Two bishops dine and dialogue with peace activists

(NCR Online) During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops’ fall assembly in Baltimore, two bishops decided to forego the dinner sponsored by the U.S. Army Chaplains Corps and attended instead a simple supper and discussion on peacemaking.

On the evening of Nov. 11, at historic St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Baltimore, Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis and Bishop John Michael Botean, head of the Romanian Catholic Eparchy of St. George’s in Canton, Ohio, broke bread with about 20 Catholic peace activists, including me, and dialogued with us about how the Catholic church could shift from a “just war” to a “just peace” doctrine and spirituality.

Eli McCarthy, director of justice and peace for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, started the dialogue off with a presentation on the theological developments of the concept of “just peace.”

He explained that by supporting cooperative conflict resolution, fostering just and sustainable economic development, advancing human rights and interdependence, significantly reducing weapons and the arms trade, providing education in nonviolent peacemaking and resistance, and creating nonviolent civilian-based defense we can help advance a peace founded on social justice and nonviolence.

“War continues to create habits of war,” he said. As we quickly move from one armed conflict to the next, this observation is beyond dispute.

“War dehumanizes us,” Tobin said, adding that during World War II, U.S. Gen. Curtis LeMay, who planned and executed a massive bombing campaign against cities in Japan, seemed to have little regard for the lives of Japanese children, women and men. [More]


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