OPJCC Priority Issue: Peace and Nonviolence
In 1985, Pax Christi USA offered its members a Vow of Nonviolence. It was composed by Eileen Egan and Fr. John Dear. The Vow can be pronounced privately, with a local peace community, as part of a parish liturgy, or any other way that suits you. Many profess the Vow each year as part of their New Year observance.
RECOGNIZING THE VIOLENCE IN MY OWN HEART, yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, I vow for one year to practice the nonviolence of Jesus who taught us in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God…You have learned how it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy’; but I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way, you will be daughters and sons of your Creator in heaven.”
I vow to carry out in my life the love and example of Jesus:
- by striving for peace within myself and seeking to be a peacemaker in my daily life;
- by refusing to retaliate in the face of provocation and violence; by persevering in nonviolence of tongue and heart;
- by living conscientiously and simply so that I do not deprive others of the means to live;
- by actively resisting evil and working nonviolently to abolish war and the causes of war from my own heart and from the face of the earth.
God, I trust in Your sustaining love and believe that just as You gave me the grace and desire to offer this, so You will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill it.
According to Catholic Social Teaching, we are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world.
At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that “if you want peace, work for justice.” The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.
"Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good"
"Nonviolence is not primarily a tactic. It is a way of living and being and expressing the truth of your soul in the world." (Daniel Berrigan)
"There is so much focus on the distinction between nonviolence and violence, between nonviolent people and violent people. But in reality it’s not that easy to take sides like that. One can never be sure that one is completely on the side of nonviolence or that the other person is completely on the side of violence. Nonviolence is a direction, not a separating line. It has no boundaries." (Thich Nhat Hanh)
Gun violence in the U.S. is a complex problem. No single law, or set of laws, can prevent every act of gun violence in our country. The Second Amendment guarantees and individual the right to bear arms and most gun owners are responsible, law-abiding and use their guns safely. Together we can confront the culture of violence with love and work to promote a culture that values life, peace and the inherent dignity of all. READ MORE
Rice Bags Defeat Nuclear Weapons
In the 1950s, the interfaith peace organization Fellowship of Reconciliation launched an ambitious campaign to challenge the American people and government to look beyond politics and feed those who were hungry. They organized a “Feed Thine Enemy” program, in which tiny bags of rice were sent to President Dwight Eisenhower at the White House with the message concerning famine in China, “If thine enemy is hungry, feed [him].”
It flopped. No one in the White House acknowledged the existence of the campaign. Hostility grew between the United States and China.
However, a crisis arose over the possession of islands disputed by China and Taiwan. Twice the generals advising President Eisenhower recommended pre-emptive nuclear strikes against China, and each time Eisenhower turned to his aides and asked how many bags of rice had come in. Thousands, he was told.
In deference to the opinion of so many people, Eisenhower cited the bags of rice as the reason he ruled out nuclear weapons in this situation.