J&P serves the world, not just the church

Frank Regan

Frank Regan

Justice and Peace campaigners were told at the weekend that their mission to the world is vital in an age of widespread poverty, conflict and environmental breakdown. “Our mission is for the life of the world, not just the church” speaker Frank Regan told the quarterly meeting of the National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN) of England and Wales in London on Saturday. Around 30 representatives of diocesan commissions, agencies and religious orders heard the Devon-based J&P activist suggest that the Network “should not be too submissive to the institutional church” and should be willing to “think outside the box”. Engaging with marginalised groups and with frontier and contentious issues in the secular world would be very much a “patterning our lives on the life of Jesus” and following the imperatives of Catholic Social Teaching.

The meeting was held at the new headquarters of CAFOD beside Southwark Cathedral, in its recently constructed eco-friendly building. During the Annual General Meeting, Anne Peacey of Hallam Diocese was re-elected as NJPN Chair. There were reports from a new Ethical Investment Working Group and a sub-group planning NJPN’s annual conference in July, ‘Our Daily Bread – Food Security, People and Planet’ which hopes to attract 400 participants. 

CAFOD’s Maria Elena Arana announced that there will be a lobby of new MPs on the climate change issue on Wednesday 20 October and that a livesimply parish scheme in association with Eco-Congregation will be launched from December 2010. Dan Hale from Progressio thanked NJPN members who supported its campaign to assist forest communities in the developing world ravaged by the effects of illegal logging. On 4 May they won the backing of the European Parliament after MEPs voted in favour of tough new legislation which could pave the way for an EU wide ban on illegal timber imports.

Pax Christi urged dioceses to hold Peace Sunday collections at some point during the year, the proceeds of which go towards its peace education work. Many parishes organised collections for Haiti around the time of Peace Sunday in January and Pax Christi’s income is down £15,000 on the same period last year as a result. Patricia and Michael Pulham of Christian CND reported on their positive recent meeting in New York with the Vatican representative to the United Nations, while attending sessions of the 2010 Review Conference on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. They were delighted with Archbishop Celestino Migliore’s stance that not only is the use of nuclear weapons immoral, but the conditions that allowed the Catholic Church to tolerate nuclear deterrence no longer apply. 

For more information see: www.justice-and-peace.org.uk

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