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PEACE

The Biblical concept of peace goes beyond the absence of conflict. It is a state of wholeness or well being both at the personal and the communal levels. Peace comes from living in right relationship with God, oneself, others, and the whole of creation.

Catholic teaching makes a strong presumption against the use of force, but also considers the use of force acceptable as a last resort in certain limited circumstances. It contains both non violent and just war strands.

Convoluted discourse: was the women’s boat to Gaza an existential threat?
The Israeli official narrative regarding its conflict with the Palestinians is deliberately confounded because a muddled up discourse is a convenient one. It allows the narrator to pick and choose half-truths at will, in order to create a falsified version of reality, writes Ramzy Baroud for the Palestine Chronicle.  

Shia-Sunni joint Eid prayer fosters peace
In what’s been hailed as a landmark achievement, a few hundred Shia and Sunni Muslims offered their Eid al-Adha prayers together after which they met with local Hindu, Sikh and Christians.  

Mindinao prelate calls on Duterte to address peace process
A leading Filipino church official has called on the country's newly elected president to immediately address peace issues in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao.  

Nuns, Muslim women promote peace in Indonesia
A group of Catholic nuns and Muslim women in Ungaran in Indonesia's Central Java province have formed the Sisterhood of Interfaith Women to promote tolerance and peace in the world's most populous Muslim nation. 

Charities call for end to Gaza blockade
August 26 marked the anniversary of the ceasefire between the Israeli government and Palestinian armed groups that ended 50 days of conflict. Christian Aid says 19,000 homes were destroyed and 100,000 people made homeless during the fighting. But Israeli restrictions on building materials had caused delays and reconstruction had begun on only 2,000 homes.  

The quieter more dangerous boycott
Three recent divestment cases indicate that even when there are no flashy headlines, maybe especially so, boycott and divestment efforts can have a major impact where it hurts.  

War and profit
The term ‘military-industrial complex’ was coined by a former soldier. As he departed The White House, President Eisenhower warned Americans against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex. What would he make of the situation today, where US economic success seems inextricably linked to the continued production of the machinery of war on a scale unimaginable in Eisenhower’s time?  

Dorothy Day wedding justice and the gospel
Sometime soon we will witness the canonization of Dorothy Day. She was not the kind of saint who fits the normal conceptions of piety. A journalist, peace-activist, convert to Christianity, with Peter Maurin, she established the Catholic Worker Movement to combine direct aid to the poor and homeless with nonviolent action on behalf of peace and justice. She served too on the newspaper she founded, Catholic Worker, from 1933 until her death.  

Raising a generation for peace in Syria
‘The problem is about fundamentalist thinking, not about Christians or Muslims,’ Fr Ziad says repeatedly, and Muslims suffer as much as Christians at the hands of Islamic State.  

Gore or glory: an anniversary and a feast
Besides being a feast of the Church, Transfiguration, August 6, is a terrible anniversary in human history. Seventy years ago, at 8:15 on the morning of August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima, Japan, writes Fr William Grimm for UCANews.  

US rebukes Israel while handing out favours
Only a few weeks into Benjamin Netanyahu's new government, the intense strain of trying to square its members' zealotry with Israel's need to improve its international standing is already starkly evident, writes Jonathan Cook for the Palestine Chronicle.  

Why is the media ignoring Israel's alliance with al-Qaeda?
We can say with confidence that the mainstream press in the West supports Israel, and so does not find it convenient to report on this scandalous Israeli-al-Qaeda alliance in Syria. But it's crucial to understand that this is part of a wider pattern in which the West's alliances with (to say the least) morally-dubious regional actors are ignored, downplayed or actively disguised by the media, writes Asa Winstanley, for Middle East Monitor.  

Anzac Business: Lest We Forget How To Exploit An Atrocity For All It Is Worth
And you thought Woolworths’ exploitation of Anzac Day was bad. Wait till you see what News Corporation did over the weekend. Chris Graham of New Matilda explains.  

See also Anzac Day a jarring experience for migrant Australians

No killing in Gaza in my name – Holocaust survivor
In an open letter published as an ad in the New York Times, Holocaust survivors condemned Israel's Gaza offensive as "genocide." Edith Bell, born in 1923 in Hamburg, talks with DW about why she co-signed.  

Muslim women and children abused on NZ streets
Muslim leaders have reported a spike in racial abuse aimed mostly at women and children, many walking to and from school.

Read more 

Malaysia’s moderate Muslim face takes a beating
When Malaysia's urbane Prime Minister Najib Razak travels abroad he invariably touts his country's widely accepted reputation for moderate Islam, but that image is being challenged at home.

Read more 

A busman’s holiday in Gaza
Choosing to experience the Hamas-Israel conflict first-hand, American Jewish doctor Adam Kawalek volunteered on a mission to help Palestinians during Operation Protective Edge. Renee Ghert-Zand reports for The Times of Israel.

Read more 

See also An American Jew reflects on his visit to Palestine 

Bishops say sport can promote a more just society
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Social Justice Statement 2014-2015 is titled A Crown for Australia. It explores the potential of sport to promote personal development, social inclusion and a more just society.

Read more 

Francis more powerful peace broker
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres says Pope Francis is more powerful than the United Nations when it comes to advocating peace.

Read more 

Cultivating a culture of peace
The United Nations has designated 21 September the International Day of Peace. In this CatholicCare reflection, Sandie Cornish looks at ways in which we can cultivate a culture of peace.

Read more 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki 69 years on
On 6 August the Japanese city of Hiroshima marked the 69th anniversary of the bombing and of Nagasaki on 9 August. Hiroshima’s mayor set the tone for efforts to build a world of genuine and lasting world peace.

Read his peace declaration here 

Japan bishops call for dialogue over war
'We must not abandon the hope to avoid war and armed conflict through dialogue and negotiation. No matter how hard it seems, this is the only way to bring about peace among nations.' Catholic Bishops Conference of Japan. 

Waihopai Ploughshares: Crown drops damages claim
The NZ Government has unexpectedly dropped its court action against Waihopai Ploughshares and is no longer suing the three for $1.2 million damages, the alleged cost of their disarmament action at the Waihopai spy base near Blenheim. This development is in response to Waihopai Ploughshares’ application for leave to appeal against the October 2013 Court of Appeal decision. It means that the Crown will no longer be able to pursue Waihopai Ploughshares for any of the $1.2 million sought, but also that Waihopai Ploughshares’ arguments against the decision will not be heard by the Supreme Court.  

Relationship part of who we are
Catholic Social Teaching reminds us that we are ‘social by nature’, writes Sandie Cornish. In this passage from his encyclical on The Light of Faith (Lumen Fidei) Pope Francis explores the meaning of this phrase.  

See also John Moffatt SJ analysis

Pacem in Terris at 50
Written in the midst of the nuclear arms race and the Cold War, John XXIII’s landmark encyclical contains important messages for our world today writes J J Ziegler for Catholic World Report.  

The white poppy
The white poppy is an international symbol of remembrance for all the casualties of war, civilians and armed forces personnel, and of peace. Believed to have been first produced by the Co-operative Women's Guild in Britain in 1933, white poppies are worn in many countries as an alternative to the red poppy, some people see the white poppy as complementary to the red which commemorates soldiers who died in war and some choose to wear both poppies.  

Speaking for peace in Norway
Peace activist John Dear SJ with actor Martin Sheen
This civic forum on nuclear weapons preceded the global gathering of representatives from more than 130 nations invited here by the government of Norway to discuss the abolition of nuclear weapons - possibly the first time for an international conference seeking to abolish nuclear weapons.  

Followup nuke-ban meeting for Mexico
The historic Oslo Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons has ended with the announcement of a follow-up meeting to be hosted by Mexico. A wide range of states and organisations agreed that an understanding of the global humanitarian consequences of nuclear detonations should be the starting point for urgent action to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.  

Witnessing to Peace in a Violent World
Ecumenical resources from the National Council of Churches in Australia.

Peace and non-violence
The website of the American peace activist Father John Dear SJ contains resources on peace and non-violence for liturgy, prayer, social justice and more.

“It is our clear duty, then, to strain every muscle as we work for the time when all war can be completely outlawed by international consent.”
Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, n 82

“If peace is to be established, the primary requisite is to eradicate the causes of dissension between [people]. Wars thrive on these, especially on injustice ...”
Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, n 83


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