FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. – In accepting the 2021 Teacher of Peace Award at Pax Christi USA’s national conference this past weekend, Rev. Bryan Massingale stated unequivocally that “the greatest threat to peace in our time, both nationally and even internationally, is the rise of white nationalism.”
“White nationalism is the gravest threat to peace precisely because it is intersectional, threatening social stability and human flourishing on multiple levels and fronts. Its commitment to racist political and cultural supremacy is obvious, manifested in voter suppression laws, crusades against ‘critical race theory’ (which most of its opponents have never read), and public vitriol,” Rev. Massingale stated.
He went on to delineate how white nationalism is anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-life, anti-democracy, and both an ecological threat and a threat to global health and stability.
Pax Christi USA recognized the theologian, author and scholar-activist as the 2021 recipient of the Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Award for his witness and leadership, his accompaniment and guidance of movements and organizations committed to the work of peace and social justice, and his promotion of the social mission of the gospel.
“I have often referred to Father Bryan Massingale as my teacher, especially in matters of understanding and responding to systematic racism,” stated Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop-President of Pax Christi USA. “He is clearly a Teacher of Peace and calls each of us all to work for genuine peace with justice. His prophetic voice is needed at this moment in our history and I am so pleased that Pax Christi USA is honoring him in this way.”
This was the fourth occasion that Rev. Massingale has had in addressing participants in Pax Christi USA’s national conference, having previously been a keynote speaker in 2003, 2010 and 2013. He drew on those previous speeches in recalling his challenge to the organization whose membership have been dedicated to the work of peacemaking since 1972.
“Pax Christi enters the justice struggle through a particular lens, namely, a deep concern for peace and a decisive ‘no’ to violence. But these cannot be its exclusive focus if it is to not only accurately understand society but also effectively engage it,” Rev. Massingale said. “To remain relevant and on the frontier as a Catholic movement of peacemaking with justice, you must be perceived as not only antiwar and pro-nonviolence. You must also make explicit linkages between peacemaking, racism, consumerism, and ecological justice. And you had to be LGBTQ inclusive. This award today is a sign of the seriousness with which you engaged that challenge.”
Pax Christi USA first gave the Teacher of Peace Award to Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, in 1978 and has since recognized some of the most significant U.S. Catholic activists for peace and justice of the past 4 decades, including actor Martin Sheen; poet and priest Daniel Berrigan, S.J.; torture survivor and abolition activist Sr. Dianna Ortiz, O.S.U.; and Dead Man Walking author Sr. Helen Prejean, C.S.J.
“Fr. Massingale is the prophetic edge of the Catholic Church in the United States today,” stated Isaac Chandler, National Chair of Pax Christi USA. “In word or action, he mines the intersections of race, sexuality, and faith, raising our awareness of issues ranging from criminal justice to LGBTQ rights to capital punishment. He is the voice of reason and leadership that is needed to guide us through these turbulent times.”
- For video and text of Rev. Bryan Massingale’s speech at the 2021 Pax Christi USA National Conference, click here.
- For the entire award ceremony video, click here.
For questions or more information, contact Johnny Zokovitch, Pax Christi USA Executive Director, at 352-219-8419 or firstname.lastname@example.org.