15 May 2018 – Conscientious objector day in Tavistock Square, London
Today well over a hundred people came together in Central London for the annual commemoration of International Conscientious Objector Day. Pax Christi members as well as some of the office team gathered together with various groups from the peace movement to celebrate and remember those who refused to fight and continue to suffer persecution today for refusing to engage in violence and war.
Hannah Brock of War Resisters International gave us a frank and informative update on the situation in South Korea and also on the new laws being passed in Sweden. Selam Kidane from Eritrea spoke to us about the situation in her own home country where forced conscription is still in force and where a ‘shoot to kill’ policy still controls the border for those who try to leave. Many who passed by the busy Tavistock Square stopped to take a few moments and listen to the engaging speakers and share this special time with us.
People were then invited to take a white rose and to lay it on the C/O stone as the names of conscientious objectors from some 80 countries were read out. One of those names was Blessed Franz Jagerstatter who was killed on 9 August 1943 for refusing to fight in WW2.
We heard some great music and spent a moment in silence together to remember all those who have died and continue to suffer so much for conscience.
Other similar events have taken place up and down the country and Internationaly also. See which events are happening near you.
To all those who have established and are maintaining the right to refuse to kill’
22 April, 2018 . Remembering Peggy Attlee, Pax Christi supporter and volunteer for 25 years
The following Tribute was given by Pax Christi’s Valerie Flessati at Peggy’s funeral at St Thomas Mores Church, London on 17 April 2018
Not long after she moved back to London from Cornwall – so around 1977 – Peggy answered an advertisement in St Dominic’s parish newsletter. Pax Christi, the international Catholic peace movement, was based at the priory and we needed help.
Pax Christi’s blend of faith and politics matched Peggy’s lifelong interests and she soon became an indispensable member of the office team, volunteering two days a week and involved in every aspect of its life. Our small organisation gave plenty of scope to her tremendous gifts, her competence and creativity, and over more than 25 years her active contribution to Pax Christi was immeasurable. Full text here
20 April, Global Day of Action at St Joseph’s
Members of the Pax Christi office team set up in the warm sunshine today to greet parents, students and teachers and ask them to vote on how they would each spend £48 billion! Everyone was presented with their own £48 billion (in the form of 4 buttons!) and then asked to divide the “money” as they wished between the following choices of investment: Education & Healthcare; Tackling Climate Change; International cooperation and lastly the Arms and Military intervention.
It was great to see so many youngsters so eager to have their voices heard on such an important issue and great to listen to the concerns and questions from our youngest citizens.
This is the 6th year that the Global Day of Action on Military Spending has been marked in the UK with many events being held up and down the UK including in Leeds where YorkshireCND held an event and in London where Women in Black also marked the week of action
GDAMs urges that military spending to be redirected towards social and environmental needs. These needs should take priority over aircraft carriers, long range strike aircraft, armed drones, weapons exports and weapons of mass destruction. In addition we also need new thinking involving civil society and government to create a clear programme of action for spending, research and investment to build sustainable, common security at national and international levels.
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18 April 2018, Pax Christi signs letter in The Guardian: Time to take a stand on Gaza killings
MPs, MEPs, former ministers, trade unionists and other political and cultural figures call on the British government to ensure that UK arms, finance and trade are not used to support unlawful actions by Israel.
We call on the government to condemn publicly Israel’s actions; to support an immediate UN investigation into the killings; and to ensure UK arms, finance and trade are not used to support Israel’s unlawful actions. The British government must fulfil its responsibilities to hold Israel accountable and to bring about the end of Israel’s unlawful siege and the military occupation of Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Full letter here
17 April 2018
Letter to Secretary of State, Boris Johnson on Nuclear Proliferation Treaty
31 organistions, including Pax Christi, have written to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to urge the UK Government to use the imminent Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee meeting to recognise and act upon the UK’s international obligation to work for a world free of nuclear weapons.
In addition the letter encourages the UK Government to participate in the up-coming UN High Level International Conference on Nuclear Disarmament and to use the opportunity to develop relations with NNWS and make progress on the UK’s disarmament obligations. Full text of letter
8 March – International Women’s Day. Pax Christi has launched a project inviting women around the world to write to Pope Francis to thank him for his leadership on peace, nonviolence and disarmament and to share a vision of peace with him. Pax Christi UK produced lively postcards for women to send directly to Rome and Pax Christi International created an on-line tool for similar messages.
‘On International Women’s Day, Pax Christi International will deliver these to Pope Francis. The message began:
“Dear Pope Francis: As a woman who wants peace, I am grateful for your leadership in affirming the gospel call to nonviolence and just peace and for your constant appeal for nuclear disarmament and an end to the arms trade.”
17 February, Glasgow
More than twenty-five members and supporters of Pax Christi in Scotland gathered at the Ignation Spirituality Centre in Glasgow for a day facilitated by Pat Gaffney to explore how members might be better served and organised for peace work in Scotland. A wealth of experiences and traditions were shared and the following were highlighted as strengths of being a part of the Pax Christi family
- Nourishing existing members/wider Scottish peace network
- Scotland has own agenda… follow own priorities not those of others
- Bring in more Church support
- Part of an international Catholic movement for peace AND offer a Catholic peacemaking voice
- Could create semi-formal links with SCBC AND allow the Bishops’ to stand back (in terms of control)
- Open to others to become involved/ownership
- Start with the model of a Pax Christi group that creates a link with Pax Christi International as it becomes establishes and creates an identity