A new book on peacemaking by John Dear

The Nonviolent Life

A new book on peacemaking

By John Dear

 
Available now from www.paceebene.org
 
“In The Nonviolent Life, John Dear articulates a vision of the power, meaning and impact of the spiritually grounded nonviolent life—and invites us to put this into practice in both immediate and long-term ways.”   -Ken Butigan, author and activist
“How can we become people of nonviolence and help the world become more nonviolent? What does it mean to be a person of active nonviolence? How can we help build a global grassroots movement of nonviolence to disarm the world, relieve unjust human suffering, make a more just society and protect creation and all creatures? What is a nonviolent life?”
 

These are the questions John Dear—Nobel Peace Prize nominee, long time peace activist and Pace e Bene staff member—poses in this ground-breaking book. John Dear suggests that the life of nonviolence requires three simultaneous attributes: being nonviolent toward ourselves; being nonviolent to all people, all creatures, and all creation; and joining the global grassroots movement of nonviolence.  Nonviolent Life cover JPG

After thirty years of preaching the Gospel of nonviolence, John Dear offers a simple, original yet profound way to capture the crucial elements of nonviolent living, and the possibility of creating a new nonviolent world. According to John, “Most people pick one or two of these dimensions, but few do all three. To become a fully rounded, three dimensional person of nonviolence, we need to do all three simultaneously.” Perhaps then he suggests, we can join the pantheon of peacemakers from Jesus and Francis to Dorothy Day and Mahatma Gandhi.

In his new book, John Dear proposes a simple vision of nonviolence that everyone can aspire to. It will help everyone be healed of violence, and inspire us to transform our culture of violence into a new world of nonviolence!

John Dear is an internationally known voice for peace and nonviolence. He is a popular speaker, peacemaker, organizer, lecturer, retreat leader, and the author/editor of 30 books. He has organized and participated in nonviolent campaigns for over three decades; been arrested some 75 times in acts of civil disobedience against war and injustice; and spent nearly a year of his life in jail for peace. Recently, John was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. For further information, see www.johndear.org

To order The Nonviolent Life:
Visit – www.paceebene.org
P.O. Box 1891 Long Beach, CA 90801
510-268-8765   info@paceebene.org

Anne Montgomery remembered: “new birth, new time, new humanity”

Editor’s Introduction:  Dear Friends, Art Laffin, of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington D.C., wrote the following remembrance of our dear friend (and co-conspirator in the creation of God’s vision of a world at peace and with justice for all) Anne Montgomery, who died last year on August 27th.  It is, as is appropriate, mostly in Anne’s own words.  Anne’s words and witness in her life live on long after her passing; may they give us all strength for the long journey.  In our common humanity and in Peace, Leonard

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Dear Friends,

Today is the first anniversary of Anne’s home-going to God. I/we give thanks for Anne’s life and for all she did to make the Word flesh! We know Anne is advocating for us as she is among the cloud of witnesses in paradise.

Below is Anne’s letter that she sent out describing her cancer and expressing gratitude to all those she walked with and accompanied in the earthly vineyeard.

Anne comforting a Palestinian girl as she watches her family's orchard being destroyed by Israeli bulldozers, August or Sept. 1998. (courtesy of Christian Peacemakers)

Anne comforting a Palestinian girl as she watches her family’s orchard being destroyed by Israeli bulldozers, August or Sept. 1998. (courtesy of Christian Peacemakers)

In light of the Empire’s ongoing violence, past and present, including now the latest US military threats against Syria, the below poem by Anne speaks to the heart of the matter.

Anne Montgomery–presente!

With gratitude, Art

March 1, 2012 letter Anne wrote to friends describing her cancer and really a final farewell:

“I have been on chemotherapy for cancer, and it seemed to be helping, but, last weekend I had breathing problems and tests showed a lung full of fluid and that continuing any chemo, etc. would not help. I have been blessed by so much support, personal, and medical, that I know I must share that in some way with all those across our world who lack so much and are near desperation, especially for their children. I also know that the Spirit prays at the heart of the universe and that creation is an ongoing journey of death and resurrection, however mysterious that process is. Because it is energized by Love, we can enter into it rather than count on our own weak efforts and vulnerabilities and worry about failures. When I made my final vows, our group was named, “Joy in the Faith,” I am coming to believe that must somehow be possible since it is promised in the Beatitudes and that those who have nothing show us the way.

I am constantly filled with gratitude to you all who have done the nitty-gritty work of peace and nonviolent action and invited me to join you. I hope to be able to do so in a new way. As Phil Berrigan said in his last letter, that work must come from our own vulnerability. Much love, Anne.

FEAST OF THE INNOCENTS:1991
In Memoriam: Mass Graves

by Sr. Anne Montgomery, RSCJ

A voice in Ramah — a voice in Panama, Iraq–
weeping,
as yet again, Herod proclaims new birth
a threat,
the young expendable,
beginnings buried:
bulldozed into ditches,
shoveled into unmarked graves,
cast into the sea,
or flamed to ashes.

But in the sand and sea,
grass and cinders,
in silences,
the question will not die:
“Where is the one who is born?”
the child who sees with one eye__
or not at all,
who walks with one leg–
or never again,
whose dreams were shattered by shrapnel,
hunger stilled by pain.

The year’s death reminds us of an old story,
a nightmare that will not go away,
but, dragon-like, rises from the sea,
blinds the dawn,
blasphemes God’s name and dwelling
with fire from heaven
on those, uncounted, who do not count:
“You the nameless, do not exist.”
So it has been decreed,
for to allow the naming,
to confess reality and promise,
means new birth,
new time,
new humanity

###

Sr. Anne Montgomery, Plowshares leader against nuclear weapons, dies; National Catholic Reporter Online; Aug. 29, 2012

A call to repentance on the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq

“A call to repentance on the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq”,  by Wash DC Catholic Worker Art Laffin, originally published in the National Catholic Reporter – Mar. 19, 2013 http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/call-repentance-10th-anniversary-us-invasion-Iraq

Ten years ago on March 19, President George W. Bush ordered the
invasion of Iraq. Following in the footsteps of his father, President
George H.W. Bush, who 12 years before had authorized the Desert Storm
invasion and bombing of Iraq for 42 days, the younger Bush, with the
consent of Congress, initiated “Shock and Awe,” a massive bombing
campaign that led to an occupation that lasted most of a decade.

Hours before the commencement of the Shock and Awe campaign, I joined
a group of 25 peacemaking friends who climbed over the fenced-off area
on Pennsylvania Avenue in front the White House to make a final appeal
to the president to halt this action. Shortly after we offered our
prayers of intercession, we were arrested by Park Police. After hours
of processing, we were released from the Anacostia Park police station
later that evening. As we met our supporters, we learned the invasion
had begun. Heartbroken, I could only pray: God forgive us.News
accounts the next day showed the Baghdad night sky lit up like a
fireworks display. We will never know how many people were killed that
evening.

The protesters were not alone in their demands. Similar pleading
against going to war had also come from the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops and the Vatican in the months leading up to the
invasion. Pope John Paul II made a number of specific appeals calling
for no war. In January 2003, the pope told his Diplomatic Corps: “War
is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity.” And on
March 7, 2003, Bishop John Michael Botean, bishop of the Romanian
Catholic Diocese of St. George in Canton, Ohio, issued a pastoral
letter condemning Catholic involvement in the war: “With moral
certainty I say to you it [the Iraq War] does not meet even the
minimal standards of the Catholic just war theory I hereby
authoritatively state that such direct participation is intrinsically
and gravely evil and therefore absolutely forbidden.”

Many believed then, and the world knows now, that the purported
government justification for bombing and occupying Iraq were based on
lies and deceit. Yet 10 years later, no senior government or military
leader who ordered, directed and carried out this blatantly immoral
and illegal invasion and occupation has been held accountable. No
apology has been made, no public act of repentance or contrition has
ever been offered by any U.S. official for the unspeakable war crimes
committed. The use of white phosphorus anti-personnel weapons in a
massacre in Fallujah in 2004 and the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu
Ghraib are just two cases in point.

What was the human cost of invasion and occupation for the Iraqis? A
survey from The Lancet [1] found that more than 600,000 Iraqis have
died, while the Opinion Research Business Survey concluded that the
number was more than 1 million. An estimated 4 million Iraqis have
been displaced. And an entire society has been traumatized, devastated
and left in a state of upheaval. The reality is that the war will
never be over for the Iraqi people.

Following the invasion of Iraq, Pope John Paul II declared in his 1991
encyclical Centesimus Annus [2]:

I myself, on the occasion of the recent tragic war in the Persian
Gulf, repeated the cry: “Never again war!” No, never again war, which
destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws
into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing and leaves
behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more
difficult to find a just solution of the very problems which provoked
the war. [Section 52]

The invasion and occupation has also taken a terrible toll on U.S.
troops. More than 4,400 soldiers died, and countless more were
injured. A vast number of veterans now suffer from post-traumatic
stress disorder, and the suicide rate has been exceedingly high, not
only for soldiers who were in Iraq but also for those who were
deployed in Afghanistan. Pentagon figures show that there were a
record 349 suicides among active duty troops last year.

Regarding the economic cost of the Iraq war, the National Priorities
Project has found [3] that the U.S. has spent more than $807 billion
waging it. And a Brown University report [4] just released ahead of
the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq says the Iraq war
has cost the U.S. more than $2 trillion, including $500 billion in
benefits owed to veterans. It is inevitable that when the government
squanders so much money from the public treasury, it will end up in
massive debt. No wonder there is a “fiscal cliff” and sequester
crisis.

In the last 10 years, peace organizations worked tirelessly to end the
U.S. occupation of Iraq. We at the Catholic Worker along with many
other communities across the U.S. and in Europe kept vigil and engaged
in many nonviolent resistance actions to demand an end to this war. We
also implored the bishops, who were conspicuously silent after the
occupation, to speak out against it and the Bush administration’s
pre-emptive war policy. On one occasion, I had the opportunity to
speak with military chaplains, including then-Archbishop Edwin O’Brien
(now a cardinal), head of the Archdiocese for the Military of the
U.S., and asked them to call on all Catholic soldiers to leave Iraq
and not participate in this sinful occupation. This appeal was not
well received. It should be noted that Archbishop O’Brien actually
advised soldiers [5] they could participate in this war.

Not all soldiers followed the orders of the commander in chief or the
counsel of Archbishop O’Brien. Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia ended up
serving up to a year in prison for refusing a second deployment to
Iraq for reasons of conscience. Other soldiers deserted or otherwise
resisted and were imprisoned. Iraq Veterans Against the War [6] was
formed to oppose the war and to assist fellow soldiers who had been
physically wounded and mentally scarred for life. And Pfc. Bradley
Manning, Army intelligence analyst and whistleblower, has been
imprisoned for more than 1,000 days for his courageous act of
conscience to let the public know about U.S. atrocities in Iraq and
Afghanistan. He is now being prosecuted for releasing to Wikileaks the
Collateral Murder video that shows the killing of unarmed civilians
and two Reuters journalists by a U.S. Apache helicopter crew in Iraq.
He is also accused of disclosing the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War
Logs, and a series of embarrassing U.S. diplomatic cables. On Feb. 28,
Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him, which
could carry a sentence of up to 20 years. One charge he did not enter
a plea for is the charge of “aiding the enemy,” which could carry a
life sentence.

Even though the occupation has officially ended, the CIA, private U.S.
military contractors and U.S. military special advisers remain in Iraq
while drone surveillance planes continue to patrol Iraqi skies.

What would Jesus, who commands us to love and not to kill, have us do?
Lent is the holy season for repentance and conversion. This would be a
good time, especially for the churches, to take the lead in calling
the nation to truly repent for our war-making in Iraq, to ask
forgiveness from the Iraqi people, to call on the U.S. government to
make substantial reparations to Iraq, and to demand that all CIA,
military advisers and military/security contractors leave Iraq
immediately.

Two years ago, on the 20th anniversary of the first U.S. war in Iraq,
I wrote the following prayer:

Loving God, we beg your forgiveness for twenty years of U.S. warmaking
in Iraq-for destroying Iraq’s infrastructure by massive bombings, for
using highly toxic weapons, including depleted uranium, that
contaminated Iraq’s land and water, and which have caused cancer,
severe birth defects and other illnesses for numerous Iraqis.

Forgive us for imposing economic sanctions that killed over one
million Iraqi’s, mostly children.

Forgive us for invading, occupying and destabilizing Iraq, causing
nearly one million deaths and displacement and long-term trauma for
countless Iraqis.

Forgive us for placing oil interests above human welfare.

Heal us of our moral blindness and fill our hearts with love.

Help us to renounce all killing, torture and violence, to stop
demonizing our adversaries, to value all life as sacred, and to see
the Iraqi people and all Muslims and Arabs as our brothers and
sisters.

Help us to truly repent for the sin of war and to make reparations to
the Iraqi people.

Empower us to engage in nonviolent action calling for an immediate
withdrawal of all U.S. military forces and private contractors from
Iraq, and for an end to U.S. warmaking and military intervention
everywhere.

O God, make us channels of your peace and reconciliation.

Amen.

[Art Laffin artlaffin@hotmail.com is a member of the Dorothy Day
Catholic Worker in Washington, D.C. He visited Iraq in 1998 with a
Voices in the Wilderness delegation.]

Pacific Life Community 2013 Faith & Resistance Retreat

Friends,

In just less than a month people will gather for the Pacific Life Community 2013 Faith & Resistance Retreat – Friday, March 1st through Monday, March 4th.

Just what is the Pacific Life Community?  Briefly – It is an extended community of people in many different communities dedicated to “ending nuclear weapons and war-makingsunflower through nonviolent direct action.”

The retreat is a full weekend of reflection, sharing and re-charging (and more) for the work ahead.

The retreat itself will be at the All Saints Camp in Gig Harbor, just north of Tacoma.  On Saturday evening there is a free public event at the University of Puget Sound.  On Monday morning people from the retreat will gather for a vigil and nonviolent direct action at the Bangor Trident submarine base.  All are welcome to join in any part of the weekend – on Monday morning, Saturday evening, as well as the rest of the weekend’s retreat.

The retreat begins at All Saints Camp on Friday evening with some informal activities.  The more “formal” program begins Saturday morning and runs through Sunday evening.  On Monday morning we will rise before the sun and prepare for the early morning action at Bangor, which is a relatively short drive North of the retreat center.

People need to register for the retreat itself so that we can plan to accommodate everyone. We are asking for $100 per attendee to help cover the costs of the retreat. No one will be turned down for lack of full fare. And we invite you who are able to subsidize to help.  Click here to download the Registration Form.

The Saturday evening program at University of Puget Sound is free and open to the public, and begins at 7:00PM (NO registration necessary).  The theme is A Nonviolent Future without Nuclear Weapons?  We have a rich offering of presenters, including:

  • Michael Honey, Professor of Labor and Ethnic Studies and American History at University of Washington, Tacoma.
  • Tom Rogers, a retired US Navy Captain.  A career submariner, he commanded a nuclear attack submarine during the Cold War.
  • Elizabeth Murray, an ex-CIA analyst and former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East at the National Intelligence Council
  • Father William “Bix” Bichsel, a Jesuit who lives and works at the Tacoma Catholic Worker.

Click here for more detailed bios and full information on Saturday evening’s program.  It will be a wonderful opportunity to learn how we can all engage the issue and help build a nonviolent future free of the scourge of nuclear weapons.   After the formal presentations and music, there will be an opportunity to meet and talk with presenters and members of the PLC to learn more.

Monday morning’s vigil and nonviolent direct action will happen at the Bangor base, and we are grateful to Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action (GZ) for hosting the action.  GZ is located next door to the Bangor base (the largest operational concentration of nuclear weapons!!!).  All are welcome to join the vigil in nonviolent spirit and intention.  We plan to arrive at Bangor and begin vigiling at approximately 7:00AM.  Following the vigil and action we will regroup at GZ for breakfast and reflection.  We will post more details as they are available. Please note: We don’t yet know the exact location of the action.

If you are considering joining us on Monday morning, but will not be with us on the retreat, please send me an email at gznonviolencenews@gmail.com and I will be sure to keep you updated on Monday morning – timing, directions, etc.  This is important as it is quite possible that we will not determine which gate we will be at until Sunday (March 3rd).

Finally – Please check the top of the right column at the PLC Blog for registration form, maps and more.  We will be adding the retreat schedule soon.

If you still have questions please contact either Leonard at subversivepeacemaking@gmail.com or George at georod01@msn.com and let us know what you need.

Looking forward to sharing a rich weekend of faith and resistance.

With Nonviolent Spirit,

Leonard

Bix: In the Audience at the Nobel Peace Prize

Friends, Here is the latest on Bix’s European journey that began with a stop in Oslo to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies.  Documentary filmmaker and producer Helen Young, who is accompanying the Jesuit on his mission, wrote a column in the Huffington Post, which I have posted in its entirety here.  The source URL is http://www.huffingtonpost.com/helen-young/2012-greater-tacoma-peace-prize_b_2287247.html.  Peace on Earth (or else!!!), Leonard

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In the Audience at the Nobel Peace Prize

by Helen Young, 12/12/2012

They were all in one majestic room: Norway’s King and Queen as well as the Crown Prince and Crown Princess; the leaders of 20 European nations including Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Francois Hollande; the European Union’s Nobel Laureates and their entourages; plus hundreds of other dignitaries. They filled Oslo’s massive and beautifully ornate City Hall. And there, too, among the VIPs sat an 84-year-old Jesuit priest who had traveled half a world away from Tacoma, Washington to be there. He seemed to be as well dressed as the rest of the crowd, though he admitted his black suit jacket and trousers had been purchased at Good Will. But to know Father William Jerome Bichsel is to understand that he does not place much importance on appearances. He’s focused laser like on action, and what the next best action needs to be to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

2012-12-12-photo6.JPG

Father Bichsel, whom everyone calls Father Bix or just plain Bix, was invited to the Nobel Peace Ceremony after he was awarded the 2012 Greater Tacoma Peace Prize by the Scandinavian community in Tacoma a few months ago. The award is bestowed annually on an individual whose life exemplifies a dedication to peace. The elderly priest had just been released from federal prison because he and four other activists broke into the U.S. Navy’s Trident nuclear submarine base near Seattle, which houses one of the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the country. Acting as citizen weapons inspectors, the intruders, whom prosecutors called, “The Bangor 5,” were intent on exposing America’s “weapons of mass destruction.” Father Bix has spent a lifetime “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable,” says Tom Heavey, a U.S. military veteran who headed up the committee that voted to give the elderly priest its Greater Tacoma Peace Prize. Heavey admits he wrestled with the decision to give the priest the award, because Heavey is “uncomfortable” with some of the priest’s protests actions. In the end, however, Heavey decided Father Bix deserved the honor and that it was the right thing to do.

2012-12-12-photo7.JPG

One wonders if there was similarly such soul-searching among the members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee whose choice of the European Union as this year’s Laureate has sparked so much controversy.  The EU is mired in a three-year-old debt crisis causing rampant unemployment, with some countries in the group teetering on bankruptcy. Several previous Nobel Laureates have sharply criticized the decision including, Desmond Tutu who called the EU an organization based on military force and not deserving of the award. Despite that one cannot overlook the progress in peace the group has fostered over the last 60 years, culminating in a unity among nations who were at one time often at war with each other, such as Germany and France.

At the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, Father Bix listened intently to the speeches and said he came away feeling an opportunity had been missed. He commended the remarks of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who described the European Union as supportive of disarmament and against nuclear proliferation.  However, Father Bix said he wished that the support had come in the form of some concrete action from the EU instead of just words.

Saint Francis: From Soldier to Saint

Written for the Feast of St. Francis

By Leonard, October 4, 2012

*******

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

Continue reading

Photo Tribute to Anne Montgomery

Editor’s Note: The audio clips of Anne speaking were taken from various YouTube videos of events related to the 1980 Plowshares Eight.  We are thankful to whomever converted so many 8 millimeter films to digital format and organized them into over 100 YouTube videos.  Here is one of those from which we extracted audio of Anne:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJbpQTYQzZ4&feature=share&list=PLC9DDEA86AA1A4451

On Anne Montgomery: Of Two Hands and Two Feet

Dear Friends,

Kathy Kelly is one of those extraordinary souls whose acts of love, compassion and courage are well-known.  Kathy understands, as did Anne Montgomery, that it is not about “us” per se, but about our work and the fact that we do not do it alone.

Anne and Kathy would meet, not unexpectedly, in conflict zones where both were working with people in dire need.  It is work that takes not only faith, hope and courage, but persistence. Continue reading

In Memory of Anne Montgomery: “Let the Children Live”

(This was originally posted at The Nuclear Abolitionist on August 28th)

Dear Friends,

In the long, hard struggle for a just, nonviolent, peaceful world there are participants who dedicate their lives so fully to the service of others – truly to all humanity – that they shine (in a humble way) bright as the noonday sun.

Anne Montgomery, RSCJ, who passed away yesterday, is one of those extraordinarily bright spirits.  Her every breath, every step, every word, every action embodied the deepest spirit of love and compassion.  Her nonviolent spirit poured from her and touched so many in this world. Continue reading

To Anne and the Road Less Travelled

Dear Friends,

Our dear friend and peacemaker Anne Montgomery was no stranger to the road less travelled, a road requiring great skills of spiritual navigation.  On the other hand, that road less travelled is one that was blazed by some well-worn sandals roughly 2000 years ago.  Anne locked on a true compass bearing that guided her well on her long, full life’s journey. Continue reading

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