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Background

Much like the issue of mental health in the scope of the Office of Life & Justice, our office addresses non-violence in the context of other issues which we address. Non-violence not only relates to just war and nuclear weapons, but gun violence, violence in the womb in the form of abortion, violence at the end of life in the form of euthanasia/assisted suicide, the violence of racism, violence in the form of the death penalty, and violence towards creation through lack of proper stewardship of our resources.

The foundation of Church teaching in regards to non-violence naturally stems from the radical Gospel message of Jesus Christ. His command to love our enemies and thus stop violence before it even begins, his ability to address the heart of issues causing unrest, and his demonstration of standing up for the vulnerable through creative, peaceful means can pierce our hearts and challenge our intuition of what true justice looks like.

 

  • “…no pope since the Second Vatican Council has approved a war, or even mounted a defence of the justice of war in principle.”(1)

  • In 2019, Pope Francis said, “The use of nuclear weapons is immoral which is why it must be added to the catechism of the Catholic Church. Not only their use, but also possessing them: because an accident or the madness of some government leader, one person’s madness can destroy humanity.”(2)

  • Homicides in Kansas City rose to 182 in 2023, setting a new annual record; of those, 170 involved a firearm.(3)

  • Despite the claim that post-abortion syndrome does not exist, the violence involved with the procedure has great consequences. Women who have had an abortion are at much higher risk of anxiety, depression, alcohol use/misuse, marijuana use, and suicidal behavior, stemming from the inherently violent nature of the procedure and the abortion-related PTSD stemming from experiencing it.(4)

  • Out of violent incidents based on bias, overwhelmingly the bias tends to be racially motivated bias.(5)

  • Twenty-eight states use lethal injection as their primary method of executions. However, after the ban of distribution of the three drugs used in lethal injection from the United Kingdom and pharmaceutical companies have resulted in drug shortages, causing states to either halt their executions or turn to other means.(6) In 2024 Alabama became the first state to use suffocation by nitrogen for the execution of Kenneth Smith; the state is now being sued by prisoners with the claim that it is a “torturous” means of death.(7)

  • Pollution crimes include illegal dumping or blending of polluting chemicals and materials into the ecosystem. These crimes threaten health and quality of life.(8)

  • "By the end of 2022, 108.4 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. This includes: 35.3 million refugees, 62.5 million internally displaced people, 5.4 million asylum seekers, and 5.2 million people in need of international protection, a majority from Venezuela."(9)

  • Over half of persons who have been trafficked reported encountering physical and/or sexual violence.(10)

1https://nonviolencejustpeace.net/church-documents-on-nonviolence/

2Pope Francis press conference, November 25, 2019

3https://www.kcpd.org/media/5316/final-daily-homicide-analysis-23.pdf

4https://hopeafterabortion.com/?page_id=213

5https://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/hate-crime-statistics

6https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/features/lethal-injection-pharma-kill-death-penalty/?cf-view

7https://apnews.com/article/nitrogen-execution-alabama-inmate-lawsuit-7043bff9563f99d083b189ff7d39253c

8https://www.interpol.int/en/Crimes/Environmental-crime/Pollution-crime

9https://www.unrefugees.org/refugee-facts/statistics/#:~:text=By%20the%20end%20of%202022,62.5%20million%20internally%20displaced%20people

10https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8637135/

Church Documents

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