Tens of thousands have taken the Vow of Nonviolence since it was composed by Eileen Egan and Rev. John Dear, S.J. It can be pronounced privately, with a local peace community, as part of a parish liturgy, or any other way that suits you. Many profess the Vow each year as part of their New Year observance. 

NEW! The Vow of Nonviolence is now available in prayer card format to order and share with others. Order your copies in the Pax Christi USA store by clicking here!

RECOGNIZING THE VIOLENCE IN MY OWN HEART, yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, I vow for one year to practice the nonviolence of Jesus who taught us in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God…You have learned how it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy’; but I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way, you will be daughters and sons of your Creator in heaven.”

I vow to carry out in my life the love and example of Jesus:

  • by striving for peace within myself and seeking to be a peacemaker in my daily life;
  • by refusing to retaliate in the face of provocation and violence;
  • by persevering in nonviolence of tongue and heart;
  • by living conscientiously and simply so that I do not deprive others of the means to live;
  • by actively resisting evil and working nonviolently to abolish war and the causes of war from my own heart and from the face of the earth.

God, I trust in Your sustaining love and believe that just as You gave me the grace and desire to offer this, so You will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill it.

Click here to find a free printable version.

31 thoughts on “Vow of Nonviolence

  1. I applaud the vow of non-violence. Each of us can make it more real and comprehensive in her or his own way. Can peace groups like Pax Christi
    work in a more focused and coordinated manner within its membership and with other peace groups? To me, unemployment and underemployment are forms of violence. To address these forms of violence calls for study and responsible citizenship.

    But as we approach 2012 let us emphasize the light graced story which Pax Christi is part of.

  2. New Year’s Eve/Day is a good time for believers to inspect our hearts and repent of any violent or unloving thoughts. And John, you’re right, it’s not just the big issues that matter; it’s how we treat and consider our family, our neighbors, even ourselves. Thank you for this; it will help me stay focused on what’s real.

  3. Thank you, Friends, for this reminder. Will share widely…including within OccupyPgh community…and will hope & pray Christians the world over will make & practice this vow. Shalom, Salaam, Peace.

  4. In the Gospel of Luke 12:6 we read, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” I feel that a crucial component of nonviolence that should be addressed by Pax Christi is the unimaginable violence inflicted by humans on our sentient, suffering cousins in fins, fur, and feathers. Worldwide about six million sentient, suffering land animals are killed every hour of every day (53 billion per year) to satisfy an unnatural appetite for flesh that is at odds with our natural constitution as primates and at odds with God’s repeated call for mercy and compassion instead of sacrifice. The Biblical ideal is one of an vegan Eden and indeed the prophet Isaiah (11:6-9) envisions a return to that vegan Eden where we will offer peace to the rest of Creation. For 99% of all people on the planet there is absolutely no need to eat the flesh, eggs, or milk of other beings. Indeed, vegan choices are potentially the single-most radical change one can make in their life to practice nonviolence and to reconcile their lives with the notion of a good and holy Creation. I encourage you to watch this beautiful 4-minute video that makes the connections between peace, nonviolence and veganism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NMOfIu56LQ

    1. Thank you for sharing this link and your comments Stephen. I encourage you to sign up for our PCUSA GReen mail email network if you haven’t already (PCUSA Global Restoration/Care for Creation Committee) on the E-NETWORKS tab on our website. Please also check out the links on our Global Restoration page of the PROGRAMS tab.

    2. Praise God, someone is actually pointing out the violence, suffering & cruelty in our unnecessary consumption of animals. We are NOT peacemakers, but rather are contributing to and enabling violence if we ignore this.

  5. Does it prevent you from defending yourself from attack? And if so, do you not have a responsibility to your family to protect yourself?

    Does your vow of nonviolence prevent you from rescuing a child being beaten or raped?

  6. I have taken the non-violence vow. I invite others to join me in a vow to not watch gun violence, not on television, nor at the movies, nor in video games.Watching gun violence de-sensitizes us to its destructiveness and exposes our children to images they should never see as a normal part of life.

  7. Yes, I have taken the Vow of Non-violence and hope everyone also participates. How can we refuse when guns can cut down 27 people in an instant! We need to raise awareness of the dangers of assault weapons in our society.

  8. “Taming” is a wonderful and powerful skill to develop. Violent people are emotionally vulnerable and unstable. A calm countenance, in the face of that instability, can take the energy of that aggitation and turn it in another direction.
    The expectation of the violent person is that you will meet him/her with violence. By not responding in kind, you change the script and have the opportunity to write an ending that is without damage to you or the other person. You can do this by connecting to the humanity of the other person, rather than to their fearful and threatening persona. By holding up to them your vision of the beauty of their own innate goodness, you bring them to civility and even to grace.
    Once confronted by a man with a knife, I said to him, “A knife?! You weren’t going to use a knife on me! You’re not the kind of person who uses a knife on people.
    He hung his head and said, “Naw, I just have it for protection”.
    By defining that man in a different way, he experienced his own joy at being seen to be good. God gave me the grace to respond that way.

  9. I am amazed that this space has so few responses to the Vow. What I really don’t understand is why ANY person of faith — even non-Christian — would not be willing to sign it! Read the full brochure — this is basically a pledge to follow the life and example of the nonviolent Jesus. Isn’t that what Christians basically are supposed to do? —

  10. to love those we think of as ‘enemies’……….to love those who seem to be people who hate others…..not sure I can do this………… that is really going to be hard to do…………..but it is the way Jesus must have been……..I am just human — however……………… I will try harder —- but not sure I will be able to do this……to love people who are not loveable………….. easy to love those who are nice…….. not so easy to love those who seem ‘ evil’………!
    I will promise to try harder…………… in 2017!
    Remind me!
    thanks……Mary JO

  11. In light of Christ’s righteous anger and use of violent measures to drive the merchants from the temple (John 2:14-16), how are we to justify the Pax Christi nonviolence pledge in its current state?

  12. Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal appeared to the three child shepherds asking that they pray for the end to World War I.
    People today should ask for and work for the end of war, period, in this nuclear age. The idea to take a vow of nonvioence each year should be an important moment in everyone´s life. I would hope that all the parishes dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, or another Marian title, take this vow seriously and provide us with a good example

  13. Two comments: 1) is there a consideration of adding a clause about racism? And 2) Didn’t there used to be something about accepting suffering in the pursuit of justice instead of inflicting it? I understand the original version is copyrighted… what is that copy? Thank you.

  14. Back here in the backwaters of Puget Sound and Pax Christi Northwest, we’re planning two public ceremonies of the Vow of Nonviolence on New Years Day, January 1st 2023. Besides being the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, it is also the Catholic World Day of Prayer for Peace, and for over 50 years our popes have issued special messages to the World about Peace. For further information see our Facebook page at PaxChristiNorthwest.

  15. The VOW OF NONVIOLENCE; How crucial and timely. God is going to win in this violence/peace matter. But it will not happen without the faithful involvement of ALL of us.
    p.s. consider whirled peas…..

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