By Vatican News
The primary purpose of the two-day workshop was to confirm the commitment to nonviolence and peace on the part of the Church, faith leaders, and peace practitioners.
A statement issued at the conclusion of the session, held on April 4th and 5th in the Vatican, describes how “participants engaged in dialogue about the roots of violence, the hope for peace and reconciliation, and reflected on paths to a conversion to nonviolence. They noted that nonviolence is not only a method but a way of life, a way to protect and care for the conditions of life for today and tomorrow”.
Nonviolence calls us to conversion
The statement quotes Msgr Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Vatican Dicastery, as saying: “Our conversations on nonviolence and peace filled our hearts and minds with a consideration of the dignity of each person – young people, women and men, people who are impoverished, citizens and leaders”. “Nonviolence and peace”, he continues, “call us to a conversion to receive and to give, to gather and to hope.”
Nonviolence is rooted in respect
The Co-president of Pax Christi International, Marie Dennis, is also quoted in the statement: she describes last week’s workshop as being “a significant and positive step in the work of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative”. “We are touched by the interventions from all the participants, who reiterated the importance of nonviolence rooted in respect, patience and spiritual strength”, she says.
Promoting nonviolent initiatives
Workshop participants came from 21 countries and included Bishops, Archbishops, peace practitioners, theologians, social scientists, educators and those in pastoral ministry. The Dicastery’s Prefect, Cardinal Peter Turkson was also present, as was Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark in the United States.
The statement concludes by confirming that participants intend continuing their dialogue and research: “their reflections will be shared with the Holy Father, with the hope for a possible encyclical that will address these issues and challenges and will promote nonviolent initiatives as a way for mediation, rights, hope and love”.
In his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exultate, Pope Francis calls all of us to be “artisans of peace”. Building peace, he says, “is a craft that demands serenity, creativity, sensitivity and skills”.