Category Archives: nonviolence

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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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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