Peace, Women and Peacemaking

Vatican’s nuclear disarmament conference emphasizes shift toward logic of peace

by Marie Dennis
Co-President, Pax Christi International

Shortly after participants in the recent Vatican symposium on nuclear disarmament heard Pope Francis definitively condemn the “very possession” of nuclear weapons, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy said: “The church is in the midst of a fundamental reappraisal of how to balance the Christian obligation to nonviolence with the need to resist evil in the world.”

Speaking on a panel about the role of the church in promoting integral disarmament and the abolition of nuclear weapons, he continued: “The church must be a voice in the world constantly pointing humanity toward the path of nonviolence and the logic of peace. Too often, we acquiesce in the tolerance of weapons, threats and war, concluding that the logic of war can at least hold evil at bay. But ultimately, it is the logic of war which, once unleashed, invites evil into the core of our world, our nation, [and] our hearts.”

The church’s clear rejection of nuclear weapons may well be the cutting edge of a groundbreaking shift in Catholic dialogue with the world on issues of war and peace, calling us collectively to conversion, as McElroy said, from “reliance on weapons of war to the construction of weapons of peace. … The power of nonviolence, once relegated to the category of romantic idealism, has emerged as a potent force for social transformation and the building of lasting peace.”…

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