‘A True Global Culture of Peace’

If there’s one thing I envy the Catholic hierarchy, it’s their ability to respond quickly and compellingly to particular situations as they arise. On Tuesday, the Vatican published statement addressing the UN committee on disarmament, who is working through its discussion and draft resolutions this week and next. (The UN site keeps a running tab of press releases from the committee if you’re interested.) In a work of sharp analysis, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace speaks challengingly and specifically about its hopes.

…The Holy See acknowledges the many initatives undertaken by the United Nations and by regional organisms and civil society to avoid the race in armaments, to promote mutual trust between states through cooperation, information exchange and transparency in possesion and purchasing of arms. Nevertheless the Holy See urges the international community to assume its responsibility in establishing an obligatory legal framework aimed at regulating the trade of conventional weapons of any type, as well as of know-how and technology for their production.

And they go on to name a specific proposal they want to endorse.

Now, I’m sure that the MCC United Nations Liaison Office is speaking with similar precision. But if only we had some way to express our own collective convictions as Anabaptists!

Comments (4)

  1. TimN

    I agree that the office of the Pope gives the Catholic church has a unique ability to respond promptly and relevantly to world events. However, do the Vatican’s statement really express the convictions of the church?

    The answer, of course, depends on how you define church. The Anabaptist inability to express collective opinions stems in part from our grassroots definition of church that gives all church members an equal voice (or at least most white males). In the United States, we are dramatically polarized. If compromised by simply expressing a majority opinion, we likely would have endorsed Bush in the last election. You may recall John D. Roth addressing this issue in his C. Henry Smith speech last year.

    If Catholics got rid of their hierarchy, would they be able to express themselves any more clearly then Anabaptists? The Catholic Vote in Summer 2004 suggests that U.S. Catholics are nearly as divided as the general public.

    Of course, the counter to the grassroots definition of church might be that the opinion of the church should be based on its theology and not the individual views of the church. Which I’m happy to agree with when the theology expressed is as radical as the above. Yet we need to balance the value of the statements made with our assesment of the process from whence they come.

  2. Brian Hamilton

    I completely agree. But have we Anabaptists mistaken for true congregationalism, which is supposed to unite us completely in our particular gatherings, what is actually a paralyzing democratic consensualism? Congregationalism has always required that we trust each other enough to let others speak for us.

  3. Nathan Eanes

    Hey Brian,
    I didn’t know about this site until today. I’m happy to see such involvement on the part of young Mennonite radicals.

    I’ll have to think about your comments here. Having a hierarchy, as has already been discussed, seems to be a double-edged sword.


    P.S. By the way, you all should check out our blog site at http://www.christianityismore.com!

  4. Brian Hamilton

    Hey Nate! Good to see you around. I check ChristianityIsMore every now and then–good stuff.

    Incidentally, I didn’t intent to come off as longing for a hierarchy. The ability to respond is one thing I envy the Catholics, but the hierarchy is also the central reason I am not Catholic. That doesn’t mean we don’t have things to learn from it, though.

Comments are closed.