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Bishops Sign Onto ‘Bread Not Stones’ Statement

The recent Pax Christi “Bread Not Stones Statement” is in their words “an effort at redirecting the obscene amount of money the U.S. invests in military spending” compared to other challenges and needs.

The statement, as of January 4th, has 18 signatures of Bishops, including 2 Cardinals and 2 Archbishops, after contracting 99 bishops in 65 dioceses.

The statement begins, “The growing gap between the rich and the poor is compounded by a growing gap between our nation’s spending on weapons and preparations for war and our commitment to end poverty….

“We are told that our military spending secures peace for our people and the Church recognizes the legitimate need for the adequate defense of nations. But our reliance on unfettered military spending is rooted in a mistaken notion of peace and an erroneous understanding of what constitutes true security for our people….”

A number of citations of Christian Social Justice Teaching mark the Church’s historical commitment:

1) Pope Paul VI (in “On the Development of Peoples” reflected that “For peace is not simply the absence of warfare, based on a precarious balance of power; it is fashioned by efforts directed day after day toward the establishment of the ordered universe willed by God, with a more perfect form of justice among men.”

2) “At the gathering of the world’s bishops during the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s,

the Church made clear that, ‘The arms race is one of the greatest curses on the human race; it

is to be condemned as a danger, an act of aggression against the poor, and a folly which does

not provide the security it promises.’ (The Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern

World, #81).”

3) “The Church has repeated many times that “the arms race is to be condemned unreservedly,” “it is an injustice,” “it is a form of theft,” “it is completely incompatible with the spirit of humanity and still more with the spirit of Christianity.” (The Holy See & Disarmament Reply to an invitation by the General Assembly of the United Nations, 1975)”

The statement concludes: “We hear that cry....

“The U.S. federal budget is a moral document that identifies what we value. We cannot remain silent while our nation squanders hundreds of billions of dollars every year on weapon systems that add little to our nation’s national security while neglecting the poor and marginalized in our dioceses and around the world.

“Our misplaced reliance on new and ever more lethal conventional and nuclear weapons will never bring us the peace for which we long. If we want genuine peace, we must seek justice for the “least of these” (Matthew 25) by beating our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into pruning hooks. (Isaiah 2:4).”

Individual Pax Christi members took up the call to personally write, call or visit their Bishop and urge his signature on the call.

The statement has been signed by:

1. Bishop John Stowe, Lexington, KY

2. Bishop Emeritus Thomas Gumbleton, Detroit, MI

3. Cardinal Robert McElroy, San Diego, CA

4. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Newark, NJ

5. Archbishop John Wester, Santa Fe, NM

6. Archbishop Thomas Zinkula, Dubuque, IA

7. Bishop Steven Biegler, Cheyenne, WY

8. Bishop John Dolan, Phoenix, AZ

9. Bishop Daniel Garcia, Monterey, CA

10. Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, Jackson, MS

11. Bishop Mark Seitz, El Paso, TX

12. Bishop Anthony Taylor, Little Rock, AR

13. Bishop Louis Tylka, Peoria, IL

14. Auxiliary Bishop Matthew G. Elshoff, OFM Cap., Los Angeles, CA

15. Bishop Emeritus Donald Hanchon, Detroit, MI

16. Bishop Emeritus Richard Pates, Des Moines, IA

17. Bishop Emeritus Peter Rosazza, Hartford, CT

18. Bishop Emeritus Richard Sklba, Milwaukee, WI