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August 2014

23-25 August: Pax Christi at Greenbelt Festival 2014

Pat and Rachel in talk on First World War peacemakers

Pat and Rachel in talk on First World War peacemakers

An enthusiastic  team from Pax Christi camped out near Kettering to take part in the annual Greenbelt Christian arts and justice festival.

The theme for their stall  explored the links between the First World War and today – with the challenge to ‘honour the dead by ending war’ . Volunteers were able to engage Greenbelt participants in conversations and discussion on peacemaking.  Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi gave one of the Greenbelt talks on the theme Let us remember: stories of peace from the First World War.  Three of the Pax Christi team took part in this taking on the roles of a Suffragist , a Conscientious Objector and a Politician.

You can see more phorographs from Greenbelt here 

14 August

Pax Christi member organisations call to protect the life of all vulnerable populations in Northern Iraq

Pax Christi Member Organisations in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany,India, Italy, New Zealand, the UK ad the United States have sent letters to their Ministers of Foreign Affairs calling for an immediate action t safeguard the right of life of all vulnerable populations in Northern Iraq.

The news coming from the country is horrendous: thousands of people, mostly minority groups including Christians, Yazidis, Shabak and Turkmen have been brutally driven from their homes; innocent children, women and men are suffering violence of every kind. The ongoing conflict has already displaced some 1.2 million people, mostly minority communities who have fled the northwest of Iraq.

Pax Christi members regret that religion is being misused in this crisis. Faith should not be used to demonise people of other faiths. Religious beliefs should nurture justice, human dignity, compassion and solidarity. Pax Christi supports urgent recent appeals from Patriarch Louis Sako in Iraq and echo the call made by Pope Francis: “War is not to be waged in the name of God!”

Read  here the full text of the letter to FCO  from the British Section of Pax Christi.


6 August – Pax Christi remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

GroupThere was great interest in our vigil outside Westminster Cathedral today.  Staff and volunteers gave out leaflets and resources to those passing into the Cathedral, many from other countries.  The message was clearly presented: nuclear weapons are illegal and immoral and Britain should get rid of Trident, its nuclear weapons programme.

Introducing times of prayer, Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi read a statement from the Catholic Bishops’ of Japan: This year is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. Let us think about the reasons for the tragedies of the two World Wars in the previous century, including World War II that ended on August 15, 1945. People often wage war in the name of justice for the cause of the defence of their own country. Wars are repeated while each disputing country insists that it is a just war for self-defence. As a result, numerous precious lives are lost

 When Pope John Paul II visited Hiroshima in 1981, he said; “War is the work of man. War is destruction of human life. War is death. Nowhere do these truths impose themselves upon us more forcefully than in this city of Hiroshima, at this Peace Memorial”  These words of the Pope still echo strongly in our hearts even 33 years later. There is nothing more disastrous and foolish than war.

At the same time, Pax Christi International issued a new statement calling for the total abolition of nuclear weapons.

For information on other Hiroshima and Nagasaki peace events in Leeds, Eastbourne and Essex look at our Calendar 

4 August 2014


Peace vigils with the message‘ No more war – war never again’, were held around the country today to mark Britain’s entry into the First World War and also to remember those who worked to prevent that war.

In London representatives of ten organisations of the First World War Peace Forum* gathered on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London for a two hour silent vigil.  Their message was simple: the route to war in 1914 was not scripted in advance; there were always choices and different possible endings.  Today we have a better understanding of how conflicts arise and can be resolved without going to war.  Sadly our political leaders lack the will and imagination  to offer true security.  

More images here 

 KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe First World War Peace Forum call upon political leaders to use all the instruments of international law, diplomacy, disarmament, global justice and co-operation, to eliminate war.

 * Conscience, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Movement for the Abolition of War,Network for Peace, Pax Christi, Peace News, Peace Pledge Union,Quaker Peace and Social Witness, the Right to Refuse to Kill Group, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Vigils taking place around the country

  • Middlesbrough: 11.00 – 1.00pm  vigil with peace service at 12. noon. Francis of Assisi RC Church
  • Liverpool: 12 noon – 2.00pm a silent vigil in the Peace Garden, St John’s Lane, Liverpool
  • Grassington:  11.00 am – 12.00 noon, Grassington Square.
  • Skipton: 2.00pm – 3.00 pm, outside the Town Hall, Skipton.
  • Glossop:  12 noon – 1.00pm, vigil in Norfolk Square.  Organised by Glossop Peace Group
  • Glasgow: 10.30 – 11.30 am, Donald Dewar Statue, Sauchiehall St, Glasgow
  • Bath12.30 to12.50pm at the Amphitheatre, University of Bath
  • Oxford:  11.00-3.00pm gathering in Bonn Square, Oxford OX1 1LQ.  ‘War to end all Wars?  Event with poetry, music and lots more. Organised by CND.
  • Portswood, Southampton 7 – 8 pm , Immaculate Conception RC parish, 346 Portswood Road, Southampton, SO17 3SB.
  • Wisbech, East Anglia: 8.00 -9.00 pm a silent candlelit vigil will be held at the Clarkson Memorial.


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