Dear members, partners, friends and allies,
Pax Christi USA congratulates President Obama on his re-election, and we extend our best wishes to all those elected officials who will be assuming positions of leadership both nationally and locally. We also congratulate the millions of volunteers who worked on the campaigns to help elect their candidates, though not all were victorious. It is to these grassroots people we pay special homage on the day after the national elections. State initiatives passed and the new faces that will be making the news in the not too distant future show that the electorate cannot be bought as easily as appeared.
With the end of this election we will see and hear familiar voices and faces, and become acquainted with new voices and leaders in the halls of Congress, in state legislatures and in local boards and councils. Many citizens might consider the work of the electorate over. But for members of Pax Christi USA, I want to emphasize that our work has just begun. No election achieves the goals to which we are dedicated:
- The cultivation of a spirituality of nonviolence and peacemaking
- Disarmament, demilitarization and reconciliation with justice
- Economic and interracial justice
- Respect for human rights and care for God’s creation
It is our responsibility to hold accountable our elected officials, to make sure they work to make concrete and positive changes for the common good. Real change and real hope for all who are marginalized, suffering and disenfranchised is the vision of world peace that is rooted in Catholic Social Teaching.
Let us re-embrace our resolve, as the Catholic peace movement in the United States, to be more intentional in our prayer-study-action process. One that promotes community, not division; worship and life in prayer, not judging rhetoric and accusations; that builds local communities committed to justice with peace; and members and leaders who provide much needed formation to new generations of young people while embracing our most generous senior supporters.
Today we roll up our sleeves and we continue on our mission. This election is neither an end nor a beginning for Pax Christi USA; it is but another opportunity for us to take stock of what we have accomplished, to reaffirm where we want our organization to go, and to recommit to how we plan on being effective advocates for creating a more peaceful world.
The long election process and watching the election returns made it clear who Pax Christi USA has yet to invite to the table of the Catholic peace movement. In this election year, our African American and Latino sisters and brothers demonstrated the power of solidarity and inclusion. The results speak for themselves. Can Pax Christi USA re-embrace our resolve for a just and sustainable peace movement that is inclusive of the true face of the Catholic Church in our nation? We are called to build community, not to create division that alienates the faithful from their baptismal call. As Pax Christi USA, we are on the right path to becoming humble, but confident and prophetic peace makers.
In Christ’s peace & prayers that our elected officials work for the common good,
Sr. Patricia J. Chappell, SNDdeN
Executive Director, Pax Christi USA