Pax Christi International aims to initiate a global conversation and promote promote practices and strategies for non-violent peace making,” said Judy Coode, the organization's co-ordinator for the Catholic Non-Violence Initiative. Photo by Evan Boudreau

Pax Christi International plans new peace initiative

  • June 28, 2017

Pax Christi International is stepping up its efforts to position the Catholic Church as a leader in promoting non-violence.

The peace group’s aim is to initiate a global conversation and “promote practices and strategies for non-violent peace making,” said Judy Coode, Pax Christi’s co-ordinator for the Catholic Non-Violence Initiative.

Pax Christi International is preparing to hold five online-roundtable discussions to explore separate themes: foundational theology of non-violence; biblical foundations of Jesus’ non-violence; non-violence and just peace — a new moral framework, integrating non-violence into the life of the Church, and the power of active non-violence.

Between 10 and 15 “theologians and peace practitioners” will be invited to take part in each conversation and contribute to the creation of a document outlining their conclusions, said Coode, who presented the plan June 23 at Toronto’s Mary Ward Centre.

“They are (going to be) multinational and gender balanced,” she said. “We are just finalizing the list and then they are going to start working together. They will work together for about 18 months and our plan is ... to present a draft document to the Vatican that might lead to a new official teaching on non-violence and just peace.”

Johnny Zokovitch, senior communications officer for Pax Christi International, said that while Pax Christi’s top theologians and peace practitioners focus on the literature, all 120 Pax Christi member organizations, spread across 50 countries, are being asked to take part in an “awareness campaign around the theme of non-violence,” which kicked off this January.

“We created a slogan that played off the popular slogan ‘this is what democracy looks like’,” he said. “We took that tag line and we changed it a little bit into ‘this is what non-violence looks like’. Then we were going to use images around this to show people engaged in the broadness, the diversity, of non-violence.”

Zokovitch said everyone is invited to share their image of non-violence on social media using the hashtag #thisisnonviolence.

“We decided that we would raise the profile of Gospel non-violence within our own movement but also within the larger context of the Church and specially the general public as well,” he added.

Coode said that while the creation of the document is important, having everyone talking about non-violence is critical to bringing about the desired change.

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