Tag Archives: Bishop Walter Sullivan

ON THE LINE: May edition features breaking news on Transformation Now Plowshares, new pope reflection, and more

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere.

JURY FINDS TRANSFORM NOW PLOWSHARES GUILTY: (from the AP story) “An 83-year-old nun and two fellow protesters were convicted Wednesday of interfering with national security when they broke into a nuclear weapons facility in Tennessee and defaced a uranium processing plant. It took a jury about 2 ½ hours to find the three protesters guilty of a charge of sabotaging the plant and second charge of damaging federal property in July the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge in July. Defense attorneys said in closing arguments that federal prosecutors had overreached in the charges because of the embarrassment caused by the break-in. ‘The shortcomings in security at one of the most dangerous places on the planet have embarrassed a lot of people,’ said Francis Lloyd, who represented Sister Megan Rice of Washington, D.C. ‘You’re looking at three scapegoats behind me.’… Read more here: http://news.yahoo.com/jury-finds-3-guilty-weapons-plant-break-222543688.html

Sr. Megan Rice of the Transformation Now Plowshares.

Sr. Megan Rice of the Transform Now Plowshares.

PAX CHRISTI MASSACHUSETTS STATEMENT ON THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING: Chaos, destruction and death visited Boston on Marathon Monday, bearing witness to the perverse power of violence to shatter families, annihilate hope, end dreams, and engender great fear in our hearts. We members of Pax Christi Massachusetts, the Catholic peace organization built on the foundation of gospel nonviolence, and deeply committed to the Way of Peace of Jesus, wish to express our profound sorrow at what has come to pass in our beloved city of Boston. We mourn with the victims and families, and claim kinship with all who will carry their suffering far into the future. We pray for the healing of bodies and spirit and cling to the hope that in this city of great diversity, we remain united in a spirit of compassion and clear thinking… Read the entire statement here: http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/04/22/statement-statement-from-pax-christi-massachusetts-on-the-marathon-bombings/

FORMER PCUSA BISHOP PRESIDENT WALTER SULLIVAN FEATURED IN HUFFINGTON POST ARTICLE: (From the Huffington Post, written by PCUSA Ambassador of Peace Fr. John Dear, S.J.) In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that if our righteousness does not surpass that of the religious authorities, we will not enter the reign of God. It’s a shocking instruction. He seems to have learned early on that power corrupts, and not just politicians, but professional religious people, too. If professional religious authorities do not break out of the trappings of power, authority, money, and cultic privilege, if they do not embody the Beatitudes and struggle for justice and peace, they will not enter the reign of God. I think he means, not just in the next life, but here and now, in this life, where the reign of God is at hand. We see this play out everywhere today, where our religious leaders go along with the culture of violence and war, and remain silent in the face of warmaking, nuclear weapons, poverty, and violence. They fear rocking the boat, so they do nothing, protect their money, stay close to their benefactors, accept whatever the military tells them, and reject the way of the cross. Or if they speak, they only denounce abortion, claiming to be pro-life, even though they actively support U.S. warmaking and nuclear weapons. In doing so, they come across to the faithful as radically pro-death. They remain clueless to the prophetic vocation which Jesus calls us all to live in the Sermon on the Mount. The exceptions, of course, make the rule, and one great exception was my friend Walter Sullivan, bishop of Richmond, former president of Pax Christi USA, who died on December 11, 2012… Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-dear/walter-sullivan-the-good_b_3186832.html

Pax Christi Houston members join Mothers Demand Action for gun safety.

Pax Christi Houston members join Mothers Demand Action for gun safety.

PAX CHRISTI METRO NEW YORK’S EASTER REFLECTION: “Easter is a time for hope, for renewal, and new life.   Nature is at one with the Resurrection of Jesus, as the first buds on the trees appear, tiny creatures cling to their mothers, and the seas calm from the harsh winds of winter.  It is a time of celebration, a time of growth, and a time of change. The recent installation of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I has given us a very special reason to celebrate, to hope, to renew, to grow, and yes, even to change, as individuals, as a community, and as a Church…” Read the entire reflection here: http://www.nypaxchristi.org/reflection.html

Images of Fr. Bill Bichsel, beloved figure of Pax Christi Pacific Northwest members, are showing up in unusual places!

Images of Fr. Bill Bichsel, beloved figure of Pax Christi Pacific Northwest members, are showing up in unusual places!

PCI CO-PRESIDENT ASKS NEW POPE – BE A SHEPHERD OF PEACE: (from US Catholic by Marie Dennis) “In his resignation statement, Benedict XVI, now the bishop emeritus of Rome, pointed to the great challenge these times present to the papal ministry, speaking in particular about ‘today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith.’ Few challenges will be greater for Pope Francis than the challenge of peace—to turn the hearts, minds, and energies of 1 billion Catholics around the world to fulfilling Jesus’ resurrection promise, ‘Peace I leave with you.’ Exactly 50 years ago, Pope John XXIII’s great encyclical Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) ended with a prayer that Christ would ‘inflame the desires of all … to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another, and to pardon those who have done them wrong.’” … Read the rest of the article here: http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/04/18/reflection-be-a-shepherd-of-peace/

PAX CHRISTI TEXAS LEADER DELIVERS SPEECH ON PACEM IN TERRIS: (David Atwood of PC-Texas gave the following talk at the Catholic Library Association Conference.) “It is an honor to address you today on the important subject of Pacem in Terris, the encyclical written by Pope John XXIII that was published in 1963, 50 years ago. I think we would all agree that we need more peace on earth – both in our own nation and throughout the world.  The recent murder of 20 school children in Connecticut as well as the thousands of murders each year in the U.S. are indicative of the problems we have in this country.  The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the current conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, are indicative of the need for peace in the world… Read the entire speech at: http://paxchristiusa.org/2013/04/14/reflection-pacem-in-terris-its-importance-in-current-time/

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

June 14-16 – Pax Christi USA National Conference in Atlanta, GA: http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/national-conference-2013/

Quicklinks:

A special supplement by Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore member Scott Wright on “Pacem in Terris” is now included in the Just Peacemaking module from JustFaith Ministries … Tom Cornell delivered the homily at Pax Christi Hudson Valley’s Mass for Peace at St. Augustine Church in Highland, N.Y. on March 16 … Pax Christi members in Upstate New York helped to start a “groceries for guns” program at their parish … Jerry Bettice of PC-Memphis presented a PowerPoint reflection on “The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: The Dream Fulfilled” at the April meeting and at the Young Adults group at St. Patrick Church … Pax Christi members in Maryland were involved in the effort to repeal the death penaltyPax Christi Illinois member Tom Cordaro wrote this prayer following the Boston Marathon bombing … The Washington Post ran an article on the Transform Now Plowshares prior to their May trial … The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, a PCUSA partner, has named Gerry Lee their new directorPax Christi Tampa Bay member Mary Ann Holtz has published “Ten Action Steps for Individuals and Families Responding to the Current Global Crises of Energy, Environment and Economy”Pax Christi Southwest Florida is participating in “Hands Across the Sand” to raise awareness of global climate change … Pax Christi UK has made a YouTube video called “Give Peace a Budget: 7 Ways to Spend $1.7 Trillion”Pax Christi Metro New York’s latest edition of Kerux is now available on the website … Pax Christi Birmingham member Shelley Douglass asks if we will be open to the promptings of the Spirit this Pentecost? … Pax Christi Pacific Northwest member Nick Mele reports on his visit to Fukushima, JapanPax Christi International’s May 2013 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Spring 2013 edition of The Peace Current

REFLECTION: ‘Good Bishop’ Walter Sullivan shows how to be good Christians in bad times

Rev. John Dear, S.J.

by Fr. John Dear, S.J.
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that if our righteousness does not surpass that of the religious authorities, we will not enter the reign of God.

Bishop Walter Sullivan

Bishop Walter Sullivan speaking at anti-torture rally in 2007.

It’s a shocking instruction. He seems to have learned early on that power corrupts, and not just politicians, but professional religious people, too. If professional religious authorities do not break out of the trappings of power, authority, money and cultic privilege, if they do not embody the beatitudes and struggle for justice and peace, they will not enter the reign of God. I think he means not just in the next life, but here and now, in this life, where the reign of God is at hand.

We see this play out everywhere today, where our religious leaders go along with the culture of violence and war and remain silent in the face of war making, nuclear weapons, poverty and violence. They fear rocking the boat, so they do nothing, protect their money, stay close to their benefactors, accept whatever the military tells them and reject the way of the cross. Or if they speak, they only denounce abortion, claiming to be pro-life even though they actively support U.S. war making and nuclear weapons. In doing so, they come across to the faithful as radically pro-death. They remain clueless to the prophetic vocation which Jesus calls us all to live in the Sermon on the Mount.

The exceptions, of course, make the rule, and one great exception was my friend Walter Sullivan, bishop of Richmond, Va., and former president of Pax Christi USA who died Dec. 11.

Click here to read this entire article.

ON THE LINE: December edition features remembering Bishop Sullivan & Fr Gower, new book by Eli McCarthy, and more!

Compiled by Johnny Zokovitch

Each month, “On The Line” features news items and announcements from around the nation featuring Pax Christi members, local groups, regions and partners. These are gleaned from articles in local newspapers, websites, magazines, and elsewhere. We are publishing this edition a week later than usual. We apologize for any inconvenience in this change in schedule.

BISHOP WALTER SULLIVAN, FORMER PAX CHRISTI USA BISHOP-PRESIDENT, PASSES: Today is the funeral of Bishop Walter Sullivan, former PCUSA bishop-president from 1991 through 2003. The funeral is in Richmond. If you have not already had the opportunity, we encourage you to check out our special webpage dedicated to Bishop Sullivan. It includes reflections and comments from people who knew and loved him, an obituary, photos and more. You can see the page here: http://paxchristiusa.org/about/ambassadors-of-peace/remembering-bishop-walter-sullivan/

Rev. Jim Gower

Rev. Jim Gower of Pax Christi Maine died on Monday.

REV. JIM GOWER, EARLY PCUSA AMBASSADOR OF PEACE, PASSES AT 90: It is with great sadness that we learned from Bill Slavick that Rev. Jim Gower, long-time member of Pax Christi Maine and a true ambassador for peace for Pax Christi USA during the early years, passed away on Monday morning earlier this week. Denny Dreher, regional coordinator for Pax Christi Maine, wrote: “At approximately 1:30 a.m. today, December 17, our beloved Fr. Jim Gower died–falling gently into the arms of the loving God whom he served so joyfully and faithfully for so many years… I happened to read a letter in the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) e-mail message this morning and was struck by the realization of how Fr. Jim followed St. Francis’s lead in serving God. He had no trouble setting the goal of following Jesus… [W]e give thanks for the gift of Fr. Jim’s presence in our lives–and with our efforts as Pax Christi for so many years.” Read more about Fr. Jim at http://paxchristiusa.org/2012/12/19/obituary-rev-jim-gower-the-first-ambassador-of-peace-for-pax-christi-usa-dies/

SR. PATTY IN ARCHDIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES NEWSPAPER: The following article appeared in The Tidings, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, following the regional dialogue sponsored by Pax Christi Southern California in November. “Sister Patty Chappell — who had been on the job as executive director of Pax Christi USA (PCUSA) for just a year — was walking between tables in the meeting room at St. Camillus Center for Spiritual Care around noon on Nov. 18. The Sister of Notre Dame de Namur was making points not only with inflections of her Southern down-home voice, but also with her waving arms and hands…” Read more of this article at http://www.the-tidings.com/index.php/news/newslocal/2935-pax-christi-leader-catholic-peace-movement-more-critical

Port Huron Billboard

This month, Blue Water PC (MI) has posted this billboard in downtown Port Huron.

FR. JOHN DEAR WRITES ABOUT PAX CHRISTI METRO DC-BALTIMORE MEMBER ELI MCCARTHY’S NEW BOOK: “A new book, Becoming Nonviolent Peacemakers: A Virtue Ethic for Catholic Social Teaching and U.S. Policy by Eli Sasaran McCarthy, proposes a new ethics of peace that takes us from the old paradigms of warfare, greed, militarism and imperialism into a new global network of nonviolent relationships through nonviolent peacemaking. McCarthy examines different approaches to nonviolent peacemaking, and recommends ‘a virtue based assessment’ using the example of Jesus, Gandhi and Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the Pakistani Muslim apostle of nonviolence. You can read more about Eli’s book here: http://ncronline.org/node/39711/. And for a YouTube video featuring Eli at Georgetown, go to http://youtu.be/aZvIOk2lv-M

PC-Austin witness

Pax Christi Austin (TX) members on the steps of St. Mary’s Cathedral following their participation in the November 30th Sant’Egidio vigil.

PAX CHRISTI PENTAGON-AREA LEADS ANTI-DRONE PROTESTS: Pax Christi Pentagon-Area (VA) has been actively working on the drone issue for the past several months. Their most recent protest was featured on PressTV. “A recent rally held by mainly Christian peace organizations in front of CIA headquarters in Virginia was to protest against the increasing usage of drones by the U.S. both abroad and in its own skies… The rally did not only focus on the domestic usage of drones, it also voiced concerns about the so-called ‘double tapping’ attacks used in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia, meaning that a second attack always follows the first one, targeting the rescuers trying to help the initial victims. ‘They hit them twice, it is insidious and immoral and it is shameful, it is shameful on our government for doing such a thing,’ said organizer Jack McHale.” See more coverage at http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/12/09/277107/americans-protest-drone-use/

PAX CHRISTI METRO NEW YORK HONORS STUDENT FOR WORK FOR PEACE: “David L. Maloof II, resident of Darien and a member of the Fairfield College Preparatory School Class of 2013, has been awarded the Eileen Egan Peacemaker Award from Pax Christi New York for his work in helping to create a basketball facility at a Palestinian Christian refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. Maloof worked for several years to create a basketball court and add a ping-pong table to the refugee camp whose previous recreational facilities for teens consisted only of a dirt soccer field. He returned to the camp this past summer to run a basketball clinic for the children at the camp. Maloof also coaches wrestling for inner-city Stamford children.” Read more at http://www.darientimes.com/12409/darien-teen-awarded-peacemaker-award/

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:

Dec. 28 – Feast of the Holy Innocents: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122812.cfm

Jan. 1 – World Day of Peace: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Day_of_Peace

Jan. 6 – Epiphany Sunday: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/010613.cfm

Jan. 6-12 – National Migration Week: http://www.usccb.org/about/migration-and-refugee-services/national-migration-week/index.cfm

Jan. 21 – MLK Day: http://mlkday.gov/about/serveonkingday.php

Feb. 2 – Regional Dialogue in Michigan: http://paxchristiusa.org/programs/regional-dialogues-2012-13/

Quicklinks:

Pax Christi Manteca (CA) was featured in the news for a talk they sponsored on climate change … Pax Christi USA welcomes our newest group, Aquinas High School Peace and Justice Club in La Crosse, WI … Pax Christi Metro New York released this statement following the violence in Newtown, CT last week … Pax Christi Twin Cities (MN) member Steve Clemens was named an honorary award recipient by the Hawkinson Foundation for Peace and Justice. You can see his remarks from the ceremony on YouTubePax Christi Massachusetts has started a new forum for students and young adults. Contact Brian at brianashmankas@yahoo.com if you want to connect … A number of Pax Christi groups, from Long Island to Minneapolis and all over, are participating in the 2 Million Friends campaignPax Christi Illinois is participating in the 8th Annual World Peace Day Interfaith ServicePax Christi International was nominated for the Tipperary International Peace Award … Read the December edition of Pax Christi International’s newsletter online … Read Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace Shelley Douglass’s reflection in the wake of the recent election … Many thanks for the long service of Kathy O’Leary, state coordinator for Pax Christi New Jersey. Kathy is stepping down as coordinator this month … Pax Christi Metro New York was honored as a 2012 Great Nonprofit Top-Rated Award Honoree … See more local and regional updates in the fall edition of The Peace Current

REFLECTION: My memories of Bishop Walter Sullivan

Tom Cordaroby Tom Cordaro
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

With the death of Bishop Walter Sullivan, the U.S. Catholic Church has lost another of its great Vatican II prophetic bishops. I remember the first time I had the honor of encountering Bishop Sullivan. In the early 1980s I was a young campus minister working at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Student Center and Parish in Ames, Iowa. I was embroiled in a standoff with the IRS over my stand as a war tax resister and the parish council at St. Thomas was refusing to cooperate with the IRS demand that the parish garnished my wages to pay the taxes I owed.

At that time the IRS was increasing the pressure by placing a lien on the parish and threatening legal action. The position of the parish council was that the government could not force them to cooperate in violating my conscience and that if the IRS had an issue with me they should deal with me directly. The drama, that lasted almost a year, became a national issue as the IRS continued its pressure and the parish council continued to refuse to cooperate.

At that time I was desperate to find support for the stand taken by my parish council and to raise money for a possible legal defense. That is when someone told me about Bishop Walter Sullivan. They said I should write to him. When I did I received a wonderful letter of support for the parish council and a personal check to help with legal costs.

I could not believe that this man—who had never personally met me –was willing to stand with me and my parish in this struggle against the U.S. government. Because of Bishops Sullivan I knew that we were not alone and that support for war tax resistance existed in the Church.

Eventually I got to know Walter (how he preferred to be addressed in Pax Christi circles) when I came to work at Pax Christi USA. His personal warmth and southern charm made me feel right at home and part of the family. At his core Walter was a southern gentleman in the best sense of that tradition. He took a personal interest in everyone he met and it did not take long before you were thought of as part of his extended family.

Walter’s coat of arms motto was “To Unite All in Christ” and I think it truly reflects his ministry and his peacemaking vocation. For Walter, everyone was a part of the family. This is why he resisted all war and violence. Walter could not remain silent when members of the family were hungry or homeless or unemployed, sick or in prison. If everybody was not doing well than the family was not doing well.

I will miss Walter but I know that heaven is a better place because of his presence and I know that Walter will never cease petitioning to God on our behalf. I am not so sanguine about the direction taken by the current bishops of the Unite States. Because Walter taught me to love the Church; because Walter taught me that bishops could be both pastoral and prophetic; I will pray that our current bishops turn away from excluding and purging all those who fail their doctrinal litmus tests and I will pray that they come to embrace the motto of Bishop Walter Sullivan – to unite all in Christ.

REFLECTION: A remembrance of Bishop Walter Sullivan

Fr. John Rauschby Fr. John S. Rausch,
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

Bishop Walter Sullivan was a special friend of Appalachia, and a proud member of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia (CCA). Though the Diocese of Richmond, VA spans 535 miles in length, he delighted in visiting the far southwestern part where a myriad of vowed religious women and men together with lay people served in social ministry up the hollows and in the small towns. Frequently he would make the distinction between the “true” church of doctrine and the “real” church of service, pointing to the various people of ministry gathered around him.
For years Bp. Walter was CCA’s bishop liaison with the USCCB. In the last conversation I had with him a week before he died, he explicitly asked about CCA, solicitous that it survive. He always felt CCA’s prophetic voice was essential for justice in the mountains.

Just after he retired in 2003 Bp. Walter asked CCA to organize a Bishops’ Tour of Mountaintop Removal (MTR). He invited two Appalachian bishops along with their staffs to witness the destruction of the mountains and hear the stories of the people. Although the flyover in small planes was cancelled because of gusty winds, the tour observed the high walls and dust from the road. Afterwards, CCA provided a forum for discussion. The coal industry sent representatives to plead its case for MTR. I remember writing about the experience: “The bishops who normally avoid alienating donors felt no call to a prophetic stance, and remained noncommittal about MTR. The one bishop (i.e. Bp. Walter), who clearly became an anti-MTR advocate, was already retired.”

Besides being outspoken, Bp. Walter was a bridge builder. When the USCCB in 1986 was writing its economic pastoral, “Economic Justice for All,” he convened diocesan meetings after each of the three drafts in Richmond for academics, business people and activists. I remember fighting with the business folks over various social issues in the document, but by the third draft I tempered my idealism and made friends with the opposition. Later when Bp. Walter scheduled a presentation on the economics pastoral in Appalachia, a business leader traveled 6 hours and stayed with me in my bungalow in St. Paul, VA. Bp. Walter thought it akin to Adam Smith visiting Karl Marx, and he laughed approvingly about it.

With his death comes the end of a certain Catholic era in Appalachia. Bp. Walter was the last surviving bishop who signed both Appalachian pastoral letters, “This Land Is Home To Me,” and “At Home In the Web of Life.” Indeed, he initiated and championed the second pastoral. Both pastorals sparked a serious reflection about poverty, energy and sustainability.

He was the bishop most faithful to a collaborative model of ministry in the mountains, promoting social justice when others retreated to the safety of institutional concerns. He was the spirit of Vatican II in our midst, encouraging all the progressive, inclusive and balanced concepts that emanated from the Council. In short, Bp. Walter was our beloved partner in Appalachian ministry.

Fr. John Rausch, a Glenmary priest, is the director of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia and works against mountaintop removal.  He was the recipient of the Pax Christi USA’s Teacher of Peace Award in 2007.

PRESS RELEASE: Pax Christi USA mourns the passing of Bishop Walter Sullivan

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

Bishop Sullivan served as Bishop-President of Pax Christi USA for twelve years

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Pax Christi USA is mourning the loss of one of its greatest leaders, Bishop Walter Sullivan. Bishop Sullivan served as bishop-president of Pax Christi USA from 1991 through 2003. He passed away on Monday, December 10, 2012 at age 84.

“Bishop Sullivan was an extraordinary man, a prophet to the church,” stated Pax Christi USA Executive Director Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN. “He witnessed to the power of church leadership to speak out against war and violence, economic injustice and environmental destruction. He was truly representative of the peace of Christ in our Church and in the world.”

Bishop Sullivan served as the bishop of the Diocese of Richmond (VA) for nearly 30 years before retiring. Besides being a long-time member of Pax Christi USA and the second bishop-president of the organization, Bishop Sullivan was also a Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace, empowered to represent the organization through ongoing outreach efforts on a variety of issues important to the mission.

“Bishop Sullivan was a longtime friend of Pax Christi. His consistent encouragement of the work for peace and justice helped us all to believe that a just peace was possible,” wrote Marie Dennis, Co-President of Pax Christi International, from the Middle East, shortly after learning of Bishop Sullivan’s passing. “His own kindness, sense of humor and leadership helped us through many challenges. He was a courageous man and a faithful servant. He will be sorely missed.”

Many issues were important to Bishop Sullivan. He spoke out against torture and war, including every war from Viet Nam to the war in Iraq. He espoused the virtues and benefits of interfaith dialogue. He promoted the work of the church in Haiti and he was a passionate defender of the people and land of Appalachia. His influence was evident in the U.S. bishops’ pastorals on war and peace and economic justice.

“We are so grateful for Bishop Sullivan’s leadership and love for Pax Christi USA,” stated Sr. Josie Chrosniak, HM, Chair of the Pax Christi USA National Council. “We celebrate his life with so many others who were touched and inspired by his words, his witness and his warmth and humor. He was a great gift to our movement, his diocese and the entire church.”

For media inquiries or interviews, contact Johnny Zokovitch, Director of Communications at jzokovitch@paxchristiusa.org or 352-219-8419.

OBITUARY: Bishop Walter Sullivan, long-time bishop-president of Pax Christi USA, dies

Ambassador of Peace Bishop Walter Sullivan

Bishop Walter Sullivan speaking at an anti-torture rally in 2007. Bishop Sullivan died today at 84.

We just learned a short time ago that Bishop Walter Sullivan, who had served as bishop-president of Pax Christi USA from 1991 to 2003, has passed away. Pax Christi USA will be issuing a press release shortly and will post reflections, stories, and photos of Bishop Sullivan on the website soon. In the meantime, I would like to direct you to this story from the National Catholic Reporter, which includes a short slideshow of Bishop Sullivan as well. Bishop Sullivan was a good an holy man, full of kindness and humor and a great prophet within our movement. We give thanks for his life and witness.

by John H. Allen, National Catholic Reporter

One of the celebrated “Jadot bishops,” meaning progressive American prelates appointed under Pope Paul VI during the 1970s, Walter Sullivan led the Richmond, Virginia, diocese for almost 30 years, and from that perch became one of the country’s premier “peace bishops,” denouncing armed conflict from Vietnam and the Cold War all the way up to Iraq.

“He just could not reconcile war and Christianity,” said Phyllis Theroux, a Virginia-based author whose biography of Sullivan, titled The Good Bishop, is slated to appear from Orbis Books in May.

“He once said that as far as I’m concerned, you can take the whole ‘just war’ tradition and stick it in a drawer and lock it up,” she said, adding that Sullivan believed the idea of a just war had been “abused” by both clergy and politicians.

Bishop Walter Sullivan died Dec. 10 as a result of an inoperable liver cancer, after having returned to his Richmond home from a local hospital. He was 84…

Read more of the obituary and see a slideshow on NCR’s site by clicking here.