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World Catholicism Week 2019

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Put Away Your Sword: Gospel Nonviolence in a Violent World

In 2017, on the 50th anniversary of the Vatican's first World Day of Peace message, Pope Francis issued the groundbreaking statement, "Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace." It was perhaps the Vatican's first official statement on active nonviolence, and it raises a number of important questions for the world Church: Is God nonviolent, and does God want us to renounce violence as well? In a violent world, does nonviolence work? This conference brought together speakers from around the world—Kenya, India, Brazil, Italy, Croatia, the U.S., and the Philippines—to explore these questions through five different lenses, each a different roundtable discussion:

  • theologies of nonviolence
  • martyrdom and the cross
  • practices of nonviolent peacebuilding and the "responsibility to protect"
  • gender and nonviolence
  • grassroots church formation of people in the practice of nonviolence

Keynote Speakers

Mauro Garofalo
Head of International Relations
Community of Sant'Egidio (Rome)

Robert Emmet Meagher
Professor of Humanities, Hampshire College (Amherst, MA)
Author, Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury & Just War

Roundtable Speakers

  • Maria Clara Bingemer (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro—Brazil)
  • Michael L. Budde (DePaul University—Chicago)
  • William T. Cavanaugh (DePaul University—Chicago)
  • M. T. Dávila (Merrimack College—North Andover, MA, U.S.A.)
  • Jasmin Nario-Galace (Pax Christi Pilipinas—Quezon City, Philippines)
  • Francis Gonsalves, SJ (Catholic Conference of Bishops of India—Pune, India)
  • Erico João Hammes (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul—Porto Alegre, Brazil)
  • Elizabeth Kanini Kimau (Horn of Africa Grassroots Peace Forum—Northern Kenya)
  • Eliseo "Jun" Mercado, OMI (Kusog Mindanao & Institute for Autonomy and Governance—Cotabato City, Philippines)
  • Elias Omondi Opongo, SJ (Hekima Institute of Peace Studies & International Relations—Nairobi)
  • Daniel F. Pilario, CM (St. Vincent School of Theology, Adamson University—Quezon City, Philippines)
  • Ana Raffai (Regional Address for Nonviolent Action—Zagreb)
  • O. Ernesto Valiente (Boston College School of Theology & Ministry—Boston)
  • Teresia Wamũyũ Wachira, IBVM (Pax Christi International & St. Paul’s University—Limuru, Kenya)

Friday, May 3

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION—Peace is an Open Workshop

Mauro Garofalo

(Moderator: Ken Butigan—Senior Professional Lecturer in Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies, DePaul University; Chicago)

Saturday, May 4

ROUNDTABLE—Gender and Nonviolence

Jasmin Nario-Galace—Mainstreaming Gender in Peace and Disarmament Policies: The Role of Nonviolent Persuasion

Teresia Wamuyu Wachira—Exploring Nonviolent Indigenous Approaches to Building Peace: The Case of Women in the North Rift and Coast Regions of Kenya

(Moderator: Kathy Kelly—Co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence; Chicago)

ROUNDTABLE—Theology of Nonviolence

Erico Hammes—The Spirit Christology of Nonviolence
M. T. Dávila—Confessions of a Just Warrior: My Challenges Embracing a God of Absolute Nonviolence
William T. Cavanaugh—Toward a Foundational Theology of Nonviolence

(Moderator: Christine Schliesser—Lecturer in Systematic Theology, University of Zurich; Switzerland)

ROUNDTABLE—Peacebuilding and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

Eliseo Mercado, OMI—The Peace Process and Active Nonviolence: The Southern Philippines’ Experience
Michael L. Budde—Killing with Kindness: Can a Plague Cure a Plague?
Elias Omondi Opongo, SJ—Humanitarian Military Intervention, R2P, and Nonviolence Discourse: Implications for State Fragility in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo

(Moderator: Slavica Jakelić—Assistant Professor of Humanities and Social Thought, Christ College at Valparaiso University; Valparaiso, IN)

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION—Just War: A Convenient Untruth

Robert Emmet Meagher

(Moderator: Rev. Walter Ihejirika—Professor of Development Communication and Media Studies, Federal University of Port Harcourt; Port Harcourt, Nigeria)

Sunday, May 5

ROUNDTABLE—Martyrdom and the Cross

Daniel F. Pilario, CM—Rethinking Martyrdom in the Age of Violent Populist Regimes: A Report from the Philippines
Maria Clara Bingemer—Christian Nonviolence for Secular Causes: The “Case” of Two 20th-Century Religious Communities
O. Ernesto Valiente—Christian Martyrdom: Jesus’ Self-Giving, Nonviolent Response to a Violent World

(Moderator: Joel Hodge—Senior Lecturer of Theology, Australian Catholic University; Melbourne)

ROUNDTABLE—Grassroots Church Formation in Nonviolence

Ana Raffai—Believers for Peace: Christians, Muslims, and Nonviolent Peacebuilding in Europe
Francis Gonsalves, SJ—“Be the Change You Want to See”: Building Interfaith Solidarity for Peace in India
Elizabeth Kanini Kimau—The Catholic Church’s Unexploited Power in Connecting People at the Grassroots

(Moderator: Rev. Lawrence Fernandes, SJ—Professor of Philosophy, Satya Nilayam Research Institute; Chennai, India)