Rev. John Dear, S.J.

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

As we process through Lent toward Holy Week, it may be helpful to recall Jesus’ testimony in court before Pontius Pilate, the representative of the Roman Empire. For me, these words sum up the Christian life of peace and nonviolence:

My kingdom does not belong to this world.

If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Judeans.

But as it is, my kingdom is not here (John 18:36).

Here, the Gospel sets in stark contrast the choice before us: His kingdom and its members live in perfect nonviolence while the kingdoms, nations and empires of the world practice violence and wage war. The sole difference is nonviolence.

I know I’m a broken record about this topic, but I do not understand how any Christian or Catholic can support war or America’s empire in light of such texts. Yet everywhere I go, I hear from Christians and Catholics who support war and empire. We want it both ways: Jesus and violence.

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