News:

17 October 2021: Take Action for Peace and Democracy in Myanmar

TELL YOUR MP TO TAKE URGENT ACTION FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY IN MYANMAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ma Thin Thin Aung is an advocate for women’s rights, free media and democracy in Myanmar. On 8 April 2021, members of Burmese army in plain clothes arrested and detained her. Her crime?

Helping run an independent media and news platform covering the military coup. Now she is in prison. COVID is running wild and she has chronic asthma.

As Myanmar spirals into civil war, the military junta is using violence and torture against women, men and children every day. Millions of people are going hungry. 

The military has killed over 1000 people. This includes 75 children. The military has arrested more than 5000 people like Ma Thin Thin Aung.

Trade unions are outlawed. Free media is being shut down. The military is committing violence and sexual crimes against women including people languishing in prison.

What’s more, the military continues to bankroll its campaign of terror with money from the mining, oil, and gas sectors.

WE NEED TO DO MORE TO HELP MYANMAR

Add your voice to the thousands of Australians who want our government to take greater action to stop the military and help the people of Myanmar.

Brought to you by

CRPH/NUG Support Group (Australia)


11 October 2021: Maria Ressa: Nobel prize-winner risks life and liberty to hold Philippines government to account

‘In the face of multiple threats, criminal charges and two arrests, Maria Ressa has continued to speak out.’ Maria Ressa is escorted by police after posting bail. Photograph: Eloisa Lopez/Reuters

The Conversation:Principal Lecturer in International Relations & Academic Director of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, University of Portsmouth 9 October 2021

The importance of journalists who take considerable risks to bring people the truth in countries where this involves going up against authoritarian governments has been recognised by the Nobel committee’s decision to award the 2021 peace prize to Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia.

In announcing the award, the Nobel committee called the pair “representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal”. They said Ressa had used her online news organisation, Rappler, to “expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines”.

Please read full article Here


3 October 2021:   Statement of Pax Christi Australia re AUKUS Agreement 

 

 

 

Pax Christi Australia is a branch of the International Christian Peace Movement, Pax Christi International.

We wish to raise our objections in the strongest possible terms to the AUKUS agreement.

We do not believe that this initiative will do anything towards building peace in our region.

It is our belief that Peace involves much more than the absence of armed conflict. It involves building genuine understanding between peoples, sharing resources, support of weaker poorer nations by the well-resourced, life enhancing development programmes resourced but not directed by giving nations.

This agreement will

  • threaten rather than enhance Australian security by provoking China and souring our relationships with our neighbours as well as European Union countries. National security is best pursued by peace-enhancing methods such as negotiation, discussion and respectful dialogue.
  •  represents a massive deployment of white Anglo Saxon Power in our region.  It will be seen as a threat not just by China but by Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and ultimately Japan and South Korea and precludes the possibility of building a non-aligned movement in the region. It could draw Australia into another US inspired war.
  • will encourage an arms race in the region which will encourage other nations to follow.
  • will lock Australia even more into the foreign ambitions of the United states and severely limit any freedom of action in foreign policy.
  • The submarine project and the compensation to France represents a massive diversion of resources which could be employed in genuine peace building initiatives in the Asia Pacific particularly in disadvantaged nations such as Timor Leste, PNG and the Pacific.
  • Australia has chosen to forgo a constructive and fraternal relationship with China by engaging with USA. It is both a failure of diplomacy and humanity. Little thought has been given to understanding and acknowledging China’s historical trauma and worldview. There seems to be little thought of the possibility of building bridges.
  • The deployment of nuclear submarines will draw Australia into the nuclear fuel cycle and open the possibility of nuclear war.  There will be pressure to restart uranium mining in Australia.  It is difficult to see how it can accord with our obligations under nuclear proliferation treaties.

We call on faith communities and all peace loving people to call on the Australian government to repudiate this arrangement.

Fr. Claude Mostowik msc

National President


23 September 2021:  Politics in the Pub: War memorials Display Indifference to peace

With Peter Stanley, Research Professor, School of Humanities and Social Science, University of NSW;

and Douglas Newton, Former Associate Professor of History, Western Sydney University.

License Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)


21 September 2021: United Nations International Day of Peace

 

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the UN General Assembly (A/RES/36/67) to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.

 

 

 

 

14 September 2021: CHINA FORUM THIS COMING SUNDAY AFTERNOON – LAST REMINDER

Aconversation with Emeritus ProfessorColin Mackerras OA
 
        If you have not already registered, you can register here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


September 2021: Raising Peace Event Sponsored by Pax Christi Aust NSW

The Third Harmony produced by the Metta Center for non violence. This film is supplied to the Festival by Pax Christi  Aust NSW.

The film will be accessible free for 72 hours from 9.00am 17 September until 10.00pm 19 September 2021.

You will need to register so that a link will be provided to you on 17 September.

Please register here

The Third Harmony TRAILER (2 minutes) from metta center on Vimeo.

Please go to Raising Peace Website  to check out a range of events over the whole period of the Festival from 17 September _ 26 September 2021.


7 September 2021: Tragic story brings home extent of our failure in Afghanistan

Chris Sidoti The Age September 6, 2021

The Morrison government’s disastrous mismanagement of the defeat in Afghanistan brings deep dishonour on us all. It will cost lives, perhaps thousands of lives. The government has caused grievous damage to people in Afghanistan, as well as to Australia’s reputation and its strategic interests in the region. And this is brought home by one particularly tragic story.

For 20 years, Australia has supported the work of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. We cheered its establishment in 2002. We encouraged its development. We enabled its work with grants of many millions of dollars. We sent people to Kabul to advise and strengthen it. We provided training programs for its commissioners and staff. I went over six times in 10 years to help.

We also sought the commission’s help when investigating allegations of war crimes against Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. The commission was the first to investigate these allegations, almost immediately after the events occurred, and reported them to Australian authorities. If the military had listened to the commission, perhaps we could have avoided further allegations. The commission assisted the Brereton Inquiry into the allegations and has been assisting the Australian government’s Office of the Special Investigator. Read the full article here

5 September 2021:  Mullah Morrison and his Christian Taliban: by Chris Sidoti-Article in Pearls and Irritations John Mendue’s Public Policy Journal

Chris Sidoti is an international human rights lawyer and was formerly Australian Human Rights Commissioner and Australian Law Reform Commissioner.

The problem with Scott Morrison is not that he uses his office to implement Christian values. The problem is that he doesn’t.

Few Australian prime ministers have worn their religion on their sleeves as much as Scott Morrison. Australia’s first Pentecostal prime minister declares his Christian belief publicly and frequently. He praises and promotes those of similar views, even to attempting to get into a White House state dinner a person criticised by the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse and later charged with offences relating to failing to report child abuse. His regular participation in the parliamentary prayer group is often the subject of comment. He allowed himself to be filmed at church during the last election campaign. He is very much a public Christian.

And he is criticised on that basis. Some call for a strict separation of church and state, while failing to recognise that Morrison is not acting on behalf of any church. Others accuse him of seeking to implement a Christian agenda in law and policy. Others again say that he is hypocritical, professing Christianity while pursuing anti-Christian policies.  Read the full article here

18 August 2021: Afghanistan debacle exposes the limits to Empire_ Article in Pearls and Irritations John Mendue’s Public Policy Journal

Author: Joseph Camilleri : Joseph Camilleri is managing director of Alexandria Agenda, Emeritus Professor at La Trobe University in Melbourne, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences.

The chaotic scenes at Kabul airport are symbolic of a military intervention that has brought the people of Afghanistan nothing but loss and destruction. The United States and its allies, not least Australia, have a great deal to answer for. This twenty-year war has been an unmitigated disaster from beginning to end. And what an ignominious end it is, especially for the United States.

Almost immediately after the September 11 attacks President Bush formed a war cabinet to prosecute the ‘war on terror’. They saw this as the ideal opportunity to demonstrate US power and resolve and reassert US leadership of the democratic Western world – all in the name of ‘freedom’.

The irony of what followed is worth recalling. It was the United States which, in tandem with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, had provided ten years earlier covert financial and arms support for the Islamist hardliners in Afghanistan. Their role would prove crucial in forcing the Soviet military withdrawal in 1992. Read the full article here

7 August 2021: TRUTH TELLING IN AUSTRALIA

Victoria has established the first Truth-Telling inquiry, the Yoo-rrook Commission, into the historical and ongoing injustices against First Nations people in this state. In the 30 mins video Sherry Balcombe, a Olkola/Djabaguy woman from North Queensland, explains the background and purpose of the inquiry. She spoke at an event organised by Pax Christi and Religions for Peace. This is a timely resource for our times and for all Australians.

5 August 2021: ACTION ON HIROSHIMA DAY

On Friday August 6 will you please join peace activists to:

**    Send a message of solidarity to the Mayor of Hiroshima. Our letter is attached and you are welcome to use this text or to alter it to express your personal views. Please also use the attached images.  Letter here

**  Please post the images on FB, Instagram and websites.

**  Send the attached short statement to Prime Minister Morrison and to Labor Leader Albanese, Defence Minister Dutton and Shadow Defence Minister O’Connor calling on them to ratify the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Message here

Peace Hannah

 

 

 

11 July 2021: UWU General Mills strike – Rooty Hill, NSW

Fr. Domingo Barawid of PCPR Australia and member of Pax Christi delivered the solidarity message and prayer at the picket during the National Day of Action for striking General Mills workers.

BY ALEXANDER VOS THE GUARDIAN ISSUE #1966 JUNE 21, 2021

UWU General Mills strike – Rooty Hill, NSW Since 4th June, United Workers Union’ (UWU) workers at the US-owned General Mills (GM) Rooty Hill factory have been on strike. The strike erupted over GM’s subpar wage offer and management’s attempt to take a razor to conditions in the factory. Read full article here

General Mills workers show the fight is worth it    By Francis Leach  Editor-at-large – ACTU…….. You have to be prepared to fight for what you want.  That is the clear message emanating from the successful strike action taken by General Mills (GM) workers at Rooty Hill in Sydney.The workforce and their union, the United Workers Union (UWU) have secured a new deal with the American food processing giant that will see them receive a nine per cent pay rise over three years, a $1500 bonus and the continuation of their current work conditions. Read full article here

10 July 2021: The Story of NAIDOC

NAIDOC is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievement. But the origins of NAIDOC are steeped in the struggle for Indigenous rights. The 1938 Day of Mourning is central to understanding NAIDOC. To highlight the importance of NAIDOC week the Edmund Rice Centre explains the Day of Mourning.

Click here to download the presentation.

5 July 2021:    ‘No more war’: Pope continues his teaching on Gospel nonviolence     

Jun 29, 2021   by Cindy WoodenCatholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Modern popes have been clear voices for peace, but Pope Francis is moving closer to a broad embrace of nonviolence and a declaration that modern warfare is so deadly and sophisticated that the traditional “just war” theories cannot apply.

And, in a new book, he has urged each and every person to recognize that there is, in fact, something they can do to promote peace. “Indifference is an accomplice of war,” Francis wrote.

The Vatican publishing house June 28 released Peace on Earth: Fraternity is Possible, a collection of Pope Francis’ words and speeches on the importance of praying and working for peace.

The volume closes with a chapter he wrote specifically for the book, highlighting the role each person can play in promoting peace, but also moving closer to adopting a stance of total nonviolence.

Already in Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship, he questioned whether in modern warfare any conflict could be judged a “just war” because proportionality and the protection of civilians seem to be difficult if not impossible to guarantee.  Read the full article HERE

3 July 2021: Letter sent by Pax Christi Australia to Australia and New Zealand Bank regarding concerning situation in Myanmar.

We are members of Pax Christi Australia and a section of Pax Christi International, the International Christian Peace Movement. Pax Christ International has consultative status at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Through this letter we bring to your attention the worrying situation in Myanmar. We ask that through your leadership to take action to ensure that your company is fully respecting business and human rights standards in all of its activities in Myanmar.

On 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw), declared a “state of emergency” to remove a legitimately elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD). It also tore down a decade of democratic reform and detained civil society activists, monks and civilians. Close to 900 people have been killed by the violence. Please see the full letter here

16 June 2021: A Response from Cardinal Bo Myanmar received by Fr Claude Mostowik on 15 May 2021.

To (Father) Claude Mostowik msc _National President
Pax Christi – Australia.

Dear Fr Claude Mostowik
Peace of Christ.
It is with great joy and gratitude I read your beautiful letter of support, concern and solidarity. I am familiar with Pax Christi and its inspiring work around the globe. Christ has exhorted “Blessed are the Peace Makers” and Pax Christi is blessed in many ways.

I agree with your observations. Peace is the only way; peace is possible. This is what we are doing amidst very challenging situations. Deaths and brutal torture have bruised the sensibilities of our people. Yet we struggle hard to project a cohesive narrative on peace and dialogue. Read the full letter here 

15 June 2021: Pax Christi Australia Submission to People’s Inquiry Exploring the Case for an Independent and Peaceful Australia

Pax Christi Australia is a branch of Pax Christi International, the International Christian Peace Movement. Pax Christ International has consultative status at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

If we are to achieve an Independent and Peaceful Australia we must re-examine who we are and from where we come. We are part of the ANZUS and other alliances because that is where Australia as a nation has chosen and continues to choose to be. Our alliances are an expression of who we believe ourselves to be and where we stand among the nations of the world. To question the costs of our alliances is to challenge our identity and who we choose to be. We must understand why this is so and how it comes to be. We must redefine what we mean by “Security” and “Defence.” We contend that security cannot be found in military alliances and participation in the arms race. We also contend that we do not need to create enemies against whom we need to defend ourselves. Read the full statement here

16 May 2021: Pax Christi Australia endorses the Statement of World Student Christian Federation as Israeli Palestinian  situation spirals out of control….

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Bishop Desmond Tutu
As we are writing this, bombs are falling over Gaza, where 24 people have just been killed in the past hour only, increasing the numbers of those murdered to 103 (including 27 children) and injuring over 580 and flattening many multi-story buildings to the ground, and wiping out whole families.. One soul lost is too many.”
Excerpt of the Statement from the Palestine Youth Ecumenical Movement (PYEM)

The World Student Christian Federation is highly concerned by the new escalation of violence against the Palestinian people, which includes women and children The images we have seen and the testimonies of our Palestinian student brothers and sisters fill our hearts with pain and call us to continue acting for justice and peace for the right and self-determination of the Palestinian people.
Context:
This latest Israeli military operation against Gaza comes as a continuation of Israel’s strategies to silence Palestinians who are fighting for their freedom, dignity, right to exist, self-determination, and worship in their sacred places.  Read the full statement here


11 May 2021: Time to silence the drums of war: Issue 5 May 2021 Pearls and Irritations

For many familiar with the excesses of Cold War rhetoric and the hyped-up fears used to justify our ill-fated interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the current China bashing is a case of déjà-vu. But the latest bout of politically contrived anti-China hysteria is especially troubling.

Over the last few weeks, we have seen the extraordinary spectacle of Australian ministers and senior bureaucrats beating the drums of war, blissfully unaware of the consequences of their words and actions.

How can we best characterise such conduct? The proverbial bull in a China shop readily comes to mind, though the comparison may well do a disservice to the bull’s judgment and sense of decorum.

In a keynote address delivered on 15 April to India’s premier geopolitical conference Prime Minister Morrison stated that Australia was seeking to build “a strategic balance that favours freedom”, leaving his audience in no doubt that freedom was codeword for the West generally and the United States in particular.

A strategic competition, he went on to say, was under way between authoritarian regimes (read Russia and China) and liberal democracies (read the United States and its allies and friends).

These prime ministerial utterances reflect the thinking of the newly invigorated Quad which brings together the United States, Japan, India and Australia.  Read full Article Here


9 May 2021: Letter from Fr Claude Mostowik to Cardinal Bo Yangan Myanmar

Cardinal-Bo-greets-Pope-Francis-in-Yangon-2017-Nov-photo-credit-Losservatore-Romano

May 4 2021

Cardinal Charles Bo
Archbishop of Yangon
Myanmar

Your Eminence

I am writing on behalf of Pax Christi Australia which is part of the International Christian peace movement Pax Christi International, based in Brussels, with consultancy status at the UN. Our members in Australia have been following the events in your country since the recent coup with great trepidation as to future possibilities for peace, democracy and the wellbeing of all the people. We have been mindful of the concerns and anxieties of many people who have come to Australia from Myanmar and we share their pain at what is happening. We were shocked and dismayed when the military seized power from the democratically elected government and imprisonment of government leaders. Your country is living with twin pandemics of Covid-19 and violence. Read the full letter here


4 May 2021: RESPONSE TO PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY MARTIN ANDANAR _PHILIPPINES

INVESTIGATE PH STATEMENT
MARCH 18, 2021

“Sadly, the malice seems to be all with Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar when his recent tweets perhaps deliberately denigrated the Commissioners of INVESTIGATE PH as having no credibility,” said Mr Peter Murphy, a coordinator of the project. “The 11 Commissioners are leaders of global and national Christian churches and church bodies, the global teachers trade union, the main US lawyers association and the main global lawyers association, a leading law firm in Belgium, and respected national politicians.

“We urge the Presidential Communications Secretary to read the Initial Report and engage with the corroborated facts assembled there. The only weapons we found in our investigation were those of the police and the army shooting at unarmed civilians,” said Mr Murphy.

“Our findings are shocking and bring into sharp question the claimed commitment by the Philippine government to protect the basic rights of the Filipino people. In particular, the state personnel who should be protecting the citizens are repressing them, and are unable to be a check on themselves. Read full statement here


28 April 2021: We (The National Christian Council in Japan) Protest Against the Cabinet Approval of the Release of Tritium-Contaminated Water from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Ocean

To Mr. SUGA Yoshihide, Prime Minister of Japan,
Mr. KAJIYAMA Hiroshi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
We Christians learn from the Bible that “Human beings were created in God’s image” (Genesis 1:26-27) to “rule
over” all life (Gen. 1:28), not to dominate nature to satisfy our greed, but to fulfill our appointed mission to “work (âbad<in Hebrew>= serve) and take care of” (Genesis. 2:15) Earth, so all of creation including humans might live mutually, in harmony.
It is possible to say, one of humanity’s greatest rebellions against this teaching is the invention and use of nuclear weapons. In August of 1945, Japan experienced the tyranny of humanity through the tragedy of assault by two nuclear bombs. Out of this history of calamitous suffering, a beacon of peace and opposition against nuclear
weapons was raised from Japan. Read the full letter here


On 15 April 2021, a week ahead of the US Biden Climate Summit, a number of Australian and Pacific organisations published an advertisement in the Australian Financial Review asking Australian PM Scott Morrison to #StepUp4thePacific by ensuring that our emissions plummet to well below half of their current levels this decade.

Click here to read our advertisement as published in the Australian Financial Review on 15 April 2020.

Will you help amplify the impact of this ad by emailing Scott Morrison and asking him to take stronger climate action?

Use our template Email to PM to email the Hon. Scott Morrison MP and support our Pacific neighbours. You can have an even greater impact by writing to him in your own words and using #StepUp4ThePacific to post the advertisement and/or the link to this page on your social media pages.

The Pacific is running out of time and we need your help. Thank you for your support.


11 March 2021: Pax Christi International Anniversary Zoom Meeting – Frutelli Tutti

Incredible! Friends from across the world came together earlier today to bring our anniversary celebrations to a close and launch a year of reflection on #FratelliTutti.
We also took a moment to honour the victims and survivors of the tsunami in Japan 10 years ago. At the close of the gathering, participants raised three fingers in solidarity with the people of #Myanmar.

 

17 March 2021: Truth and Treaties: the ongoing legacy of the Uluru statement

Henry Reynolds Pearls and Irritations March 17, 2021

Credit – Unsplash

The 27th of October 2017 was the most shameful day in Malcolm Turnbull’s tenure as Australia’s Prime Minister. It was the moment when he peremptorily rejected the Uluru Statement which had been addressed to the people of Australia five months earlier. He declared that the projected voice to parliament would not be ‘either desirable or capable of winning acceptance in a referendum.’ It was a stinging collective insult to the first nations’ leaders who had come from ‘all parts of the southern sky ’to draft the document.

But the abiding importance of the Statement was not in that moment diminished. It continues to overshadow many aspects of national life. Formal discussions about the voice to parliament continue in Canberra. What may not be so widely appreciated are two further aspects of the Statement—the need for a formal process of truth telling and a resolution of the competing ideas about sovereignty. These may have much wider long term significance than the voice to parliament which was foreshadowed by ATSIC created by the Hawke government in 1990 and abolished by John Howard in 2005. Read the Full Article Here

To find out more about Statement of the Heart go to HERE

THE GOVERNMENT IS RUNNING A CO-DESIGN PROCESS TO DECIDE WHAT A VOICE TO PARLIAMENT WILL LOOK LIKE. WE NEED YOUR HELP RIGHT NOW!  MAKE A SUBMISSION BEFORE 31 MARCH 2021  FOR MORE INFORMATION              CLICK HERE


10 March 2021: Pax Christi Australia calls on the Australian government to support the people of Myanmar in their struggle for democracy and the rule of law.

Pax Christi Australia is a movement that is part of the international Christian peace movement Pax Christi International, based in Brussels, with consultative status at the UN.

Pax Christi Australia is extremely concerned at the reimposition of totalitarian military rule in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, which has been followed with the increasing use of force in cities and towns. Many people continue to be killed in the struggle to exercise their right to peaceful assembly; the arrest of political leaders, government officials, civil society actors and media representatives; the sowing of fear, anxiety and intimidation in local communities by civilian agents of the military regime singling out leaders and supporters of the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) Myanmar in the dead of night; and disruption to freedom of expression and access to information. Read Full statement HERE


1 March 2021: Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day

Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day. We honour the people of the Pacific who were the victims of hundreds of nuclear tests over the course of five decades. A destructive chapter in centuries of cultural, spiritual, political, and territorial colonisation.


8 February 2021: The members of Pax Christi Asia-Pacific are deeply troubled by the tragic developments in Myanmar.

On 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military, also known as Tatmadaw, declared a “State of emergency” to remove a legitimately elected government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD). She has been charged with possession of a handful of imported walkie-talkies, and with her colleagues could face a jail term of three years. Detained, too, are civil society activists and several Buddhist monks, tearing down a decade of democratic reform in the process. As members and partners of Pax Christi International in the Asia-Pacific region, we are deeply troubled by these developments in Myanmar. It is bewildering to note that Chinese state media, representative of a leading power in Asia-Pacific, has described the takeover by the Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and the armed forces as “a major cabinet reshuffle.”[1] This “alternative fact” description does not serve the people of Myanmar. Read the full statement HERE


4 February 2021: MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF MYANMAR

To My Dearest People of Myanmar

I share deep fellowship with all of you in this moment as you grapple with the unexpected, shocking events that are unfolding in our country. I appeal to each one of you, stay calm, never fall victim to violence. We have shed enough blood. Let not any more blood be shed in this land. Even at this most challenging moment, I believe that peace is the only way, peace is possible. There are always nonviolent ways for expressing our protests. The unfolding events are the result of a sad lack of dialogue and communication and disputing of diverse views.  Let us not continue hatred at this moment when we struggle for dignity and truth. Let all community leaders and religious leaders pray and animate communities for a peaceful response to these events. Pray for all, pray for everything, avoiding occasions of provocation. Read the full message HERE


31 January 2021: Convenor’s Report Pax Christi NSW – February 2021

I said recently for World AIDS Day that Pope Francis has made some powerful expressions of global solidarity and shared responsibility. I said that Now more than ever we need social friendship for the sake of hope and peace. Now more than ever we need people who will take up responsibility to make this world a better place for all. Now more than ever we need people who say to everything that is not life-giving. Now more than ever we need people who will speak the truth in a culture of lives. Now more than ever we need to people to be the light to where there is darkness. Now more than ever we need people who understand the cries of the poor, the marginalised, the depressed, victims of vilification and abuse. And, we gather here again to ask God’s healing presence on millions of people living with HIV/AIDS today. We are particularly mindful of the children who have been infected and those orphaned. Now more than ever, we need to be bearers of hope and healing by our solidarity that makes of us a safe place for those who are abandoned, discriminated against and rejected.  Read the full report HERE


26 January 2021

MEDIA RELEASE:  NATIONAL ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS LEAGAL SERVICES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 25 January 2021

NATSILS Media Release: This Invasion Day, we call for the Prime Minister to meet with families whose loved ones have died in custody, 30 years since the Royal Commission

January 26 is ‘Invasion Day’ for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Also known as ‘Survival Day’ or ‘Day of Mourning,’ January 26 is not a date for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to celebrate. This date marks the beginning of genocide, dispossession, stolen children and wages, systemic violence and racism toward our people. NATSILS supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities exercising their democratic right to protest around the country, following precautions to be COVID-safe.  Read the Full Press Release HERE


8 January 2021: A New Pacem in Terris By Massimo Borghesi, 2 January 2021

Image: Colton Duke/Unsplash

Fratelli tutti, the newly-published encyclical, must be read carefully to be properly understood. We must avoid the risk of trivialisation that focuses on two or three points and reduces the document to little more than a series of pious intentions. First of all, we must understand the perspective from which it is written: that of a world that is headed towards war. Popes do not write encyclicals on fraternity for a peaceful world. John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris came out after the Cuban missile crisis, which brought us to the brink of a third world war. This is not the case today, fortunately. And yet it is undeniable that problems including the crisis of globalisation, the increasingly persistent tension between nations (United States, China, Russia), ongoing wars fought through intermediaries, and religious terrorism create a highly unstable world, ready to flare up at any time. Add to that our enormous economic inequality, the tragedy of COVID (and its repercussions on the poorest countries), and immigration.

Since the epochal change of 1989, we have seen the buttresses and counterweights that humanity worked hard to build after the terrible tragedy of the Second World War progressively crumble: from the great international organisations, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to the European unification process. Everything is decomposing: the UN, the EU, and the ties between the US and Europe. Meanwhile, cultural relativism continues to exalt partisanship and isolationism. The spirit of the times has brought Manichaeism back into vogue in several forms: political, economic, and religious. New barriers, ancient grudges, and old nationalisms are arising everywhere. Read the Full Article HERE


 

13 December 2020: The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and thousands of artificial intelligence experts call for a ban on fully autonomous weapons. Such weapons would be able to identify, select and attack without further human intervention. They are just around the corner. We must act now, before it’s too late.

 


Webinar held 15 November 2020: Pax Christi Sustainable Peace or a Militarised Asia Pacific? Australia’s choice….

Pax Christi in Australia recently organised a webinar on Sustainable Peace or a Militarised Asia Pacific? to address growing militarisation of this region within the framework of the Nonviolence Initiative (CNI). Is the militarist mindset of nations the way to sustainable peace?

Pax  Christi Nonviolence Initiative
Fr Claude Mostowik*

In April 2016, as 85 people from 35 countries gathered in Rome – many from places of extreme violence and oppression. Jose Henriquez, former secretary general of Pax Christi International said: ‘We need to go back to the sources of our faith and rediscover the nonviolence which is at the heart of the Gospel.’ The goal of nonviolent resistance to injustice is to awaken humanity in every person. This conference was convened by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International on the topic of Nonviolence and Just Peace. The conference finished with ‘An appeal to the Catholic Church to re-commit to the Centrality of Gospel Nonviolence’. Though referred to as the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative it is not a confessional call but about the centrality of gospel nonviolence. It was a call for the church to move to a Just Peace based on Gospel nonviolence.

Read Full Presentation Here

A Militarising Asia Pacific: A Modern Threat to Peace
Caesar D’Mello*

As the centre of contemporary geopolitics and economic activity continues to shift to the East, developments here will have serious implications for peace or instability globally. Already hosting the three biggest economies in the world – the US, China and Japan – India will join them in a few years to form a quartet of the world’s top economies based in Asia Pacific.
Comprising nearly 2/3rds of the world’s population spread across several countries, this region is again impacted by strategic rivalries, especially between the US and China. As alignments and alliances multiply, countries are divided along adversarial lines.

Comprising nearly 2/3rds of the world’s population spread across several countries, this region is again impacted by strategic rivalries, especially between the US and China. As alignments and alliances multiply, countries are divided along adversarial lines.

Alliances The QUAD, or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a source of much regional anxiety. Involving India, Australia, Japan and the USA, it was initiated by Japan in 2007 as an “Asian Arc of Democracy” but ceased operating a year later.

Read Full Presentation Here


11 November 2020:  Soil, Soul, Society: A new trinity – not for realists or pragmatists

In the wake of increasing global climate catastrophes, the global population is progressively being forced into reforming the way that it functions. The need to create a new consciousness, focusing on our important relationship with the environment has become apparent. As people look to complex and intricate solutions to immediate problems, there are people who suggest a more holistic yet simpler response, considering three things, our environment, our selves, and our community.

Download this Just Comment in pdf and word


27 October 2020: Palestine: A Turning Point?

Webinar conversation presented Prof Joseph Camilleri with Dr Chandra Muzaffar on 18 October 2020.

Palestine is one of the pivotal conflicts of our time. Since 1948 the Palestinian people have experienced dispossession and violation of their most basic rights, not unlike Australia’s First Nations. Until the injustice is remedied, there is little
prospect of peace in the Middle East. Is a Just Peace possible? How can we in the West, inAustralia play a constructive role?
Dr Chandra Muzaffar one of Asia’s leading public intellectuals will address these questions and engage us in conversation


24 october 2020: Nuclear Weapons Banned: 50th ratification of United Nations treaty

For decades Pax Christi International has been working toward a nuclear weapon-free world with members and partners from every corner of the world. Today, Honduras, ratified the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, agreeing with 84 other signatories and 49 other states parties to “never under any circumstance . . . develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons.”

The treaty brings the force of international law to nuclear disarmament efforts.

Pax Christi International celebrates this historic achievement, including the efforts of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, of which we are a member. More than 80 countries have shown moral leadership through early signings and ratifications, and we urge remaining UN Member States to follow in their lead.


15 October 2020: A Message to Pax Christi US from Pax Christi Australia

As the United States of America edges closer to the Presidential election on November 3 2020, Pax Christi Australia hopes and prays that the American people will exercise their precious right to vote responsibly, and with thoughtful consideration of the consequences of their choice, both for their own wellbeing as well as for the world beyond. Enjoying a significant power politically, economically, and culturally, decisions and actions of the US impact far from its shores, too.

Please read the full letter Here


14 October 2020: Pax Christi Australia’s Defense Submission 

Submission Concerning Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies) Bill 2020

Pax Christi Australia is a branch of the International Christian Peace Movement Pax Christi International which has consultative status at the United Nations.
This submission expresses our concerns at some of the provisions of the proposed Bill.

  • Although we have no problem with the use of the ADF in natural emergencies, fires, floods, pandemics etc, we are concerned that the proposed legislation could open the way for the use of the ADF to maintain public order at the discretion of the Department. The ADF are not trained in policing. Experience in Northern Ireland and elsewhere shows that where military forces are used to deal with public order, levels of conflict and violence escalate to a point where more and more force is needed and underlying issues are lost sight of.
  • The bill extends a very large immunity for ADF personnel from civil and criminal liability as long as their acts are done in ‘good faith.’ We believe that ADF should be subject to civil law in the same way as other citizens.

Read the full Submission Here


28 September 2020: Facts on the Ground: Annexation from Jerusalem to the Jordan Valley – a virtual tour  _ Oct 7, 2020 07:30 PM  Register Here

Free Melbourne Palestine are partnering with 24 Palestine Tours to present a virtual tour from Jerusalem through Jericho to the Jordan Valley.

The tour will be conducted by Palestinian film-maker and activist Ehab Ghafri, who will show us how the policy of annexation is being carried out and its effects on Palestinians who are losing their lands, water and freedom of movement to Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

This will be a unique tour, conducted especially for an Australian audience, that will also bring some much-needed economic relief to Palestinians afflicted by the twin evils of Israel’s Occupation and the Covid pandemic.

The tour will screen for approx. 45min-1hr, followed by a 30 minute live Q&A audience discussion with our tour guide, Ehab Ghafri.

1 September 2020: IT IS CALLED AUSTRALIAN JUSTICE Bill that could see immigration detainees have their phones confiscated to return to parliament

Advocates say mobile phones act as a “lifeline” for people in immigration detention, particularly while visits are banned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A bill that could see mobile phones confiscated from Australian immigration detainees will be considered by parliament this week, with advocates warning the law would cut asylum seekers and refugees off from the outside world.

Read the full Article Here


12 August 2020: Why it’s essential to include young people in promoting arms control

Today, an unprecedented fifty percent of the world’s population is under the age of 30. August 12, International Youth Day, is an opportunity for us to reflect on how gun violence impacts youth and children around the world. It’s also an opportunity for us to share and promote the international developments   that have been made over the past 5 years at the United Nations in recognizing that young people should be included in peacebuilding and security processes.

Ways armed violence affects youth

Armed violence significantly impedes young people from fulfilling their potential. Each year, approximately 200,000 homicides occur among youth aged 10 to 29 according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which is 42 percent of the global total of homicides. Many of these homicides are carried out with a firearm. Firearm assaults also lead to hospitalizations of youth for injuries that can leave behind lasting physical and psychological scars.
Download our flier HERE for 10 other ways armed violence affects youth. Read more about International Youth Day HERE

4 August 2020: A nuclear arms race in space? It seems we’ve learned nothing from Hiroshima : Article Simon Tisdall Guardian Australia August 2, 2020

As the world marks the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb on Japan, it must wake up to the new rearmament

The mushroom cloud over Nagasaki in August 1945. Photograph: Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Atomic Bomb Museum/EPA

Russia’s apparent test-firing of an anti-satellite weapon in outer space on 15 July, as alleged by the US and Britain, could be dismissed as another of Vladimir Putin’s annoying provocations. That would be a mistake. The alleged new space weapon should be seen in the broader context of a rapidly evolving, hi-tech, high-risk international arms race involving all the major nuclear powers that, largely undiscussed, is spinning out of control.

This week sees the 75th anniversary of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed over 200,000 people, but the absence of public debate or a sense of alarm about the grim advent of sophisticated new nuclear, hypersonic, cyber and space weapons is striking. In the decades after Hiroshima, noisy anti-nuclear “ban the bomb” protests by CND and others spanned the globe. Today, by comparison, an eerie silence reigns. Read Full Article Here


8 July 2020: Do you fear us? Why else does a 10-year-old Aboriginal kid need to be caged?

Isaiah Sines and Terleaha Williams (youth ambassador for Just Reinvest NSW).

Sydney Morning Herald 

The nation’s attorneys-general met on Monday to discuss whether to raise the age of criminal responsibility. They decided that no action would be taken at this stage. Right across Australia, children can be locked up in prisons from the age of 10.

As Aboriginal young people, from experience we can tell you that this is far too young and has a devastating effect. In NSW, 75 per cent of kids under 14 in detention are Aboriginal. We have to raise the age to at least 14.

African American philosopher Cornel West says “justice is what love looks like in public”. Our young people need to know that we as a community care for them. Children aged 10 to 13 need to be supported, not punished. Raising the age is about changing the way our systems interact with and support young people.  Read the Full Article Here


22 July 2020:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are really excited about the upcoming online Campaign Nonviolence Conference in only three weeks, August 6-8, 2020.

The August 6th Hiroshima Day Commemoration is going to be a moving remembrance and call for action to end nuclear weapons.

August 7th will be a 3 hour nonviolence training including a bystander training featuring Veronica Pelicaric, Rivera Sun and Adam Vogal.

Finally, we’ve just posted the hourly schedule for Saturday August 8th so you can make plans to tune in to the speakers you want to listen to that day. This is a seven hour event!  If you are registered we’ll also be sending out the recording for August 8th a few days after the event so if you missed anything you can re-visit it.

See the full August 8th schedule here.

Register here if you have not done so yet.


13 July 2020:  Make peace not war, the language of military strategists

Pearls & Irritations John Menadue
Politicians, defence strategists and media enthusiasts for the armed forces will use words from the Defence Strategic Update proposal to spend $270 billion on weapons for the military. Via the language of non-violence, it is also valuable to convey other … Continue reading 

4 July 2020: Criminalising Journalism: Australia’s National Security Craze

-in World  by Dr Binoy Kampmark  July 3, 2020

There has been a lot of noise made in Australia about the need for broader protections when it comes to the fourth estate and the way it covers national security matters.  In a country lacking a backbone in terms of constitutional free speech, journalists are left at the mercy of authorities when it comes to exposing egregious abuses of power.  Consider, for instance, the exposure of war crimes committed by Australian forces via what has come to be known as the Afghan Files.

As Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, the two ABC journalists involved in putting together the file material wrote in July 2017, “Hundreds of pages of secret defence force documents leaked to the ABC give an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations in Australia’s elite special forces in Afghanistan, including incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children.”  Read the full Article HERE


1 July 2020: Time for Australia to look itself in the mirror – Phil Glendenning

Australia cannot ignore the reality about its indigenous people

A demonstrator attends a Black Lives Matter protest on June 6 2020. Photo: AFP

Nearly 30 years after a Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, Australia still has not acted on its recommendations. Yet, Australians took to the streets in great numbers in abhorrence at George Floyd’s murder at the hands of the police in the US, and the ongoing horror of Aboriginal deaths in custody in this country. Since the Royal Commission ended in 1991, 432 First Nations People have died in custody. No one has been convicted as a result of any of these deaths. Read full article HERE

 


22 June 2020: Living with China: There is a way, but is there a will? Part 1

John Menadue Pearls and Irritations:

There is a growing sense that it’s time to step off the merry-go-round of China bashing and the Australia bashing that inevitably follows. But what is to take its place? Many would like to see a more solid foundation for our relationship with China. But what would this look like in practice? And how well equipped are we for the task? Read Full Article HERE

 


21 June 2020: Pax Christi International opposes Israel’s plans for annexation and calls on the international community to hold Israel accountable for violations of international law.

Pax Christi International vehemently opposes Israel’s plan to annex any area of the West Bank including the Jordan Valley. We recognise East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights as illegally annexed under international law. We continue to condemn Israel’s 53-year occupation of the West Bank and its 13-year blockade of Gaza. We stand in steadfast solidarity with our Palestinian sisters and brothers whose freedom, dignity and human rights are threatened by this current proposal and Israel’s previous actions.


16 June 2020: Pope Francis calls US bishop in support  

Catholic News Service   By Greg Erlandson

Call came after Texas Bishop ‘took a knee’ in solidarity

It’s called “taking a knee,” and many professional athletes around the country and even police officers have made the gesture publicly to protest police brutality after the 25 May killing of George Floyd, who died after being filmed pinned to the ground with a knee to his neck, constrained by a police officer in Minneapolis.

Until 1 June, no Catholic bishop had publicly participated in the gesture but that day, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, became the first. Surrounded by priests from his diocese who also kneeled with him and holding a ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign, he put both knees on the grass at El Paso’s Memorial Park, where a protest had taken place a day earlier and closed his eyes.


9 June 2020: Gambay – First Languages Map

First Languages Australia is working with regional language centres nationally to develop a map of Australian languages that reflects the names and groupings favoured by community.

Explore the map….

26 May 2020:  RECONCILIATION WEEK 27 MAY – 3 JUNE 2020

Three years on from Uluru, we must lift the blindfolds of liberalism to make progress Stan Grant _ The Conversation 25 May 2020

Uluru Statement from the Heart offered a new compact with all Australians that would reset our national identity and enhance our political legitimacy. But its poetic vision and pragmatism proved its death knell.

Trying to reconcile two historically divergent if not hostile ideas – Indigenous sovereignty and the sovereignty of the Commonwealth – asked the nation to embark on a project of rehabilitation: “Voice, Treaty, Truth”.



22 May 2020: THE FOSSIL FUEL NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY

Gill Burrows NSW Pax Christi member holding Aboriginal Flag at the gates of Adani Mine

Climate change, like nuclear weapons, is a major global threat.

Bold and immediate action is needed to address the climate emergency. The main cause of the climate emergency is fossil fuels. Coal, oil and gas are responsible for almost 80% of all carbon dioxide emissions since the industrial revolution. Phasing-out fossil fuel production, and fast-tracking progress towards safer and more cost-effective solutions, will require unprecedented international cooperation in three main areas.

Read the UN Production Gap Report, assessing the gap between the Paris targets and planned fossil fuel production. Read about why we need a treaty from our Steering Committee members, Peter Newell and Andrew Simms   Find out about The Lofoten Declaration, a global call for a managed decline of fossil fuel production.  Sign as an Organisation          Sign as an Individual


May  16 2020 – Arundhati Roy – The Pandemic is a Portal

‘It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.’

The novelist on how coronavirus threatens India — and what the country, and the world, should do next – Arundhati Roy Financial Times April 4, 2020. Read full article HERE

Watch an interview  Democracy Now with Amy Goodman  “Pandemic Is a Portal: Arundhati Roy on COVID-19 in India, Imagining Another World & Fighting for It” HERE

 


May 9, 2020 – The interconnectedness of life, climate change and pandemics

Publication: Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education, Just Comment, Vol 22, No 2. 2020

Illustration: John Hardaker/Project X

In 2015, Pope Francis, in Laudato si’, underlined the fundamental connection between the environmental crisis and the current social crisis. To remind us that ‘everything is interconnected, he called for a personal and community ecological conversion.’

‘If only the world [had] worked to strengthen the rights of indigenous peoples — who have
learned to live in nature with biodiversity and protect animal and plant species — we would see fewer epidemics such as the one that we are currently facing. Read full article Here


May 5, 2020 – Pandemic Peacebuilding Resources

The following is a selection of resources from Pax Christi International, its membership, partners, and other sources relating to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Please go to the list here.

As a member of International Peace Bureau, Pax Christi International supports their appeal to invest in healthcare instead of militarization. Join the petition! 


May 2, 2020 – Covid-19 – Lessons Not Yet Learnt

For weeks now Covid-19 has dominated the world’s media. We’ve had endless facts, advice and commentary on the virus itself, the number of deaths and infections, the level of testing, the do’s and don’ts of hygiene and social distancing, the flattening of the curve, and much else. But on the underlying significance of the pandemic remarkably little.

Yet, the pandemic is itself the symptom of a deeper ailment which holds crucial lessons for the human future. Four lessons merit close attention: (a) Be prepared (b) Collaborate or perish (c) A momentous shift from West to East is under way – we must find creative ways to live with it and (d) Everything is connected with everything else.  Read the full article here.


April 20, 2020 – Save lives or destroy them – Militarism and COVID-19

Illustration: John Hardaker/Project X

Publication: Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education, Just Comment, Vol 22, No 1. 2020

The threatening unprecedented global chaos is quietly informing us as to what needs to be done to create a better world. Many are asking what must we do. The call is to work cooperatively ‘to save humanity from massive global death and economic collapse rather than continue to devote $1.8 trillion a year to waging wars and engaging in vast military buildups with the goal of slaughtering one another?’
Read more here …

Pax Christi International is an affiliate of IPB. Please sign the petition, and distribute if possible.

Dear International Peace Bureau members across Australia & New Zealand,

We hope that you are all staying safe and healthy during these difficult times. As you may have seen, IPB is taking a strong stand against military spending and in favor of healthcare and social spending to combat Covid-19 and its effects. One central way in which we are doing so is our petition “Healthcare Not Warfare”, which we will submit to the UN General Assembly this September. The petition can be found here: www.change.org/healthcarenotwarfare.

While we have had a good amount of support so far, we are hoping to expand our reach and asking for your help. Would you be able to sign and share the petition with those in your network?

Thank you and please let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Best wishes,

International Peace Bureau


April 13, 2020 – The World is Full of Scapegoats’  Susan Connelly’

Sister Connelly

Posted on 10 April 2020 by John Menadue

Compromised politicians, muted religions, a distracted and increasingly partisan media and a malleable crowd combine in another tragedy. Scapegoating it is, but thanks to the Gospel it is not destined for seamless success

There are fundamental differences between ancient scapegoating and the modern versions, however. The Nazi atrocities and Australia’s scapegoating of boat people have been carried out by Christians, a fact which not only underlines that we Christians are often the means of concealing the very revelation we are presumed to promote, but also points to the endemic nature of violence.

(Susan Connelly is a Sister of St Joseph, the Catholic Religious Congregation founded by St Mary MacKillop).


March 4, 2020 – ‘Instead of masking racism, we need to deal with it day-to-day’, Adam Goodes

Click to enlarge

Adam Goodes was voted Australian of the Year in 2014. Just one year later he decided to walk away from his stellar AFL career with the Sydney Swans as a result of the abuse he constantly received. An article by Donald McRae, based upon an interview with Adam Goodes, was recently published in The Guardian. Read the article here.

Adam Goodes is now the subject of a powerful new film. View The Australian Dream on ABC iView (available until 22 June 2020).


February 3, 2020 – Choosing Peace

Winner 2019 Catholic Press Association Book Award – Catholic Social Teaching

In recent years the Catholic Church’s approach to issues of war and peace has refocused on the tradition of nonviolence and peace building in place of the traditional framework of Just War teaching. Among the milestones was an historic conference hosted at the Vatican in 2016, which gathered 80 peacemakers from around the world.

Drawn from the conference and presented here are contributions by many of the participants, including Lisa Sowle Cahill, Terrence J. Rynne, John Dear, Ken Butigan, Rose Marie Berger, and Maria J. Stephan, among others.  Together they advance the conversation about the practice of nonviolence in a violent world, Jesus and nonviolence, traditional Catholic teaching on nonviolence, and reflections on the future of Catholic teaching. The book concludes with Pope Francis’s historic Message for World Peace Day in 2017.

Marie Dennis is co-president of Pax Christi International and author of many books, including The Diversity of Vocations (2008) and (as co-author) St. Francis and the Foolishness of God (2015) and Oscar Romero: Reflections on His Life and Writings (Orbis 2000), all from Orbis Books.

Order book here.


January 25, 2020 – Australia Day as a Day for Humility

Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street, January 21, 2020

Over recent years, discussion of Australia Day has largely focused on how appropriate the date is for a national celebration. Many Indigenous Australians see the arrival of the First Fleet as an invasion which destroyed Indigenous nations and cultures and left their descendants disadvantaged strangers in their own land. The obdurate refusal to consider changing the date inevitably makes the public holiday a symbol of exclusion as well as of national unity.

The inappropriateness of the date, however, has some beneficial aspects. It focuses attention on the relationships between Indigenous Australians and later arrivals, and between Indigenous and the largely European cultures in Australia. Public discussion of these relationships often manifests prejudice and self-satisfaction. But it could also encourage humility and reconciliation, inviting a shared conversation about how our conflicted past has influenced the present Australian reality, and how reflection on it might shape a better future.

Read more …


January 9, 2020 – Message from Pope Francis for the Celebration of the 53rd World Day of Peace

Pope Francis visits the Peace Memorial in Nagasaki, Japan. Photo: Vatican News

January 1, 2020

PEACE AS A JOURNEY OF HOPE: DIALOGUE, RECONCILIATION AND ECOLOGICAL CONVERSION

1. Peace, a journey of hope in the face of obstacles and trial

Peace is a great and precious value, the object of our hope and the aspiration of the entire human family. As a human attitude, our hope for peace is marked by an existential tension that makes it possible for the present, with all its difficulties, to be “lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey”. Hope is thus the virtue that inspires us and keeps us moving forward, even when obstacles seem insurmountable.

Read the full message here.


November 27, 2019 – Press Release: What the world needs now

A new music clip launched today on behalf of a number of schoolgirls, who joined forces with
the producer of the film Ride Like a Girl, aims to send a special message of hope to next week’s UN Conference on Climate Change in Madrid, Spain.

The clip will be played at the conference. Film-maker Richard Keddie (Ride Like A Girl, Oddball, Hawke and Little Fish) has teamed up with the students of Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School. They acquired the rights to the famous Burt Bacharach song ‘What the world needs now is love’. Richard Keddie directed the video.

Read the press release here.


November 14, 2019 – Planet Earth is too big to fail

Even in emergencies, as we work to stop the worst damage, we must address the root causes of the crisis and shift the prevailing paradigm.

After centuries of neglect, we are now seeing a lot of useful writing about “the most powerful force at the disposal of humanity,” as Gandhi called nonviolence. Its long neglect deprived us of a badly needed set of tools and way of being. Why, then, was it so long neglected? Not because of a mere perversity of human nature but something we can, with difficulty, change: the underlying paradigm or “story” that has dominated the consciousness of the West at least since the industrial revolution. Now, thanks in large part to Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan’s pioneering study, “Why Civil Resistance Works,” and an outpouring of studies by nonviolence scholars and activists, from their respective vantage points, is adding to our tools to address that neglect — and even that outdated paradigm.

Read the full article here.

View the video ‘The success of nonviolent civil resistance: Erica Chenoweth at TEDxBoulder’ here.

Article by Michael Nagler, Professor Emeritus of Classics and Comparative Literature at UC, Berkeley, where he co-founded the Peace and Conflict Studies Program. He is also the founder of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and author of the award-winning Search for a Nonviolent Future.


October 22, 2019 – Australian families trapped in Syria must be rescued while there is still time – Statement from Pax Christi Australia to Australian Government by Fr Claude Mostowik

Fr Claude Mostowik

Australian women and children are trapped in al-Hawl, a desolate camp in north-eastern Syria for families of Islamic State fighters. Some 20 women and at least 44 children are held in the camp which houses more than 70,000 family members of Isis fighters, 11,000 of whom are foreigners from close to fifty countries …

The moral imperative is beyond dispute. When Australian children are exposed to the terrifying force of violent conflict and abject squalor, their suffering cannot be allowed to continue because of the sins of their parents.

A humane and responsible Australian government would intervene without delay or prevarication to alleviate their medical circumstances and ensure their future well-being.

Read the full statement here.


October 13, 2019 – NSW Pax Christi Convenor’s Report

Catholic Bishops Social Justice Statement 2019 – 2020

The Convenor’s Report includes information on a number of activities throughout the previous month by members of Pax Christi Australia NSW Branch.  The report includes:

Statement of Solidarity with Human Rights Defenders, Religious People and Other Leaders Accused of Sedition in the Philippines:

September 3 Launch of the 2019 Social Justice Statement, Mary McKillop Place, North Sydney _ Making it Real: Genuine human encounter in our digital world.

Read the full report here.


October 6, 2019 – Let Priya and Nades and their family stay

Media Statement – 18 September 2019

A coalition of NSW justice and peace organisations today continued their campaign to bring the Tamil family currently being held on Christmas Island back to the Australian mainland.

See the full media statement here.

Signatories and Contacts

  • NSW Ecumenical Council – The Reverend Dr Raymond Williamson OAM (President), and the Very Reverend Fr Dr Shenouda Mansour (General Secretary) – 0418 713 733
  • Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children, NSW – Gaby Judd (Coordinator)
  • The Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education – Phil Glendenning, Director – O413 013 758
  • Pax Christi Australia – Fr Claude Mostowik – 0411 450 953 and Wies Schuiringa (Co-Convenors NSW Ecumenical Council Peace and Justice Commission)
  • Church Council, Pitt Street Uniting Church, Sydney
  • Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre – Fr Claude Mostowik – 0411 450 953
  • The Josephite Justice Network (Sisters of St Joseph) – Sister Jan Barnett

September 9, 2019 – Why is Greta Thunberg so triggering for certain men? How can a 16-year-old girl in plaits, dedicated to trying to save the planet, inspire such incandescent rage?

Greta Thunberg. Photo: The Irish Times

Thunberg’s trip was an act of protest, not a sacred commandment or an instruction manual for the rest of us. Like all acts of protest, it was designed to be symbolic and provocative. For those who missed the point – and oh, how they missed the point – she retweeted someone else’s “friendly reminder” that: “You don’t need to spend two weeks on a boat to do your part to avert our climate emergency. You just need to do everything you can, with everyone you can, to change everything you can.” (Jennifer O’Connell, The Irish Times, 7 Sep 2019).

Read the full article here.


August 28, 2019 – Statement of Solidarity with Human Rights Defenders, Religious People and Other Leaders Accused of Sedition in the Philippines.

Sr Pat Fox Kicked out of Philippines by President Duterte

Pax Christi Australia expresses deep concern and outrage at the condemnation of leaders in the Philippines such as lawyers, human rights defenders and bishops, priests and other religious leaders who have been charged with sedition and accused of terrorist links for speaking truth to power. We object strongly to framing any kind of activism or holding a contrary opinion as an attempt to overthrow the government. There are grave implications of red tagging or labeling individuals and groups as subversive, left leaning or as terrorists because they express dissent. Association with any organisation and belief in the principles it espouses is an exercise of the right to freedom of thought, assembly, and association. Curtailing this and may affect all other rights such as the right to free speech, expression, and movement among others … (Fr Claude Mostowik, President, Pax Christi Australia)

Read the full statement here.


Johnny Zokovitch, new executive director of Pax Christi USA. Photo: CNS.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — When Johnny Zokovitch started working for Pax Christi USA in 2001, he was tasked with connecting young people with the Catholic peace organization.

As the group’s new executive director beginning Sept. 23, Zokovitch continues to see young people as key to the organization’s future as he seeks to “grow and swell the movement” among Catholics and other people of faith who desire to build peace in a violent world.

Zokovitch, 51, told Catholic News Service he wants to connect young people driven to respond to climate change and gun violence with the older generation of peacemakers who have sustained the organization for five decades since stepping up during the Vietnam War and responding to the rising threat of nuclear weapons. (By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service, 21 Sep 2019)

Read the full article here.


August 4, 2019 – It is time to support the people of Hong Kong in their hour of need – Statement from Pax Christi Australia

Fr Claude Mostowik

The courageous people of Hong Kong are showing us what it means to be engaged in the struggle for freedom, democracy and human dignity. Yet, our government, always eager to advertise its credentials as upholders of these values, has been shamefully silent and inactive.

With such large protests, it is always possible that a few hotheads will resort to unfortunate conduct. But the Chinese authorities would be well advised to concentrate less on these relatively minor misdemeanours, and focus instead on the legitimate demands of the peaceful citizens of Hong Kong. Their demands are simple but profound:

  1. The complete withdrawal of the extradition bill;
  2. Waiving charges against those arrested;
  3. An end to descriptions of protests as “rioting”;
  4. An independent inquiry into the unrest; and
  5. The resumption of political reforms.

Read the full statement here.


August 2, 2019 –Church must address ‘existential threats’

Prof Joseph Camilleri interview reported in The Southern Cross Living Catholic

Prof Joseph Camilleri

The Catholic Church in Australia is not taking full advantage of the work of Pope Francis in addressing issues of peace, justice and ecology, despite the “state of unprecedented emergency” that the world is in today. That’s the view of Emeritus Professor Joseph Camilleri who was in Adelaide last month to speak at the launch of Just Peace SA.

With a 40 year career teaching international relations at Latrobe University and a long involvement with the Pax Christi peace movement, Professor Camilleri was one of the driving forces behind a recent conference in Melbourne on Just and Ecologically Sustainable Peace .   For more information on Just Peace SA, contact justpeace_sa@adam.com.au

Read the full interview here.


August 7, 2019 – New Pax Christi presidents look to elevate church’s nonviolence teachings by Joshua J. McElwee

Loreto Sr. Teresia Wamuyu Wachira of Nairobi, Kenya (Pax Christi International)

Pax Christi International, a global Catholic peace organization that raised its profile in recent years with two Vatican conferences on Christian nonviolence, has changed its leadership for the first time in nearly a decade.

At a general meeting of 12 regional sections of the organization in late June, members elected two new co-presidents: French Bishop Marc Stenger and Kenyan Sr. Teresia Wamuyu Wachira. They replace South African Bishop Kevin Dowling, who had served since 2010, and American activist Marie Dennis, who had served since 2007.

Read the full article here.


July 30, 2019 – IPAN Media Release: New US naval base proposed at Glyde Point 40 km from Darwin

Despite recent denials, a new US naval base has been proposed at Glyde Point, just 40 km from Darwin.

Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) spokesperson Justin Tutty said we have conflicting views coming from the Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and asks what are we are to believe from the government?

Just last month the ABC revealed that secret planning had begun for a new commercial port facility just outside Darwin which could eventually help US Marines operate more readily in the Indo-Pacific.

Following the report, Australia’s Defence Department insisted it had “no plans for the development of a new naval facility in the Northern Territory”, while Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner denied any knowledge of such a proposal.

Read the full statement here.


28 July 2019 – IPAN Media Release: Increase Newstart Allowance, Not military spending for US wars

# Over 700,000 Australians struggling on $40 dollars a day to meet basic needs.
# $200 billion allocated to Australia’s Defence Budget over 10 years, largely supporting U.S. wars.

“In the past 5 years government spending on social and community services has been severely cut back while the Australian government’s military spending on supporting US offensive wars and the military-industrial complex has increased exponentially.

Read the full statement here.


July 4, 2019 – Pax Christi International welcomes new Deputy Secretary General Dirk Broos

Dirk Broos

Dirk Broos was born in Mechelen, Belgium and in the past was a bio-engineer. He is educated in accountancy, financial management and analysis, audit and labor law. For the past 29 years, he has been the financial director at the Flemish section of Pax Christi, Pax Christi Vlaanderen.

Dirk said he hoped to be able to contribute to the development of a financially stable and healthy organisation at Pax Christi International and that he looked forward to broadening his horizons through international contacts.

Read the full report here.


June 1, 2019 – Meritocracy: How fair is the ‘Fair Go’?

‘Meritocracy’, first coined in 1958, is a social system where advancement in society is based on one’s abilities and merits rather than on the basis of family, wealth or social background. Coupled with capitalism and egalitarian values, it has allowed people from low status groups to dream of improving their social status, economic class, and place in the hierarchy. The impression is that everyone can succeed if they develop the necessary abilities. Meritocracy and equality of opportunity are championed by all kinds of politicians to achieve a fair society. People want to believe they live in a ‘fair’ society where hard work can achieve anything, regardless of their social position at birth. This is simply not true.

Read more ...  Just Comment is a publication of the Edmund Rice Centre.


May 28, 2019 – Colonising First Nations: From the Killing Times to Reserves to Incarceration

The British colonisation of the continent now referred to as Australia was based on terra nullius, meaning the land was neither owned nor occupied. As the High Court of Australia acknowledged in 1992, this was a lie, which was obvious to the First Nations peoples and the invaders at the time.

The problem for the British as they pursued their takeover of the land was that it was already being occupied by the locals. So, in order to deal with this setback, the invaders undertook policies of genocide, segregation and then incarceration: a measure still being utilised to this day.

Soon after the arrival of the British ships in the Warrang/Sydney region an outbreak of smallpox struck down around 90 percent of the local First Nations population, which some assert was an act of biological warfare, with the disease purposefully being deployed. (Paul Gregoire, Sydney Criminal Lawyers, May 25, 2019).

Read more ...


May 9, 2019 – Politics in the Service of Peace

A STATEMENT BY THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF AUSTRALIA FOR THE 2019 FEDERAL ELECTION

Christian faith is not a private matter. It shapes how we live our lives in public,
as well as how we relate to God.

Politics can be the object of criticism, even scorn, but it is an arena in which we can express our faith and therefore the truth of our humanity. As citizens who are Catholic, we have the opportunity to participate in the electoral process, to use our voice and our vote for the benefit of the whole community.

As bishops, we offer this statement as a way of sharing key points of Catholic teaching that you  may want to reflect upon as we  prepare for the federal election.

Read the full statement here.


May 6, 2019 – NSW Pax Christi Convenor’s Report

Fr Claude Mostowik reports on Pax Christi’s activities in NSW during April 2019.

Read the full report here.

Video: Fr Shenouda, Fr Claude Mostowik and Rev John Barr share their reflections at the Palm Sunday Rally held in Sydney on Sunday 14th April 2019.

 


April 23, 2019 – Statement issued by the members of “Religious and Priests for Human Rights” (RPHR)

Fr Nandana Manatunga

April 23, 2019 was declared a ‘day of national mourning’ by the Sri Lankan government, with the call to remember those who lost their lives and suffered injuries …

We, together with the Sri Lankans and the members of the international community mourn the death of over two hundred and fifty innocent persons and the injured still recovering in hospitals in the country …

RPHR, insists on conducting impartial inquiries to determine the institutions and the heads of the institutions that permitted this mayhem and be prosecuted irrespective of their standing in the community.

Read the full statement here.

Photo: Fr Nandana Manatunga is one of the signatories to this statement and a member of Pax Christi International.


April 16, 2019 – Pax Christi International mourns the death of International Board member Fr. Neles Tebay of the Papua Peace Network

Fr Neles Tebay

6 April 2019 – It is with great sadness that Pax Christi International shares the news of the death of Fr. Neles Tebay, a member of our International Board and the coordinator of the Papua Peace Network. Fr. Neles, who suffered from bone cancer, had been in intensive care for the last few weeks at St. Carolus Hospital in Central Jakarta. He died on Sunday, 14 April.

Read full article here.

Photo: Fr Neles Tebay speaking at the Pax Christi Asia Pacific Consultation held in Philippines in December 2017.


May 4, 2019 – Nuclear Age: Humanity is Flirting with Extinction

Source: Getty Images

David Krieger, opinion contributor to The Hill in the United States, states that the “most stunning and frightening truth about the nuclear age is this: Nuclear weapons are capable of destroying civilization and most complex life on the planet, yet next to nothing is being done about it. Humanity is flirting with extinction and is experiencing the “frog’s malaise.” It is as though the human species has been placed into a pot of tepid water — metaphorically with regard to nuclear dangers and literally with regard to climate change — and appears to be calmly treading water while the temperature rises toward the boiling point.”

Read more …


April 4, 2019 – Pope Francis: Countries that sell arms have no right to talk about peace

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – “Nations that actively engage in arms dealing and help foment war in other countries should not expect to find peace in their own lands”, Pope Francis said.

“Countries that sell arms’, he said, “have no right to talk about peace. They are fomenting war in another country, and then they want peace in their own land.”

Read the complete article here.

Photo: An army special forces soldier checks a machine gun before an infiltration exercise in Ilopango, El Salvador, May 4, 2016. (CNS photo/Jose Cabezas, Reuters).