Press release: Nonviolence conference to be held 11-13 April in Rome

Vatican, peace practitioners, theologians convene to explore advancing nonviolence, just peace in Church and world
Unique international conference to be held 11-13 April

Rome, Italy – The Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Pax Christi International, and other major Catholic organizations from around the world will convene an unprecedented conference entitled “Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence” in Rome, Italy, 11-13 April 2016.

In recognition of the Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis, this carefully planned Catholic conference will include 80 participants who represent a broad spectrum of experiences in peacebuilding and active nonviolence in the face of violence and war.

“We live in a complex world where armed conflicts are pervasive and where violence has become the first (and many times the only) way used to address those conflicts,” said José Henríquez, a member of the planning committee and recent past Secretary General of Pax Christi International. “We need to go back to the sources of our faith and to rediscover the nonviolence which is at the heart of the Gospel. As a global community, we need to foster the creative imagination to build merciful societies where nonviolence is the norm and not the exception.”

Conference participants from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and the Americas will envision concrete ways the Catholic Church can deepen its understanding of and commitment to active nonviolence in its teaching and practice worldwide, including an explicit rejection of “just war” thinking in favor of an alternative ethical framework engaging acute conflict with nonviolent conflict transformation and just peace.

The conference seeks to foster a global conversation on nonviolence with the larger world to respond to today’s epidemic of violence and injustice with strategies of nonviolent peacemaking and peacebuilding.