Rome, Italy – Pax Christi International, along with the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission of the Union of Superiors General/International Union of Superiors General, has invited approximately 75 people, including theologians, church officials, and grassroots activists from around the world, to a conference entitled “Pope Francis, nonviolence, and the fullness of Pacem in Terris.” The gathering begins today in Rome and continues through December 7. Pax Christi USA is represented at the conference by Bishop-President Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv. and national staff member Michelle Sherman.
“By his many messages for peace, by his own example and, explicitly in his 2017 World Day of Peace message, Pope Francis has advanced the spirit, teaching, and way of active nonviolence,” said Marie Dennis, program chair of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, a project of Pax Christi International and the lead organizer of the meeting. “We have invited people who are grappling with nonviolence, those who are studying its many dimensions and how it applies to our Catholic faith and to our personal and collective actions, and those who are engaging with it on a daily basis in areas of conflict. We anticipate rich and challenging conversations, and a deeper understanding of how Pope Francis has been leading on this critical issue.”
Participants from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East will explore how Pope Francis has called the Church and the world to understand and adopt the nonviolent life, which is central to the survival of life on earth and to the healing of our planet.
“Pope Francis engages the catastrophic violence which plagues our world through a consistent practice that is absolutely nonviolent,” said Sr. Teresia Wamuyu Wachira, IBVM, co-president of Pax Christi International and a professor at St. Paul College in Nairobi (Kenya). “His words and actions are innovative, prophetic, and shaped by the Sermon on the Mount. Today’s tragic events, like the war in Ukraine, show us that we have an urgent need to shift our thinking and our priorities.”
The goal of this two-day encuentro is to foster a deeper understanding across sectors of the Catholic Church of Pope Francis’ teachings on the contribution of active nonviolence in divesting global violence of its deadly power, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and in fostering the well-being of the whole Earth community. Examples will suggest a way forward for developing Catholic Social Teaching and an effective Catholic contribution to the Church and the world, referencing the importance of Pacem in Terris and building on what Pope Francis has envisioned in Laudato Si, Fratelli Tutti and more.
Read more about the conference here on the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative website.