21Sep Pax Christi Non-Violent Days of Action

Pax Christi International warmly invites you to celebrate our annual Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action. It is a time to observe how nonviolence connects all our work for justice and peace. It is also an opportunity to deepen your practice of nonviolence by organising or participating in special events.

2021 is the second year for the Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action, a time to think about, pray and act for peace and nonviolence. It is a time when we can be in solidarity with Pax Christi members and partners around the world. The days begin 21 September, the International Peace Day and end on 2 October, the International Day of Nonviolence and Gandhi’s birthday.
The Catholic Nonviolence Initiative believes that nonviolence offers an approach and tools to address the call to protect our earth, hence our theme for this year. CNI is contributing to the discussion on the Laudato Si’ seven-year plan with the Dicastery on Integrated Human Development. (Consider celebrating nonviolence as a way to care for creation throughout the year with this helpful guide.)
Find action suggestions for each sector of society listed in the “Gospel nonviolence for a Laudato Si’ future” paper, and check this extensive list of resources. Thanks to Pax Christi England & Wales for this excellent pamphlet in preparation for the 2021 Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action and for this wonderful list of resources on nonviolence.
Join us!
Be sure to follow along with us on social media. We’ll be posting daily about the importance of nonviolence in all our programs and projects. You will be inspired by the wonderful people that are living a life of active nonviolence around the world. We would also love to hear from you! Please be sure to send your activities for the Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action to nonviolence@paxchristi.net

 

16 Responses

  1. Kevin Walters

    Pax Christi Non-Violent

    From Donum Vitae “God alone is the Master of life from its beginning until its end; no one under any circumstances can claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human life.”

    Abortion is an act of violence upon the innocent, but even today as Christians, do we not still condone violence? As the term ‘Just War’(Theory) continually shatters the reality of this teaching given by the Church.

    The teaching by the church on a Just War is nothing more than a minefield with regards to its application of justified murder. Can there be anything more perverse than giving the Holy Eucharist to opposing Christian soldiers just before going into battle against each other?

    Prior to Luke 22:36, we have Luke 22:35. Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out without purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered”

    So, from now on we see the divide between the true believer/follower who trusts in God alone whereas those who rely on possessions need to protect them, as in Luke 22:36 “But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one” and since the time of Christ, we see the continual escalation of violence.

    But of course, society at large must be governed by the rule of law and we need a police force to enact it, etc. But the use of Violence – ‘an act of physical force that causes or is intended to cause harm’ – was condemned by Christ when Peter struck the High Priest’s slave, cutting off his right ear. He said, “Put away your sword,” Jesus then told him. “Those who use the sword (Violence) will die by the sword”. (Violence)

    Before writing the poem below my initial thought prompting me to write it was, can anyone imagine Jesus Christ carrying a gun, never mind using one, dropping a bomb on civilians/soldiers from an aircraft, or sticking a bayonet into anyone, etc? I think not, as we see His disarming action when we approach Him on The Cross and when/if this disarming action is encountered in a real-life situation, it confronts our own values and for a Christian, it should induce humility.

    “Attach bayonets! courage and glory are the cry, do or die
    First over the Parapet
    John leads the Ferocious attack
    While opposing Hans reciprocates the advance to the death dance
    In crater of mud both stood
    Eye met eye one must die
    But who would hold true to the Christian creed they both knew?
    ‘To be’ the sign of the Cross,
    To ‘give’ without counting the cost
    Abandon bayonet, bowed head, bending knee, faith/love the other did see
    Worldly values gone the other in humility now holding the same song/pray.

    Two quotes from another poster on another site, in italics.
    “But it (Violence) must sometimes be used in self-defence.”

    I am sure that we all would respond and defend a loved one or vulnerable person if they were being attacked and attempt to restrain the attacker within the confines of the law, and violence could occur but it would not be premeditated. In English law, if a burglar entered your house and in attempting to restrain him, you killed him, you would not be guilty of murder but if you had kept a machete under the bed to use in the possibility of an attempted break-in and you killed the intruder with it, you would be prosecuted for murder as the occurrence would be premeditated. So yes, our intent is the key.

    “According to you we must let Hitler get away with his plan since we cannot fight back.”

    Jesus tells us that His kingdom (Values) is not of this world. We are not to be alarmed by wars or rumours of them. And by implication partake in them. Terms such as collateral damage (definition: 1. during a war, the unintentional deaths and injuries of people who are not soldiers) are just a cover to justify the premeditated ‘ever-increasing use of violence’ within war.

    I personally believe that as Christians we cannot fight back with the weapons of the world for to do so is to contribute to the never-ending ‘increasing’ cycles of injustice within war, leading us further into the “Signs of the End of the Age”; see Matt 24:1-28 but we can fight back with His teachings on love/truth/justice that are found within the Gospels when we also recognize/embrace the reality of The Cross (The Way the Truth and the life)

    Quote from another poster on another site “After nearly 2,000 chaotic, planet-destroying years of going our own way (always ‘In His Name’, of course!) isn’t it time, at last, for us to follow Jesus in truth?’

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  2. Kevin Walters

    Pax Christi: An Addition to my post @1 as in a response to another poster on another site.

    “Can there be anything more perverse than giving the Holy Eucharist to opposing Christian soldiers just before going into battle against each other?”

    Not giving Holy Eucharist, a Viaticum, to Christian soldiers would be more perverse.

    Thank you ###### for your comment Not giving the Holy Eucharist, a Viaticum, to Christian soldiers, would be more perverse”.
    Perverse- definition is – turned away from what is right or good; corrupt.
    Here are some similar responses to yours in italics given under another article with my responses which demonstrate Perversion definition- alter (something) from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended:

    “Is the individual on either side to be denied salvation?

    Salvation comes from serving a lively conscience, reception of the Holy Eucharist should enliven it, as Christians, we serve God first.

    “Only God reads the individual’s hearts. So yes, combatants on either side should be given Communion and the Sacraments.”

    By giving the Holy Eucharist to a combatant on both sides just before going into battle is to deaden that man’s conscience in relation to the teachings of Jesus Christ, the King of Peace, Love, and Justice.

    “Soldiers are not always able to discern what it is exactly all about.”

    Knowing and giving the Holy Eucharist by the ordained ministry is to collude with that ignorance by condoning it, in effect, they are propagating the violence of War between Christians. You may not see this as being perverse, I do.

    “There are many complexities to war. So, the individual combatant is not always aware nor capable of discerning what is actually happening.”

    Yes as many complexities (Crimes of violence) are associated with war while combatants and military personal often say, “We were just following orders” but our Christian faith demands more of us, as our consciences must serve justice.

    “We are not pacifists as other sects are.”

    The first recorded conscientious objector was Maximilianus, conscripted into the Roman Army in the year 295, but “told the Proconsul in Numidia that because of his religious convictions he could not serve in the military”. He was executed for this and was later canonized as Saint Maximilian.

    We all walk in our fallen nature, nevertheless, I am sure that throughout the ages many Christians have gone into battle on both sides thinking that they are doing God’s will aided and abetted by a worldly hierarchical church.

    So “Can there be anything more perverse/corrupting than giving the Holy Eucharist to opposing Christian soldiers ‘just before’ going into battle against each other?”

    I think not, to think otherwise is to hold the teachings of the crucified Christ in contempt.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  3. Pádraig McCarthy

    Augustine is often credited with and/or blamed for “Just War theory.”
    His writing on this must be taken in the context of his theology, and of the realities of his historical situation in the Roman Empire as it was under threat. It has sometimes been used as a mechanism to find how a war can be justified.

    When I first heard of it many years ago, it was put in the context of seeking to limit the damage done by war rather than saying that war itself can be a good choice. Like Exodus 21:23–27, “an eye for an eye”, which limits the retaliation as pledged, for example, by Lamech in Genesis 4:24: “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold”, rather than approving the policy. This is repudiated by Jesus in Matthew 5:38–39.

    A useful short article (3520 words) on Augustine’s treatment of War and Peace can be found at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265215558_Augustine_on_War_and_Peace.

    Pope Francis, in Fratelli Tutti, writes of this in our present world: “We can no longer think of war as a solution, because its risks will probably always be greater than its supposed benefits, In view of this it it very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a just war.” (#258).
    A footnote to this refers to Augustine’s Letter 229, written a few years before he died. It’s a short letter, written to Darius who had been sent to Africa to negotiate with a rebellious general, Boniface. Augustine quotes: “Blessed are the peacemakers because they shall be called the children of God (Mt 5:9).
    Then, in the second paragraph, Augustine says: “But it is a mark of greater glory to slay wars themselves by the word rather than human beings by the sword, and to win and obtain peace by peace, not by war. After all, even those who fight, if they are good, undoubtedly seek peace, but they still do so by means of bloodshed. But you were sent in order that no one’s blood would be spilled; others, then, are under that necessity, but you have this good fortune.”

  4. Paddy Ferry

    Pádraig McCarthy; Augustine is often credited ….

    Pádraig, I have been thinking a lot about Augustine recently. Is he really the man who invented the whole idea of Original Sin?

    I have been reading Fr.Sean Fagan’s –(God rest him) — “What happened to sin” again, even better second time around , I think. His explanation of Augustine’s role in the invention of the theology of Original Son took me by surprise even though I have long been aware that he was responsible for our bizarre, guilt ridden misunderstanding of the God given gift of our human sexuality.

    However, on the other hand, I also find his theology of the Eucharist much more acceptable that Aquinas’ transubstantiation. I shocked my PP last year during lockdown, when all churches were closed, by telling him what I missed most about not getting to church on a Sunday morning was my weekly chat with my friends.( Usually in the hall after Mass over tea and biscuits)

    So, therefore. I continued that I am now even more convinced than ever that Augustine got it right, that is, that the Holy Communion exists in those of us gathered around the altar and what happens on the altar is merely symbolic.

    Augustine got it right on something else too which I cannot now remember.

    I would always use Meatloaf –“Two out of three ain’t bad” when discussing Augustine’s theology.

    Séamus will know all about this and Meatloaf too, I’m sure.

    I hope “What happened to sin” will soon be republished now that Seán is out of reach of the abusive hands of the bullies. And, everyone will have the chance to read this wonderful book.

    PS. It would be a great help if everyone making a comment here would give some indication as the what article the comment is relevant too, as I have done above. Finding the relevant article can be a time consuming business.

    Goodnight and God bless.

  5. Pádraig McCarthy

    #4: Paddy:
    Is Augustine really the man who invented the whole idea of Original Sin?
    I don’t know enough about Augustine. But I don’t think it’s correct to say that he “invented” original sin. He wasn’t a systematic theologian; he was working things out as he went along in his ministry. He was addressing the question of good and evil in the world, with his background of having been a follower of the Manichee tradition of the struggle between a universe of good and a universe of evil. Then there was the explosive growth of evil in the world as depicted in Genesis, as mentioned above: from the garden of Eden, to Cain with sevenfold vengeance to Lamech with 77-fold vengeance. He struggled with good and evil in himself, and in the world of his day.
    There must be someone who has studied the considerable developments in Augustine’s thought.
    I remember hearing a speaker many years ago, who held the view that the way Augustine is often interpreted on original sin distorts his original way of dealing with the matter.
    You could try a web search on Augustine and Original Sin. An article on the website of the Irish Jesuits may be helpful:
    Reflections on Original Sin – Jesuits Ireland
    There’s a link there to a longer article by John Moore SJ.
    Seán Fagan’s book What Happened to Sin is available on line:
    What Happened to Sin (churchauthority.org)

    “Holy Communion exists in those of us gathered around the altar and what happens on the altar is merely symbolic.”
    As I see it, it’s both; and I wouldn’t describe it as “merely” symbolic. Sacramental symbolic is powerful. The bread and wine don’t exist for their own sake; food is for sharing and uniting and strengthening. Truthful actions which unite people, like a handshake (or elbow knock?!) or a hug, or breaking bread together, or “making love”, are not “merely” symbolic; they generate and reinforce what they symbolise. The community of Christians is symbolic, sacramental, of the living presence of Jesus Christ. Schillebeeckx wrote a book called “Christ the Sacrament.”

  6. Paddy Ferry

    Thanks, Pádraig.

  7. Joe O'Leary

    Augustine did not invent Original Sin, since St Paul got there before him, but he and the African church under his influence invented the Western doctrine of Original Sin.

    The phrase unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum is found in the creed, but probably meant just remission of actual sins rather than the sin of Adam.

    The role of the mistranslation of Romans 5:12 was considerable. The Greek says ‘in that all sinned’ but the Latin has ‘in whom all sinned’. This was read by Augustine as meaning that all humans were virtually present in Adam’s seed and so the sin was transmitted by generation.

    I just read a piece by one Fernand Floëri in Augustinus Magister 1954 who wrote in collaboration with Pierre Nautin, a sharp critic in this field. The article shows that Pope Zosimus rejected the idea of a sin in the newborn and that he avoided rather than approved the Augustinian formulas (of the Council of Carthage, 418 AD). His condemnation of Pelagius and Caelestius was merely practical, following on the emperor Honorius’s expulsion of the pair. Pietro Beatrice backs Floëri’s discovery in his ‘Tradux Peccati’ 1978, and points out that Augustine also illicitly read his own theology into the statements of Pope Innocent, the predecessor of Zosimus. The idea of hereditary guilt did not catch on in Rome, which remained closer to the outlook of the Greek Church on these topics (not sending unbaptised infants to hell either, but leaving their fate to the Lord).

    So it looks like the western church was needlessly saddled with a distortion of the Pauline vision. Roma locuta est, but Rome was not saying everything Augustine thought it was.

    Julius Gross, author of a four volume history of the dogma of original sin (1960-1966), also writes in the 1954 volume. He rehearses Augustine’s depressing association of original sin with sexual concupiscence, and his rejection of Julian of Eclanum’s view that sexual desire is ‘a natural and innocent affect’ when exercised within due bounds. No, says Augustine, concupiscence must be bad since it drives people to bad behaviour; indeed in many texts Augustine treats concupiscence as sinful in the full sense of the word, citing Romans 7 and 1 John 2:16. It comes not from God but from the Devil. Gross detects many contradictions in Augustine’s utterances on this, including a contradiction with his basic metaphysical and moral convictions.

    ‘The hereticization of the sexual drive as a damnable hereditary guilt is perhaps the most fateful legacy that Augustine left to the church.’ This is not ancient history since Augustine’s morose view prevailed in the churches until recently (and underlies Homosexualitatis problema in 1986, for example). But the tide was turning against Augustine in 1954, 1600 years late…

  8. Soline Humbert

    Pax Christi non violent day of action.
    Speaking from experience, Original Sin is definitely not the first thing that pops into your head when you give birth to your child after carrying her beneath your heart for nine months, when at last you hold your new-born in your arms, gaze at her in wonder and feed her at your breast…
    I cannot but wonder what doctrines we would have inherited if they hadn’t been all literally man-made…

  9. Paddy Ferry

    Augustine and Original Sin.

    Joe, thank you and, once again, you are amazing !!

    How blessed we are to have your knowledge and erudition freely available to us on this site.

    This piece is definitely another for my archive.

  10. Paddy Ferry

    Augustine and Original Sin.

    Soline, I am sure, of course, that that Original Sin, or whatever kind of sin was committed by the whole process of bringing new life into the world, was absolved by the “churching” ceremony that every mother went through, obediently. Please forgive my sarcasm again.

    I remember being very difficult with our PP, a very good and gentle man, when he was explaining the different parts of the ritual involved in baptism when we were preparing for the baptism of our first child.
    Now I am just remembering this as I write. Was an exorcism really part of it !!? Joe ….?

  11. Joe O'Leary

    https://brill.com/view/book/9789004417595/BP000025.xml

    Julian of Eclanum continues to point his accusing finger at Augustine, very effectively. There is a four volume study of Julian by Mathijs Lamberigts in Leuven university library, unfortunately in Dutch.

  12. Sean O’Conaill

    To Augustine’s emphasis on the sexual we need to add also his oblivion re the mimetic origin of concupiscence (disordered desire). Thus he could not see the temptation to invidious comparison that is at work in Genesis – Eve’s awakening to the possibility of having what she does not have and what God supposedly does have – knowledge of good and evil.

    It followed inevitably that moral theology would miss Jesus’s rejection of ‘wanting what others want’ in the temptations in the desert, and instead the clerical church would fixate on his celibacy as the primary sign of his holiness. It follows still that his primary claim – to have ‘overcome the world’ – is not fully appreciated as an overcoming of the fear of shame for NOT having what e.g. Pilate and Herod and Caiphas had (domination of the worldly pyramids of esteem in Jerusalem at that time).

    That was how we came to be lumbered with the satisfaction theory of atonement also in the 1090s – the daft notion that Jesus had to undo the insults to God’s honour caused by primarily sexual sin. That Jesus had instead unmasked Satan as the originator of unjust brutality, on behalf of the poor in spirit, and exposed the covetousness that always fuels political ambition, got lost.

    And Henry II could therefore get away with the yarn that he was invading Ireland to improve our morals in 1171, rather than coveting what others would have if he did not. Constantine’s earlier yarn about being the good guy in his rivalry with Maxentius was the model for that – and the scandal of Christian imperialism in the modern era followed naturally.

    What a reckoning followed when these empires collided in 1914!

    Augustine recounts in the Confessions his disturbance over some stolen pears at age sixteen, without seeing why it was those particular pears he had stolen: they belonged to a wealthier neighbour. Same problem, same beam in the eye re the mimetic origin of desire.

  13. Padraig McCarthy

    While there is clearly a connection between sin (original or otherwise) and violence, the discussion has been somewhat diverted from the original note about the Catholic Non-Violence Initiative.
    As we approach the conclusion of the specified week, perhaps I may gently suggest a return to the the item at the top of this page, and the resources linked there?
    There is also the “Appeal to Abolish War” from Enda McDonagh and Stanley Hauerwas: https://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2018/11/an-appeal-to-abolish-war/
    There are also many other activities along these lines, such as the Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice.
    If war could put an end to war, we would have had a peaceful world long ago.
    I won’t see it in my lifetime, and violence is always a possibility, but it would be a true blessing if the 21st century were to see something like the abolition of war.

  14. Kevin Walters

    To conclude my post @2

    To agree with abortion is to carry the guilt of abortion and I am sure that those that do so, will be held accountable before God, may God have mercy on them. To agree with the dropping of the Atomic Bomb is to carry the guilt of all of the innocents who perished by those who used it and I believe that they also will be held accountable before God, may God have mercy on them. I believe that the Atomic Bomb is ‘The Abomination of Desolation’. May God have mercy on all of us.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  15. Eddie Finnegan

    Pádraig@13, thank you for your polite calling of ‘Order! Order!’ The Pax Christi initiators of the OP (No, not the Dominicans) must wonder what hit them. If, in commenting, we could all resist the temptation to hitch our favourite fully caparisoned hobbyhorse to every passing wanderly bandwagon, a few others beyond the usual suspects might be inclined to join the discussion. But, to further mix my metaphors, that particular ship of allowing this ACP forum to develop as it claims above on the tin sailed a decade ago. So let me now dismount my own hobbyhorse and put it out to grass for a while.

    ps.i The problem is better summed up with some irony by Paddy@4: “Augustine got it right on something else too which I cannot now remember.”

    ps.ii As Soline@8 almost suggests, wouldn’t it be great if, in addition to scraps of Julian of Eclanum’s Letter to Rome contra Augustinum, history had preserved the much stronger epistles of his daughter Julia of Eclanum or those of his granddaughter Juliana of Mopsuestia of the Antiochian School?

  16. Joe O'Leary

    Interesting article here, though I am not interested enough in the topic to read it carefully.

    It seems that two aspects of Augustine’s theory have proved highly questionable: his trust in divine or monarchical auuthority in declaring war and his idea that war could be an instrument for restoring moral order.

    War can only be justified as a necessary evil. These two ideas make it a good, and something that people will tend to glorify, as in the Crusades.

    After Afghanistan and Iraq, and with the ever-looming nuclear threat, war has perhaps lost its shine to an unprecedented degree.

    The holy wars in Scripture are now just an embarrassment (capable of nourishing Marcionite resentment against the Old Testament).