Tag Archives: nonviolence

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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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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PCM Member Mary Anne Perrone’s Recent Trip to Honduras

Dear Friends,

Thanks to all of you who have kept me in mind, in heart, in prayer, in the light while I have been here in Honduras. I have very much felt and appreciated it all. And I know that your concern for the people here can only have grown stronger, and I’m grateful for that.
Today is my last day here of a very short time — two weeks is such a drop in the bucket, and I am in deep admiration for those who are here accompanying for 3 months, 6 months, one year and more.
I have felt safe and well the whole time I’ve been here. Sometimes I have felt useful, sometimes not so much. The nature of accompaniment is to be ready when there is a need…and in-between, wait…or document what you recently did. To give you a thumbnail sketch of what I personally was able to be involved in here during my short stay:
  • accompanied Dina Meza, a journalist who was the target of some horrible death (and sexual violence) threats two months ago, and whose case prompted action by Amnesty International, to the march on the 3rd anniversary of the coup d’etat that took place on June 28. She, of course, circulated freely and quickly through the crowd, snapping pictures and interviewing people, including two of the foremost leaders of the resistance movement here. I donned a “human rights worker” vest and did my best to keep up with her!
  • accompanied a team from COFADEH (a premier human rights organization here) to the city of San Pedro Sula (toward the north of the country) for a Forum on Human Rights, Non-violence and Peace. Bertha Oliva, the director of COFADEH spoke, along with the now-presidential candidate, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, the wife of the president deposed in the coup 3 years ago. The car ride alone was about 5 hours each way, so “accompanying” means long hours on the road!
  • went on another day-long trip (south this time), accompanying an organizing team from COFADEH who had a meeting with people from the community of Zacate Grande, with university students and with representatives of popular organizations, all working together on a project for a public cultural/artistic/experiential event in the city of Choluteca to raise the consciousness of the citizens there as to the great richness of their area and to the great threat to their land, their way of life and their human rights as the richest families in the country conspire with the govt. to take ancestral lands from the people of Zacate Grande to develop beachfront mansions for the elite — and all along the way, attacking the citizens who try to stop this process.
  • And along the way, I have done some translating, some report-writing and had interesting meetings with people in the movement here. Two days ago I was able to attend a workshop of community-based journalists (radio, print, internet, etc.) here in Tegucigalpa, along with 5 journalists from Germany and Austria who have come to spend 3 months in Honduras to do their own accompaniment project with Honduran journalists, especially 3 community radio stations that are struggling to keep their communities informed while under threat and attack by the powers that be. Honduras now is the most dangerous country for journalists with an unbelievable number of assassinations in the last 3 years.
So, dear friends, I am fine. Happy to have had the privilege to be here, happy to be going home to my family tomorrow. And with the hope of being able to continue accompanying from afar the brave souls doing the relentless work of advocating for human rights here in Honduras. Please stay tuned to any mainstream news about Honduras (there is hardly any) and look at it with a very critical eye. More importantly, search out alternative, trusted sites to keep informed and/or sign up for action alerts. Just a few weeks ago a congressional letter was circulated and signed by over 80 congress members — a letter directed at Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, regarding the continuing, relentless persecution of the LGBTI community in Honduras — another favorite target of the police/military/death squads here.
With thanks and hope,
Mary Anne

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