Tag Archives: Marie Dennis

PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL: Pax Christi marks 70 years of pursuing peace

By Tom Roberts, NCR

Jose Henriquez gestures during an interview in Washington Sept. 23. Looking on are Bishop Kevin Dowling and Marie Dennis. (CNS/Bob Roller)

Jose Henriquez gestures during an interview in Washington Sept. 23. Looking on are Bishop Kevin Dowling and Marie Dennis. (CNS/Bob Roller)

Pax Christi International was born 70 years ago of two people, one a bishop, the other a laywoman, who advanced ideas that were jarringly dissonant in the context of that time.

The bishop, Pierre-Marie Théas, of Montauban in the south of France, was a rare member of the hierarchy to both publicly protest the deportation of Jews from France and urge prayers for the enemy, Germany. Marthe Dortel-Claudot, who lived in the south of France with her husband and children, found herself thinking about praying for the enemy. Pondering the suffering of the German people, she wrote in her journal, “Jesus died for everyone. Nobody should be excluded from one’s prayer.”

The two, sharing a vision of reconciliation, went on to form the organization Pax Christi. Germany and France live in peace today; Europe has achieved union and nonviolent means of settling differences. Pax Christi, however, has not gone out of business. The purveyors of violence are endlessly inventive. From child soldiers to the utter detachment of drones, from crude IEDs to sophisticated bombs, from oil wars to the formation of caliphates, those who use violent means no longer observe rules or boundaries.

Perhaps the reality that most solidly links the decades of Pax Christi’s existence is the understanding that confronting violence is a complex and difficult undertaking and involves advancing ideas that are at odds with the prevailing thinking of the day.

Pax Christi has grown increasingly global in its reach, and that is reflected in its three principal leaders: co-presidents Marie Dennis, a laywoman from Washington, D.C., and Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa; and General Secretary José Henríquez, a native of El Salvador who now lives in Brussels, where Pax Christi is headquartered. The co-president arrangement, reflective of the founders, was instituted in 2007…

Click here to read the entire story.

NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT: Urgent and possible

Marie Dennisby Marie Dennis
Pax Christi International Co-President

September 26 was the first International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The aim of the day is to enhance “public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination, in order to mobilize international efforts towards achieving the common goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.”

A New Moment for Nuclear DisarmamentFor decades, faith-based and civil society organizations have sustained attention to the need for nuclear disarmament through serious research, creative organizing and effective advocacy. After a long hiatus, broken only by the slow step-by-step approach of U.S.-Russia bilateral negotiations, increased attention to the urgent need for nuclear disarmament is beginning to balance what, since the end of the Cold War, has been a singular focus on nonproliferation.

Multiple important events have taken place in the past year to reignite momentum toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Among them were several meetings of and a report from the Open Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament; two successful international conferences in Norway and Mexico on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war, with another planned for Vienna in December 2014; movement, if very slow, toward a conference to establish a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East; and the Republic of the Marshall Islands lawsuits filed in The Hague and in California against all nine nuclear-armed nations (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea) for their failure to honor their disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). These efforts will continue.

The United Nations Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) was established by the UN General Assembly in November 2012 following widespread frustration at the lack of progress in other forums, including the Conference on Disarmament, which has not been able to negotiate any disarmament agreements since the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1996…

Read more by clicking here.

CAMPAIGN NONVIOLENCE: Remarks at the National Press Club launch of Campaign Nonviolence

Rev. John Dear, S.J.by John Dear

The following remarks were delivered on September 18 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. as part of the launch of Campaign Nonviolence’s week of actions. 

Today we are pleased to announce the launch of Campaign Nonviolence, a growing grassroots movement that begins this Sunday, September 21st, International Peace Day, with a week of over 225 protests, marches and rallies across the country in every state against war, military spending, poverty, the epidemic of violence and catastrophic climate change.

cnvbanner

I want to welcome my friends here, Ken Butigan, director of Campaign Nonviolence, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, of the HipHop Caucus who is on our board and who also works with 350.org, my friend Marie Dennis a long time peace activist with Pax Christi, and chair of Pax Christi International, and my friend Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a long time advocate for peace and justice. I thank Aric Caplan and Caplan Communications for helping us spread the word about Campaign Nonviolence.

What we are doing this week is historic. As you know, change only happens from the bottom up, from grassroots movement building, from movements that grow and won’t go away. That’s what we learn from the Abolitionists, the Suffragists, the Labor movement, the Civil Rights movement and the anti-Vietnam war movement.

This week, with Campaign Nonviolence, people across the country are coming together and, for the first time in decades, connecting the dots, making the links between the pressing issues of our time, taking to the streets in a groundswell of coalitions, demanding change on all fronts.

With these 225 marches, rallies, and public events, thousands of ordinary Americans are speaking out in over 150 cities against war, and poverty and environmental destruction, and also calling for the visionary nonviolence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a way forward for our country and the world, saying that we want a new culture of peace with justice, a new culture of nonviolence.

As part of the Campaign Nonviolence, we published my book, “The Nonviolent Life,” and earlier this year, I toured the country for four months, and visited 35 cities where events will take place. I met with thousands of people who will be taking to the streets, and I heard for myself that people are fed up. They are sick and tired of this epidemic of violence, of our permanent war economy, of our ignoring catastrophic climate change, of poverty, and racism and killing, and serving the one percent and their oil companies and weapons manufacturers.

So in Salt Lake City, they’re gathering to rally for nuclear disarmament and the use of those funds for environmental cleanup. In Sarasota, they’re marching for immigrants, low-wage workers, and an end to U.S. war-making. In Chicago and Wilmington, they’re marching against gun violence in our inner cities. In Bangor, Maine, they’re hosting an “End the Violence” rally.

In Santa Fe, a thousand people will march against climate change and for new just environmental policies. In Wisconsin, they’ll be vigiling against U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen. Peace vigils will be held from Honolulu to Boise to Buffalo to Little Rock to Washington, D.C. demanding an end to our war-making and the waste of billions of dollars for weapons instead of human needs. I urge every to visit our website: www.campaignnonviolence.org, to see the lists of actions and events.

With these marches, thousands of Americans are saying our government is broken, our leaders are failing us, and it’s time for a change. What do we want? Drastic cuts in the bloated U.S. military budget; the abolition of nuclear weapons and drones; the reallocation of those enormous funds–trillions of dollars–for food, housing, jobs, healthcare, schools and environmental cleanup.  We want fair wages, new immigration policies, the reform of our criminal justice and prison system. We want an aggressive fight against catastrophic climate change, massive funding for renewable alternatives to fossil fuels, such as solar and wind, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ending the keystone pipeline and fracking and cleaning up our water, land and air, and signing an international treaty for rapid, verifiable action to reverse climate change.

But we want more than that! We want Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of nonviolence, and we want it to be implemented. We want a new culture of peace, justice and nonviolence.  As we move closer to the brink of global catastrophe through ongoing war, extreme poverty and catastrophic climate change, we see that Dr. King was right: creative nonviolence is the only sane, rational, intelligent choice. Nonviolence is our future, and it’s time we become people of nonviolence.

That means, too, that we do not support the bombing of Iraq and Syria as the way forward to peace. We have been bombing Iraq for 23 years and this warmaking has not brought peace to Iraq, the Middle East or us. War cannot stop terrorism because war is terrorism. War always sows the seeds for future wars. Peaceful means are the only way to a peaceful future.

Americans are sick and tired of war. They know that the world is becoming smaller, that we need to find nonviolent ways to resolve international conflict, and dig out the roots of war and terrorism which are poverty and global systemic injustice.

This Sunday I will speak at the peace rally at the Climate March in New York City, then I will come back here on Tuesday morning to join the local Campaign nonviolence action. We will gather at 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning in Lafayette Park in front of the White House to speak out against this culture of violence and injustice, and call for a new culture of peace and nonviolence, and engage in nonviolent direct action.

All across the country, thousands of people will be speaking out. It’s time our leaders listened to the people and worked to make peace with justice a reality.

SPECIAL EVENT: Leaders from Pax Christi International to speak in MD on September 23

from St. Rose of Lima Pax Christi (MD)

pcilogonewPlease come and join us for a special evening of “Pax Christi Around the World” and hear about Catholic peacemaking efforts all over the world. Join us on Tuesday, September 23rd at 7:30pm at St. Rose of Lima Church, 11701 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, MD. ALL ARE WELCOME!

“Pax Christi Around the World” features presentations by Pax Christi International Co-Presidents Marie Dennis and Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenberg, South Africa, along with Secretary General Jose Henriquez of El Salvador. This will be their only public appearance in the DC area!

There will be opportunities to ask questions and discuss what is being done by Catholic peacemakers in many of the world’s conflict areas, as well as the need to increase these efforts in an ever more armed world. As U.S. Catholics, we have a special duty to work for peace in the world. Learn how this call is being carried out by others and how you too can join in this effort.

Hosted by the St. Rose of Lima Pax Christi group and co-sponsored by Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore and the St. Francis of Assisi Pax Christi group (Derwood, MD). Light Refreshments will be served. For more information (or to request transportation to and from the Shady Grove Metro Station), please contact Bob Cooke at (301) 661-0449 or cookerh1251@gmail.com.

A free will offering for the work of Pax Christi USA will be taken up
that evening.

Click here to see a flyer about the event.

IRAQ: Urgent need for regional political solutions

Marie Dennisby Marie Dennis
Pax Christi International Co-President

As the progression of violence in already-violent Iraq commanded the attention of the world, Pope Francis joined the call to prayer and expressed his hope for “security and peace and a future of reconciliation and justice where all Iraqis, whatever their religious affiliation, will be able together to build up their country, making a model of coexistence.” IraqCrisis-smallChaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, who lives in Baghdad, called for a day of “fasting and prayer for the restoration of security and stability in Iraq,” and insisted that “the best solution to all these problems is the creation of a government of national unity” to strengthen “the rule of law.”

Given the history and consequences of U.S. interventions in Iraq, U.S. faith communities and peace groups spoke out quickly and clearly:

Pax Christi USA wrote: “In response to the recent unrest in Iraq and the possibility of the crisis continuing to spread, Pax Christi USA is unequivocal in its assertion that U.S. military intervention will not achieve the peace and stability that the people of Iraq deserve. A military solution—whether it include air strikes or ground troops or an increase in the flow of weapons into Iraq—will only serve to increase the suffering of the Iraqi people, not alleviate it. Furthermore, military intervention increases the risk of widening the conflict in the region. [We call] for a fully inclusive international diplomatic process to address this crisis. The crisis … is regional in nature and requires a multi-lateral diplomatic response initiated by the United Nations and including regional authorities like the Arab League. The hope for a peaceful solution lies in an effort which addresses the political concerns of all the major factions in the region. We believe that the unfolding tragedy in Iraq is a direct, if unintended, consequence of the U.S. invasion and occupation of that country…”

Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, IA, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote in a letter to U.S. National Security Advisor Ambassador Susan E. Rice, “Our nation bears a special responsibility toward the people of Iraq. The U.S.-led invasion and occupation unleashed both sectarian conflicts and extremism in Iraq, two tragic unintended consequences that have profound and continuing repercussions for the people of Iraq … It is appropriate that the administration is urging political leaders in Iraq to form an inclusive government. … It is critical that all ethnic and religious groups are represented at the table of governance so that the common good of all is served. Extremists have been exploiting the divisions born of exclusion and the weakening of the rule of law. In addition to seeking a political solution in Iraq, it is critical to do so in Syria. The U.S. should work with the international community … and all responsible parties in Syria … to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria.”…

Click here to read the entire article.

INTERVIEW: Franciscan Mission Service interviews Marie Dennis, Co-President of PC International

from Franciscan Mission Service

Marie Dennis has several ties to Franciscan Mission Service, including past involvement with Maryknoll organizations and current involvement with Pax Christi International. In 2007, we presented her with the Anselm Moons Award. She also was a Souposium speaker and facilitated our returned missioner retreat in 2013. In this installment of our Lenten series, “Poor and Free: A Spiritual Yes to Less”, Marie addresses the nuances and complexities of responding to social injustices with generosity and joy.

Franciscan Mission Service: Your work has called into question the ethics of just-war theory. In free-market capitalist democracy, how is it possible for Christians to translate spiritual poverty into public policy?

Pax Christi International Co-President meets with Pope Francis in October at the Vatican.

Pax Christi International Co-President  Marie Dennis meets Pope Francis in October at the Vatican.

Marie Dennis: Actually, I believe that spiritual poverty (Blessed are the poor in spirit …) is much more challenging than we are led to believe. Spiritual poverty moves us beyond “detachment” from the material possessions that we continue to accumulate toward real simplicity of lifestyle and – most importantly – into relationship with those who are impoverished in order to interpret reality from their perspective.

From that vantage point, we can begin to evaluate laws or public policy proposals and business or consumer practices by how they affect people who are poor and we can work with impoverished people to change the structures and transform the systems that create or perpetuate poverty…

Read the entire interview by clicking here.

ON THE LINE: November edition features retreats, trials, vigils 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.

PAX CHRISTI MICHIGAN HOLDS 19TH ANNUAL STATE RETREAT: (by Carol Jachim) “As Pax Christi people we stand for peace and nonviolence. Simplistically, against war and weapons. Yet, there are different levels of violence besides use and manufacture of guns and other weapons to denounce, that perhaps one hasn’t thought about. Pollution is one form of violence and the damage it does to our earth’s waters – lakes, oceans, streams, rivers, etc., besides the water used for drinking, bathing and  recreation. The 19th Annual PC-Michigan Retreat focused on refreshing oneself … and that we did with the presence of wonderful people who truly care about each other, about promoting peace and nonviolence, and demonstrating a commitment to nonviolent ways in our lives.”… Read more at http://paxchristimi.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/19th-annual-pax-christi-michigan-retreat-october-18-20-2013/

Pax Christi Tallahassee members gather in front of the Florida Governor’s mansion to pray during an execution.

Pax Christi Tallahassee (FL) members gather in front of the Florida Governor’s mansion to pray during an execution.

PAX CHRISTI MASSACHUSETTS WRITES CARDINAL ABOUT MILITARY ARCHDIOCESE COLLECTION: “We, as members of Pax Christi MA, are writing to you today because of the distress we feel after hearing of the ‘Collection for the Archdiocese for the Military Services’ scheduled this coming weekend, prior to Veterans Day. Our understanding is that the Boston Archdiocese will not participate in this initial collection, and for that we are grateful. We hope that it indicates a desire to reflect on the implications of such an endeavor. However, the greater issue beyond this particular collection concerns what appears to be the militarization of the Catholic Christian conscience through the oxymoronic conflation of Christian and nationalistic values. Beginning with the poster intended to promote the collection, of young men in battle dress gathered in front of the Eucharistic table presided over by a military chaplain, we are led to believe that there is no inherent contradiction between the celebration of the Eucharist and what these young people may be called on to do, perhaps only minutes after the completion of the mass. (Note that a helicopter hovers nearby, suggesting urgency).”… For a copy of the entire letter, contact Pat Ferrone at patferrone@rcn.com.

Pax Christi International Co-President meets with Pope Francis in October at the Vatican.

Pax Christi International Co-President Marie Dennis meets with Pope Francis in October at the Vatican.

PAX CHRISTI MAINE ASKS POST TO RENOUNCE THE DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY: (From the Bangor Daily News) “Pax Christi Maine on Sunday passed a resolution urging the group’s national and international organization to call on Pope Francis to renounce the Doctrine of Discovery. Last year, the World Council of Churches endorsed a similar resolution that began with the Episcopal Diocese of Maine. In March, the Onondaga Nation called on the pope to renounce the doctrine. The Doctrine of Discovery was used to justify the subjugation of aboriginal people in the Americas and the dispossession of their lands by European sovereigns all over the world, Marilyn Roper, a member of the Houlton chapter of Pax Christi, said Thursday. Pax Christi Maine ‘renounces the Doctrine of Discovery formulated in the papal bulls of the 15th century which legitimized the subjugation by Christian, European monarchs of indigenous peoples in North American and other parts of the glove, and the usurpation of their lands on the basis of their being non-Christian and ‘barbarous.’”… Read more at http://bangordailynews.com/2013/10/31/religion/pax-christi-maine-asks-pope-francis-to-renounces-doctrine-of-discovery/

Blue Water Pax Christi will be putting up this billboard for the Christmas season. If you’re interested in doing the same in your community and want to know how, contact Michael McCarthy at mccpax@comcast.net.

Blue Water Pax Christi (MI) will be putting up this billboard for the Christmas season. If you’re interested in doing the same in your community and want to know how, contact Michael McCarthy at mccpax@comcast.net.

PAX CHRISTI PHOENIX (AZ) WITNESSES FOR ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY: (From Margaret McChesney) “Arizonans allowed the State to execute two men in the month of October. On the 9th, Edward Schad was killed for the murder of Lorimar Groves in 1978. Mr. Schad, 71 at the time of his death, was the oldest person on Arizona’s Death Row and its 2nd longest resident, having spent 33 years awaiting death. On October 23rd, Robert Jones was killed for the murder of 6 persons, which occurred during two different robberies in the summer of 1996. Pax Christi-Phoenix members attend the Clemency Hearing for each person scheduled for execution. A vigil is held on the eve of each execution where prayers are offered for the victims and their loved ones, the person accused of the crime and their family/friends, and for all participants in the execution process (attorneys, judges, juries, clemency boards, wardens, guards, clinicians). On the day and time of execution, members witness for abolition of the death penalty at the entrance to the prison. Those members, and other people from the community, who cannot make it to Florence, pause to offer their prayers in unity with all concerned on the morning of the execution. In December, PC-Phoenix will partner with the Franciscan Renewal Center in showing the film ‘Unlikely Friends: Total Strangers, Brutal Crimes’ – which documents victims of brutal crimes who, through forgiveness, unexpectedly become friends with their perpetrators (see:  http://www.chancefilmsinc.com/our-films/unlikely-friends). PC-Phoenix meets monthly at the Franciscan Renewal Center.” For more information, please contact Margaret McChesney, marventura1@aol.com.

PC-Phoenix members in front of the State Capitol during an execution.

PC-Phoenix members in front of the State Capitol during an execution.

GROUND THE DRONES DEFENDANTS FOUND NOT GUILTY! (from Waging Nonviolence) “A crowd of over 50 people in New York’s DeWitt Town Court broke out into cheers at 10 p.m. yesterday when Judge Robert Jokl issued a not guilty verdict for five members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars. The five pro se defendants — including Ellen Grady, Bill Streit (PCUSA member), Carmen Trotta, Fr. Bill Pickard (PCUSA member) and Linda Latendre — were on trial for disorderly conduct, stemming from a symbolic blockade of the National Guard 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Airfield in Syracuse, N.Y., earlier this year. The defendants’ action took place on February 13, 2013 — Ash Wednesday — when together they stood in the driveway to the air base holding signs that described drone activities and the murdering of children around the globe. During the action, Latendre read a statement that said, ‘We come to Hancock Airfield this Ash Wednesday to repent for the actions of our government and to ask God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness of the people we daily terrorize with these drones.’” Read more at http://wagingnonviolence.org/2013/10/ground-drones-members-found-guilty/

Upcoming or Ongoing Events:    

Nov. 17 – United Prayers for World Peace, with Pax Christi Memphis, 4-6pm, Memphis, TN. Contact Janice Vanderahaar at gvanderh@earthlink.net for more info.

Nov. 17 – Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore’s Peacemaker of the Year Mass and Award Dinner, honoring Michael Walli with former PCUSA Executive Director Dave Robinson as keynote speaker. For more information: http://www.paxchristimetrodc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/2013-poy-flyer.pdf

Nov. 23 – A Faithful Budget: Creating a Federal Budget that puts “the least of these” first, 1:30 pm at First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake Street, 60301. Co-sponsored by Pax Christi Illinois. For more information, contact Nancy Oetter at 630-904-3859 or nloetter@comcast.net.  

Quicklinks:

Tiffin Area Pax Christi (OH) sponsored a talk by PCUSA Teacher of Peace Kathy KellyPax Christi Southeastern South Dakota held a “Take Back the Site” vigil following the death of Minnesota Viking’s star Adrian Peterson’s son in October … Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace Tom Cordaro writes on “The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor”Pax Christi Caspar (WY) hosts a monthly film series, “Matters in Question” … Read Pax Christi Pacific NW member Fr. Bill Bichsel SJ’s article on his trip to Jeju Island … Pax Christi Santa Fe member Bud Ryan had a comment published on the NY Times website this past summer … Pax Christi International’s November 2013 newsletter is online … See more local and regional updates in the Summer 2013 edition of The Peace Current