Paths to Peace
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Issue Date:  October 20, 2006

In our own backyard

The year 2005 saw a spike in murders in Kansas City, Mo., up 40 percent from 2004. It was in the midst of this distressing trend in NCR’s home city that staff member Tara Harris insisted that when we seek paths to peace, we need to look to our own streets as much as on the international scale.

Thankfully, that homicide rate is down in our city this year, but Tara’s point was well-taken. As a result, this special section features a collection of articles focusing on peacemakers on the city streets of America. Here in Kansas City, we are blessed with the presence of Alvin Brooks, a Catholic who is a legendary mediator and victims’ advocate. ( See story)

Reporter Mike Newall tells of the stories of parishes in Philadelphia ( see story), Boston ( see story), and Camden, N.J. ( see story), who are finding ways to build community and combat violence in the inner city. And Claire Schaeffer-Duffy reports on four Boston hip-hop artists who banded together to form the group 4Peace and recorded a single, “Start Peace,” in the hopes of starting a movement. “Peace needs to become a culture, a way of living, what you do, what you talk, what you think, what you breathe,” said 4Peace member Antonio Ennis. ( See story)

Schaeffer-Duffy also profiles Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, who uses spiritual tools of praying and fasting in hopes that Christianity will rediscover its own culture of peace -- the Gospel nonviolence taught by Jesus ( see story). The essay by Dan Finlay also makes this connection, by meditating on the meaning of Christ’s Blood in the Eucharist and the blood used by the antiwar activists of the St. Patrick Four, who went to prison for their 2003 peace action. ( See story)

Another essay, by Joseph Fahey, looks at relations between nations, and posits six conditions for peace -- responsibility that falls to both governments and citizenry. “Refusal to communicate,” he writes, “is the first stage of war.” The example of the European Union, he argues, provides a model to abolish war. ( See story)

-- Teresa Malcolm

National Catholic Reporter, October 20, 2006

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