At the Vatican conference on Just Peace, held in April, I was so pleased to meet Fr. Claude (left), a leader in Catholic social justice movements in Australia-Oceania. He has a delightful artistic eye and brought a stunning image of the Aboriginal Christ by Richard Campbell into our gathering.
Fr. Claude is working with Asylum seekers in Australia who are living in brutal conditions under the anti-immigrant policies of the government. On the eve of ANZAC day, an event marking Australian and New Zealanders involved in military action in World War I, Fr. Claude participated in a discussion on national radio about how we can “rethink just war.” See more below and listen to the podcast.
The three day encounter brought together some 80 theologians and peace activists from many conflict zones, including Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, Colombia, Pakistan and the Philippines.
The goal of the conference was to explore ways in which their positive experiences of non-violent activism can shape theological thinking and Catholic teaching in schools, universities, seminaries and parishes, moving away from ‘Just War’ towards the concept of a ‘Just Peace’.
In a message sent to the meeting Pope Francis praised the initiative of “revitalising the tools of nonviolence”.
Around the world it raised headlines suggesting that the Catholic Church was moving to shift ground on one of it’s most venerable teachings, the Just War Doctrine.
So on this eve of ANZAC day, marking Australians participation in the War to End Wars, we are taking a look at just what sort of new thinking may be on the horizon.