ISSUE 284                                                        Spring 2019
A word from the International Secretariat...
This latest newsletter is being completed on the heels of an extraordinary conference that Pax Christi International's Catholic Nonviolence Initiative co-hosted in Rome with the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. (You can read more about the conference below in this newsletter.) Present at the conference were representatives of some of our member organisations who are working on the ground in situations of tremendous conflict, working for social, political and cultural change through nonviolence. (Pictured above are panelists Kanini Kimau of the Horn of Africa Grassroots Peace Forum, Amy Echevarria of the Columban's office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, and Jasmin Nario-Galace of Pax Christi Pilipinas, panelists speaking on nonviolence and youth, women and creation.) They shared their stories with Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops, theologians, pastoral ministers and other peace practitioners, furthering the conversation we began in Rome in April 2016 at the first conference on nonviolence and just peace. We know that all throughout our network, these stories are told and shared, that the work of nonviolence is happening by our members in every corner of the world.

Newsletters like this one highlight some of those stories, showing how it is that each of us in our vast network of 120 member organisations on 5 continents put into practice peace, justice, reconciliation and yes, nonviolence, to create a world that honours the human dignity of all. If you want a feel for how this is happening, start at the end of this newsletter with the section "Pax Christi International activities around the world". It is but a small taste of everything that is being done under the Pax Christi umbrella.

We'll continue to hold these conversations and share our stories in the months and years to come, whether in conferences like the one we had in Rome or within small groups meeting in our own homes. We look forward to the opportunity to move active nonviolence back to the center of our Church, in its teachings and its practices. We are so grateful for all of you who are an important part of this work.
As always, if you have the means to do so, we hope you'll support this extraordinary work with a financial contribution. You can click on the "Donate" button on the left to give quickly and securely.

We thank you for your generosity and for all that you do as part of the global network that makes up Pax Christi International.
Faith leaders, peace practitioners deepen Church's commitment to nonviolence and peace
(Issued 6/4/19 ) - Vatican City - On 4-5 April, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Pax Christi International’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative organised a workshop on the theme, “Path of Nonviolence: Towards a Culture of Peace.”

With a consideration and understanding of current situations of conflict and violence, participants engaged in dialogue about the roots of violence, the hope for peace and reconciliation, and reflected on paths to a conversion to nonviolence. They noted that nonviolence is not only a method but a way of life, a way to protect and care for the conditions of life for today and tomorrow.

“Our conversations on nonviolence and peace filled our hearts and minds with a consideration of the dignity of each person – young people, women and men, people who are impoverished, citizens and leaders,” said Mons. Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Dicastery. “Nonviolence and peace call us to a conversion to receive and to give, to gather and to hope.”. ..

PC International attends
Vatican conference on SDGs

18/3/19 - The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, together with the Pontificial Council for Inter-religious dialogue, convened a conference on “Religions and the SDGs” in the Vatican from 7 until 9 of March in which Pax Christi International participated. The conference aimed to create a deeper understanding of the SDGs among faith leaders and to discuss the contribution that religions can make to their implementation.

The conference began with speeches from the Vatican’s Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Secretary and Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva expressing the importance of the conference ...

PC Asia-Pacific regional network issues statement on tensions between India and Pakistan

16/3/19 - The Pax Christi Asia-Pacific regional network has called for the immediate de-escalation of the military tensions between India and Pakistan that can escalate into a war between two nuclear armed states.

The longstanding conflict between India and Pakistan has caused much suffering to the peoples of both states, including those in the disputed territory of Kashmir. We do not wish this conflict to escalate any further because the possible use of nuclear weapons against each other will endanger not only India and Pakistan but the whole Asia-Pacific region as well. Even a limited nuclear exchange can bring catastrophic harm due to massive loss of lives and famine due to nuclear winter. ..

Pax Christi International releases "The Europe We Want", a manifesto on the May elections of the European Parliament
(Issued 2/4/19) - On the occasion of the election of the members of the European Parliament (23-26 May 2019), Pax Christi International and several of its national members issue the following manifesto encouraging candidates and citizens to choose for a renewed European project based on solidarity, fraternity and peace.

I. The Europe we believe in

1 “Europe” is a unique peace project which has held for more than 70 years. When it started after World War II, the “European project” was built on two parallel constructed pillars: one was the joint control over war resources, namely through the European Coal and Steel Community (1951); the other was the promotion and protection of human rights as a significant means to prevent war among European nations through the creation of the Council of Europe (1949). Following this, the European Convention on Human Rights (1950) and the European Court of Human Rights (1959) were established.

2 Since then approaches have been developed for European cooperation, bringing peace and prosperity to an unrivalled extent across our continent. The European Coal and Steel Community of 6 expanded into a European Union of 28 and the countries that are bound by the European Convention on Human Rights number 47 today. All Europeans share the same fundamental rights and freedoms, peace has been largely maintained across the continent, and going to war against another European state is now simply unthinkable. In addition, crucial contributions have been made to conflict resolution and peacebuilding in other continents...

This Lent, #LiveNonviolence, #LivePeace for 40 Days

6/3/19 - Each Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday, Catholics all across the world examine their consciences, repent of personal and social sin, and seek to witness more vividly to the peace and justice that are explicit in Jesus's teachings, life, passion, death and resurrection. This Lent, Pax Christi International is inviting you to #LivePeace, #LiveNonviolence, #LiveJustice, #LiveReconciliation for #40Days.

We're collecting resources here on this page for your use throughout the Lenten season to deepen your commitment to peace, nonviolence, justice and reconciliation in word and deed, in personal lifestyle choices and in action aimed at creating social change. Each week we'll be posting and sending out reflections from our Senior Policy Advisor, Fr. Paul Lansu, connecting Lenten themes and scripture with the work of peace, justice and reconciliation. You'll see those reflections (and other resources) archived below, and we'll be sharing them over social media with the hashtags #LivePeace, #LiveNonviolence, #LiveReconciliation....

Pax Christi International calls for the Zero Draft on instrument on business and human rights to be strengthened

4/3/19 - The Open-ended inter-governmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (intergovernmental working group) had been mandated in 2011 by the Human Rights Council in Geneva "to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights." They started a broad, inclusive and participatory process of consultations with member states and civil society through different sessions at the UN in Geneva in which several of our members and partners of our Pax Christi International working group on extractives and Latin America have participated.

In the first and second sessions of the intergovernmental working group (2015 and 2016), exchanges were held by members states with input of other stakeholders on the content, scope, nature and form of the future international treaty. During the third session (2017), the intergovernmental working group discussed elements for a draft of a legally binding instrument prepared by the Chairperson-Rapporteur. ..

Following Christchurch shootings, Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand releases statement, "Restoring a Broken Promise"
(Issued 17/3/19) - Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand, a national section of Pax Christi International, the Catholic Peace Movement, joins the many organisations, groups and individuals who have shared their condolences with the victims of the tragic events in Christchurch, with their families and the wider Muslim communities in New Zealand and worldwide. Such an attack on people practising in peace the faith in which they believe must be a warning to all of us that there are undercurrents of intolerance and hatred running under the surface of our society. These must be addressed if we are to live in the peace which brought those victims to our society, the peace to which we all aspire.

This tragic occasion is also a time for us to raise serious questions about the foundations of our society, especially where diversity of belief, of ethnicity and of culture is questioned or attacked.

We support the Government’s intentions regarding the availability of firearms, especially the kind of automatic weapons which were used in this attack. It is time to ask if the latter have any authentic place in our society; they certainly don’t seem to be appropriate to the hunting, target-shooting and recreational use which could justify other forms of firearms, but they do play a critical role in the kind of massacre which has afflicted the Muslim communities in Christchurch. Promises to investigate the efficacy of our gun laws must be fulfilled now ...

From the Peace Stories Blog:

by Jonathan Frerichs,
UN Representative in Geneva, " PyeongChang: A new name for peace? "

18/2/19 - PyeongChang, South Korea, is the home of last year’s Winter Olympics. Now it’s the home of a “Global Peace Forum” too.

There’s a connection. Careful preparations and hockey diplomacy at the 2018 Olympics signaled an opportunity. They touched off a year of inter-Korean dialogue, summitry and other successes, after years of nuclear confrontation and belligerent rhetoric. The Olympic Organizing Committee decided to cap the year by inviting more than 500 people to PyeongChang. From 9-11 February 2019, advocates, academics and activists from 50 countries debated the synergies between peace, sports, sustainable development, gender equality, climate justice and disarmament.

The provincial governor and local mayor, two national cabinet ministers and the head of the Korea International Cooperation Agency took part in the ceremonies. More than one host official declared with a smile, “PyeongChang is a new name for peace." ...

Africa regional coordinator visits member organisations, nonviolence project in Burundi and the DRC

25/1/19 - Dieudonne Serukabuza, the regional coordinator for Africa for Pax Christi International, is on a special mission to Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo to visit member organisations and look in on the project taking place in that region, "Empowering New Generations for Active Nonviolence & Entrepreneurship". During his time in Burundi, Serukabuza has had a meeting with the Executive Secretary of the Commission Episcopale Justice et Paix Burundi (CEJP), Fr. Charles Karorero. He has also visited with our member organisation Centre Jeunes Kamenge which works with young people and visited the Catholic parish of Kinama and the school wherein the training on active nonviolence is taking place.

On Thursday, 24 January, Serukabuza met with Pax Christi Uvira in South Kivu in the DRC for a discussion with two of the project trainers and the director of PC Uvira, Mr. Jean Jacques. Later that afternoon, he had a meeting with the group of 15 young people (10 men, 5 women) selected to start the income-generating activities. They have started a small shop, sewing workshop, photography, egg sales, hen breeding, corn and potato fencing, and a hairdressing salon. . ..

In Memoriam: H.E. Cardinal Godfried Danneels,
Former President of Pax Christi International
(Issued 14/3/19) - Cardinal Godfried Danneels, former Archbishop of Mechelen Brussels, passed away on 14 March 2019, at 85 years of age. He was President of Pax Christi International from 1990 through 1999. The International Catholic Peace Movement offers its condolences and prayers to his family and to the Archdiocese of Mechelen Brussels.

Cardinal Danneels became president after the years of political transitions in Central and Eastern Europe and with the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, in particular. He guided the movement for about a decade and at a time of great change in the world. 

The end of the Cold War between East and West, for which Pax Christi had worked, was a moment of great hope for a disarmed and more just world order. However, it soon became clear that the human family was facing new versions of old problems: poverty, ethnic conflict, racism, refugees and new wars, such as in Iraq/Kuwait in 1990/1991.. ..

Pax Christi International activities around the world...
Read Pax Christi Aotearoa's latest newsletters online and see the newly published book on "Praying for Peace" . .. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa Reconciled posted 30 accredited election observers for the December presidential election ... Pax Christi Italy members met with Pope Francis (photo of Pax Christi Italy with Pope Francis on the right) who told them to continue their work on the path of nuclear disarmament ... Pax Christi Australia presented a seminar in February on the establishment of a 'First Nations Voice' in the Australian constitution ... Pax Christi International Senior Policy Advisor Fr. Paul Lansu said that the Yemen conflict complicated Pope Francis's trip to Abu Dhabi ... Pax Christi UK announced the appointment of Theresa Alessandro as their new director, succeeding Pat Gaffney, who is retiring after leading the organisation for nearly 30 years ... The Churches and Mining Network says the collapse of the huge deposit of toxic waste in Brazil was caused by irresponsible behavior of multinational mining companies allied with power ... In the Philippines, Pax Christi Pilipinas and Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, a Pax Christi International Board member, expressed hope that the Jan. 27th attack at Jolo Cathedral would not destroy the path to peace ...  Through the NGO Mining Working Group, Pax Christi International's UN Team contributed to the development and publication of "Water and Sanitation: A People's Guide to SDG 6" ... Pax Christi Germany's Bishop President issued a statement calling for the renegotiation of the INF Treaty and the abolition of all nuclear weapons ... Pax Christi USA released a statement saying that the real national emergency in the USA is the continued scapegoating of immigrants, not the need for a southern border wall ... The National Commission of Justice and Peace in Pakistan appealed to Pakistani and Indian leadership to avoid war ... On 23 March in Paris, Pax Christi France held its annual symposium focusing this year on the theme, "What is the mission for Europe? The European election and the urgency of choice" ... On Saturday, 4 May, the third edition of 'Building bridges instead of walls' takes place in Brussels, a series of Dutch-speaking and French-language workshops on nonviolence offered by Pax Christi Flanders ... Pax Christi International Co-president Marie Dennis participated in a faith leaders pilgrimage to Honduras ... For more news articles about Pax Christi International activities around the world, visit our website by clicking here.

This newsletter is also posted in Spanish
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This newsletter is also posted in French
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