Friday, March 02, 2007

Indonesia Catholic Church Promotes Training in Active Nonviolence

Hello sisters and brothers,

Thanks to our friends at Pace e Bene Nonviolence News Service for this inspiring article! 

If you are interested in training in active nonviolence from a Christian perspective, let me know.  That is part of On Earth Peace´s work, and we can provide it or refer you to our allies and partners who also offer such training.

Blessings on you,
Matt Guynn
coordinator of peace witness
On Earth Peace

Indonesia Catholic Church Promotes Training in Active Nonviolence

Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News)
February 26, 2007

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Widespread societal violence has prompted the Indonesian Catholic Church to promote peace nationwide and to make 2007 the "Year of the Active Nonviolence Movement."

The Indonesia bishops' Justice and Peace Commission "is concerned about 'a new culture' emerging in this country in which people solve every problem with violence, as if human life is worthless," Holy Cross Father Serafin Dany Sanusi, its secretary, told UCA News.

The commission is holding a national workshop Feb. 26-March 1 for 60 delegates from dioceses across the country. The goal is for them to become better at promoting and implementing the theory and methods of active nonviolence in their respective areas, Father Sanusi said.

"We will try to find a proper approach so that people will not be easily provoked to serve the interests of certain parties," he promised.

The workshop in Depok, 20 kilometers (about 12 miles) south of Jakarta, plans to declare 2007 the "Year of the Active Non-Violence Movement," culminating in simultaneous events, seminars and workshops on Dec. 10, Human Rights Day.

In preparation for the national meeting, the bishops' commission held training sessions in 2006 for more than 500 Catholics from the Java, Kalimantan, Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi areas. Clergy, religious and laity including young people took part in these sessions, organized around the motto Robur Pacis Veritas (truth is the pillar of peace).

The motto, from the late Pope John Paul II, was chosen because the bishops' commission sees violence as a problem that eliminates the search for truth. The bishops' Commission for Youth helped facilitate the program

Father Sanusi explained that besides developing an understanding of the nonviolence movement, the current workshop also includes spiritual reflection on incarnational theology. Calling this the core spirit of the training, he explained that it means all human beings have "the face of God" within them, which eliminates violence as an option in dealing with others.

"We want to train people to prevent violence from becoming their daily meal. We want to make them realize that violence cannot be resolved with more violence," he continued. The workshop focuses on ways promoters can continue the movement in their own areas, in real situations.

In December, as part of the regional programs, Purwokerto Diocese in central Java conducted a three-day training session for 30 representatives from all its parishes. Father Sanusi and Robertus Maria Kusumaningrat Dian Sulistyo from the bishops' commission joined Sacred Heart Father Jovinus Rahailwarin and Father Paulus Christian Siswantoko from the diocese's justice and peace commission in leading the program.

"We hope the training will produce concerned individuals who want to get involved in resolving and preventing violence, so that violence will not spread," Father Siswantoko said.

Caritas Brother Cornelius Kusmiyadi, a participant, told UCA News he wants to invite Catholic students and teachers from the diocese to promote nonviolence. "Violence will never resolve problems. A proper way to end the cycle of violence is needed," the 45-year-old Religious insisted.

Purwokerto Diocese is based about 270 kilometers (about 170 miles) southeast of Jakarta.


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