Peace & Demilitarization
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:
Peace & Nonviolence
As the persecution of the Muslim minority in Rakhine State in Myanmar/Burma reaches a feverish pitch and forces thousands to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, Columban Superior General, Fr Kevin O’Neill, sends a message of solidarity saying: “We reject persecution of any community regardless of religion, race, or ethnic identity. We urge an end to the violence and violation of human rights of the Rohingya people and hope for their peaceful return to their homes in the Rakhine State of Myanmar/Burma.”
The U.S. Region of the Missionary Society of St. Columban joins Catholic leaders in urging dialogue with North Korea and Iran. Pope Francis has called for dialogue with North Korea and a rejection of “the narrative of fear…and the rhetoric of hatred.” At the UN, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister, said, ”The international community must respond by seeking to revive negotiations ... Peace and international stability cannot be founded on mutually assured destruction or on the threat of annihilation.”
As representatives of national and international Catholic advocacy organizations working for peace and justice, we condemn unequivocally the display of hatred, overt racism, and violence manifest this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia by members of white supremacist, Ku Klux Klan, and neo-Nazi groups.
More than 130 years ago, noted American activist Julia Ward Howe first proposed the concept of Mother’s Day. Howe was a prominent abolitionist who served as one of the catalysts promoting emancipation of slaves and, later, women’s suffrage. A woman of deep religious conviction, Howe became increasingly convinced that war was an inappropriate means for furthering her social justice ideals and believed that these issues, which she cared deeply about, should instead be pursued nonviolently.
I welcomed the opportunity to represent Columban JPIC (Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation) at a recent conference on, ‘Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence’. It was hosted by Pax Christi International and the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace, and held in Rome from April 11-13, 2016. Participants gathered from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and included lay people, theologians, and members of religious congregations, priests, and bishops...
When Jesus is seen in the fullness of glory, the disciples think it’s a one-time vision about Jesus. However, Jesus pointedly leads them back down the mountain to the valley where the work of transfiguration continues and involves all of us. Thomas Merton’s experience of transfiguration was on a street corner in Louisville. He wrote, “Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their...