We are called to be peacemakers.
For nearly 100 years, Columbans have worked in countries torn by violence and war. In these situations they have worked to heal, reconcile, build bridges, and create mutual understanding through prophetic dialogue. Central to this mission is a commitment to building communities of peace.
“We choose to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence that reflects an inner well-being, just social and economic structures, active non-violence in the face of oppression, and a Christ-like peace that fosters a sense of inter-connectedness and solidarity with all living things.”
We advocate for human rights.
Columbans have been at the forefront of defending human rights, opposing torture and enforced disappearances, and supporting victims of torture and families of the disappeared. For this commitment, Columbans have been imprisoned, kidnapped and expelled under military governments in Chile, Peru, Korea and the Philippines. This in turn has deepened our commitment to active nonviolence. Columbans call for an end to torture everywhere, and respect for the basic human rights of all people.
We advocate for a culture of peace.
Faced with a culture of violence, the expansion of a military presence around the world, and a growing arms industry, Columbans work to cultivate a culture of peace and nonviolence. For nearly 70 years, Columbans have served in Japan and other parts of the world where nuclear weapons threaten global peace and stability. As members of Pax Christi International, Columbans call for an abolishment of nuclear weapons and a development of a moral framework that supports just peace and nonviolence as alternatives to war.
Columbans work closely with indigenous communities in Chile, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines and Taiwan to build relationships of mutual respect and cooperation, and to defend and protect indigenous lands and cultures.
Peace and Nonviolence Resources:
Making active nonviolence our way of life in the Church and the world.
Violence in all its forms is sinful because it destroys human dignity and the common good. When violence becomes institutionalized – as poverty, war, racism or environmental destruction – it becomes a form of idolatry, denying the sovereignty of God over all of creation and the redeeming power of Jesus Christ’s love.
Columban missionaries who have experience ministering in countries during times of violence, upheaval, and oppression have written reflections connecting the dots between their experiences and what is happening right now in the United States: "helicopters create a deep uneasiness and a constant reminder of the militarization at the border, making us feel like prisoners in our own city, watched and threatened."
We choose to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence that reflects an inner well-being, just social and economic structures, active non-violence in the face of oppression, and a cosmic Christ-like peace that fosters a sense of inter-connectedness and solidarity with all living things and with the Earth.
Every morning on the news and every evening, we hear the drumbeats of possible war with Iran or North Korea; we hear, too, the cry of the victims we will likely never meet, and the names of places in Syria, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in other far off lands we will never see.
Advent invites us to have both the patience of “the farmer [who] waits for the precious fruit of the earth,” but also the urgency and impatience of “the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (Jas 5:7, 10) and announced God’s kingdom.
Copyright © 2020 Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Washington, D.C.