>> Deadline extended for outreach to January 1, the World Day of Peace! Read more at this link!
Pax Christi USA’s Bread Not Stones campaign — which advocates for a transformation from a militaristic economy to one that supports human needs — is excited to announce a new sign-on statement especially for Catholic bishops in the United States.
Too many Church and religious leaders of all stripes have remained silent in response to the scandal of unfettered military spending. Pax Christi USA urges our faith leaders to commit to the Church’s social vision and to an authentic witness to the Gospel of Jesus.
By inviting our bishops to add their names to this sign-on statement, we hope to begin a larger conversation in the Church around the connections between issues such as war and peace, nuclear deterrence, nonviolence, and economic justice.
Local Pax Christi groups, Pax Christi regions, and individual members are asked to either 1) set up an in-person meeting with your bishop OR 2) send a letter/email to your bishop within the next month to invite him to sign the statement.
- Use this PDF to find talking-writing points/suggestions for contacting your bishop(s).
- Use this link to download a PDF version of this statement.
- Use this link to find additional resources for this visit/letter.
- Questions? Find answers to FAQs here.
Can you take action now and contact your bishop? Need your bishops’ contact information? Find the names of every bishop in every diocese by state alphabetically at this link. The website for every diocese is listed there; go to your diocesan website and find your bishops’ email address, diocesan contact form, postal address, and/or phone number.
If you have already done outreach — whether by email, letter, meeting or phone call — PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO LET US KNOW! Take two minutes right now and fill out this Google form here.
UPDATE: We are pleased to announce that Bishop Anthony Taylor (Little Rock, AR) and Bishop Emeritus Peter Rosazza (Hartford, CT) have signed, in addition to the five bishops who initially endorsed the letter: Bishop John Stowe (Lexington, KY); Bishop Emeritus Tom Gumbleton (Detroit, MI); Cardinal Robert McElroy (San Diego, CA); Archbishop John Wester (Santa Fe, NM); and Bishop Emeritus Richard Sklba (Milwaukee, WI).
If you have any questions about the Bread Not Stones campaign or the bishops’ sign-on statement, contact Tom Cordaro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bread Not Stones bishops’ sign-on statement
In the preamble of Jesus’ teaching of the Golden Rule, He asks his followers, “Which of you, if your child asks for bread, will give them a stone?” (Matthew 7:9)
The growing gap between the rich and the poor is compounded by a growing gap between our nation’s spending on weapons and preparations for war and our commitment to end poverty. Our poor and marginalized brothers and sisters cry out for the bread of compassion and justice. Shall we continue to offer them stones?
We are told that our military spending secures peace for our people and the Church recognizes the legitimate need for the adequate defense of nations. But our reliance on unfettered military spending is rooted in a mistaken notion of peace and an erroneous understanding of what constitutes true security for our people.
As Pope Paul VI made clear, “For peace is not simply the absence of warfare, based on a precarious balance of power; it is fashioned by efforts directed day after day toward the establishment of the ordered universe willed by God, with a more perfect form of justice among men.” (On the Development of Peoples, 1967)
At the gathering of the world’s bishops during the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s, the Church made clear that, “The arms race is one of the greatest curses on the human race; it is to be condemned as a danger, an act of aggression against the poor, and a folly which does not provide the security it promises.” (The Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, #81).
The Church has repeated many times that “the arms race is to be condemned unreservedly,” “it is an injustice,” “it is a form of theft,” “it is completely incompatible with the spirit of humanity and still more with the spirit of Christianity.” (The Holy See & Disarmament Reply to an invitation by the General Assembly of the United Nations, 1975)
In our dioceses we hear the cry of the poor who hunger for the bread of compassion and justice. We hear that cry in our Catholic Charities offices, in our food pantries, in our parish St. Vincent de Paul ministries. We hear that cry in our schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, and immigrant outreach efforts.
The U.S. federal budget is a moral document that identifies what we value. We cannot remain silent while our nation squanders hundreds of billions of dollars every year on weapon systems that add little to our nation’s national security while neglecting the poor and marginalized in our dioceses and around the world.
Our misplaced reliance on new and ever more lethal conventional and nuclear weapons will never bring us the peace for which we long. If we want genuine peace, we must seek justice for the “least of these” (Matthew 25) by beating our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into pruning hooks. (Isaiah 2:4)
- Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Lexington, KY
- Bishop Emeritus Thomas Gumbleton, Detroit, MI
- Cardinal Robert McElroy, San Diego, CA
- Archbishop John Wester, Santa Fe, NM
- Bishop Emeritus Richard Sklba, Milwaukee, WI
- Bishop Anthony Taylor, Little Rock, AR
- Bishop Emeritus Peter Rosazza, Hartford CT
- Bishop Daniel E. Garcia, Monterey, CA