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Two Books on the Church and Nonviolence

Look out for these two new books on Catholic nonviolence. The following article was published in the September-October 2020 issue of NewsNotes

Two exciting new books address the Church’s teaching on just peace and help advance a Catholic ethic of Gospel nonviolence. 

The first, Risk of the Cross: Living Gospel Nonviolence in the Nuclear Age, is by Arthur Laffin of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, D.C. Laffin has long been active in faith-based nonviolent movements for peace and social justice.

According to a review in the National Catholic Reporter, The Risk of the Cross “tackles this crisis of faith [represented by the modern nuclear security paradigm], finding in the Gospel of Mark a vitalizing and nonviolent theology for reckoning with our nuclear danger.” The book includes forwards by influential Catholic writer Henri Nouwen and Jesuit activist John Dear.

Laffin published an original version of the text along with Elin Schade and Christopher Grannis in 1981, intended to be a study guide for Catholic parish groups. This new, expanded version includes updated biblical analysis and information on nuclear policy and weaponry. You can order a copy at

The second book, Advancing Nonviolence and Just Peace in the Church and the World, is being compiled by Pax Christi International and the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative. The Catholic Nonviolence Initiative describes the book as “the culmination of a three-year global conversation among church leaders, community organizers, activists, social scientists and theologians about how the Catholic Church might return to its Gospel nonviolence roots and transform the world.” 

The book shares real examples of nonviolent interventions; explores the scriptural, theological, and historical foundations of gospel nonviolence; explains the most current social scientific findings on the efficacy of strategic nonviolence; and outlines a vision for how the Church can advocate for active nonviolence as a key component of Christian living. Ordering information will be available soon at