from Pax Christi International
The below declaration is the outcome of the Pax Christi International 2015 World Assembly held in Bethlehem, Palestine, on 13-17 May 2015.
Where we began and where we are now…
Forged in the broken relationships of a brutal war, Pax Christi began its journey 70 years ago with a vision based on the gospel – love your enemies – and rooted in a deep belief that reconciliation was possible. Shaped over the years by people of faith struggling to make peace in the midst of injustice and war, violence and repression, our movement brings to this moment in history a renewed commitment to make real in our lives and in our work for peace the values we claim to hold.
From the beginning we have accompanied those who are on the margins and we continue to connect with grassroots communities, listening with care to their stories and learning from their experience about possible, practical routes to enduring peace and, at the same time, developing insights into other pathways to peace.
At a time when poverty, exclusion, hopelessness and a lack of future possibilities pervade the lives of many young people making extremist ideologies attractive, we recognise the legacy of colonialism and systemic injustice, the power of active nonviolence, the importance of diversity and the urgency of inclusion.
At a time when fear is both real and orchestrated, we build bridges to hope, celebrating an abundance of difference among us; of age and culture, ethnicity and religion, sex and gender, experience and worldview.
With deep roots in the Catholic tradition and encouraged by the vision and witness of Pope Francis, we claim the richness of Catholic social teaching as we Christians strengthen existing ecumenical and interfaith cooperation.
On this journey we have learned that just relationships are essential for sustainable peace – that we humans are part of an earth community that must be healthy if we are to survive. We have come to see the interconnections between war and preparations for war, environmental damage, climate change and scarcity of essential resources. We are deepening our understanding of sustainability.
We also have learned that just relationships are essential to just peace – that Catholic hierarchy and local communities, ordained and lay, women and men bring equal gifts to the work for peace.
While war, preparations for war, the proliferation of arms and violent conflict seem to be omnipresent, we promote nonviolence, nurture community and work for a world where human rights and international law are consistently respected…