I am very happy to join you by video link and to send you all greetings to your Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore online event.
I would like to thank my friend Marie Denis for giving me this opportunity to greet you.
I would like particularly to offer my congratulations to Malachy Kilbride on receiving the Pax Christi Peacemaker of the Year Award. I believe as a lifetime peace activist and with the national campaign for nonviolent resistance you have been arrested on numerous occasions for civil disobedience so your example will inspire others to work for peace. Thank you Malachy, for your courage in challenging the military industrial complex and speaking up for truth that weapons and war are not acceptable as they kill humans and destroy the environment. Recent US wars displaced 37 million people in the past 19 years according to a new study by Brown. We must ask ‘who bears responsibility for repairing the damage inflicted on those displaced and their countries?.
As you all know, we are in the midst of a Pandemic and the Corona Virus is spreading around the world and has stalled humanity in its tracks. The Scientists are working to find a vaccine but in the meantime fear is spreading and causing enormous suffering. The pandemic has shown us all how fragile and vulnerable we are and how much we need each other. No one person alone can deal with this life-threatening pandemic as we need the collective efforts of everyone to join in solidarity to help save lives. But we can take inspiration and hope when we witness the generosity of spirit as people, including children, reach out to community, local and international, to offer solidarity and help.
This Pandemic has given us all time to reflect and ask ourselves ‘where are we going?’ and is what I am doing deepening my humanity and really helping make the world a better place? Every act has its consequence and I have to ask myself ‘what are the consequences of my action?
I believe Pre covid19 we all knew humanity was on the wrong track. Violence, which is always wrong, was like a Pandemic spreading everywhere in our world. violent militarism, wars, poverty, racism, environmental destruction, greed (personal and corporate), selfishness, individualism. As Peace activists, you know that violence has its roots in injustice and inequality. You are aware your government policies need to change and I thank you for working to change them. I have always been inspired by the American Peace activists many of whom have, and are, paying a very high price through protesting and are now in American prisons. But we have to ask ourselves why after so much Peace organizing both in USA and around the world have we still got a world on the brink of self-destruction and extinction? Does it take a Covid 19 Pandemic to force us to change our thinking? From militarism and war to peace and disarmament.
But there is hope, and we must have faith in ourselves and in each other. I do believe we, as the human family, are entering a new consciousness. We are becoming more aware that Love and friendship, is what really matters and makes life worthwhile and joyous. Love is a mysterious and beautiful truth and it is the spirit of god living in the heart of every man woman and child and in the whole of creation and the cosmos. Violating a person, to injure or kill them, is the same as to do violence to the spirit of god who lives in every human being. However instead of violence, we can choose nonviolence. Nonviolence does not mean passivity. No, nonviolence is the most challenging creative and courageous way of life and it is the only hope for the world.
The science of peace nonkilling and nonviolence are the third way that will save humanity and the cosmos.
In this time of great uncertainty, people are looking for voices of wisdom to give leadership. I believe Pope Francis is such a voice and his Universal message of love will help unite humanity.
Pope Francis on 3rd October, 2020 in his Encyclical gives moral and ethical guidance to all men and women thirsting for truth. He points out that each human being is sacred and inviolable and we must respect the truth of our human dignity and submit to that truth. He calls for the abolition of the death penalty, prison reform, ending the arms race and the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The Pope in this Encyclical goes very close to shelving the ‘Just war theology,’ thought I do hope and pray that the catholic church may someday very soon go the full way and abolish the ‘Just war theology.’ (I am fully in agreement with the writing of the late Fr. John L. McKenzie, when he says the ‘Just war theology is a ‘phony piece of morality.’) Still in today’s fog and mist of confused ethics and morality, Pope Francis is to be thanked for his Encyclical which gives many of us a ray of hope that a Universal Ethic and morality, based on Peace, Nonviolence, love of humanity and the cosmos is possible. It is an inspiring document which in its ethos of kindness, compassion and mercy, reminds us to ‘stay gentle’ and ‘be tender’ towards ourselves and each other.
I believe women have an important role in building this new consciousness and freedom. For too long humanity has tried to fly on only one wing operating out of the head and the rational, resulting in a the male dominated society. Now we have to find a balance between the head and the heart, we have to balance our male and female selves. Our feminine self will put the children first and ask if society is providing for all the childrens’ needs for their whole development and happiness. Millions of children are facing violence of all kinds and surely it is time we put children first and before military security we need to have government policies which provide human security. A fearful, punitive society is not a healthy society and it will have fearful, unhappy children. Building a community of love for the children is the biggest challenge we face wherever we live, and the Peace Movement must start at the grassroots and build upwards and outwards embracing all of humanity and the cosmos.
I thank Pax Christi for all their work for peace. I am always struck when in the ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ Jesus says Blessed are the Peacemakers. There can be no greater or more joyous challenge than to be Peacemakers for the sake of the all the world’s little children. Thank you.
Peace and love,
Mairead Maguire – October, 2020 www.peacepeople.com