We aim to promote the culture of peace, non-violence and the care of creation by :
What is nonviolence? It is a way of living and making choices that respects others and offers alternatives to violence and war. In a very dangerous world it was good to hear this hopeful message.
On October 2nd Pax Christi hosted a meeting, one of several, to underline that nonviolence works. Pat Gaffney reminded us of the `Catholic Nonviolence Initiative’ which was the result of the great international 2016 meeting in Rome. The `Appeal to the Catholic Church’ appealed for a rethink, for the emphasis on Just Peace rather than Just War theory. War is not the solution, `war is a lie because it destroys what it seeks to protect’ (Bishop Odama of Uganda) and with the unimaginably destructive weapons now available can any war today be termed `just’? A new framework is needed, we need to look for a better way.
The process initiated in 2016 continues. There are deep and wide conversations, virtual Round Tables, going on around key dimensions – theology of nonviolence, scriptural exegesis, examples of good practice, gathering the experience of those living in war zones, listening to the experience of women in war etc. these aim to gather understandings of practice in different places as well as researching at the theoretical and faith level. The work of these Round Tables will finish at the end of 2018 when the hope is that it all might feed into a possible encyclical on nonviolence.
It may be counter intuitive but Maria Stephan has researched and found, indeed, nonviolence is twice as effective as violence in achieving its aims even in the worst situations for instance against Isis. She is an academic at the United States Institute of Peace directing programmes on nonviolent action in the US. Nonviolence too is more likely to have a democratic outcome and so win the peace. She urged us to put more resources into advocacy, training and education in nonviolent methods of civil resistance. The Catholic Church could have a very important role in this.
What is nonviolence? It is a way of living and making choices that respects others, even when they are deep into violence themselves, and offers an alternative to violence and war. It is greatly needed.
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