NewsMediaBeing a Catholic voice at international policy levels matters!

Being a Catholic voice at international policy levels matters!

For decades, as a global Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi International has communicated our positions by advocating for justice, peace, human rights and nuclear disarmament at international policy levels. Pax Christi International has held special consultative status with the United Nations since 1979, while its representatives are also active at the Council of Europe, the European Union and the Vatican.

During daily Mass on 16 September 2013, Pope Francis said that “a good Christian actively participates in politics” and Pax Christi International has always done so. We ground ourselves in the work and expertise of our member organisations as well as Catholic social teaching as a source of inspiration. Many of our advocacy actions are carried out jointly with our members and other civil society members, including with other faith-based actors.

In order to strategize advocacy work, which includes discussion of how to share our messages most efectively, we hold working group meetings with Pax Christi members, partners and representatives around the world via Zoom and other online meeting programs. It is heartening to participate in an online exchange hearing about human rights challenges and nonviolent resistance work from Australia, Palestine, Italy, the United States and Peru, just to name a few locations.

Some examples of our recent work:

• Participated in civil society actions during the 2019 Vatican Synod on the Amazon with a delegation from Colombia and Guatemala. Our activities were shared with our supporters via social media and by media.

• Sent letters to church leaders asking them to discuss the nuclear weapons ban treaty within their bishop conferences and to call on their governments to join it, in cooperation with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

• Issued press releases for national and international Catholic media drawing attention to the human rights situation of Palestinians.

• Shared a statement with UN missions co-signed by 90 Catholic organizations for this year’s 75th anniversary of the UN calling for an enhanced system. Online organizing tools have made it much easier to receive rapid responses to sign-on requests.

What is the added value of being a Catholic organisation participating in international policy debates? Our faith calls us to be in solidarity with others. We can draw attention to and communicate the needs of Catholic communities in human rights and humanitarian situations around the world, while also highlighting the importance of their work for confict prevention and peacebuilding. Furthermore, we can build bridges between Catholic communities, leaders and policy makers by bringing them together for dialogue.

For Pax Christi International it’s particularly important to reach out to bishop conferences and the Vatican: Church leaders around the world have infuential roles in policy processes for peacebuilding and can infuence national debates (like Pope Francis has done, showing leadership for a sustainable and nuclear free world!).

Alice Kooij, PCI Advocacy

This article is available in SIGNIS Media. Is peace on earth possible?


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