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Choosing Peace – New Book on Gospel Nonviolence

Posted by Ryan Hall
06.01.18

What if Catholics were best-known for leading on nonviolence and peacemaking?

What if in times of conflict or crisis, Catholics around the world put into practice their expertise in mediation, conflict resolution, or nonviolent resistance?

And what if, in parishes and schools everywhere, the practice of Gospel nonviolence was central to Catholic teaching?

That vision – of a Church preaching, teaching and practicing Gospel nonviolence – is Pope Francis’ challenge to the world’s Catholics. It’s also the inspiration behind Pax Christi International’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative that Pace e Bene is also involved with.  It is a growing movement of religious and lay people working together to return Gospel nonviolence to the center of Catholic life and teaching.

In the newly released book Choosing Peace, longtime activist and Catholic laywoman Marie Dennis (and co-president of Pax Christi International since 2007) explains how this movement started and where it may be headed.

Also featured in the book is a chapter by Pace e Bene’s Ken Butigan and John Dear and our speaker Terry Rynne!

Through a special arrangement with Orbis Books, friends of Pace e Bene can purchase Choosing Peace for a 40 percent discount now through June 11 using the coupon code, BENE18.

Order Choosing Peace now >> (Don’t forget to enter BENE18 at check-out to get the 40% discount! Outside the U.S. email orbisbooks@maryknoll.org with the subject line: BENE18)

“The poor, the planet, and peacemaking”
Along with global poverty and the crisis of climate change, peacemaking is one of Pope Francis’ three priority areas for his papacy.

Choosing Peace recounts the historic Rome gathering in the spring of 2016, when with the support and encouragement of Pope Francis, dozens of peacemakers from around the world convened to consider the Church’s teaching on war and peace.

The book begins with the pope’s welcoming message to the Rome conference as the opening chapter and concludes with the full text of his 2017 World Day of Peace Message as the final chapter. In between are key papers prepared for the event by theologians, social scientists and activists, along with reflections from participants from around the globe, including many from violent conflict zones.

Order Choosing Peace now >> (Don’t forget to enter BENE18 at check-out to get the 40% discount!)

Listening to Catholics living amid violence
Some of the most compelling stories in Choosing Peace are those from church leaders and activists from violent conflict zones. Among the many moving voices:

From Fr. James Oyet Latansio, general secretary of the South Sudan Council of Churches:

“I was born in war; I grew up in war; I went to school in war. I was ordained a priest during war-the bishop hesitated as he was imposing the hand on me because there were artillery bombs flying over the Cathedral. So, my life has been always surrounded by violence.”

From Iraqi Dominican Sister Nazik Matty, whose community was expelled from Mosul by ISIS:

“It was encouraging to see such active presence of the church, not passive, but active. We can’t respond to violence with worse violence. This encourages the spiral of violence up and up.”

From Rania Murra from the Arab Educational Institute in Bethlehem:

“I believe that we have several strategies available to deepen and widen the practice of nonviolence in the worldwide Catholic community. All require our energy.”

From Fr. Nandana Manatunga from the Human Rights Office-Kandy, Sri Lanka:

“The nonviolent witness of Christians contributes to the building up of peace in a way that force cannot, discerning the difference between the cowardice which gives in to evil and the violence which under the illusion of fighting evil, only makes it worse.”

Now is the time to choose peace
Choosing Peace is a must-read for those wondering about the Church’s role in world affairs and concerned about the pattern of Christian tolerance for never-ending war.

With chapters that explore scripture, theology, Church history, nonviolent theory, and political science, the book takes a comprehensive look at how the Church has considered peacemaking in the past and where it might go from here. Just some of the chapter titles:

    • A Catholic Reflection on Nonviolence and Just Peace
    • Nonviolence in a Violent World
    • Jesus and Nonviolence: Scriptural Evidence (by theologian Terrence J. Rynne)
    • Traditional Catholic Thought on Nonviolence (by theologian Lisa Sowle Cahill)
    • Catholic Practice of Nonviolence (by activists Ken Butigan and John Dear)
    • Active Nonviolence: An Effective Political Tool (by social and political scientist Maria J. Stephan)
    • Catholic Just Peace Practice (by journalist Rose Marie Berger)
    • The Church and the Just War Tradition

Choosing Peace is more than a book, it’s a tool for sharing a critical conversation with other Catholics about a faithful response to our often violent world. As a friend of Pace e Bene, we think you’ll find it insightful and thought-provoking.

P.S. Don’t forget: You can get an extra 40% off Choosing Peace when you order
before June 11 using the coupon code BENE18. Order your copy today! (To order a copy outside of the U.S., send an email to Orbis with the coupon code “BENE18” in the subject line.)

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