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Answering the Call to Build Nonviolent Communities

Posted by Erin Bechtol
10.31.17

 by Christopher D. Malano

 

Pope Francis called upon everyone to dedicate the year 2017 to “prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds, and to becoming nonviolent people and to building nonviolent communities that care for our common home” (Message for World Day of Peace 2017).

Responding to the call of the Holy Father, the Newman Center, the Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Hawaii – Manoa, hosted a Lenten series on how we can live out the call of the pope in our daily lives.  The series focused on examples of nonviolence such as Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr, Ghandi, and Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, Queen Lili’uokalani.  It also featured international speaker, Fr. John Dear.

As tension in the Pacific escalates due to the bravado between the presidents of the USA and North Korea, the United Nations met to negotiate a treaty that would make nuclear weapons illegal and moving toward its complete elimination.  The draft text of what would become the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was approved by 122 member-states (1 opposed and 1 neutral).  The teaching of the Church on nuclear weapons has been consistent and goes back to Pope Pius XII.  Though historic, it is not surprising that the Holy See (Vatican) exercised its right to vote for the first time since entry to the United Nations as a “permanent observer” in 1964.

The residents of Hawai‘i and other Pacific Island peoples are caught in between the rhetoric and instead of standing idle, concerned residents, faculty, and students organized an event at the University of Hawaii, hosted by the Newman Center.  There was a screening of the documentary film, “Gate: A True Story”, of three Japanese Zen monks who were on a mission to return the “Atomic Flame” to the place of its inception, the Trinity Test Site in New Mexico.

Following the film, students of the Manoa International Relations Association presented a petition in calling upon the governments to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  The petition will remain open until Human Rights Day 2017, at which time the petition will be sent to leaders of inter-governmental organizations, the government of the USA, Hawaii State government, and religious leaders.

To show your support for Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, visit the Newman Center’s website (scroll down to the petition):
http://www.newmanhawaii.org/church/nonviolence.

For more information, contact Wally Inglis at wallyinglis@yahoo.com.

 

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