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

  • The Seeds of Mother’s Day: A Proclamation for Peace

    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.

  • The Central Role of Gospel Nonviolence

    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...

  • Nonviolent Transformation

    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...

  • I Have Called You to Be My Servant

    On the first Sunday after the Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord, we hear the passage this passage from the prophet Isaiah. It is a great call to service, to be a light to the nations so that by our actions we may bear witness to the hope for salvation throughout the earth. Imagine for a moment, what that hope might look like to a refugee or migrant, to those families which experience the terrible suffering of violence or war, or to those communities that experience the devastating effects...

  • Everyone Can Be an Artisan of Peace!

    On January 1, Pope Francis delivered his annual World Day of Peace message. He chose for his theme, on this 50th anniversary of the Peace Day message, “Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace.” His message is all the more timely and urgent, given a world torn by war and violence. For years now, daily accounts of the suffering of civilians in Aleppo, Syria and for months, tweets from a 7-year-old girl named Bana, pleading for help, have brought the plight of Syrian civilians and refugees into the...

  • Opening Our Hearts and Working for Peace

    The Sign of Peace during the Diamond Jubilee Mass in St Columban’s Home, Chuncheon City, South Korea on April 26, 2014. As a child, I thought Ordinary Time in the Liturgical Calendar was “off season” for the Church and Advent, Lent, and Easter were the only important “seasons.” Eventually, a maturing faith prevailed. Ordinary Time invites us to more deeply understand and appreciate the life of Jesus.  Pope Francis closes the Jubilee Year of Mercy on November 20, 2017, and Ordinary...