The photo at the top of this page shows Pax Christi members marching with some 20,000 others on 25th May 2009 to protest against the proposal to amalgamate all of Auckland’s city councils into a “Super City”. Barbara McBride carries the banner-pole at left; Kevin McBride carries the right hand pole. Between them are John Cullen, Emmet Myers, Fayne Myers.
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We meet at the Peace Place on the third Wednesday of each month at 6pm.
Pax Christi (The Peace of Christ) is an International Peace Movement, founded in 1945 among French Catholics, led by a teacher called Marthe Dortel-Claudot. At World War II’s end she and her friends were determined to try to prevent further wars.
Marthe was helped by Bishop Theas who had been imprisoned for speaking out against the transporting of Jews to concentration camps, but still preached forgiveness of enemies.
The group organised pilgrimages of prayer to neighbouring countries to meet with former enemies and pray with them for peace. Bishop Angelo Roncalli, later Pope John XXIII, encouraged them to enlarge these prayer pilgrimages into a movement for peace based on ‘prayer, study and action’.
Pax Christi has spread to all five continents and into more than 50 countries. At the United Nations, the Council of Europe and UNESCO it has NGO status, and for its work in resolving conflict has been awarded several peace prizes. It is ecumenical in its membership, developing close links with people of all faiths. Although still a Catholic movement, it is independent from Rome and not controlled by church hierarchy. In 2007 it moved from a single president to international leadership by co-presidents, currently Marie Dennis (USA) and Bishop Kevin Dowling (South Africa).
SOME WORKS OF PAX CHRISTI
Central Africa and Sudan: intervention against recruitment of child soldiers and violence.
Israel/Palestine: a lead role in banning landmines and cluster munitions, and encouraging dialogue.
Various nations: advocating non-violent means of solving local and regional conflict; strengthening the basis for a peaceful society; promoting human rights; training in peace education, mediation and conflict resolution skills.
PAX CHRISTI AOTEAROA-NEW ZEALAND
Founded early 1990s, has worked, in association with others, for:
# peaceful resolution of conflict in Bougainville, Timor Leste, Aceh and West Papua
# retaining Article 9 in the Japanese Constitution (non-participation in military actions)
# the wider use of restorative justice processes in New Zealand
# issues relating to the honouring of Te Tiriti o Waitangi
# genuine democratic government through submissions to parliamentary select committees
# solutions to problems of ecology, violence, militarism, housing, genetic engineering; of investment in destructive enterprises (mining, deforestation, over-fishing)
We have also:
# hosted overseas students
# invited guest speakers on a variety of topics
# developed a network of organisations working for justice and peace around Asia-Pacific
# participated in regional groups: Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition; Asia-Pacific Forum of Human Rights Institutions;Pax Christi Australia and in The Philippines
Pax Christi is committed to sharing prayer and reflection; to dialogue and cooperation with Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and groups of no professed faith. We seek to understand the causes of war and conflict and to speak up and act for peace and huan dignity. Our aim is to transform situations of conflict into cultures of peace by recognizing and reconciling differences and bringing opposing parties into a new relationship of justice, love and peace.