Press Clip Source: Foreign Policy
Date: May 18, 2016
Written by: Maria J. Stephan
Read original article: Here.


Can the Catholic Church put an end to centuries of sanctioning war, and start promoting peace instead?

April, at the invitation of the Vatican, some 85 theologians, priests, bishops, religious sisters, and nonviolent activists (including representatives of the RECONCILE Peace Institute, Kairos Palestine, and the American Friends Service Committee) gathered at a modest retreat house on the outskirts of Rome with an unprecedented agenda: to challenge the Catholic Church’s doctrine of “just war.”

Developed in the fifth century A.D. by St. Augustine, the doctrine empowers rulers to wage war only as a last resort to confront grave wrongs. As he wrote: “Peace should be the object of your desire; war should be waged only as a necessity.” Later, the Summa Theologica, written by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 1260s and 1270s, clarified that war could only be waged by a properly instituted authority like the state, that it could not occur for purposes of self-gain, and that attaining peace must be its central aim.

Though the Catholic Church’s “just war” doctrine has been modified over the centuries — accounting for things like new technologies and the changing nature of warfare — its basic principles remain the same. As the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church describes, in order for the church to sanction engaging in a war, “the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain; all other means of putting an end to [the conflict] must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; there must be serious prospects of success; [and] the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.”

Read more: What Happens When You Replace a Just War With a Just Peace

Press Clip Source: Metta Center for Nonviolence
Date: May 3, 2016
Written by: Soneile Hymn
Read original article: Here.


This week on Peace Paradigm Radio, we continue the conversation on the Just War Doctrine, and discuss how Nonviolent Peaceforce and activists in the Catholic Church are working (with success) to change the face of conflict as we know it. Eli McCarthy, Director of Justice and Peace for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, and Mel Duncan, Founding Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce, join Stephanie Van Hook and Michael Nagler to report on the recent Vatican conference, “Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence” where they presented a document rejecting the Church’s just war theory, and outlining a nonviolent alternative to dealing with intense conflict. Don’t miss this discussion of the philosophy of Just War, how nonviolent methods can replace this theory, highlights from the conference, and the process they used to come up with the document that they presented at the conference.

Read Michael’s article on the conference and it’s significance on Open Democracy!

Listen in here!


Press Clip Source: Transformation
Date: May 2, 2016
Written by: Michael N. Nagler
Read original article: Here.


Is the Catholic Church ready to abandon ‘just war’ theory and recommit to pacifism?

Last month, Bernie Sanders gave a brief but rousing talk at the Vatican on financial inequality and the erosion of democracy. There was some coverage of his remarks in the mainstream media because—well, mainly because he’s Bernie.

What most people don’t realize is that another Vatican conference took place almost simultaneously with Sanders’ speech. It was vastly more important, though ignored almost completely except for a few mentions in the specialized press. The subject? Nothing less than a long-overdue reconsideration of ‘just war theory’ that’s been a part of Catholic social teaching for some 1,700 years.

The idea that war can be ‘just’ has been used to legitimize a long line of brutal conflicts since it was first articulated by Hugo Grotius and other jurists in the seventeenth century. But the essential outlines of this theory had been drawn up long before by Christian thinkers like St. Ambrose, and particularly by St. Augustine, who regarded war of any kind as regrettable—the lesser of two evils that would hopefully be outgrown over time. Unfortunately, it has still to be put behind us.

That’s why the Vatican conference called by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International—a worldwide Catholic peace organization—is potentially so important, especially because it had the enthusiastic backing of Pope Francis. The conference gathered together some 80 participants from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and the Americas, representing a broad spectrum of experiences in peace-building and active nonviolence.

Read more: Rediscovering nonviolence in the Vatican

Press Clip Source: American Friends Service Committee
Date: April 25, 2016
Written by: AFSC
Read original article: Here.


Learn about the work of Nonviolent Peaceforce, nominated by AFSC for the Nobel Peace Prize.

As a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947, AFSC is able to nominate a candidate for the peace prize to the Oslo Committee every year. Earlier this year, we announced our 2016 nomination, Nonviolent Peaceforce—an unarmed, paid civilian protection force that fosters dialogue among parties in conflict and provides a protective presence for threatened civilians.

In October of 2015, the United Nations published a report that stated that “Unarmed civilian protection is a method for the direct protection of civilians and violence reduction that has grown in practice and recognition. In the last few years, it has especially proven its effectiveness to protect women and girls.”

Read more: Not shrinking from violence

Press Clip Source: Freethinking Forum
Date: April 25, 2016
Hosted by: Bill Weir
Watch original video: Here.

Mel Duncan has given many years of his work to building the most successful organization dedicated to providing trained international civilian teams that prevent death and destruction and protect human rights in areas where they can create space for local groups to enter into dialog and find peaceful resolution that ends their conflict. NP has developed the UN model for Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP). At request of Pope Francis Mr. Duncan served on the Pontifical Council on Peace and Justice that recommended replacing the Just War Doctrine with a new focus on "Just Peace" (April, 2016). NP has a paid field staff of 250 from many nations (half are women) all well trained in 10 methods of helping those involved in resolving conflicts. More funds are needed to recruit, train and provide field staff to enable local groups to resolve conflicts. See for more information.

Watch the full interview here!


Press Clip Source: ABC News
Date: April 14, 2016
Written by: Nicole Winfield
Read original article: Here.

Participants at a Vatican conference called Thursday for the Catholic Church to renounce its "just war" doctrine and for Pope Francis to write an encyclical on nonviolence and "just peace."

Church teaching has long allowed for "just wars" — the use of force to stop an unjust aggression — as long as certain conditions are met. They include that other peaceful means have been exhausted, that the force is appropriate and won't produce worse effects, and that there is a reasonable chance for success.

But participants at a conference sponsored by the Vatican's justice and peace office and Pax Cristi International, the Catholic peace movement, said in a final communique Thursday that too often the doctrine had been used to justify and endorse military action rather than prevent it.

They called for the church to no longer use or teach "just war" theory, for the church to instead develop a new peacemaking framework "consistent with Gospel nonviolence," and for Francis to articulate it all in a new encyclical.

Read more: Vatican Conference Urges End to Doctrine of 'Just Wars'

Press Clip Source: National Catholic Reporter
Date: April 5, 2016
Written by: Joshua J. McElwee
Read original article: Here.

The Vatican will be hosting a first of its kind conference next week to reexamine the Catholic church's long-held teachings on just war theory, bringing some 80 experts engaged in global nonviolent struggles to Rome with the aim of developing a new moral framework that rejects ethical justifications for war.
Participants say the conference -- to be cohosted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the global Catholic peace network Pax Christi International April 11-13 -- may recommend displacing the centuries-old just war theory as the main Catholic response to violence.

They also express hope that Pope Francis might take up their conversations by deciding to focus his next encyclical letter, the highest form of teaching for a pontiff, on issues of Catholic peacemaking.

Read more: Vatican to host first-ever conference to reevaluate just war theory, justifications for violence