CATHOLIC NONVIOLENCE PROJECT
Pace e Bene is contributing to a growing movement to advance the vision and methods of nonviolence in the Catholic Church. Working with Pax Christ International’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, we are inviting Pope Francis to share with the world an encyclical – a major church teaching – on nonviolence and to integrate the nonviolent way at every level of the church.
Nonviolence lay at the heart of Jesus’ mission. Living under Roman occupation and facing the dehumanizing violence of his time, Jesus proclaimed a new, nonviolent order rooted in the unconditional love of God. Though Christianity maintained the centrality of nonviolence in its first three centuries, it has since often lost sight of this core principle and way of life.
Pace e Bene, working with partners around the world, helped organized a landmark conference on active nonviolence co-sponsored by the Vatican and Pax Christi International in Rome in 2016. This powerful assembly of theologians, practitioners and church leaders from every continent issued a final statement entitled, “An Appeal to the Catholic Church to Re-Commit to the Centrality of Gospel Nonviolence.” To help move this work forward, the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (CNI) was formed. Pace e Bene is part of this international network, and serves on its executive committee.
In 2017, Pope Francis issued an historic World Day of Peace message entitled, “Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace.,” a theme that Pax Christi and Pace e Bene had proposed. After meetings with Vatican officials, CNI has launched an ambitious research project to develop content for a major Church teaching on Gospel nonviolence. We are currently planning a follow-up conference in Rome to present the Vatican with the findings of this research, which could serve as the basis of a reinvigorated approach to challenging violence and creating nonviolent options.