Category Archives: Areas of Conflict

Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Sign the postcard from Palestine!

Did you know that Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock went all the way to Jerusalem so he could tell the Israeli Prime Minister in person that the UK Government is curtailing the democratic rights and freedoms of British people to help its Israeli ally?

The UK Government has made a public commitment to Israel that it will try to stop public authorities from taking procurement and investment decisions on ethical grounds. This is to stop them taking action against Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank.

With each passing month the situation for the Palestinians gets worse. More homes are demolished. More land is expropriated. More settlements are built. Yet our government does next to nothing to help the Palestinians. It’s because our government has done so little that the Palestinians are calling for boycott divestment and sanctions against Israel. Now our government is even trying to stop us taking ethical peaceful, action against the government of Israel.

Sign our postcard to the UK Government Minister to tell him:
• The latest Government guidance is against the spirit of democracy, localism and devolution.
• The Government must make it clear that their guidance won’t prevent public bodies from refusing to sign contracts with companies involved in human rights abuses, including abuses in illegal Israeli settlements.
• The UK Government must ensure that changes to the local government pension scheme do not prevent pension funds from taking ethical stances.
• It is time for the Government to hold the Israeli Government to account and act to uphold Palestinian human rights.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign: Sign the postcard from Palestine!

Bishop Declan Lang calls for prayers for the people of Thailand

Bishop Declan Lang, Chair of the Bishops’ International Affairs department, visited Thailand two years ago and called for Catholics to pray for the victims:

“Tonight Catholics throughout England and Wales will be praying for the people of Thailand and all those affected by this appalling attack. I strongly recall the generous hospitality we received in Bangkok two years ago and wish to convey my solidarity with the local Church at this most challenging time.”

Rt Rev Declan Lang Chair, Department for International Affairs Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

New report highlights the dangers of UK nuclear weapons

With a final decision on whether to replace the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system only months away, a new report, co authored by Dr. Stuart Parkinson, who facilitated a workshop at the recent NJPN conference, highlights the latest scientific and technical information about the risks posed by the continued deployment of these hugely powerful weapons.

The report is published by Scientists for Global Responsibility, an independent UK organisation of scientists, engineers and others concerned about the use and misuse of science and technology.

In particular, the report points out the following.

  • The explosive power of the nuclear weapons carried on just one Trident submarine is equivalent to about 320 Hiroshima bombs and is capable of inflicting more than 10 million civilian casualties.
  • The most up-to-date scientific models predict that this firepower would cause devastating climatic disruption threatening global food supplies and leading to mass starvation.
  • UK nuclear weapons are on patrol around the clock, and the possibility of unintended use poses an unacceptable risk.  Whilst the chances may be low, the consequences would be catastrophic. There have been numerous known cases across the world of ‘near nuclear use’ over the past few decades. It is therefore only a matter of time before our luck runs out.

The report points out that nuclear weapons do not address real and pressing security concerns such as climate change, terrorism or numerous ongoing international conflicts.

The report argues that to reduce the nuclear risk, the UK should take Trident off continuous patrol at sea and place our nuclear warheads in storage. Trident replacement should be cancelled enabling active support of current international discussions to ban nuclear weapons in a similar process to other weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons.

Dr Philip Webber, Chair of SGR and lead author of the report, said “The latest scientific and technical assessments of the risks of nuclear weapons suggest even more devastating effects than those made in the 1980s. As we mark the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the Hiroshima bomb, the UK should take an active role in abandoning the illusion of nuclear security. There are enough nuclear weapons deployed across the world to destroy civilisation several times over. Only luck has saved us from numerous nuclear near misses over the last 70 years. The time has come to cease our gamble with nuclear weapons.”

Dr Stuart Parkinson,  Executive Director and co-author of the report, said “The UK is wasting billions of pounds and considerable scientific and technical expertise on a highly dangerous and essentially unusable weapons system – and the government wants us to continue to do this until at least the 2060s. We need to say no.”
The report is entitled UK nuclear weapons: a catastrophe in the making? It can be viewed at:http://www.sgr.org.uk/resources/uk-nuclear-weapons-catastrophe-making

Update from Pax Christi

 3-17 AUGUST – PAX CHRISTI ICON OF PEACE AT WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL

We are delighted that our ICON will be hosted at the Cathedral in St
Patrick’ s Chapel.  Do visit , and encourage others to visit if in London.
You might want to think of hosting the ICON yourself,  a wonderful focus for prayer and reflection on peace-making  and    reconciliation. See more at

http://paxchristi.org.uk/resources/pax-christi-icon-of-peace/

6-9 AUGUST – HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI EVENTS

Not too late to plan an event,  ensure that prayers are said next weekend to mark this important 70th anniversary of the           bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. See full listing of events:
https://mapalist.com/Public/pm.aspx?mapid=536517
Prayer and other resources here
http://paxchristi.org.uk/resources/prayer-and-seasonal/

9 AUGUST – COMMEMORATION OF FRANZ JAEGERSTAETTER

The annual memorial service will be held at 6.30 in Sacred Heart Church, Horseferry Road, Victoria SW1P, London . Guest speaker Chris Gabbett, head of Trinity School, Leamington Spa,  a Pax     Christi School.   See more at:
http://paxchristi.org.uk/event/commemoration-service-for-blessed-franz-jagerstatter/?instance_id=434

15 AUGUST – THANKSGIVING MASS FOR BEATIFICATION OF OSCAR ROMERO
12.30 pm at St George’s Catholic Cathedral, Southwark. Details at
http://paxchristi.org.uk/event/blessed-oscar-romero-thanksgiving-mass/?instance_id=432

Looking ahead to SEPTEMBER
12 SEPTEMBER – DAY CONFERENCE ON ‘SUGGESTING THE POSSIBLE IN A FRAGILE WORLD’
Will be led by Pat Gaffney, Pax Chrsiti at the Niland Centre,         Bushey, Hertfordshire.  Full details here
http://paxchristi.org.uk/event/suggesting-the-possible-in -a-fragile-world-day-gathering/?instance_id=451

14 SEPTEMBER – CANDLE-LIT VIGIL ON EVE OF DESi ARMS FAIR
A gathering open to all to join this silent vigil.  Gather at 6.30 at
Royal Victoria DLR outside in Tidal Basin Road.  Then to London Excel for vigl between 7 0 8 pm.  Full details here
http://paxchristi.org.uk/event/candle-lit-vigil-dsei-arms-fair/?instance_id=444

21-27 SEPTEMBER – WORLD WEEK FOR PEACE IN PALESTINE AND ISRAEL
Pax Christi is a sponsor of the week and we have leaflets available from the office for use in churches.  £3.00 per 100 leaflet and postage. See more about the week here. http://paxchristi.org.uk/campaigns/israel-and-palestine/            world-week-for-peace-in-pi/

Pax Christi World Assembly and Exposure Visits in Palestine and Israel

160 people met in Bethlehem Palestine at the Pax Christi International World Assembly between 13 – 18 May to mark the 70th anniversary of the Movement.  A group from the UK took part, including Pat Gaffney, Chris Cole, Ellen Teague, Ann Farr, Sue Scott, Holly Ball and Heather Kiernen.

Sadly, two important members of the movement were missing, Jose Henrique, International Secretary of Pax Christi was refused entry as he tried to enter Israel/Palestine through Jordan and Bishop Kevin Dowling from South Africa unable to attend because of illness.

The opening ceremony included speeches from HB Michel Sabbah, former International President, Marie Dennis, Co-President  and many more, all praising the work of Pax Christi and its members around the globe.

During the Assembly, participants took part  in  ‘Walking Paths’, exposure visits exploring aspects of life under occupation in Palestine; commemorations of the Nakba and the Pax Christi International Peace Award Ceremony.

Two documents came from the gathering
The Bethlehem Commitment: Bringing the future into focus 2015 – 2020, a document for inspiration, forward planning to help the Pax Christi family all plan for the coming five years and the statement on Palestine calling for recognition of Palestine, end to settlements and support to the nonviolent struggle for justice and peace.

For articles written by Ellen Teague:
Ecological justice in the Jordan Valley
Pax Christi marks the Nakba 
Pax Christi Pilgrimage supports the Living Stones
Palestinian Bedouins “international people are our voice in the world” 
Hebron: a microcosm of the Palestinian conflict 

http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news

Delegates also had meetings with Israeli peace groups such as Rabbis for Human Rights, B’tselem, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions  and Women in Black

PAX CHRISTI PRAYER FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

We come to you, God Creator.
You are the source of life and beauty and power.
Your son Jesus is the way of faith and hope and love.
Your Spirit is the fire of love, the fount of wisdom, the bond of unity.
You call us at all times to be people of the beatitudes, witnesses to the Gospel of peace and love and forgiveness. You call us at this time, when war and rumours of war, weigh heavily on the peoples of the Middle East.

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