A National Campaign to Amplify Active Nonviolence in the U.S. Catholic Church
Blessed Paul VI, in the first World Day of Peace Message, boldly declared “Peace is the only true direction of human progress.”
Fifty years later, Pope Francis claimed, “Whoever accepts the Good News of Jesus is able to acknowledge the violence within and be healed by God’s mercy, becoming in turn an instrument of reconciliation.” (50th World Day of Peace, para. 3).
The Rome Conference in April 2016 issued an “Appeal to the Catholic Church to Re-Commit to the Centrality of Gospel Nonviolence.” Many Catholic organizations – Conference of Catholic Bishops of Japan, the Justice and Peace Commission of the global leaders of Catholic religious (USG/USIG), the U.S. Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and the United States Catholic Mission Association (USCMA) to name just a few – have endorsed the appeal. “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.”
Three suggested dates below in the month of May have been chosen in the United States to ask Catholics to share their hope for greater teaching and commitment to active nonviolence with their bishop and invite him to affirm active nonviolence as the "nucleus of the Christian revolution:" by 1) sharing and speaking about Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace message broadly within their diocese, seminaries, and other ministries, and 2) concretely committing to an initiative to scale-up practices of active nonviolence.
As Pope Benedict wrote, “For Christians, nonviolence is not merely tactical behavior but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that he or she is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Love of one’s enemy constitutes the nucleus of the ‘Christian revolution.’”
We want to support our Bishops in their efforts, like Pope Francis, who pledged the assistance of the church in “every effort to build peace through active and creative nonviolence.” Some dioceses – such as the Archdiocese of Chicago – are already experimenting with a commitment to a culture of nonviolence and practical steps to greater active nonviolence to address tensions and crime within the diocese. Pope Francis wrote them a letter of encouragement.
May 3 is the anniversary of The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response (1983), the Bishop’s pastoral letter.
May 8 is the birthday for Daniel Berrigan (b. 1921) and Sophie Scholl (b. 1921).
May 20 is the Feast of Austrian conscientious objector and martyr Franz Jagerstatter who was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.
Learn more at www.paxchristiusa.org and share widely. See the attachments below for more details and a sample letter. Once you have taken action please report your action here.
Additionally, here are some social media posts to share:
U.S. Catholics: Today May 9th, on the birthday of Daniel Berrigan S.J. and Sophie Scholl (or throughout May) write your bishop to encourage his support for growing in active nonviolence by 1) sharing and speaking about Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace message "Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace" broadly within your diocese, seminaries, and other ministries, and 2) concretely committing to an initiative to scale-up practices of active nonviolence. The Archdiocese of Chicago offers a great model with their initiative toward a culture of nonviolence, which Pope Francis recently affirmed in an April 4th letter. Please share this link below and report your action here: https://goo.gl/fuf0cz
Catholics, write your Bishop in May to use Pope’s WDP message, increase active nonviolence https://tinyurl.com/l3vohbk #WriteBishops, @Pontifex
Catholics, write your Bishop in May to use Pope’s WDP message, increase active nonviolence https://tinyurl.com/l3vohbk #WriteBishops, @NCRonline