Last week, a group of faith leaders, peace practitioners, scholars and advocates gathered at the Vatican for a workshop entitled, “Path of Nonviolence: Towards a Culture of Peace.” The workshop was hosted by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and organized in collaboration with Pax Christi International’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative. The workshop on April 4-5th was a follow-up to a conference held in Rome in April 2016 on Nonviolence and Just Peace.
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns has been working hard in partnership with the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative and other Catholic organizations to plan these landmark gatherings to help foster a renewed commitment to nonviolence in the Church. Kevin Carroll, the Sustainable Pathways to Peace and Security Coordinator at Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns, was a participant at the workshop last week. “I am so grateful to have been a part of it,” he said, of the workshop. “I am very hopeful that we’re moving in an exciting direction and that this initiative will have real impact.”
The full statement on the workshop from the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative is included below.
Faith leaders, peace practitioners deepen Church’s commitment to nonviolence and peace
Vatican City – On 4-5 April, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development for Promoting Integral Human Development and Pax Christi International’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative organized 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.”
“Pax Christi International deeply appreciates the support and participation of the Dicastery in this workshop, which has been a significant and positive step in the work of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative,” said Marie Dennis, Co-president of Pax Christi International. “We are touched by the interventions from all the participants, who reiterated the importance of nonviolence rooted in respect, patience and spiritual strength.”
Workshop participants hailed from Mexico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras, Brazil, Canada, the United States, Uganda, Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Fiji, South Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Palestine, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, and included Bishops, Archbishops, peace practitioners, theologians, social scientists, educators and those in pastoral ministry. In addition, the Dicastery’s Prefect Cardinal Peter Turkson (Ghana) was present, as was Cardinal Joseph Tobin (Newark, New Jersey, USA).
Participants will continue their dialogue and research; their reflections will be shared with the Holy Father, with the hope for a possible encyclical that will address these issues and challenges and will promote nonviolent initiatives as a way for mediation, rights, hope and love.
“We need to be artisans of peace, for building peace that is a craft that demands serenity, creativity, sensitivity and skills.” (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Gaudate et Exultate, 19 March 2018)