Pax Christi Austria

Basel 1989


The dove and fire are symbols for our engagement for peace: the dove as a symbol for peace and the fire as a symbol for renunciation of violence. Fire is a symbol of our activism and for the fact that we want to keep the flame of peace and non-violence alive and to make it grow.

This symbol is also the symbol of the First European Ecumenical Assembly held in Basel in 1989. As a Christian peace movement we engaged ourselves very strongly in the process of preparation. In the face of the disarmament debate this process was filled with much hope for a peaceful Europe. It gave Pax Christi Austria an important stimulus for our further development. During this time we were successful in building up new groups in nearly all Austrian dioceses and so renewed our movement.

 

Jägerstätter

Franz Jägerstätter is for us a symbol and model in his non-violent resistance against an inhuman regime. Franz Jägerstätter was a simple farmer from St. Radegund (Upper Austria). Encouraged by his deeply Catholic faith he refused to do military service in the German Wehrmacht as he refused to fight for a fascist and godless regime. On 9 August 1943 he was executed by the Wehrmacht in Berlin.

He has become a model in his clear commitment against unjust and life-taking structures. Every year the small Pax Christi group of St. Radegund organises a memorial celebration, which is attended by Pax Christi members from Germany, Italy, Great Britain, USA and Austria. In this memorial we gain new power for our peace-engagement and new inspiration for future activities.

 

Religion and peace

As a Christian peace movement we feel ourselves committed to interconfessional and interreligious-dialogue. Christians of different churches work together in most of our Pax Christi groups. So ecumenical dialogue is an important aspect of Pax Christi Austria.

In January 1993 Pax Christi Vienna organised a big conference on “Religions - their contribution to non-violence and peace; their answers to violence and war.” For this conference we used the attached symbol. This event encouraged our Christian understanding of peace and showed us, again, that peace and non-violence are central demands and realised praxis of many believers in the five world religions.