Wednesday, January 8, 2020


With many of you earlier today, I watched the president's speech following Iran's response last night to the Soleimani assassination. Despite no immediate military response from the Trump Administration, it's important we stay vigilant now and work to make sure the cycle of retaliation is over and a path to peace is charted. It is moments like this for which we, the national Catholic peace and justice movement, exist. Today, tomorrow, this week -- acting RIGHT NOW matters. We have to have hope that war can be averted and we need to act on that hope. We hope that this Prayer-Study-Action resource will help you to do just that: pray, study and act to stop a war.  

We've posted these resources and others on our website and we'll continue to add more in the days ahead. Whether as individuals, with your local Pax Christi groups, your religious community, church community or others, we hope you'll find a way to project the "peace of Christ" in this moment in our nation's history. We hope these resources will help you to do that in whatever way you are able.

In peace,

Johnny Zokovitch
Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

On Monday night, Johnny joined with faith leaders outside the White House at a vigil we co-sponsored with Faith in Public Life and other partners. This is a shortened variation of the prayer he offered...

God of peace, our hearts are with those are always most affected when the decision to wage war is made. We lift up  all of the men, women and children who only want to go about their lives in safety and peace but who will bear the suffering of decisions made to drop bombs and fire guns. We pray for peace knowing how our sisters and brothers will suffer and die if the back-and-forth retaliation, the cycle of violence isn't arrested here and now. We pray that our leaders will choose the path of prudence that leads to peace, that they will pursue diplomacy and take action to de-escalate tensions instead of inflaming them.  In the wake of this crisis, Pope Francis implored, "In many parts of the world, there is a terrible tension. War brings only death and destruction." We call on our government to pursue the path of dialogue and to exercise the self-control that is the hallmark of wisdom. As people of faith, we say no to war, no to violence, no to the dehumanization of our sisters and brothers wherever they may be -- in the Middle East, at the border, in prison and everywhere that the dignity of the human person is threatened. We believe in a God of peace who calls us to be peacemakers and act nonviolently to create a better world for all of us. We stand on the side of peace and we pledge to work for that peace today and in the days ahead to avert war and the death and destruction it brings. Amen. 

"Though President Trump's speech indicates no immediate military action against Iran, his words this morning greatly impair the cause of peace. Additional sanctions and military posturing will foremost hurt innocent people and will weaken the path of dialogue and diplomacy. This moment demands that Catholics, from the grassroots to our bishops -- and all people of faith -- speak and act for a just resolution to a conflict irresponsibly and unnecessarily provoked by the Trump administration." 

~Robert Shine, Pax Christi USA National Council Chair

On January 3, Pax Christi USA was a signatory to the "Faith Statement on Escalating Violence with Iran". The statement read, in part:

"Our faith communities see the futility of war, and its power to dehumanize. We know that human flourishing entails breaking cycles of violence, being courageous peacemakers, and focusing on the root causes of conflict. Violent conflict is a path of mutual destruction.
Instead, all actors must move forward in a way that upholds our shared, sacred human dignity:
  • All parties must begin by re-humanizing each other without excusing unjust and violent actions. 
  • The U.S. Administration must halt violent attacks and military escalations. It must return to a diplomatic process, recognizing that lasting peace requires a commitment to the shared well-being of every human, from Iran to the United States and everywhere in between.
  • The U.S. Congress must act to reassert its war powers by refusing authorization for war with Iran and related attacks, and to block funding for war with Iran. 
  • U.S. actions and strategy in the region must address the root causes of the conflict, such as distrust, trauma, economic resources, and political influence. 
  • All of us must support nonviolent creative actions of resistance to any unjust and violent actions..."
To read the full statement as well as other statements and resources, including a study group curriculum to support action to stop the war in Iran, click here.

1. Get out in the streets this Thursday (and beyond) and say "No to war with Iran!"  A number of organizations (MoveOn, Win Without War, our faith-based partners and others) are calling for Thursday to be a national day of action to stop this war. Go to this link  and join an action near you. Or organize one yourself or with your Pax Christi local group, region, campus chapter, religious community, parish, or local Catholic Worker House and get it registered on the site. There will be many opportunities in the coming days to rally, protest, do direct action, and more. Let's show up, stand up, speak up. No war with Iran!

2.  Demand that Congress block Trump's ability to fund a war with Iran. Our partners at the  Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns  have set up an action alert for folks to contact their members of Congress and ask them to do everything they can to keep things from escalating further and war breaking out. Click here to contact your member of Congress and tell them clearly: No money for war!
Thanks for making the commitment to pray, study and act to stop a war with Iran! Visit the Pax Christi USA website for more resources for prayer, study and action in the days ahead.