Category Archives: War

NEWS: Pax Christi USA endorses Spring Rising actions

6153931_orig

Pax Christi USA has endorsed Spring Rising: An Antiwar Intervention in D.C. March 18-21. Spring Rising is four days of creative resistance; theater, teach-ins; rallies and marches marking the anniversary of the United States’ “shock and awe” attack on Iraq and its invasion and occupation in a completely illegitimate, immoral war.  Together we will use this time to oppose the plans and calls for growing military intervention.

Click here for more information.

REFLECTION: Beating swords into plowshares

Tony Maglianoby Tony Magliano

“In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills,” writes the prophet Isaiah. “Many peoples shall come and say: Come, let us go up to the Lord’s mountain … that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths. … They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”

Swords-into-plowsharesThis prophesy will certainly be fulfilled when Christ comes again and his kingdom is totally established. There’s no stopping it. But it could happen even before then. If only we would go up to the Lord’s mountain and allow him to instruct us in his ways, and wholeheartedly walk in his paths.

But instead it seems like so much of the world, and so many people in power, are committed to going down into the dark valley of violence and war, ignoring the Prince of Peace’s way.

As I write, the U.S. Congress is poised to grant President Obama’s request to use expanded military force – including boots-on-the-ground – to fight the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

In his request known as the “Authorization for Use of Military Force,” Obama is asking Congress to approve the deployment of U.S. troops to Iraq for “enduring offensive ground combat operations” for at least three years.
Didn’t the nearly nine years of war in Iraq teach us anything?

Military action against the Islamic State is playing into their hands. They want to draw the U.S. into a ground war, so they can trumpet the message that “Christian crusaders” have launched an invasion upon Islam. Such a scenario would flood their ranks with radical Islamists from around the world.

After the start of the first Gulf War in 1991, St. John Paul wrote, “No, never again war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution of the very problems which provoked the war.”

It can be strongly argued that the devastation caused by the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq largely set the stage for the birth of the Islamic State and several other Jihadist groups.

Instead of fueling more war and terrorism, we need to pressure our government to provide far more humanitarian assistance to our fellow Christians, and all others, who are suffering from the barbarism of the Islamic State.
Also, we need to kindly consider making a generous donation to Catholic Relief Service’s emergency fund for the Middle East (http://bit.ly/17YCZ8g).

In his famous 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech, Rev. Martin Luther King said, “Our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.”

And the same is true with terrorism today. If we will muster up the faith and courage to redirect the vast resources dedicated to war, and instead put them at the service of removing “those conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are fertile soil” in which the seed of terrorism grows and develops, we will have then finally beat our swords into plowshares.

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. Please contact your diocesan newspaper and request that they carry Tony’s column. Tony is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings about Catholic social teaching. His keynote address, “Advancing the Kingdom of God in the 21st Century,” has been well received by diocesan gatherings from Salt Lake City to Baltimore. Tony can be reached at tmag@zoominternet.net.

PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL: PCI calls for continued diplomatic efforts in the Ukrainian conflict

pcilogonewfrom Pax Christi International

Pax Christi International is following attentively the situation of crisis in the eastern regions of Ukraine. Given the recent escalation of conflict that claimed many victims, Pax Christi International renewed its appeal for peace and for a negotiated solution.

The movement supports the agreement reached through diplomatic efforts on 11 and 12 February 2015 in Minsk, Belarus. The ceasefire agreement should be implemented by Sunday 15 February 2015 at the latest and monitored directly. While significant work is yet to be done, this at least begins a process toward increased security, law and order.

Security risks in Ukraine remain high. The violence must end as soon as possible and de-escalation of the conflict should be a priority. No military aid should be delivered to the parties in conflict, since that could further escalate the crisis, but, given the great need, additional international humanitarian aid should be delivered promptly…

Click here to read the entire release.

REFLECTION: Reflecting on Pope Francis’ 2015 World Day of Peace message

Tony Maglianoby Tony Magliano

“Tragically, the growing scourge of man’s exploitation by man gravely damages the life of communion and our calling to forge interpersonal relations marked by respect, justice and love,” writes Pope Francis in his Jan. 1 World Day of Peace Message.

But as the message’s title – “No Longer Slaves, but Brothers and Sisters” – indicates, the pope is reminding us of the Good News that Jesus has freed us from the slavery of personal sin and the structures of societal sin, and invites us to accept this divine freedom, to live it out in our lives, and to share it with all people.

However, instead of offering freedom and fraternity, the exploitation of countless human beings by many who hold power, “leads to contempt for the fundamental rights of others and to the suppression of their freedom and dignity,” laments the pope.

WorldDayofPeaceHe writes that millions of people today – children, women and men of all ages – are forced to live in slave-like conditions.

“I think of the many men and women laborers, including minors, subjugated in different sectors, whether formally or informally, in domestic or agricultural workplaces, or in the manufacturing or mining industry.”

The 2010 West Virginia Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion, which killed 29 Massey Energy miners, is a clear example of what Pope Francis is talking about here.

According to National Public Radio, the Governor’s Independent Investigation Panel charged that “Massey exhibited a corporate mentality that placed the drive to produce coal above worker safety.”

Expressing his deep sympathy for the hardships faced by migrants Francis writes, “In a particular way, I think of those among them who, upon arriving at their destination after a grueling journey marked by fear and insecurity, are detained in at times inhumane conditions.”

Consider how the pope’s words accurately apply to the thousands of unaccompanied children who have taken the dangerous journey to the U.S. to escape drug and gang violence in parts of Central America. Many of these children are detained for weeks in large cage-like conditions, while they face the threat of being deported back to the dangerous conditions they fled.

Pope Francis adds, “States must ensure that their own legislation truly respects the dignity of the human person in the areas of migration, employment, adoption, the movement of businesses offshore and the sale of items produced by slave labor.”

Many corporations like Wal-Mart reap huge financial benefits from merchandise made for them by desperately poor people laboring long hours, in unhealthy work conditions, for pennies an hour.

There is an excellent remedy for this use of what the pope calls “slave labor.”

Please email and call (Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121) your two U.S. senators and House representative urging them to reintroduce and actively support the “Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act,” which according to the highly reputable “Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights” (http://www.globallabourrights.org/), would provide transparent corporate disclosure – enabling labor rights organizations to inspect factories producing products for wealthy retailers.

If reintroduced and passed by Congress, this bill would also prohibit the import, export or sale of products that violate the International Labor Organization’s standards – which prohibit child labor, and guarantee workers’ rights to safe working conditions, to collective bargaining and protection against forced labor.

Pope Francis pulls much of his message together in this one powerful sentence: “Every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act.”

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. Please contact your diocesan newspaper and request that they carry Tony’s column. Tony is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings about Catholic social teaching. His keynote address, “Advancing the Kingdom of God in the 21st Century,” has been well received by diocesan gatherings from Salt Lake City to Baltimore. Tony can be reached at tmag@zoominternet.net.

INTERVIEW: For Pax Christi leader, peacemaking and Catholic social justice are inseparable

Interview with Rosemarie Pace, coordinator of Pax Christi Metro New York

by Sr. Camille D’Arienzo

Rosemarie Pace of Pax Christi Metro New York

Rosemarie Pace of Pax Christi Metro New York

SR. CAMILLE: You have been the face and energy of Pax Christi Metro for 14 years. What brought you into this arena?

ROSEMARIE PACE: I don’t remember when I read in The Tablet of a group of Catholics who were engaged in some kind of peace activism. Intrigued, I was curious to know more, but it was years before I inquired about them at St. John’s University, where I worshipped on Sundays. The sister in charge of the choir directed me to a Fr. Jim Reese, who taught at SJU. He was a member of Pax Christi Queens. He directed me to Elaine L’Etoile, another member of the group, who invited me to a meeting one Sunday evening in September 1987. I dragged along a friend so I wouldn’t be a lone stranger in the group. I was immediately drawn in and have been a member ever since, even though at that time, I knew nothing of Pax Christi beyond that little local group. That’s when and where my education began.

SR. CAMILLE: What do you see as Pax Christi’s challenges?

PACE: I’d put our challenges in two categories: those related to mission and those related to administration.

First, mission: Being the Catholic peace movement (so dubbed by Pope Pius XII in Pax Christi’s early history), we come up against two problems. Because we’re Catholic, there are those who have a preconceived notion about us. They may expect us to be focused on issues that are too conservative, or, ironically, others may think we’re too liberal and therefore not orthodox enough to call ourselves Catholic. Then there are those who won’t support religious organizations of any faith. Some even consider us self-righteous and elitist.

Administratively, our biggest challenge is that we are so small. We don’t have nearly enough monetary or nonmonetary resources to be on sound footing at any time. Only a couple hundred on our mailing list support us financially. Most are religious and clergy or people in modest-income service jobs. We just don’t have enough money to get us beyond a one-person staff (me) to do everything that any organization needs to survive. Our volunteers are much valued but are part-time and often temporary help. The struggle just to survive steals time from the mission of educating and advocating for peace in parishes, schools and the community…

To read the entire interview, click here.

HONDURAS: Impunity in Honduras

from America Magazine

DSC09058In a small Central American country, campesinos agitating for land rights, journalists challenging the status quo and attorneys and advocates working for social justice face continual threats or acts of violence and intimidation. Scores have been murdered, driven into exile or “disappeared” in the night. Catholic priests and deacons speaking out in defense of the vulnerable are rewarded with death threats; a Jesuit-sponsored radio station has been threatened with destruction; and a civilian government has proven itself unable—or unwilling—to rein in public and private security forces acting in the shadows for the powerful.

This description is not, sadly, an exercise in historical memory, 25 years after the savagery of the Jesuit murders at the University of Central America in 1989, nor a recollection of the dreary prelude to the full-blown civil war in El Salvador in the late 1970s. This is a brief précis on contemporary Honduras.

The high-profile murders of María José Alvarado, Miss Honduras 2014, and her sister, Sofía, at the hands of the former’s jealous boyfriend in November briefly trained the U.S. media spotlight on the senseless violence that afflicts the country. But even astute news consumers probably did not read of another murder in Honduras that same week. On Nov. 11, Juan Ángel López Miralda, a Colón-based agrarian leader, was gunned down in the street by two men, who escaped on a motorcycle. Mr. López was a leader of the Movimiento Unificado Campesino del Aguán, a fighter for the land rights of campesinos in that troubled region…

Click here to read the entire article.