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Is It Time for a Just Peace Approach?

[caption id="attachment_1404" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Associate Conni Dubick, OPA Blog by Associate Conni Dubick, OPA[/caption] "In every age, the Holy Spirit graces the Church with the wisdom to respond to the challenges of its time. In response to what is a global epidemic of violence, which Pope Francis has labeled a 'world war in installments,' we are being called to invoke, pray over, teach and take decisive action. With our communities and organizations, we look forward to continue collaborating with the Holy See and the global church to advance Gospel nonviolence."  (An Appeal to the Catholic Church to Re-Commit to the Centrality of Gospel Nonviolence, Rome, April 11-13, 2016) In 1968, as a first year teacher, I wrote on the front black board, "What if they called a war and nobody came?" I was a high school religion teacher during the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, and women's movement. Daily news was filled with the stories of marches, demonstrations and arrests. The peace movement and Martin Luther King's Poor People's Campaign had formed an alliance. Daniel Berrigan, SJ, honored by many as "priest, poet and prophet" was in the forefront of nonviolent protest along with his brother Philip and dozens of other activists. It was a time of dramatic calling to nonviolent leadership for social justice. Now almost 50 years later, the message and voice of the earlier activists for nonviolence will be continued by the work of The Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi. In April, conference participants met in Rome to urge that "the just war theory be replaced by a Just Peace strategy." Their guiding document renews the call to continue developing Catholic social teaching on nonviolence, for integrating the Gospel nonviolence into life, promoting strategies of nonviolent resistance, and advocating for the abolition of war with a request to Pope Francis to write an encyclical letter on nonviolence and Just Peace. My teaching in 1968 reflected the signs of the times. As a Dominican Associate today in mission with the Dominican Sisters of Peace, I ask the Holy Spirit to grace me in the Church with the wisdom needed to renew my work this time for a Just Peace strategy. I have made the Dominican Chapter Commitment which states "create environments of peace by promoting nonviolence." Now is the time to work  for the Just Peace approach to replace the just war theory.

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