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by Sister Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican

Following the recent outbreaks of violence, especially in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, many citizens are eager to get involved ion eradicating violence and replacing it with a culture of justice and peace. Some time ago, President Obama urged all people to band together and use their energy and imagination to create a more peaceful world. Now is a good time to take on this task.

There is no one simple solution to this problem. We need to look deep below the surface and address the causes of violence, and then name some solutions in private and public life. It will take everyone’s effort- people of different cultures, classes and creeds as well as people of all ages to address the problem and then  create something new.

Some of the causes may be economic, a search for power, greed, unresolved conflicts, revenge, anger and fear, failure to accomplish one’s dreams.  We are all familiar with the words of the song: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Where do we begin?

Currently, some are recommending gun control as a solution to the problem. That may be part of the solution, as in the gun buy-back program, but a much broader response Is needed to learn about non-violence and social change. Also, we must examine our culture of violence and the games and movies in which children participate. When they see adults using guns to solve problems, they may see it as a solution. We must stand up against evil systems and do so with understanding and good will in order to create standards that all can live up to, and do so with respect and dignity. Adults can model non-violence to other adults and especially to children and youth. Then they can learn to put these values into practice. Politicians can practice civility in their political discourses. We must listen and learn from the struggles of poor and deprived people and do so with respect.  

We start out to create a peaceful world by going deep within and laying a solid spiritual foundation on which to build our hopes and goals. We ask for the guidance of the Spirit to direct our path and to develop a deep reliance on the presence of God always available to us. This foundation seems to be greatly lacking in many families and homes today. Even in churches, we rarely hear sermons about the evil of violence and ways to address it. Classes need to be established to help adults and children, learn about non-violence and how it can be practiced in the home, school or wherever they find themselves. Currently some are teaching conflict resolution in schools, prisons, workplaces and other arenas. 

We need to imagine a world without violence and then start to put it into practice. While many of the solutions we hear about are not new, they need to be consistently practiced with diligence and hope. We can sit down together in groups and ask ourselves:

Look at the words we use, Do they bring hope and healing and show respect or do they generate hostility and conflict?

Do we provide good example for youth today, demonstrating ways to interact and communicate peace? Do we speak out against violence wherever we find it?

Do we make judgments about others, without sufficient knowledge of the circumstances they are experiencing? It does not mean we agree with them on all their issues. We must speak our truth with clarity and listen respectfully to the other side.  We have a moral obligation to speak out against injustice wherever we find it. There can be room for healthy discord and discover and practice effective ways of dealing with anger, hatred, revenge, or racist attitudes. All people, youth and adults can learn to use conflict resolution skills.

Pope Paul V1 once reminded people that “there is no peace without justice.” To bring about peace, we need to listen to the struggles of suffering people and help them articulate what they see as a solution, rather than imposing our solutions on them. A deep faith and love will enable us to create a non-violent community and systems and structures that support the dignity of all people.. If we are centered in prayer and the Spirit of God, we can accomplish great things. When we approach life in a non-violent manner, we try to walk in the other person’s shoes and try to understand where they are coming from, and approach them in a reasonable and understanding way, and helping them  look more clearly at the issues involved. Another world is indeed possible. Let us begin to create a world of peace and non-violence and do so with courage, conviction and hope. No effort is too small to make a difference.


Justice Preaching Archive

Just click on a title below to read the article.
- The latest titles are listed first. -

• Justice Bulletin Board •
• A New Year •
• Two Essays on Peace •
• A Call To Respect and Welcome Diversity - A Challenge of Our Faith •
• Addressing White Power and Priviledge •
• An Ethical Reflection on Work... •
• A Re-energized Catholic Church •
• A Renewed Call for Nuclear Disarmament •
• Called to Proclaim and Live With Moral Courage •
• Called To Protect the Poor In Our Economic System •
• Call To Persevere In Praying and Working for Peace •
• Care For the Environment •
• Care for the Earth •
• Caritas in Veritate •
• The Challenge of Discipleship •
• Comprehensive Immigration Reform •
• The Death Penalty Revisited •
• What Is Ecological Economics •
• Eliminating Global Poverty •
• Global Warming... Calling for an Urgent and Ethical Response •
• God's Fool •
• Green Congretations - A Growing Movement •
• More Gun Control •
• Healing the Racial Divide •
• Speaking the Truth in Today's World Takes Courage •
• Justice and Compassion •
• Labor Issues and the Catholic Church •
• Is More Consumer Spending the Answer? •
• Moving from A Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace •
• Preaching Justice & Moving from Violence to Peace •
• Reaching For the Stars - Brenda Walsh •
• A Call To Reduce Prison Population •
• The Relationship Between Labor And the Catholic Church •
• Sermon On Domestic Violence •
• Sustainability •
• The Death Penalty •
• The New Economy Movement •
• The Role of Ethical Standards... •
• War Is Not the Answer •
• Witnesses To Hope •

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