Nonviolence and Just Peace, April 2016

Read the final document of the conference here.

More information on the conference and the initiatives that followed it can be found at the Nonviolence and Just Peace website.

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International will convene an international conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence, to be held in Rome, Italy, 11-13 April, 2016.

In recognition of the Year of Mercy declared by the Holy Father, this carefully planned Catholic conference on nonviolence and just peace will take place in Rome -- the invited participants represent a broad spectrum of Church experiences in peacebuilding and creative nonviolence in the face of violence and war. Read the concept note for the conference here.

The conference will initiate a conversation about Catholic teaching on war and peace, including explicit rejection of “just war” language in favor of an alternative ethical framework for engaging acute conflict and atrocities by developing the themes and practices of nonviolent conflict transformation and just peace. It will develop clearer Scripture-based Catholic teaching and an action plan to promote such teachings in seminaries, Catholic educational institutions, Catholic media, Catholic dioceses and parishes.

A call for prayer and solidarity

We ask for your prayerful support before and during this unique conference. Following is a prayer written especially for the conference by Austrian nonviolence activist and theologian Hildegard Goss-Mayr. Prayers from Archbishop Stephen Fumio Hamao and Pope St. John Paul II are also included. Also in francais, italianoespañolCroatian and Deutsche. A PDF flyer of the prayer (in English) is available here.

Holy Spirit, our source of light and strength, we thank you for having inspired the call to peace-makers from all over the world to meet in the dramatic situation of humanity to reconsider our responsibility, to deepen and promote the liberating and healing nonviolence of Jesus.

Merciful God, our Father and Mother, you sent your Son Jesus, our Brother, to reveal through his life and teaching your divine, self-giving Love and so incarnate in our world the power of nonviolence, able to overcome ALL forms of violence and to reconcile humanity in justice and peace.

We confess that for centuries our Church, people of God, has betrayed this central message of the Gospel many times and participated in wars, persecution, oppression, exploitation and discrimination.

Holy Spirit, as we meet as peacemakers, we count on your light and your strength to help revive in the Theology of Peace the nonviolent message of Jesus in which there is no place for violence and to offer to all Christians the arms of peacemaking, pardon and reconciliation.

Holy Spirit, we trust in your light and strength that this Conference may mark a new step for our Church, on its way to becoming a Church of Peace, in the spirit of our Brother Jesus and so respond to the cry of humanity for life in dignity and peace.

Hildegard Goss-Mayr, March 2016, written for the Conference

Let us pray that contemplating Jesus, our Lord and our Peace, Christians will be able to repent of the words and attitudes caused by pride, by hatred, by the desire to dominate others, by enmity towards members of other religions and towards the weakest groups in society, such as immigrants and itinerants.

Archbishop Stephen Fumio Hamao

Lord of the world, Father of all, through your Son you asked us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us and to pray for those who persecute us. Yet Christians have often denied the Gospel; yielding to a mentality of power, they have violated the rights of ethnic groups and peoples, and shown contempt for their cultures and religious traditions: be patient and merciful towards us, and grant us your forgiveness! We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Pope St. John Paul II

Un appel à la prière et la solidarité

Nous demandons votre soutien dans la prière avant et pendant une Conférence unique sur la Non-violence et la Paix Juste qui se tiendra à Rome  du 11 au 13 avril 2016.

Invités par le Conseil Pontifical Justice et Paix et Pax Christi International, des gens de partout dans le monde, dont beaucoup vivant dans des contextes de guerre et de violence continue, veulent contribuer à l'enseignement et la pratique catholique renouvelés de la guerre et de la paix, de la violence et de la non-violence.

Saint-Esprit, notre source de lumière et de force, nous Vous remercions d'avoir inspiré l'appel aux artisans de paix de partout dans le monde pour répondre à la situation dramatique de l'humanité, pour reconsidérer notre responsabilité, pour approfondir et promouvoir la non-violence libératrice et réparatrice de Jésus.

Dieu miséricordieux, notre Père et notre Mère, Vous avez envoyé votre Fils Jésus, notre Frère, pour révéler à travers sa vie et son enseignement votre Amour divin et votre don de soi  et ainsi incarner dans notre monde la puissance de la non-violence, capable de surmonter toutes les formes de violence et de réconcilier l'humanité dans la justice et la paix.

Nous confessons que pendant des siècles notre Église, peuple de Dieu, a trahi à maintes reprises  ce message essentiel de l'Evangile et a participé aux guerres, persécution, oppression, exploitation et discrimination.

Saint-Esprit, alors que nous nous rencontrons comme des artisans de paix, nous comptons sur votre lumière et votre force pour nous aider à revivifier dans la Théologie de la Paix le message non violent de Jésus dans lequel il n'y a pas de place pour la violence et à offrir à tous les chrétiens les moyens de promotion de la paix, le pardon et de la réconciliation.

Saint-Esprit, nous faisons confiance à votre lumière et votre force afin que cette conférence puisse marquer une nouvelle étape pour notre Eglise, sur son chemin pour devenir une Eglise de la Paix, dans l'esprit de notre frère Jésus et ainsi répondre à l'appel de l'humanité pour vivre dans la dignité et la paix.

Hildegard Goss-Mayr, mars 2016

Prions pour que la contemplation de Jésus, notre Seigneur et notre paix, rende les chrétiens capables de se repentir des mots et des attitudes causés par l'orgueil, par la haine, par le désir de dominer les autres, par hostilité envers les membres d'autres religions et vers les groupes les plus faibles dans la société, comme les immigrants et les itinérants. - Mgr Stephen Fumio Hamao

Seigneur du monde, Père de tous, à travers votre Fils, vous nous avez demandé d'aimer nos ennemis, de faire du bien à ceux qui nous haïssent et de prier pour ceux qui nous persécutent. Pourtant, les chrétiens ont souvent nié l'Evangile; cédant à une mentalité du pouvoir, ils ont violé les droits des groupes et des peuples ethniques, et fait preuve de mépris pour leurs cultures et traditions religieuses: soyez patient et miséricordieux envers nous, et accordez-nous votre pardon! Nous demandons ceci par le Christ notre Seigneur. - Pape St. Jean-Paul II

Un invito alla preghiera e alla solidarietà

Chiediamo il vostro sostegno di preghiera, prima e durante la conferenza straordinaria sulla nonviolenza e pace giusta, che si terrà a Roma dal 11-13 Aprile. 2016.

Persone da tutto il mondo, molti da contesti di guerra e di violenza in corso, invitati dal Pontificio Consiglio di Giustizia e Pace e Pax Christi International, vogliono contribuire alla rinnovata comprensione e pratica della dottrina cattolica della guerra e pace, la violenza e nonviolenza.

Spirito Santo, che sei nostra fonte di luce e di forza, ti ringraziamo per aver ispirato gli operatori di pace da tutto il mondo una chiamata a riunirsi in una situazione drammatica di umanità a riconsiderare la nostra responsabilità, per approfondire e promuovere la nonviolenza liberante e di guarigione di Gesù.

Dio misericordioso, nostro Padre e Madre, che hai inviato il tuo Figlio Gesù, nostro fratello, per rivelare il tuo divino amore attraverso la sua vita e l'insegnamento  che si dona e così incarna nel nostro mondo il potere della nonviolenza, in grado di superare ogni forma di violenza per riconciliare l'umanità nella giustizia e nella pace.

Confessiamo che per secoli la nostra Chiesa, popolo di Dio, tante volte ha tradito il messaggio centrale del Vangelo e ha partecipato a guerre, persecuzioni, oppressione, lo sfruttamento e discriminazione.

Spirito Santo, concedi che mentre ci raduniamo come operatori di pace, possiamo contare sulla tua luce e la tua forza per contribuire a rilanciare la Teologia della Pace,  il messaggio nonviolento di Gesù, in cui non c'è posto per la violenza e per offrire a tutti i cristiani le braccia di pace, il perdono e la riconciliazione.

Spirito Santo, abbiamo fiducia che nella tua luce e forza questa Conferenza possa segnare una nuova fase per la nostra Chiesa, per diventare una Chiesa della Pace, nello spirito del nostro Fratello Gesù e così rispondere al grido dell'umanità per la vita nella dignità e pace.

Hildegard Goss-Mayr, marzo 2016

Preghiamo perché la contemplazione di Gesù, nostro Signore e nostra Pace, i cristiani possano pentirsi delle parole e atteggiamenti causate dall'orgoglio, dall'odio, dal voler esercitare dominio sugli altri, dall'inimicizia verso gli aderenti ad altre religioni e verso i gruppi più deboli nella società, come gli immigrati e itineranti. - Arcivescovo Stephen Fumio Hamao

Signore del mondo, Padre di tutti, che attraverso il tuo Figlio ci hai chiesto di amare i nostri nemici, di fare del bene a coloro che ci odiano e pregare per coloro che ci perseguitano. Eppure, i cristiani hanno spesso negato il Vangelo; hanno ceduto a una mentalità di potere, hanno violato i diritti dei gruppi etnici e popoli, e mostrato disprezzo per le loro culture e tradizioni religiose: Sii paziente e misericordioso verso di noi, e donaci perdono! Te lo chiediamo per Cristo nostro Signore. - Papa St. Giovanni Paolo II

Una invitación a la oración y la solidaridad

Espíritu Santo, origen de nuestra luz y nuestra fuerza, te agradecemos por haber inspirado la llamada hecha a constructoras y constructores de paz del mundo entero para reunirse en este tiempo dramático que vive nuestra humanidad con el objetivo de repensar nuestra responsabilidad y profundizar y promover la noviolencia liberadora y sanadora de Jesús.

Dios de Misericordia, Padre y Madre, tú enviaste a tu Hijo Jesús, nuestro Hermano, para revelar a través de su vida y enseñanza tu divino y generoso amor y así encarnar en nuestro mundo el poder de la noviolencia, que es capaz de superar todas las formas de violencia y de reconciliar a la humanidad en justicia y paz.

Confesamos que, durante siglos, nuestra Iglesia, pueblo de Dios, ha traicionado este mensaje central del Evangelio en numerosas ocasiones, participando en situaciones de guerra, persecución, opresión, explotación y discriminación.

Espíritu Santo, al congregarnos como constructoras y constructores de paz, confiamos en tu luz y fuerza para ayudar a revitalizar dentro de la Teología de la Paz el mensaje noviolento de Jesús – en el que no hay espacio para la violencia – y para ofrecer a todas y todos los cristianos las herramientas de la construcción de paz, el perdón y la reconciliación.

Espíritu Santo, confiamos en que tu luz y fuerza harán que esta conferencia marque un nuevo paso para nuestra Iglesia, en su camino hacia convertirse en una Iglesia de Paz, en el espíritu de nuestro Hermano Jesús – para responder al grito de la humanidad que desea una vida digna y en paz.

Hildegard Goss-Mayr, marzo de 2016, escrita para la conferencia

Oremos para que al contemplar a Jesús, nuestro Señor y nuestra Paz, las y los cristianos seamos capaces de arrepentirnos de nuestras palabras y actitudes causadas por el orgullo, el odio, el deseo de dominar a los demás, la enemistad hacia miembros de otras tradiciones religiosas y hacia los grupos más débiles de nuestra sociedad, como los inmigrantes y los itinerantes. -- Arzobispo Stephen Fumio Hamao

Señor del mundo, Padre de todas y todos, mediante tu Hijo nos enseñaste a amar a nuestros enemigos, a hacer el bien a quienes nos odian y a orar por quienes nos persiguen. Sin embargo, con frecuencia, los cristianos han negado el Evangelio; abrazando una mentalidad de poder, han violado los derechos de grupos étnicos y de pueblos enteros y se han mostrado complacientes con sus culturas y sus tradiciones religiosas. ¡Sé paciente y misericordioso con nosotras y nosotros y concédenos tu perdón! Te lo pedimos por Cristo, nuestro Señor. -- San Juan Pablo II, Papa

 

Conference Planning Committee:

Dr. Vittorio V. Alberti, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Ken Butigan, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service; DePaul University

Loreta Castro, Center for Peace Education, Miriam College and Pax Christi Pilipinas

Marie Dennis, Pax Christi International

Pat Gaffney, Pax Christi UK

José Henríquez, Pax Christi International

Filo Hirota, MMB, Pax Christi International and International Union of Superior Generals (UISG)

Sheila Kinsey, FCJM, JPIC Commission Union of Superior Generals (USG-UISG)

Anne Lanyon, Columban Mission Institute, Australia

Gerry Lee, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Eli McCarthy, Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Felix Mushobozi, CPPS, JPIC Commission Union of Superior Generals (USG-UISG)

Ann Scholz, SSND, Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Conference coordinator: Judy Coode, Pax Christi International

Contact: nonviolence@paxchristi.net for additional information.

Please note: Registration for this event is closed. Due to the process of facilitated dialogue and discernment, only registered participants will be permitted to attend the sessions; the sessions themselves will be closed to press and other observers.

 

Concept note

1. RATIONALE

To seek peace, deep peace rooted in justice, shalom – not a mere absence of war, but the fullness of life for all – that is the Christian vocation and way of life. As followers of the One who is Peace, who on the cross overcame the violences of our world and who then called for peace and modeled forgiveness, we are called to help move our broken and violated world toward the full flowering of the New Creation, repeating Jesus way of active, nonviolent, persistent, risky, creative peacemaking.

The exceedingly rich concrete experience of people making peace around the world – especially those in extremely violent circumstances who are living witnesses to the power of nonviolence – can help illuminate the vocation of peacemaking as spiritually nourishing; enrich a Catholic theology of positive peace; and encourage Catholics to engage energetically in the development of more and more effective nonviolent practices for protecting vulnerable communities, avoiding violent conflict, transforming structures of violence, and promoting cultures of peace.

The just war tradition can no longer claim center stage as the Christian approach to war and peace. After more than 1,500 years and repeated use of the just war criteria to sanction war rather than to prevent war, the Catholic Church, like many other Christian communities, is rereading the text of Jesus’ life and re-appropriating the Christian vocation of pro-active peacemaking.

Emphasizing the need to work for a just peace, the Church is moving away from the acceptability of calling war “just.” While clear ethical criteria are necessary for addressing egregious attacks or threats in a violent world, moral theologians and ethicists should no longer refer to such criteria as the “just war theory,” because that language undermines the moral imperative to develop tools and capacity for nonviolent conflict.

Continued use of the term “just war” in our tradition gives license to the Catholic community to prepare for and support war rather than to discourage war and look for other solutions to actual or potential conflict, violent or not. The Catholic community includes some of the highest level political decision-makers in the world.

As part of the spirituality of nonviolence, the effectiveness of strategic nonviolent practices in many different situations of potential or actual violent conflict has been demonstrated in different ways throughout history, but especially in the past century. Yet, it is often misrepresented, misunderstood or too narrowly defined. Rarely is there sufficient human or financial investment in developing the spirituality of nonviolence, especially effective nonviolent practices. Creative thinking, significant budgetary allocations, solid training, the commitment of large numbers of people willing to suffer, and well-placed, well-timed action, including public witness in the form of prayer, fasting, vigils and pilgrimages, are essential.

Concepts like nonviolence, structural violence, culture of violence, JustPeace, culture of peace etc. are not widely known or well understood in the Catholic community. Where discussion about this topic takes place, it tends to be a theoretical or intellectual discussion among moral theologians, ethicists, academics, and peace activists. Among Catholic bishops, seminaries, etc. the movement from a “just war” framework to a just peace framework is neither understood nor accepted. The pastoral implications have not been developed at all and there is very little grassroots Catholic education or preaching about Catholic teaching on war and peace, which undermines the development of cultures of peace.

In recognition of the Year of Mercy declared by the Holy Father, a carefully planned Catholic conference on nonviolence and just peace could contribute to a new/renewed Catholic teaching on war and peace, violence and nonviolence. The gathering would take place in Rome with participants representing a broad spectrum of Church experiences in peacebuilding and creative nonviolence in the face of violence and war.

2. GOALS

1. New articulation of Catholic teaching on war and peace, including explicit rejection of “just war” language in favor of an alternative ethical framework for engaging acute conflict and atrocities by developing the themes and practices of nonviolent conflict transformation and just peace.

2. Clearer, more developed, Scripture-based Catholic teaching on violence and nonviolence in social, cultural, economic and political spheres.

3. Action plan for promotion of Catholic teaching on war and peace, violence and nonviolence in seminaries, Catholic educational institutions, Catholic media, Catholic dioceses and parishes.

3. TOPICS

Jesus’ way of nonviolence: What has the latest scholarship and praxis revealed about Jesus’ way of nonviolence and engaging conflict?

Nonviolence: Inductive exploration of the experience of nonviolence as a spiritual commitment of faith and practical strategy in violent situations and different cultural contexts.

Just Peace: How are Catholic communities already embodying and practicing just peace? What are the developments in theological reflection on just peace and how does this build on the scriptures and trajectory of Catholic Social Thought? How would a turn to just peace impact our moral analysis of conflicts, practices, and engagement with the broader society, including policy makers?

“Just War”: Discuss the reasons for and ramifications of an explicit rejection of “just war” language. Discuss some key elements of a more fruitful ethical framework for engaging acute conflict and addressing the responsibility to protect by developing the themes and practices of nonviolent conflict transformation, nonviolent intervention and just peace.