Pace e Bene’s Ken Butigan and John Dear have been working over the past year and a half with the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative and Pax Christi International to encourage the Catholic Church to re-commit to the centrality of Gospel nonviolence and explore the possibility of getting an encyclical (major church document) written on the subject of nonviolence by Pope Francis. In January, the Pope issued his World Day of Peace message which was the Catholic Church’s first ever statement on nonviolence! Now we are seeing the fruits of this effort.
Recently Pope Francis sent a message to the Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich in light of the ongoing violence throughout the city. In the letter the Pope says, “Please convey to the people of Chicago that they have been on my mind and in my prayers. I know that many families have lost loved ones to violence. I am close to them, I share in their grief, and pray that they may experience healing and reconciliation through God’s grace. I assure you of my support of the commitment you and many other local leaders are making to promote nonviolence as a way of life and a path to peace in Chicago… I urge all people, especially young men and women, to respond to Dr. King’s prophetic words – and know that a culture of nonviolence is not an unattainable dream, but a path that has produced decisive results. The consistent practice of nonviolence has broken barriers, bound wounds, healed nations – and it can heal Chicago.”
In response to this, the Chicago Tribune reported that “Cardinal Blase Cupich pledged a quarter of a million dollars to support grass-roots anti-violence initiatives and announced more parishes would invest in social services and youth programs to reduce poverty and violence throughout the city.” Additionally, “Cupich plans to lead a peace walk next week through the violence-plagued neighborhood of Englewood as he prays the annual Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.”
See the full text of Pope Francis’ letter and full story at the Chicago Tribune here.
See other news reports on this story posted on the Washington Post, NCR and CBS.
Other recent news articles that have come out related to the Vatican and nonviolence can be read below:
– Vatican message to Jains focuses on nonviolence
– Pope Francis to Take Part in Peace Conference with Egypt’s Top Islamic Leader