notre Dame University

Margaret Pfeil, PhD
Assistant Professor of Theology/Ethics
Notre Dame University

John Berkman, PhD
Professor of Moral Theology
Regis College, University of Toronto

Gerald W. Schlabach
Professor of Theology
University of St. Thomas

John Sniegocki, PhD
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics
Director, Peace Studies Minor
Xavier University

Kathryn Getek Soltis, PhD
Director, Center for Peace and Justice Education
Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics
Villanova University

Suzanne C. Toton, EdD
Theology and Religious Studies Department
Villanova University

Rev. Louis Arceneaux, CM
Promoter of Peace and Justice
Western Province, Congregation of the Mission, USA

Fr. Robert Bossie, SCJ
Priests of the Sacred Heart
Chicago, IL

Fr. John A. Coleman, SJ
Saint Ignatius Parish
San Francisco, CA

Fr. John Converset, MCCJ
Director, Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
North American Province of Comboni Missionaries

Doreen Glynn, CSJ
Justice Coordinator
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Albany Province

Bro. Michael Gosch, CSV
Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation Director
Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians)

Jude A. Huntz, Director
Office for Peace and Justice
Archdiocese of Chicago

Bro. Brian McLauchlin, SVD
Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation Promoter

Bro. Frank O’Donnell, SM
Marianist

Brian Reavey
Lay-Marianist

Bro. Jerry Sullivan, SM
Marianist

Rev. Dr. Peter A. Wells
Justice LED Organizer
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

Bro. Stan Zubek, SM
Marianist

cc:

  • Secretary of State John Kerry
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power
  • Department of State, Undersecretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall
  • USAID, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg
  • Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Shaun Casey
  • Special Assistant to the President for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Melissa Rogers

End the Violence in Gaza

With anyone concerned about the violence in Gaza, I wanted to share this great resource from Pax Christi. Please see below for a Pray, Study and Act email from Pax Christi USA.

Greetings of peace! (reposted from Pax Christi)

Over the past few days, we have received many emails expressing the concern, grief, outrage, and heartbreak people are feeling over the violence in Gaza. The death toll rises dramatically each day. The infrastructure which people rely on to live crumbles under the bombing. As one PCUSA member wrote, “When will we ever learn?”

The cycle of violence must be unmasked and named and transformed. As people of faith, we engage through prayer, study and action. Below and in the sidebar on the left, you will find some resources for engaging this tragedy. Below is also a link to the new statement we released this morning regarding the violence in Gaza. Additionally, we have set up a special webpage on our site, “End the Violence in Gaza,” where you can find a catalog of additional resources for prayer, study and action. Let us–through whatever effort we can make–bring the “peace of Christ” into a situation which is desperately crying out for answers rooted in justice, mercy, understanding and nonviolence.

In peace,

Johnny Zokovitch

Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA


 

PRAY: A prayer for peace and an end to the violence

By Jim Hug, S.J

O Loving God,

We so often and for so long hear about the guns and rockets, drones and bombs
We see the pictures of death in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Congo, Nigeria, Sudan and South Sudan, Ukraine, Israel and Palestine, Central African Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala…

Wrap all and each of these your people in your love.

Let them hear: “Come to me you who suffer
and are burdened and I will give you rest.”

In these few months of 2014, we have heard the weapons and seen the blood of mass shootings and gang violence
In Los Angeles and Detroit, Minneapolis and Miami, in Denver and in 138 other cities, towns and villages across our nation.

Wrap all and each of these your people in your love.

Let them hear: “Come to me you who suffer
and are burdened and I will give you rest.”

The bombs are exploding again in Gaza and Israel.

Wrap all and each of these your people in your love.

Let them hear: “Come to me you who suffer
and are burdened and I will give you rest.”…

Click here to read the entire prayer.

STUDY: Pax Christi USA’s official statement on the violence in the Middle East

“Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity. All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity.”

~Pope Francis, June 8, 2014

As the number of dead and wounded continues to rise in Gaza, Pax Christi USA calls for an immediate cease-fire by all parties in order to open the possibility for negotiations to end the senseless violence and address the underlying causes which fuel the decades-long tragedy in the Middle East.

Pax Christi USA mourns the loss of life on both sides of the conflict. We stand with all those who have been victimized by violence. Our hearts are broken over the death and destruction which only serves to terrorize hundreds of thousands of civilians in Gaza, those who call this relatively small piece of land home. We join with Pax Christi International members around the world in offering “our sincere condolences to all those in mourning and pray that those who have been killed will be the last to die violent deaths in this escalation of hatred and vengeance.”…

Click here to read the complete statement.

ACT: Stop U.S. complicity in suffering, support a just peace in Israel & Palestine from the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy

NOTE: Pax Christi USA is a member of the Faith Forum. This is the “Third Thursday for Israel-Palestine” action for July.

July 9th marked the 10-year anniversary of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion on the legality of Israel’s construction of the separation barrier. In its opinion, the ICJ declared that the barrier being built by Israel in occupied Palestinian territory is illegal, that it should be torn down, and that those who have suffered as a consequence of its construction should be compensated. Yet 10 years later, the barrier remains, cutting into Palestinian territory and separating Palestinians from schools, work and neighbors. Given its projected route, it is estimated that, if completed, around 85% of the barrier will run inside the West Bank, de facto annexing West Bank land and water resources to Israel.

As violence escalates throughout Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank, it is abundantly clear that the underlying causes of this human tragedy must be addressed. All aspects of Israel’s illegal military occupation–including the barrier in the West Bank and the blockade on Gaza–will need to end, in order for a just and secure future to result.
Contact your Members of Congress today and ask them to stop U.S. complicity in the suffering happening in the Middle East, and to support efforts which will result in a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

Click here to see this full action alert with a script for contacting your Members of Congress.

Our voice in these times of ecological decline, war …

“The name of the Ho-Chunk Nation means “People of the Sacred Language” or “People of the Big Voice.” And when no one was listening to them, they spoke to each other and chose to return, and strengthened each other for the return here where their action spoke louder than words and they eventually, after 11 removals and five weary returns, were ceded parts of their original land. ” Kathy Kelly, Truthout
Dear All – First I would like to say thanks to Prairiewoods, Marci Madary, and Sr. Marla for giving me the opportunity to help with a retreat this past weekend in Iowa. It was wonderful to meet and be with some of the Affiliates and Sisters as we talked about radical mutuality and what that looks like in times of war, fear, and uncertainty. Thanks to all who helped to organize this event and all who were there!
 
I am including a link to an article today by Kathy Kelly, a committed peace creator, who has advocated for the people of Iraq since the first Gulf invasion. She highlights an action and effort for peace that is travelling right through the heart of Wisconsin – near so many of you I thought some might be interested. It is a walk for peace that left Chicago and hopes to make it all the way to the Republican National Convention in September – educating and advocating along the way. For more information on the walk go to www.vcnv.org
 
 
I think Kathy’s reflection points to an important question for us as a nation at this time…how do we use our voice in these times of ecological decline, war, economic downfall, and human rights violations? How can we speak as a people of peace, nonviolence, and mutuality? Answers may be slow to come and even hard to find but to be open to the question is place for us  to begin and to find our own sacred language in these times.
 
Much Peace Liz
 
http://www.truthout.org/article/the-big-voice

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