Pax Christi celebrates positive developments

 There was much good news to celebrate at the Annual General Meeting of Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace. Members from around the country gathered in Derby to hear about positive developments in the movement. These include an increase in membership, renewed support for the celebration of Peace Sunday and the success of the Call to Conversion arms trade project, which has the open support of twenty-five Church leaders and sixteen Christian organisations. Etienne De Jonghe, the International Secretary of Pax Christi spoke of the growth of the movement in Asia, Latin America and Africa which brings richness and new challenges to the Movement. A video on Pax Christi's work was also launched. New vice-presidents were welcomed to the Movement: Margaret Scally, former Chairperson, Rev Giovanni Scudiero, Dean of Studies at the Missionary Institute London, Archbishop Rowan Williams, Canon Nicholas Frayling - new Dean of Chichester and Dr Leslie Griffiths from Wesley's Chapel, London. These last three represent the desire of Pax Christi to be more open to ecumenical co-operation in its work for peace. Guest speaker, John Battle MP, outlined various approaches to international relations and contrasted the traditional pragmatic realism that governs state-to-state relations and is underpinned by a pessimistic view of human nature, with a biblically inspired vision of the Kingdom of God. The former is also characterised by the supremacy of the State over the rights of individuals and against international solidarity. This model is enforced by violence and militarism. He suggested that the apparent intractability of many problems we are faced with today - Middle East, Kashmir etc - is often rooted in a loss of a sense of history that can lead to a failure to deal with realities of injustice. These problems resurface regularly as conflicts. Bishop Malcolm McMahon, National President of Pax Christi, celebrated Mass at the end of the day.

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