Author Archives: Pax Christi Michigan

About Pax Christi Michigan

Pax Christi Michigan works to bring about peace locally, nationally, and globally through prayer, study, and action. We are rooted in spirituality, dedicated to studying issues of justice from the vantage point of all those involved, and espouse working for peace with justice through nonviolent conflict resolution. We invite you to learn more about "Pax Christi".

Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide

Hate in America has become commonplace. What can we do to stop the hate?  The Southern Poverty Law Center has come up with a easy-to-read guide that offers useful and do-able ideas.  You may download the printed copy of the booklet HERE  .  You may also watch the brief video version, FOUND HERE .   Either way, it’s important that we do what we can to stop the current insanity. 

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

 

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Bishop Angaelos to the Terrorists: ‘You Are Loved’

| 31 MAY 2017

Reflection By His Grace Bishop Angaelos on the recent terrorist attacks in Egypt and elsewhere

Bishop Angaelos to the Terrorists: ‘You Are Loved’
Bishop Angaelos (Flickr/Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

 

Once again, we find ourselves experiencing pain before which words seem insufficient.

I have previously addressed victims of terrorist acts; I have addressed their families; I have even addressed those who may have had an opportunity, even in some small way, to advocate for or support those most vulnerable.

This time, however, I feel a need to address those who perpetrate these crimes.

You are loved. The violent and deadly crimes you perpetrate are abhorrent and detestable, but you are loved.

You are loved by God, your creator, for he created you in his image and according to his likeness, and placed you on this earth for much greater things, according to his plan for all humankind. You are loved by me and millions like me, not because of what you do, but what you are capable of as that wonderful creation of God, who has created us with a shared humanity. You are loved by me and millions like me because I, and we, believe in transformation.

Transformation is core to the Christian message, for throughout history we have seen many transformed from being those who persecuted Christ himself and Christians to those who went on to live with grace. We believe in transformation because, on a daily basis, we are personally transformed from a life of human weakness and sinfulness to a life of power and righteousness. We believe in transformation because the whole message of the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is to take humanity from the bonds of sin and death to a liberation in goodness and everlasting life. Our world is certainly suffering from the brokenness of our humanity, but it is our responsibility, personally and collectively, to encourage and inspire ourselves and all those whom we meet along our path to a life of virtue and holiness and the love and forgiveness of all.

This, of course, is far from the reaction that many may have expected, but the Christian message is just that: to look at our world as through the eyes of God, who loves all and who desires that all be liberated through him.

I grieve, certainly for those who have lost their lives, for those who mourn and for those who will continue to be adversely affected by these tragic experiences; but I also grieve for a young man who sees it not only justifiable, but glorious, to take the lives of other young men and women and deprive his and their families of enjoying them as they grow and mature.

No family should lose a son in this way, even if they are partially or wholly responsible for his flawed ideology. This loss might be to that ideology, to incarceration as a result of his actions and choices or, in the worst case, in taking his own life, along with others, regardless of the great cost to those left behind. In the same way, no family deserves to lose children and members who merely go about their day to enjoy their God-given right to exist, whether it be by attending a concert, taking a pilgrimage to a monastery, simply walking through city streets, or in any other way.

I also grieve for those who considered it a victory to board a bus filled with pilgrims and execute children, women and men purely for refusing to denounce their faith, as we saw happen to Coptic Christians in Menia only yesterday [May 26].

What is increasingly obvious is that many of these attacks come about due to a loss of the meaning and comprehension of the sanctity of life, our own or that of others; so join me in praying for the brokenness of our world that causes parents to lose their children, children to lose their parents and humankind to lose the humanity for which it was created.

What is important is not that this message be read, but that it be communicated; not that it be accepted, but that it be understood as another perspective; and not that it should be fully embraced, but that it may create at least a shadow of a doubt in the minds of those intent on inflicting harm and pain.

His Grace Bishop Angaelos is the general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.

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Bombing Syria Will Not Create Peace

An Official Statement from Pax Christi USA

Hate begets hate. Violence begets violence.

Syria.png

The years of war and the recent tragedies in Syria are heartbreaking. The tortuous deaths caused by chemical weapons are another example of the depths of human depravity.

War and preparations for war accomplish nothing. The President’s decision to violate international law by this act of aggression, along with a lack of consultation from Congress, to launch missile attacks on Syria in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons, adds to the years of crushing hardship experienced by the Syrian people. The solution to war is not more war. Retaliation will not bring justice or peace but only perpetuates death and injustice.

The trauma of war creates short and long term consequences that are the deepest pain human beings can experience. The immediate horror of losing loved ones to the long-term consequences that destroy the bodies, spirits, and psyches of human beings are tragic for individuals and for society. The environmental impact of war is passed on for future generations.

Pope Francis said, “I appeal to the conscience of those with political responsibility both locally and internationally to cease this tragedy and bring relief to that dear population that for too long has been exhausted by war.”

Pax Christi USA believes that peace comes with justice. Voters with political responsibility have the great ability to influence situations and policies that create justice, and consequently, peace, and clearly, sending drones and missiles into Syria is a decision that promotes neither justice nor peace.

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Standing with our Brothers & Sisters

Greetings,

Pax Christi USA deplores the three executive orders President Trump has recently signed. One is in favor of resurrecting the Dakota Access pipeline, another in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline, and another for advancing the deportation of immigrants and the

construction of a wall on the US southern border. The common thread of these orders is the blatant disregard for the will of the people, care of the earth, and personhood and struggles of the migrant.

Our hearts are with the Standing Rock nation and all indigenous people who have worked so hard to protect the water and the land from the Dakota Access pipeline. The will of the people was heard when it came to changing the route of this pipeline just a few months ago, and now the people are being overlooked in the interest of corporate growth. We believe in people over profit. We believe in the care of the earth over the desire for oil. Mark Charles, a Navajo man and activist said, “No matter how much money you have. No matter how powerful you are. No matter what alternative facts you quote. The truth of the matter is – You CANNOT drink oil.” In the end, travesties against the earth will affect us all – even those who make much profit off pillaging the earth.

Our hearts are with our immigrant brothers and sisters living in fear of deportation and separation from their families. No one flees their countries of origin on a whim. We honor the multiplicity of reasons people migrate to the United States, many of which are poverty, gang violence, and terror. People are not the enemy, but that is the myth we are being told by President Trump. Building a wall is the visual symbol of these political lies. We do not believe this story, and we will not support this wall.

We need a country where people feel safe, welcomed, and know the only prerequisite for their rights is being human. All human beings, regardless of skin color or country of origin, should be able to rely on having safe water, a safe family, and a clean earth. President Trump’s executive orders set us on an immoral course we cannot endorse. Pax Christi USA is committed to the vision of justice that trumps hate and builds bridges instead of walls.

Peace of Christ,

Sr. Patricia Chappell;  Executive Director – Pax Christi USA

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Pope says NONVIOLENCE is the only response to a world at war

August 26, 2016
PopeFrancis

For his annual message for the World Day of Peace, which on Jan. 1st will mark it’s 50th Anniversary, Pope Francis has chosen nonviolence as the only effective response to what he’s repeatedly described as a ‘Third World War in Pieces’.

VATICAN CORRESPONDENT

ROME- Facing a cascade of bloodshed around the world, including wars in Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine, a six-decade civil conflict in Colombia, the rise of fundamentalist movements throughout the Middle East, northern Africa and the Philippines, and a seemingly endless string of terrorist attacks, Pope Francis on Friday called for a non-violent response.

“Non-Violence: A Style of Politics for Peace” is the theme chosen by Francis for his yearly message for the Church-sponsored World Day of Peace, which will be held on January 1.

According to a Vatican statement summarizing the pope’s approach, non-violence, when understood as a political method based on safeguarding the rights and equal dignity of all, “without any discrimination and distinction,” can overcome armed conflict.

“In this perspective, it becomes important to increasingly recognize not the right of force, but the force of right,” said the statement released on Friday.

Although this will be Francis’ fourth message for a World Day of Peace, it has special significance because it marks the 50th anniversary of the World Day of Peace, an annual launched by Pope Paul VI.

The message will be sent to all foreign ministries around the world, signaling the Vatican’s top diplomatic concerns for 2017.

“Violence and Peace are at the origin of two opposite ways to building society,” Friday’s statement said. “The proliferation of hotbeds of violence produces most serious negative social consequences.”

“Peace, by contrast, promotes social positive consequences and it allows the achievement of real progress,” the statement says.

Pope Francis has often spoken of a “Third World War in Pieces,” referring to the many sprouts of violence and active wars around the globe. Taking into consideration only the four bloodiest ongoing conflicts, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Nigeria, close to 90,000 people were killed in 2015 as a direct result of fighting.

This number doesn’t include those who died trying to reach a safer place, nor those who died of war-related starvation or lack of health care.

Often seen as a short summary of what will be a several-page papal message, the statement released on Friday called for “negotiated ways of peace” even when they seem “tortuous and impractical.”

Thus, non-violence “will not only consist of desire, of moral rejection of violence, barriers, destructive impulses, but also of a realistic political method that gives rise to hope.”

Among other things, in the message to be released at a future date but before Jan. 1st, Francis is expected to show “a path of hope,” calling for the settlement of disputes to be reached through negotiation instead of armed conflicts, overcoming a sense of superiority from one nation over the other.

He’s also bound to call for an end of illegal arms trafficking, something he’s done many times before.

Non-violence, however, “does not mean that one nation can remain indifferent to the tragedies of another. Rather it means a recognition of the primacy of diplomacy over the noise of arms,” the statement said.

Previous themes chosen by Francis for the annual peace message include this years’ “Overcome Indifference and Win Peace,” and 2015’s “No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters.”

In the one for 2016, the pontiff listed many of the world’s conflicts, but he also described some rays of hope, including the Paris’ agreement on climate change, interreligious dialogue, and his own Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“Sadly, war and terrorism, accompanied by kidnapping, ethnic or religious persecution, and the misuse of power marked the past year from start to finish,” Francis said. Yet, he added, some events of 2015 inspire him “to encourage everyone not to lose hope in our human ability to conquer evil and to combat resignation and indifference.”

The eight-page document was a call not to lose faith in mankind because “God does not abandon us,” while appealing to civil society to take care of its most vulnerable members: prisoners, migrants, the unemployed, the infirm, and the unborn.

“Peace is both God’s gift and a human achievement,” Francis wrote.

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PCM Statement on Gun Violence

stop_handgunsSignificantly more deaths from gun violence occur each year in the United States than any other developed nation in the world. A February 2016 American Journal of Medicine study reveals that, with 10.2 deaths from firearms per 100,000 citizens in 2010, the U.S. suffered nearly three times the rate of fatalities as any other country in the study. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence estimates that between 2009 and 2013 nearly 109,000 people were shot in the U.S. each year, with an average of 32,964 dying from their wounds annually, including 2,624 children and teens. The effective lack of restrictions on access to guns contributes to gun violence. The Washington Post reports that Americans now own an astonishing 112.6 guns per 100 citizens, compared to the worldwide average of just 10.2 guns per 100 persons.

Numerous mass shootings have scarred the American landscape: Sandy Hook, Columbine, Orlando, San Bernardino, Charleston, Aurora and Virginia Tech are among the communities where innocent lives have been lost. After each devastating incident, gun advocates and their primary spokesman, National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre, respond by calling for more guns and fewer gun safety laws, and by accusing those calling for greater gun safety of “politicizing” tragedy. Hopes for reasonable federal gun control legislation are stymied with Congress effectively “bought off” by the NRA, with $650,000 in donations to members of Congress in the 2012 election, and over $808,000 in 2014.

Special mention must be made of what Pax Christi USA, in its July 2016 Statement on Racial Violence in the U.S. calls “a crisis of racism and fear – political and media sources brand certain people as presumptive enemies. Our uncivil political rhetoric, amplified by the media, reinforces the fear of whole groups of people: young black men, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community. This only serves to fan racism, bigotry and the ‘blaming of victims’ of impoverishment and marginalization.” It is essential to involve such marginalized communities in the search for solutions to gun violence.

The Hebrew prophets repeatedly warned against idolatry; as a prime example, placing trust in weapons. “God will judge between nations and render decisions for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation will not lift up the sword against another, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4). In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism posed the question, “Is the need for sensible gun-control a religious issue?” Its Director, Rabbi David Saperstein answered, drawing on the same prophetic tradition of his faith: “You bet it is. The indiscriminate distribution of guns is an offense against God and humanity. Our gun-flooded, violence prone society has turned weapons into idols. And the appropriate religious response to idolatry is sustained moral outrage.”

The Catholic Church has, as the American bishops remind us, “… been a consistent voice for the promotion of peace at home and around the world and a strong advocate for the reasonable regulation of firearms.” In his January 1, 2014 World Day of Peace message, Pope Francis proclaimed, “I appeal forcefully to all those who sow violence and death by force of arms: in the person you today see simply as an enemy to be beaten, discover rather your brother or sister, and hold back your hand! Give up the way of arms and go out to meet the other in dialogue, pardon and reconciliation, in order to rebuild justice, trust, and hope around you!”

Pax Christi Michigan agrees that “reasonable regulation of firearms” is urgently needed, and long overdue. Specifically, we advocate comprehensive federal legislation that would:

  1. Require universal background checks on all prospective firearms and ammunition purchasers, including at gun shows and on private in-person or online gun sales;
  2. Require a waiting period of a specified number of days between a firearm purchase and when it is physically transferred to the purchaser;
  3. Require persons seeking to purchase or possess a firearm to: obtain a firearm safety certificate by successfully completing a safety training course; register their firearms and obtain a license; notify law enforcement when their weapons are lost or stolen; and, safely store their firearms and ammunition in the home to prevent access by children and other unauthorized users;
  4. Require gun dealers to obtain a local permit, conduct employee background checks, and obtain liability insurance;
  5. Ban semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines;
  6. Ban licensed and unlicensed open carry of loaded and unloaded firearms;
  7. Require the personalization of handguns, that is, equipping them with technology that prevents them from firing when operated by an unauthorized user; and, prohibit the manufacture, importation, purchase and transfer of non-personalized handguns;
  8. Legalize comprehensive ballistic identification through “microstamping” technology;
  9. Repeal the “Dickey Amendment” that prevents the Center for Disease Control from spending funds “to advocate or promote gun control,” and restore funding for research on gun violence;
  10. Offer a gun buyback opportunity to private gun owners, without fear of prosecution; and,
  11. Pass campaign finance reform and reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision to reduce the role of money in the U.S. political system, and to diminish the role of lobbying.

As part of the Catholic peace and justice movement that seeks to model the Peace of Christ, Pax Christi Michigan considers the current situation, with gun violence ravaging our families and communities and terrorizing our children, to be unconscionable. With this Statement on Gun Violence, we declare unequivocally that we reject gun violence, and that we follow the One who said, “Peter, put away your sword.”

August 2016

Graphic from Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence

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An appeal to the Catholic Church to recommit to the centrality of Gospel nonviolence

Gospel-NV

Conference Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence Rome, April 11-13, 2016

As Christians committed to a more just and peaceful world we are called to take a clear stand for creative and active nonviolence and against all forms of violence. With this conviction, and in recognition of the Jubilee Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis, people from many countries gathered at the Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International on April 11-13, 2016 in Rome.

Our assembly, people of God from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania included lay people, theologians, members of religious congregations, priests, and bishops. Many of us live in communities experiencing violence and oppression. All of us are practitioners of justice and peace. We are grateful for the message to our conference from Pope Francis: “your thoughts on revitalizing the tools of nonviolence, and of active nonviolence in particular, will be a needed and positive contribution”.

Looking at our world today

We live in a time of tremendous suffering, widespread trauma and fear linked to militarization, economic injustice, climate change, and a myriad of other specific forms of violence. In this context of normalized and systemic violence, those of us who stand in the Christian tradition are called to recognize the centrality of active nonviolence to the vision and message of Jesus; to the life and practice of the Catholic Church; and to our long-term vocation of healing and reconciling both people and the planet.

We rejoice in the rich concrete experiences of people engaged in work for peace around the world, many of whose stories we heard during this conference. Participants shared their experiences of courageous negotiations with armed actors in Uganda and Colombia; working to protect the Article 9, the peace clause in the Japanese Constitution; accompaniment in Palestine; and countrywide peace education in the Philippines. They illuminate the creativity and power of nonviolent practices in many different situations of potential or actual violent conflict. Recent academic research, in fact, has confirmed that nonviolent resistance strategies are twice as effective as violent ones.

The time has come for our Church to be a living witness and to invest far greater human and financial resources in promoting a spirituality and practice of active nonviolence and in forming and training our Catholic communities in effective nonviolent practices. In all of this, Jesus is our inspiration and model.

Jesus and nonviolence

In his own times, rife with structural violence, Jesus proclaimed a new, nonviolent order rooted in the unconditional love of God. Jesus called his disciples to love their enemies (Matthew 5: 44), which includes respecting the image of God in all persons; to offer no violent resistance to one who does evil (Matthew 5: 39); to become peacemakers; to forgive and repent; and to be abundantly merciful (Matthew 5-7). Jesus embodied nonviolence by actively resisting systemic dehumanization, as when he defied the Sabbath laws to heal the man with the withered hand (Mark 3: 1-6); when he confronted the powerful at the Temple and purified it (John 2: 13-22); when he peacefully but determinedly challenged the men accusing a woman of adultery (John 8: 1-11); when on the night before he died he asked Peter to put down his sword (Matthew 26: 52).

Neither passive nor weak, Jesus’ nonviolence was the power of love in action. In vision and deed, he is the revelation and embodiment of the Nonviolent God, a truth especially illuminated in the Cross and Resurrection. He calls us to develop the virtue of nonviolent peacemaking.

Clearly, the Word of God, the witness of Jesus, should never be used to justify violence, injustice or war. We confess that the people of God have betrayed this central message of the Gospel many times, participating in wars, persecution, oppression, exploitation, and discrimination.

We believe that there is no “just war”. Too often the “just war theory” has been used to endorse rather than prevent or limit war. Suggesting that a “just war” is possible also undermines the moral imperative to develop tools and capacities for nonviolent transformation of conflict.

We need a new framework that is consistent with Gospel nonviolence. A different path is clearly unfolding in recent Catholic social teaching. Pope John XXIII wrote that war is not a suitable way to restore rights; Pope Paul VI linked peace and development, and told the UN “no more war”; Pope John Paul II said that “war belongs to the tragic past, to history”; Pope Benedict XVI said that “loving the enemy is the nucleus of the Christian revolution”; and Pope Francis said “the true strength of the Christian is the power of truth and love, which leads to the renunciation of all violence. Faith and violence are incompatible”. He has also urged the “abolition of war”.

We propose that the Catholic Church develop and consider shifting to a Just Peace approach based on Gospel nonviolence. A Just Peace approach offers a vision and an ethic to build peace as well as to prevent, defuse, and to heal the damage of violent conflict. This ethic includes a commitment to human dignity and thriving relationships, with specific criteria, virtues, and practices to guide our actions. We recognize that peace requires justice and justice requires peacemaking.

Living Gospel Nonviolence and Just Peace

In that spirit we commit ourselves to furthering Catholic understanding and practice of active nonviolence on the road to just peace. As would-be disciples of Jesus, challenged and inspired by stories of hope and courage in these days, we call on the Church we love to:

  • Continue developing Catholic social teaching on nonviolence. In particular, we call on Pope Francis to share with the world an encyclical on nonviolence and Just Peace;
  • Integrate Gospel nonviolence explicitly into the life, including the sacramental life, and work of the Church through dioceses, parishes, agencies, schools, universities, seminaries, religious orders, voluntary associations, and others;
  • Promote nonviolent practices and strategies (e.g., nonviolent resistance, restorative justice, trauma healing, unarmed civilian protection, conflict transformation, and peacebuilding strategies);
  • Initiate a global conversation on nonviolence within the Church, with people of other faiths, and with the larger world to respond to the monumental crises of our time with the vision and strategies of nonviolence and Just Peace;
  • No longer use or teach “just war theory”; continue advocating for the abolition of war and nuclear weapons;
  • Lift up the prophetic voice of the church to challenge unjust world powers and to support and defend those nonviolent activists whose work for peace and justice put their lives at risk.

In every age, the Holy Spirit graces the Church with the wisdom to respond to the challenges of its time. In response to what is a global epidemic of violence, which Pope Francis has labeled a “world war in installments”, we are being called to invoke, pray over, teach and take decisive action. With our communities and organizations, we look forward to continue collaborating with the Holy See and the global Church to advance Gospel nonviolence.


Pax Christi International:   Rue du Progrès, 323, 1030 Brussels, Belgium.    

 Phone: ++32 (0)2 502.55.50

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US Army chaplain resigns in protest over US drone policy, Why not us ?

Dear Bishop and my fellow clergy, priests and deacons in the Diocese of Kalamazoo, MI:

I have just received news that a US Army chaplain resigned in protest over the US drone, “policy of Stop-dronesunaccountable killing” (See this link).   At first I was so excited that perhaps it was a Catholic chaplain.  But then read that it was our fellow Christian, Rev. John Antal, a Unitarian Universalist Church minister from New York. I praise God for his courage in saying: “The executive branch continues to claim the right to kill anyone, anywhere on earth, at any time, for secret reasons, based on secret evidence, in a secret process, undertaken by unidentified officials.”… While deployed in Afghanistan, he concluded that   “our drone strikes disproportionately kill innocent people.” 

“I resign because I refuse to support the  US policy of preventive war, permanent military supremacy, and global power projection.”

I am wondering and puzzled why no Catholic chaplain has done likewise. What is wrong with our seminary training? Why doesn’t our diocese have an office of Justice and Peace ? Why does the present American Catholic  Hierarchy ignore its own Catholic Social Teaching , even now, with the election of Pope Francis ?   Why should I have been refused permission, by a panicky temporary pastor, to continue preaching  the Church’s teachings on Justice and Peace ?

droneprotestI know that you are aware that I helped Kathy Kelly of the Chicago Voices for Creative Nonviolence,  with the help of the Peace House in Kalamazoo, plan and carry out a walk from Chicago, around the bottom of Lake Michigan and through our Diocese to the Drone base located near Battle Creek, where we demonstrated against drone warfare, and that these demonstrations do continue.

When I tried to place an article in our diocesan newspaper showing that the Vatican was moving ahead of the US bishops in understanding  that the Just War theory was no longer viable, you told me to go somewhere else Benjamin_Salmonwith this, because it would be disturbing to our Catholics here.  I received the same reasoning,  while attempting to start a new chapter of Pax Christi at one of our diocesan parishes, when the pastor told me to take down the sign showing that Pope John Paul II had called the Iraqi invasion unjust, immoral, and illegal.

So to some extent, I have turned to other venues. I have been working with Pax Christi of Michigan, the local chapter of the official voice of American Catholic peacebuilding;  with the Michigan/ Meta Peace Team, an Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping group operating both here in the US, and countries across the world; the people of Pace e Bene, big on nonviolence training,  sponsoring actions of nonviolence across the country, and trying to unite the many American  peace groups;  with my son Paul, who created and owns SirenGPS, a mass warning and tactical communication platform for city and county Emergency Managers across the county; and with the Peace and Justice Studies Association, which ties together educators and activists across the country.

My present activities, after returning from 3 months this winter teaching English in a rural, outback town in Colombia, South America, where I was able to meet the President of Colombia, and observe his efforts to try to bring peace to the 50 years of civil war in that country, include:Mn_Peace_Team action_smaller

  1. Currently, I am working with the organizers of the coordinated protest demonstrations being planned for the Republican National Convention (RNC) this summer, offering training services from Meta Peace Team, which did security for the 2012 RNC, and the use of SirenGPS, a tactical communications platform used by the best emergency managers in the US.
  2.  

    And applying for an adjunct position at local colleges to get back into teaching Justice and Peace to young people, maybe even at the high school level again.

Recently, we celebrated the death of Rene Voillaume , founder of the Little Brothers of Jesus, on May 13th .  I Charles_de_Foucauldsometimes feel in a similar place as Charles de Foucauld  – trying to do what he thought Jesus was calling him to, but he attracted no followers. He died alone in the desert.  But then his vision did not die. Later a 16 year old, young student read about him, and it changed his life. 12 years later, now a priest, he and 4 others followed Foucauld’s  model , and it spread.

Voillaume_lachend“Little we are before the task we have to accomplish. All our lives we shall remain unprofitable servants, and we must wish to be so dealt with,” Rene Voillaume.

 

 

Well, I still hold out hope that there will be some place for me within the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

Yours in the peace of Christ,  Deacon Jim Rauner

“ I see my mission, as God has made it known to me, to help make the Catholic Church into what it should be, a peace church.”   Fr Richard McSorley, S.J.

“We have assumed the name of peacemakers, but we have been unwilling to pay any significant price for peace. We want peace with half a heart and half a life and half a will. The war making continues because the waging of war is total but the waging of peace is partial.”

Daniel Berrigan,   May he rest in Eternal Peace

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The Catholic Church and The Black Lives Matter Movement – The Racial Divide in the United States Revisited

by Bishop Edward K. Braxton, Ph.D., S.T.D.police-baltimore

I. Introduction

“Incident”

Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, ‘Nigger.’

I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That’s all that I remember.

-Countee Cullen

(2) When I was a senior at Quigley Preparatory Seminary studying to be a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago, I was the only Person of Color in my class of several hundred seminarians. A group of us saw the film version of the late Harper Lee’s brilliant, Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It is the story of Tom Robinson set in Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression. Tom, an upright and honest, innocent Black man is falsely accused of sexually assaulting a White woman. He is defended by an equally upright and honest White attorney, Atticus Finch. Predictably, the all-White jury finds Tom “guilty,” though he is, in fact, innocent and he is killed while “attempting to run from the police” during the appeal process. Tom Robinson’s family is devastated by the murder and Atticus is angered by the miscarriage of justice born of racial prejudice. In our discussion after this extraordinary film, one of my classmates said his father had taught him that “all you need to know about the relationship between people of different races is this: ‘Birds of a feather flock together.’ This is simply the law of nature. This is why the Archdiocese of Chicago has Polish parishes, Irish parishes, German parishes, Italian Parishes, and Black parishes. People of similar backgrounds want to live, work, and worship with their own kind! It has always been this way and it always 5 will be. It’s that simple: birds of a feather flock together.” He said nothing about the death of Tom Robinson, as if his life did not matter. I have never forgotten that conversation.

(3) I did not write about the Black Lives Matter Movement in my Pastoral Letter,“The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015.” At that time, the movement had not yet attained the high visibility and considerable influence that it has today. Readers of this reflection would benefit from having an awareness of the main themes addressed in my 2015 Pastoral. That Letter is an invitation to readers, inviting them:

  • To imagine how African-Americans experience the Catholic Church which almost always uses European-based religious art depicting God, Jesus, Mary, the saints and angels as White and almost never depicting them as African, Asian, or Hispanic;
  • To allow the new awareness of the racial divide to move Catholics to think about the way the followers of Jesus Christ should speak and act in the face of the racial divide;
  • To come face-to-face with accounts of the events surrounding the deaths of numerous African-American men in altercations with White law enforcement agents and the international protests that followed;
  • To review the Catholic Church’s teachings (“Brothers and Sisters to Us,” “What We have Seen and Heard”) concerning the racial divide in America;
  • To discontinue the Church’s common practice of referring to People of Color with biased terms like “minorities,” “minority” Americans and “minority” Catholics, since all are Americans and all are Catholics;
  • To refer to people as who they are rather than who they are not (e.g., African-Americans, not “a minority group,” or Baptists, not “non-Catholics”);
  • To commit themselves to praying, listening, learning, thinking, and acting in ways that will help to bridge the racial divide…

Click here to read the entire pastoral letter.

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Civil & Religious Leaders Address Racial Issues at Birmingham Conference

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Filed under Ending Racism, Study