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November-December 2017

Pat Gaffney of Pax Christi meets Pope Francis

Pat Gaffney of Pax Christi meets Pope Francis

12 November 2017 : A shift  in the Catholic church’s  position on the threat and possession of nuclear Weapons.
It is not often that students, diplomats and Nobel peace laureates from around the world meet to reflect on how, together, we can work for a nuclear free world. This unique gathering was convened by the Dicastery Promoting Integral Human Development in Rome on 10 and 11 November. Members of Pax Christi International and Pax Christi UK, Flanders, Netherlands, Italy and France took part in the Conference.

Pope Francis addressed the gathering in a speech that presented a shift in the position of the Church with regard to deterrence and the threat and possession of nuclear weapons. He said ” … genuinely concerned by the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of any employment of nuclear devices, if we also take into account the risk of accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned…they exist in the service of a mentality of fear…”

Later in the Conference Bishop McElroy, from San Diego said, “The Church’s fundamental goal in this transformation is to dispel the complacency that currently subverts and paralyzes international efforts at nuclear arms reductions, complacency based upon denial and the false assumption that the logic of nuclear deterrence and proliferation has
not fundamentally changed in the past fifty years.”

The event also celebrated the awarding of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). for its work on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which was adopted in July 2017. Beatrice Finn, Director of ICAN spoke of the important role of people of faith as a constant life-light to campaigns such as this. Pax Christi, along with a host of other organisations and communities have been working with national governments and Church leaders to encourage ratification of the Treaty. This work will continue as the UK Government has resisted any participation in these negotiations.


Ban Bannerjpg7 November 2017 – Pax Christi calls for prayers for Vatican Conference on Nuclear Weapons

Members of the British Section of Pax Christi and others from this international movement for Peace will take part in a Vatican hosted conference this weekend on the theme :  “Perspectives for a world free from nuclear weapons and for integral disarmament” .  Organised by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development the conference brings together representatives of civil society, States and International Organisations and academics from around the world to reflect together on nuclear weapons, the only weapons of mass destruction not yet prohibited under international law.

Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of the British Section of Pax Christi will participate.  She said: “We appreciate this initiative and the role the Holy See has played in supporting the recent Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Holy See was one of the first States to sign the Treaty in September.   However, there is still much to be done to bring our own Government and other states, including the United States, Russia, France and China, into the Treaty process.  We are also concerned that many responses to the threats arising from conflict over Korea increase the possibility of military intervention and the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons”.

Pax Christi has called on its members, supporters and parishes to support the Rome gathering with prayer and fasting.  The Catholic Chaplaincy in Bath will include prayers at Adoration and Mass on 10 November and the parish of St Mellitus in North London will hold a Holy Hour. The Justice & Peace Commission in Middleborough will share the prayer Pax Christi have produced for the gathering and Bishop Thomas McMahon will offer prayers, remembering that recent events have highlighted that this Conference  is more important than ever.

This is the prayer  Pax Christi is inviting people to pray on 10th and 11 November.


Creator God,
We ask your Holy Spirit to guide those meeting in Rome including the Pax Christi delegation.

Your world is precious but human folly threatens its very existence.
We pray for those whose lives have been destroyed by nuclear weapons and nuclear testing.

We pray for those denied the essentials of life when money is squandered on nuclear weapons production.

We pray that our Church will speak to the world with clarity and wisdom and work with world leaders to ban the development, possession and use of nuclear weapons.
With Pope Francis, we commit ourselves to work for a world without nuclear weapons.

We pray in hope for a world built on just relations and cooperation between people who wish to live in peaceful
co-existence.     Amen


3 November 2017 – Celebrating 35 years of Peace Education with the Christian Peace Education Fund and Pax Christi
PeaceEducationeditedNov2017Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, National President of Pax Christi, hosted an evening celebrating 35 years of the Christian Peace Education Fund. Archbishop Malcolm thanked all those who had contributed to the Fund through donations and legacies and acknowledged all the work of the Trustees and supporters who have maintained the Fund for 35 years.

The Fund was set up by Pax Christi to support its own peace education work and to ‘promote peace by means of meetings, lectures, seminars, the production of books and publications and lots more besides.’ Valerie Flessati, Pax Christi General Secretary when the fund was created, reflected on the difficulties experienced by schools and teachers at that time, when peace education was seen as suspect and one-sided. Pax Christi was determined to support teachers and educators in their work to help young people reflect critically on the world in which they lived.

Matt Jezoirski, Pax Christi’s current Peace Education Officer spoke of Pax Christi’s role in creating space within
schools and work with teachers to allow time for discussion and discernment on difficult issues of war, peace and conflict and the Christian vocation to peacemaking.

The future challenge was set by James Trewby, the education worker for the Columban Missionaries. Imagination and collaboration were two of the key elements of this challenge, using approaches that engage young people beyond their own reality to create understanding and empathy and building networks and opportunities to mirror how many of the world’s problems today, war, poverty, climate issues, are interconnected Over the years grants have been given to more than 120 projects, including Peace Trails, school exchanges, conferences, dvd’s and study
guides. The Movement for the Abolition of War had received grants towards their annual Peace History Conference. The Interfaith Wolverhampton hosted an exhibition and study day on the theme of forgiveness with the grant they received from CPEF. Most recently, St Paul’s School, Milton Keynes hosted a day for six schools on the theme
of Faith in Action.

Photograph: Archbishop Malcolm with CPEF Trustees Back: James Trewby, John Williams, Ed Tierney
Front: Anne Nugent,Margaret McNulty, Sheila Gallagher, John Prangley

Permanent link to this article: http://paxchristi.org.uk/news-and-events/news-reports/november-december-2017/